Sunday, December 5, 2010

Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon's The Wire, Milch's Deadwood, or Chase's The Sopranos?

David vs. David vs. David; or Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon's The Wire, Milch's Deadwood, or Chase's The Sopranos? | The House Next Door:

Deadwood's Al Swearengen. Image via Slant.

MZS: There's more going on, not just in Swearengen's monologues, which I think everybody who's seen the show appreciates, but throughout. I was actually pulling some quotes from Deadwood before I came over here, just trying to remind myself of some of the highlights. Some of the things that popped out of Francis Wolcott's mouth were extraordinary, and they sounded very different from what Swearengen said. But over and above everything else, Deadwood appeals to my sense of life, in that it is aware of how dark and how cruel people can be, and yet I feel like [series creator David Milch] has something in common with Robert Altman, in that he appreciates the complexity of human beings, all of them. All of them. Even a character like Steve the Drunk, who you would think would be just one-note, reveals new shadings each time you see him. Every single character on that show, right on down the line. There are many characters on The Sopranos and The Wire that are basically a plot function. You know they're there to be a foil to other characters, and so forth, and [I] don't get a sense of an infinite potential lying within every human being in the way that I did with Deadwood.

I have to confess, I can't give an informed opinion on the debate because I watched the first episode of The Wire, didn't like it, and never gave the series a second chance. (Commence to howling dismay. I accept your judgment.) Similarly, I've seen bits and pieces of a few episodes of The Sopranos but never got into it.  Deadwood though, holy shit, did I love Deadwood. One of these days I'm going to give Simon's The Wire another shot. Honestly, I don't think I can be convinced to do the same for The Sopranos. I suspect I'm missing more by not watching Mad Men anyways.

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