Friday, June 04, 2010

Where you can go to find my Wire season 3 reviews

Updating an old post for completeness' sake. For a variety of reasons too dull to repeat again, season 3 of "The Wire" is the only year of that show I never covered on this blog, but I'm covering it in my new home at Hitfix. So each week I'll come into this post to add links to find both versions of each reviews, so you'll still be able to find links to every one of my "Wire" reviews in one place. (You can find all the previous reviews along this blog's siderail.) Links coming up after the jump...

• Episode 1, "Time After Time": Newbie version & Veteran version
• Episode 2, "All Due Respect": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 3, "Dead Soldiers": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 4, "Hamsterdam": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 5, "Straight and True": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 6, "Homecoming": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 7, "Back Burners": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 8, "Moral Midgetry": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 9, "Slapstick": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 10, "Reformation": Newbie versionVeteran version
• Episode 11, "Middle Ground": Newbie versionVeteran versionGeorge Pelecanos interview
• Episode 12, "Mission Accomplished": Newbie versionVeteran version

"The Wire" is one of the subjects of Alan Sepinwall's new book, "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever." It includes fresh material, including new interviews with David Simon and the executives at HBO who greenlit the show. For more information and purchasing links, go to


Leslie said...

Hmmm...I think this might post might have been directed towards me! Sorry!

I'm wondering how you rank each season of The Wire. I know you've said that season 2 'might' be your favorite. Which is your favorite and where do the others fall?

zehava said...

As someone who has watched the entire Wire in the past 6 weeks or so (only two eps left!) I have to say that watching Season 3 was not the same as the rest.....Looking forward to your take on Hamsterdam and Bunny Colvin this summer. :) Thanks!

Stav said...

Yeah, but. I think I am getting the complete Wire DVD for Xmas. I love reading your reviews just after viewing, so could you please spend your Holiday rewatching season 3 and writing up 13 reviews. Everyone knows too much time with the family sucks.

Thanks for your column and blog. Happy New Year.

bsangs said...

I love "The Wire," but Season 3 should have been left on the cutting room floor. So I'm very interested to see what your take will be on it Alan.

I equated it to "Halloween III, Season of the Witch" at the time. Just a big head-scratcher. (Not creatively, obviously, but that it seemed thrown into the middle of something that was working so well in its first two seasons. And this one didn't.)

Even stopped watching it live, which never happened with any of the other seasons. It almost made me jump ship and not come back for Season 4 - which would have been a colossal mistake. Looking forward to it. Whenever it comes.

jaywest03 said...

You people are crazy. Season 3 was amazing.

Unknown said...

The only reason Season 3 isn't considered the best season of television ever is because of Season 4.

Leslie said...

I started watching The Wire a few weeks ago and finished up with season 4 last night. I think every season has been great but season 4 has been my was truly heartbreaking. Starting season 5 after Christmas which will be bitter-sweet.

bsangs said...

I know how I'd rank 'em:

Season 1
Season 2
Season 4
Season 5
Season 3

The only reason I'd put Season 1 above 2 is because how groundbreaking 1 was. 2 may have had a better overall storyline, but 1 was so jaw-droppingly wonderful that I just couldn't put anything else above it.

Like "Star Wars." "The Empire Strikes Back" was a better movie, but if not for everything Star Wars was, we never get Empire.

Season 3 though is like that first post-Sorkin "West Wing" year - very forgettable in the overall scheme of things. Just one man's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Season 3 is my favorite, though I think Season 4 is the "best" by any objective standard. In some way Season 3 was the most optimistic, in that it suggested it was at least possible to change things, even if a whole lot of other things would have to work out exactly right at the exact right times for it to work.

Alan, I know you considered dropping the "newbie" versions during Season 2, but even though I don't need them, I hope you'll keep them for Season 3. Consider their archival value: I starting watching Deadwood long after it had originally aired, and a Google search on it turned up your blog---that's how I found you. It was too late to participate in the discussion, of course, but it's never too late to read the original posts. And thanks to you, I've discovered a number of shows I probably never would've watched otherwise.

Hatfield said...

I was just discussing this last night, actually. I think I have the fondest memories of 3, and it definitely has three of my favorite scenes in the history of the show, but if I were to sit down and watch, Season 4 is probably better.

I'd go with:
Season 4
Season 3
Season 1
Season 2
Season 5

Timbo said...

Every season but the last season are brilliant beyond anything else we've ever seen on television... and Season Five still had Bubbles walking up those stairs.

How could anyone complain about Season Three...




The scene on the balcony when they're both about to topple the other.

