Entertainment behind the scenes
Emmy again gives thumbs down to “The Wire”. What’s Up?
The folks who decide the Emmys this year expanded to six the nominees for best dramatic series, but they still gave a final thumbs down to HBO cops and thugs drama “The Wire”. Once again, they failed to recognize what many fans and critics hail as one of the best television shows ever, and Emmy watchers are calling the lack of a nomination a major snub. So one wonders, can the show’s devoted fans be that wrong?
What was it about “The Wire” that turned off Emmy voters during its five-season run that wrapped this year on HBO – the network that Emmy voters have so often lauded in the past when nominating “The Sopranos” or “Sex and the City?”
Was “The Wire” too real in graphically showing that many U.S. institutions are broken, and likely beyond repair? Reality shows are in vogue. What about a dramatic series that gets real about failing cops, courts, newspapers, politicians and schools? Even the drug dealers central to each episode are taken to task for dysfunction.
Was it because “The Wire” was based in Baltimore and not in a city darling to T.V. viewers like New York or Miami or Las Vegas?
Was it that “The Wire” faced competition early on in its run from HBO’s own stable of high-quality drama series like “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood” so that, by the time “The Wire” became a first-string player on the network this season, too many episodes had passed for viewers — and Emmy voters — to catch up the events on DVD?
What about the acting? After all, the lead actor nailed the unique Baltimore accent even though he’s British. But no major acting nominations were issued either for “The Wire.”
Before the nominations were announced, Entertainment Weekly assistant managing editor Kristen Baldwin said Emmy voters would be remiss to pass over the show again this year. But she added, “It’s a very dense, dark, complicated show” that viewers may not appreciate without watching more than the single episode submitted for Emmy consideration. So, was “The Wire” too depressing in a year when news headlines were pretty depressing and people wanted escapist entertainment?
Finding answers, of course, would require polling voters at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences which gives out the Emmys, and that’s not practical.
One would think those questions might be gnawing at “The Wire” creator David Simon, but in the past he has disparaged the Emmys. Besides, he’s moved on and is now focused on armies of another sort — the U.S. Marines who fight without the attention he thinks they deserve in Iraq in the current run of his new HBO drama ”Generation Kill.”
But that show, which also has earned some good reviews, begs this question for next year’s Emmys: Will voters embrace Baghdad after ignoring the streets of Baltimore?
(Writing by Bernie Woodall)