Because it's about time.
The Wire is the best show on TV. I will say right off the bat: it isn't necessarily the most enjoyable show on TV. It's incredibly complicated; following all the plotlines, keeping track of the nuances of characterization and plot, that takes work. It is also painful at times.
But it is worth it.
The basic premise of the show is this: Baltimore is one fucked-up city representing one fucked-up society. Within it, there are the cops, and then there are the people on the streets. In each season, the cops have a major target that they form a detail to follow, using footwork, paperwork, tireless watching, undercover investigation, and the wiretaps whence comes the name of the show.
But we aren't just shown the cops' side. We see the drug dealers and their people, as well as other people who are drawn into the game. We see the way good people, often children, are sucked into the trade and never let back out again. We see the little ways society grinds them down and the big ways. And we see them give in, or fight it and try to keep their heart.
The technique of the show is flawless. Little details give us sharp glimpses of the characters and their lives; shots of the grimiest aspects of city life become beautiful. Everywhere, parallels are drawn between the stories of the cops and the stories of the people they seek to bring down. I can honestly say that I've never seen anything blend good storytelling with perfect realism so well.
There are no good guys and bad guys on the Wire. There are, perhaps, perverse heroes who have achieved strange personal triumphs that you find yourself cheering for. Certainly, there are those who do terrible things. But this show has a way of making your heart break for people who have done the worst things.
The characters of the Wire may think they are on different sides, but in the end, they are all trapped in the same cage. And it makes them all so real and so human that it hurts.
The Wire on IMDB
The Wire on Television Without Pity
The Complete First Season
The Complete Second Season
The Complete Third Season
The Complete Fourth Season