You have no soul if that episode didn't get to you.

Kid Salami said...

Season 3 rocked. The fight scene and the balcony scene between Avon and Stringer, McNulty baring his soul to Kima in the car ("she looked through me") and gutted when Stringer dies before he could cuff him, the rise of Clay Davis. Genius.

Anonymous said...

In some way Season 3 was the most optimistic, in that it suggested it was at least possible to change things, even if a whole lot of other things would have to work out exactly right at the exact right times for it to work.

Simon would be disappointed for you to conclude that. Season three was about the impossibility of reforming the existing institutions (Ed Burns said somewhere that what was needed was akin to a cultural revolution, to start over) and the current political culture. (Season 4 added to it by showing how education -- formal and otherwise -- reproduces the failed modern institutions and political culture.) If there was hope, as always in "The Wire," it is at the personal level, in the possibility of personal reform by rebelling against the imperatives of power and money that have wrecked the city (Baltimore Agonistes) as Cutty did creating value in an economy of caring.

I was wondering if Alan had thought of re-reviewing seasons 4 and 5, or reviewing his contemporaneous reviews, at some time after reviewing season 3 in light of the completed series.

Anonymous said...

Stank Ranked:

Season 4 - You see where all of these characters originate from

Season 1 - Introduction to this amazing show, world and characters.

Season 3 - Conclusion to Season 1.

Season 2 - Ranked this low because of Ziggy.

Season 5 - Hard to create high stakes conflict in elimination of the newspapers, ridiculous serial killer plot.

jrepka said...

Season 4
Season 2
Season 1
Season 3
Season 5

Seasons 4 and 2 both introduced brilliant story lines and characters that stood on their own, in the dock workers and the school kids. They show people being affected by the system.

To the extent that they explored other parts of the system, Seasons 3 and 5 added city hall and the newspaper to the mix. Add in Season 1, which was essentially about the police. All of these institutions are affected by the system and certainly limited in their ability to react, but don't generate the pathos that the kids and blue collar workers do.

JT said...

Anyone who thinks S3 shoulda been left on the cutting room floor doesn't get the show at all and is NOT a true fan.

LOL @ McNulty "baring his soul" to Kima cause a piece of ass used him like he used so many of his previous lays.

No, the true, soul-baring moment for Jimmy is when Lester tells him straight up that the job will not save im and that he will be left with himself.

S3 rocked.

rosengje said...

I completely agree with the sentiment voiced above that while Season 4 is probably objectively the best, Season 3 is my absolute favorite. Cutty was one of my favorite minor characters, Omar and Brother Muozone are an insane super gangster team, and Stringer Bell's fate shocked me to my core.

Also: the two uses of "Well get on with it, mother--" is David Simon poetry at its best.

Anonymous said...

Each season was brilliant. Season 5 tends to take a great deal of shit - at least relative to the other seasons - but IMHO it was just as brilliant as the others.

hc. said...

Literally, just finished watching the finale of S3 of The Wire. I enjoyed reading your analysis for S1 & S2. I was unable to find any analysis on the internet regarding S3, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to next June where I can read yours.

Just as a point of interest, I clicked on your "The Sopranos" sidebar on the blog, and it led me to your blog on On there, I was unable to find reviews for the first season. Have you reviewed the episodes elsewhere, or am i being referred to a wrong link?


Anonymous said...

Happened to be watching Michael Collins tonight and stumbled upon a possible insight into the meaning of the train tracks in The Wire. Seems fitting:

Michael Collins: I love trains. Don't you, Ned?

Ned: What's so special about them?

Michael Collins: They make me think of places I know I'll never see.

annie said...

Haha, i came to the blog hoping to email you about S3, which I'm watching right now. Not to say "when will you review it!" (I saw the sidebar note as I went through S2 a couple weeks ago), but because I can't wait to hear what you have to say about an incredibly glorious scene I just watched in Episode 7.

Unknown said...

Alan was on a podcast with Bill Simmons and they both agreed that Season 4 of the Wire is probably the best single season of television ever. Season 1 cam in a close second.

I personally would rank them in the order 4,1,3,5,2. The irony is that unlike some people I really really like Season 2 and it is still the 'worst' season'

Unknown said...

Season 3 is my favorite as well. Bunny and Cutty are two of my favorite characters of the whole series, Stringer v Avon is epic, and of course Brother Mouzone + Omar = awesome. I'm v excited for Alan to write about the Hamsterdam season!

Sandi K. Solow said...

