The Wire aspect ratio

We started to get bent out of shape earlier this week when HBO announced that the aspect ratio of The Wire HD remasters would be set at 16:9 rather than the original 4:3 broadcast ratio. Series creator David Simon quickly weighed in to provide a great deal of information on the remaster process, and we learned that in most cases these remasters would be using more information from the original camera negative, rather than cropping information from the top and/or bottom of the original presentation.

The gif above shows the basic result of this process, thanks to a couple example videos Simon has provided on his own site. Below, we’ve got a couple more examples, and some larger images you can check out to see the differences between the show’s original presentation and the new HD remasters. Read More »

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The Wire HD remasters

The Wire is coming to HD at last, but perhaps not quite in the form you want. The show was formatted for a 4:3 aspect ratio when originally shot and broadcast, and that’s how it was released on DVD. But for The Wire HD remasters, which will first be available on HBO Go and for digital purchase before eventually appearing on Blu-ray, the show has been formatted for a 16:9 presentation. Note the word “formatted” there rather than “cropped,” as the choice is intentional and important.

Reaction to this news, especially coming so soon after The Simpsons debacle on FXX and the Simpsons World portal, was quick, and very negative. In short, seeing such concessions made to a project like The Wire — a creator-driven, serious drama that originally played to a limited fanbase —  is a sign that the aspect ratio war is basically over, and we’ve lost.

But in the case of The Wire, the situation is more complicated than that. Let the show’s creator David Simon explain. Read More »

Aidan Gillen as Tommy Carcetti on The Wire

HBO’s The Wire ended its run in 2008 after 60 episodes across five acclaimed seasons. But if creator David Simon had had his way, he might have stuck around that universe a little bit longer. In a recent interview, he talked about his discarded plans for a The Wire spinoff centered on Tommy Carcetti, the Baltimore politician played by Aidan Gillen.

Hit the jump for more details about The Wire spinoff that never was, including Simon’s explanation of why it never was.

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The Wire Season 3 Header

Rumors exploded all over the internet Tuesday that the legendary HBO series, The Wire, was being remastered into high definition for an upcoming marathon. Well, sorry to burst the bubble of all you Bubbles fans out there, but the statement is only half true. HBO has confirmed that, yes, the David Simon series – which originally aired and was released on DVD in standard definition, full screen –  is in the process of being remastered for high definition widescreen. Unfortunately, that process is still ongoing and will most certainly not begin airing later this month as rumored. Read More »

Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero

The roles keep rolling in for Oscar Isaac. The Star Wars Episode VII actor has been set to star in HBO’s Show Me a Hero, from The Wire creator David Simon. Catherine Keener also boards the civil rights drama, based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin. Hit the jump for more details.

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Martin Luther King Jr miniseries

David Simon, creator of The Wire, has found his next project: a Martin Luther King Jr miniseries. Simon is attached to an upcoming HBO miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning history books America: In The King Years, by Taylor Branch. Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Productions owns the rights and will produce.

Simon will reportedly write the first episode and oversee the six-hour long show with his Treme co-creator Eric Overmyer. The novels cover the bulk of the civil rights movement from 1954-1968. Read More »

VOTD: The Visual Style of ‘The Wire’

Fans of The Wire jump at the chance to wax poetic about what some consider television’s all-time best show and this post is no different. A video has come online detailing the visual style of David Simon‘s landmark HBO drama which, if you’re familiar with the show, is kind of surprising. Ask anyone what they love about The Wire and “visual style” probably won’t make the top ten. The style, if it can even be called that at times, is largely clinical and straightforward, a crutch for the pitch perfect dialogue, characters and story. Or so we’re lead to believe.

In this 30 minute video essay, Erlend Lavik hypothesizes the visual style of The Wire is much more significant and impressive than generally considered. Check it out below. Read More »

For my money, The Wire is the best show to ever grace a television screen. I’ve watched I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, The Sopranos, and I still think the The Wire towers above them all. For five amazing seasons, series creator David Simon created an intense, detailed and eye-opening cross-section of Baltimore’s beating heart by focusing on law enforcement, the drug trade, politics, education, shipping and the press. Praise for the show is almost universal, save for the Emmy voters who never gave The Wire a single award. And though it ended in 2008, fans still dream about the unlikely possibility of the show returning.

Among those fans is Attorney General Eric Holder who, last week, demanded that Simon and co-creator Ed Burns make another season. Or at least a movie. Friday, Simon responded to Holder with a simple request. He’ll do it, but first the Department of Justice must “reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.” Point, Simon. Read the full quotes after the break. Read More »

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