Return Of The Un-Sopranos

The Wire lacks the buzz of HBO's flashier darlings, but in its second season it remains quietly great

Unlike its much-buzzed-about HBO brethren, the cop drama The Wire was not dubbed an instant cultural phenomenon when it debuted last summer. Not as operatic as The Sopranos, as sleek as Six Feet Under or as trendy as Sex and the City, it was not the kind of show that becomes an automatic pop-cult reference for op-ed columnists or lands articles about its stars' footwear in IN STYLE. Like its underfunded, workaday cops, it just plugged away until it outshone anything else on TV.

The Wire is that rare specimen, a work about social issues that is not boring. Last...

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