Googling ‘The Wire’

A year since the masterpiece of American television stopped airing on HBO, it lives on via DVD box sets and wiki. What will take its place?

Welcome to Hamsterdam in season three, where the lot behind abandoned row houses is a safe haven for druggies and their pushers.

Michael, Randy, Dukie and Namond. The fantastic four in season four. We see them all evolve over the last couple seasons. Michael, the soft-spoken leader turned unassuming assassin. Randy, the innocent foster-care kid turned hardened group-home teen. Dukie, the musty computer whiz kid turned street junkie. And Namond, the troubled heir to the Wee-Bey throne turned great debater. What a whirlwind.

And then, there’s the blink of the fifth season. You blinked, and it was over.

I don’t understand how this critically acclaimed show didn’t win TV’s biggest honor. No one has expressed that better than Time magazine columnist Joe Klein. The Wire hasn’t won an Emmy? The Wire should get the Nobel Prize for Literature!”

My obsession went really deep. Last summer, I met Darrell Britt-Gibson, the actor who played O-Dog. When he killed one of my favorite characters, Bodie, I seriously held a bit of animosity toward him. That’s how deep it was to me. The characters had infiltrated my life, and as they—Omar, Stringer, D’Angelo, Snoop, Prop Joe—went out like Gs, I dreaded watching the next episode.

After a series of montages, I heard that driving beat. Then suddenly: black screen. Over. Done. No fade to black. No pretty bow to wrap it up in. No elixir to revive me from this withdrawal.

As Bubbles said in the last season, ”Ain’t no shame in holding on to grief. As long as you make room for other things, too.”

But for me, the problem is that this state of mourning has left me empty. There aren’t any shows on TV today that match the caliber of The Wire. Not one.

I’m sort of a TV fanatic, from the sleazy to the sophisticated. But now that I’ve savored The Wire’s five-course meal, how can I return to scraps and leftovers? The Wire has officially transformed my love for television. Now I don’t know what to do.

It’s been five years since I last felt this way about a television show. Soul Food, TV’s longest-running black drama, ended in 2004 after five seasons. The Corner, by The Wire’s David Simon, was a six-part miniseries in 2000 following a West Baltimore family, battling the “dope-fiend” and “corner-boy” blues.