Blu-ray Review “The Wire: The Complete Series”

thewireStarring: Dominic West, John Doman, Deirdre Lovejoy, Idris Elba, Wood Harris, Wendell Pierce
Number of discs: 20
Rated TV-MA
Studio: HBO
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Run Time: 3645 minutes

Series: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

In 2001, I remember seeing a Roundabout Production of Noel Coward’s “Design For Living”, which starred Alan Cumming and a then relatively unkown Dominic West on Broadway in NY. I got to see the true genius at work here. Shortly in 2002, HBO delivered us “The Wire”, which easily ranks as one of the best original drama series produced by HBO. It is definitely not a easy show to say. The pay off is a slow burn and there is no easy way to sum up the show. It is complex and really demands attention and patience but it is completely worth it.

Official Premise: From the drug-infested streets of West Baltimore to the corruption of City Hall, The Wire chronicles the tribulations of a post-industrial American city. Viewed from the perspectives of both the police and their targets, the award-winning series captures a world where easy distinctions between good and evil,and crime and punishment, are challenged at every turn.

Along with the Blu-ray discs, HBO is also including Digital HD copies of the series as well as either an iTunes or Google Play option as well. All five seasons of the show were originally broadcasted in 1.33:1 but this Blu-ray is the first time that the show was converted to 1.78:1. I am sure there are tons of haters about this since it is not “original” but having watching this show on TV and DVD, I did really enjoy the widescreen version. The series also includes solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks throughout.

The special features are definitely worth checking out. There is one newly produced feature including a reunion special that was recorded at PaleyFest back in October 2014 but Dominic West and Idris Elba aren’t there in person but are via video message.  There are also four behind-the-scenes documentaries on the fourth and fifth seasons. Additionally, there are three prequel shorts that total 6 minutes and explore the story before “The Wire”.

There are 22 audio commentaries spread out over all the seasons. The first season has three tracks for “The Target” (Episode 1), “The Detail” (Episode 2) and “Cleaning Up” (Episode 12) . The second has two tracks on “All Prologue” (Episode 6) and “Port in a Storm” (Episode 12). The third season is when the commentaries tracks really amp up with some great tracks. There are five tracks including episodes “Time After Time” (Episode 1), “All Due Respect” (Episode 2), “Dead Soldiers” (Episode 3), “Middle Ground” (Episode 11) and “Mission Accomplished” (Episode 12).

The fourth season also has six tracks with more cast included on episodes “Boys of Summer” (Episode 1) , “Refugees” (Episode 4), “Margin of Error” (Episode 6) , “A New Day” (Episode 11) , “That’s Got His Own” (Episode 12) and “Final Grades” (Episode 13). The fifth and final season including the best tracks on this release on episodes “More with Less” (Episode 1), “Unconfirmed Reports” (Episode 2), “Transitions” (Episode 4), “The Dickensian Aspect” (Episode 6), “Took” (Episode 7) and “-30-” (Episode 10)


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