Monday, 30 March 2009

The Wire (or is it Robin Hood?) Comes to BBC2

The Wire has finally made it to terrestrial TV here in the UK. It debuts tonight at 11.20pm on BBC 2, and continues to run nightly throughout the week. If you don't already own The Wire on DVD, make sure you series link it, if you can. Undoubtedly, The Wire is best watched as a marathon, not a sprint, so 3 or 4 episodes in one go is the ideal. BBC 2 have to be commended for at least attempting to achieve a successful small screen outing for the series. Although it's on quite late, at least the episodes aren't stranded in once-a-week time slots.

The Wire has been described as the best TV show ever made. It is groundbreaking in its slow-burning portrayal of a city from the inside out, and a million miles away from the standard police procedural dramas, that now look so empty and fake. In fact, every time me and t'other half sit down to watch anything new on the telly, it's now become de rigeur for one of us to suddenly announce in a huffy voice "It's not The Wire, is it?". In many ways, The Wire has ruined telly for us. Nothing else even comes close to its utter brilliance. But enough has already been written about how good The Wire is. If you haven't seen it, watch it, if you have, you might be interested in my new theory....contextual analysis, if you will. (I'm sorry, gibberish terminology is what abides, alongside the dude, when you've been through 4 yrs of theoretical film studies.)

The Wire is the modern day Robin Hood! Oh yes. Robin Hood is Omar Little, (not just President Obama's favourite character, but my favourite character too. Many peoples, I suspect) who steals from the moneyed up bad guys, and gives to the poor (c'mon, when he was hiding out in that idyllic beach house at the start of series 5, he was giving food away to all the little urchins). Omar's Maid Marian was, of course, his murdered sweetheart Brandon.
Marlo is the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, who will stop at nothing to rid his town of Omar/Robin Hood, and who is also usurping King Richard's throne, in his absence - King Richard being Avon Barksdale.
The supporting cast in this analysis are:
Guy of Gisborn, who has transmogrified into Marlo's henchmen Chris and Snoop and Friar Tuck, who is Proposition Joe.
Now, I was pretty drunk when I came up with this theory, but I'm certain there were other players on my list, and a far more nuanced realisation of the similarities than I've currently got going on here. At least, there was in my head anyway. It would appear I've only categorised the bad guy contingent of The Wire into the theory, but I'm pretty sure it works for the cops too (sorry, polis). Bunk comes to mind as Little John, for instance, and maybe informant Bubbles as Will Scarlett? Unfortunately, my theory does stumble as soon as you try to force McNulty into a Robin Hood character. That guy is true original, and yet the most familiar character in The Wire. Everyone knows a McNulty. And even though he's a fan favourite, and quite brilliant, he certainly ain't no Robin Hood.

Picture: Bunk (Wendell Pierce) and Omar (Michael K. Williams) in The Wire, Blown Deadline Productions/HBO