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Especially during Season One, David Simon and his creative team give us a lot of footage that looks like it should be from a documentary. The 4:3 film, the non-HD look, the way the camera seems to lack the traditional god- like power to always know that a character is going to say something important so that it shows us that character a second or two before they say their line (indeed, if you watch closely you'll notice that there are times that the camera will only pan to a speaking character after they begin saying their lines, giving the viewer the distinct feeling of a real-life situation unfolding in real time) -- all of these things are by careful design.And all of these devices add to the show's power because the characters become more real when depicted in this way.It starts as mid-level drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale beats a murder rap. James Mc Nulty has been assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team, in order to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale.Avon Barksdale, accompanied by his right-hand man Stringer Bell, enforcer Wee-Bey and many lieutenants (including his own nephew, D'Angelo Barksdale), has to deal with law enforcement, informants in his own camp, and competition with a local rival, Omar, who's been robbing Barksdale's dealers and reselling the drugs. Cedric Daniels, has to deal with his own problems, such as a corrupt bureaucracy, some of his detectives beating suspects, hard-headed but determined Det. The show depicts the lives of every part of the drug "food chain", from junkies to dealers, and from cops to politicians.500 years from now, the show will surely be one of a handful that allows future generations to glean the state of American society during this time period -- it's problems, it's people, it's language, it's institutions, and the constant tension that exists when all of these are forced to coexist.
From a bird's-eye perspective, each season builds on those prior until at the very end we have no choice but to reckon with vast tapestry of individual strands as a singular work.This makes it all the more devastating every time one of these characters is chewed up and spit out by the merciless wheels of capitalistic institutions surrounding them.I chose to write a review which differs from many of the others here because simply rehashing why I love Omar so much, or which season is the best, or why I think it's better/worse than the Sopranos or Breaking Bad are all things which are touched upon over and over again.Most of you reading right now wake up every day as a cog in the massive, interwoven, and fundamentally autonomous institutions which together make up a capitalist society.However, given that we are all a minuscule part of this larger whole, it is nary impossible to take a step back and objectively evaluate just how much influence these institutions hold over the course of our lives.