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Each of these shows transformed its inspirations to the point where they seemed new, unrecognizable, subsumed within the story, or reinvented. 2: Philosophical sophistication Judged purely as evaluations of the human animal, neither The Sopranos nor The Wire is a heartening show.The Sopranos seems the winner in this category only if you count modern gangster movies and highbrow fiction and poetry as being innately more worthy of critical respect than documentaries, news, and meat-and-potatoes mystery/crime fiction. Both depict America, indeed the industrialized West, as aging empires in a state of decline, perhaps slow suicide. Melfi in the pilot of The Sopranos that sometimes “I feel like I came in at the end, that the best is over.” Says “Bunny” Colvin, the pushed-out police captain who finds himself working in the public schools in season four of The Wire, “You put a textbook in front of these kids, put a problem on the blackboard, teach them every problem in some statewide test, it won’t matter, none of it.Welcome to the final round of Vulture's ultimate Drama Derby to determine the greatest TV drama of the past 25 years. 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. Forget apples and oranges: This is more like the Metropolitan Museum of Art vs. David Chase’s The Sopranos is a modern mob story, hugely indebted to the Godfather series and Martin Scorsese’s Mafia pictures — especially Goodfellas, with which it shared certain cast members (Lorraine Bracco, Frank Vincent, Tony Sirico, et al).Each day a different notable writer was charged with determining the winner of a round of the bracket, and it's all come down to the last two shows standing: The Wire vs. Today, New York Magazine TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz serves as the ultimate arbiter and makes the last call. But before we start measuring one champion against the other, let’s take a moment to honor the fallen. But the impact of the gangster tradition isn’t just aesthetic. They are all, to varying degrees, the work of artists, or at least brilliant entertainers. They all defy the musty stereotype of TV as a factory churning out barely distinguishable hunks of junk intended to keep viewers half-interested between ad breaks.
Of that group, The Wire most resembles Price’s fiction in the way that it balances dark, violent, at times pulpy crime and violence against distress over the decay of the city and the moral murk of politics.
Some get what they want through cleverness or ruthlessness, others through corruption or exhausted compromise.
If the implied question of every season of The Wire was, “Why is modern city life so disappointing?
The Derby started out with sixteen dramas, selected by the site’s editors and staff. It affects the characters within the context of the series.
” and you blurt out a title, then set about defending your choice. 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. Both The Wire and The Sopranos exceeded this goal early in their runs.