Best cable crime epic of the aughts: 'The Sopranos' or 'The Wire'? | The Tylt
Best cable crime epic of the aughts: 'The Sopranos' or 'The Wire'?
Vulture faced off the two epic shows in the final battle of the greatest TV drama of the last 25 years bracket.
Vulture’s Drama Derby to choose the Greatest TV Drama of the last 25 years has come down to two HBO shows: David Simon’s epic urban drama The Wire and David Chase’s ambiguity-loving domestic drama/gangster saga The Sopranos. But before we start measuring one champion against the other, let’s take a moment to honor the fallen.
The Sopranos and The Wire have little in common besides frank language and violence; a fascination with crime; a consistently high level of acting, writing and filmmaking; and an HBO pedigree. Forget apples and oranges: This is more like the Metropolitan Museum of Art vs. Grand Central Station.
A series chronicles the life of a New Jersey mobster, Tony Soprano, on his home front. There are other mobster Italian families, like his own, in his neighbourhood. They live like a community and have their own set of rules. The plot traces the difficulties in his personal life while his runs his criminal syndicate. He's respected for his power and kindness. This anti-hero's life is full of tragedies and dark humor.
"The Sopranos" holds a fresh rating of 92 percent and an audience score of 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of publication). The show is regarded as a force for reshaping American TV. Critics say it put shows on the same level as prestigious motion pictures. "The Sopranos" paved the way for not only "The Wire," but other TV epics like "Westworld" and "Game of Thrones."
A complex crime drama set in Baltimore that follows the thread of a single police investigation, from the perspectives of both law-enforcement officials and the criminals they're pursuing focused on the city's illegal drug trade in the first series before expanding in scope for the second to include corruption on the waterfront.
"The Wire" holds a fresh rating of 94 percent as well as an audience score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of publication). While "The Wire" was the underdog to "The Sopranos" in terms of never winning any Emmys or not being as high in the ratings, Emma Jones for the BBC called the groundbreaking, realistic show the greatest of all time. This is partially due to how its fans resonated with the amazing series, and for the incredible writing. She wrote:
Actor Michael K Williams, who played arguably the show’s most iconic character, Omar Little, has been a juror at Canneseries – a festival that judges international TV series in the same way a film festival jury would critique movies. He thinks despite the current cultural dominance of television, there’s little that manages to resonate – yet The Wire always has.
“I think it has just stayed with people because it’s still relevant now, because of the climate of what’s going on in the United States. I think it’s actually a little sad that it’s still so relevant in 2018,” he says.
What gives The Wire longevity, he adds, is that the show’s writers, David Simon and Ed Burns, had worked in Baltimore’s police department, and in the case of Burns, as a school teacher too – so the writing was grounded in reality.