Spoiler alert, please! I've just started Season 3 and was scrolling through the comments here and may have seen something I didn't want to see! I'm hoping I turned away in time. I realize we're all at different stages of viewing the episodes, but if folks could post spoiler warnings for us newbies, it's be much appreciated!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Sandi, the whole point of this post was just to stop the "what do you have against The Wire season 3?" e-mails and tweets from coming in. Everything people want to discuss in the comments about the season is fair game, and I think you're probably better off just waiting to read about it till after you've watched.

Anonymous said...

Season 3 is probably my favorite, for the Stringer vs. Avon battles already described. Stringer might be my favorite TV character of all time.

Season 4 is amazing, but the whole time, I kept thinking, "I miss Stringer..."

Andrew said...


Just saw season 3 again just recently, and my god, this is a very underrated season. I feel most hold this season right behind season 2 as the weakest, but Wood Harris and Idris Elba's performances as Avon and Stringer Bell just absolutely steal this season. Since I wasn't able to get into the Wire class at Middlebury this spring, I need a fresh fix somewhere quick!

Anonymous said...

This show made me cry on several occasions (not easy to do), but the biggest wracking sobs came after the balcony scene with String & Avon. I mean there was so, so much going on there it was just heartbreaking. And there are no adequate words for the pure artistry of the performances.

Can't wait for your recaps, Alan.

Chris Kwon said...

I have watched the Wire from start to finish 6 times. By myself once and the other 5 times, trying to share an amazing experience with friends and family.

Season 2 got better the more I watched it. Season 5 is awesome TV but compared to the other four seasons, fall a bit short.

Season 3 is the best season edging out Season 4, by a hair on your chinny, chin, chin.
I think most fans will agree to this order:
3,4,1,2,5 (3 and 4 interchangeable depending on how much the education theme rang true to your heart.)

Season 3: Omar/Mouzone/Stringer.

That's all I gotta say. Best SHOW EVER.

Steve Fiji said...

It kills me when someone subjectively ranks seasons and then says "I think most fans will agree to this order". Well, you were the only one who had that order, Buddy. I think most fans would agree that you don't speak for most fans.

My ranking

4 was killer, it left us with little hope for the cycle to ever change. The best season of TV ...EVER
1 was shocking, showing that clearances and stats matter more than victims with police work.
3 was Stringer and Avon's tour de force... and really made Omar a Top 5 of All-Time Character.
2 was so brought down by two quintessential idiot characters, Valcheck and the worst performance in Wire history... Ziggy.
5 was just plain silly with the entire Pulitzer angle. The lies just got too ridiculous.

Now let me say 'thank you' to Alan for such an amazing review of the series.. I treasure these just as much as my Wire DVD's... in fact, one without the other (and many of the insightful comments that follow) is like peanut butter without the jelly.

barefootjim said...

This is awesome. We're currently re-watching "The Wire" from start-to-finish, and just finished S1. Given all of the other great shows on or debuting right now, we should be finishing S2 just around June . . .

Anonymous said...

March can be summer can't it? I'm already wearing short sleeves and everything. Alan, I need your take on Hamsterdam and Brother Mouzone in the worst way.

Av said...

anyone have any advice/recommendations on recaps/analysis for season 3?

Anonymous said...

Oh no!

Not until summer??? Comcast is running season 3 and episodes 1-5 are shown only through 6/14! So my habit of seeing the show, reading your recap, then seeing the show again to see the millions of details I missed may the in jeopardy.

Alan, thank you for your amazing recaps. I found your site through some other blog and am a daily reader now. I did not watch "The Wire" when it aired originally and am so grateful for your recaps. They have made the viewing so much richer. I think this show may be the best I have ever seen. I thought "Mad Men" was the best until I watched the first two seasons of "The Wire". Am saving "Treme" for a rainy day.

Bo Weaver said...

I love your reviews and the insight they bring to the show. I agree with you that "The Wire" is the best TV to be had, bar none (except maybe, MAYBE, Six Feet Under).

In any event, I am pulling my hair out trying to find your reviews of Season 3, beyond episode 2. Am I overlooking something?

Keep up the great work!

Zoe said...

Bonus: The last photo posted to this site and the one that will pop up every time I come to the archive will now be from The Wire, instead of a madcap photo from Chuck. Both more pleasing and more appropriate, methinks.

cezille said...

Haha, Indeed, Season 3 is very cool.

Tiendas Muebles said...

The Wire is the greatest series I've ever seen a series fast-paced, full of good characters, methodical, real, complex and fascinating good enough ..
Where each chapter is impressive technique and where the characters are reflected in a manner in which irreversibly congenial to them in some way and that is the true protagonist of this series is the human being.