the take

David Simon Deification: A Season-by-Season History

Photo: LAN/Retna (Simon), iStockphoto (Angels)

Before seasons one and two of The Wire, the series got very little press. But starting with season three, magazines and writers (including us!) have struggled to win an informal contest: Who can devote the most inches of press to the show and its genius creator David Simon?

Before season three, Salon established itself as the go-to source for stories making you feel guilty about not watching The Wire. It awarded the show its first-ever “Buffy” award, and some sycophant wrote 6,000 words explaining everything that happened in the first two seasons in hopes of encouraging newbies to give the show a try. No one did.

Before season four, Slate brought out its big guns for a trio of David Simon features: a Q&A with the producer conducted by Meghan O’Rourke, a Jacob Weisberg piece arguing the show was the best series in the history of television, and weekly discussions of episodes by luminaries like Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) and Steve James (Hoop Dreams). Ratings did not improve.

Season five is still months away, but today The New Yorker sends a shot across the bow of any publications foolish enough to think they might own the David Simon beat.

Margaret Talbot writes a terrific and unbelievably long — 11,000 words! — profile of Simon and the show. The profile reveals little about the upcoming season; Dukie makes it at last to the series finale, and Clark Johnson is playing a reporter in addition to directing the show’s last episode. Also, Carcetti is going to adopt homelessness as his cause, only to be stymied by the real problems facing the poverty-stricken in Baltimore. Oh, and this year “Way Down in the Hole” is performed by Steve Earle.

Also, David Simon is writing a pilot for a new series … set in New Orleans!

Basically, The New Yorker is preemptively destroying the competition the way Marlo took out the Barksdale family. Despite all our best efforts, we humbly bow to the new big dogs on the corner. May they have better luck getting people to watch than everyone else did.

Introducing … the Buffy! [Salon]
Everything you were afraid to ask about “The Wire” [Salon]
Behind The Wire [Slate]
The Wire on Fire [Slate]
Breaking Down The Wire [Slate]
Stealing Life [NYer]

David Simon Deification: A Season-by-Season History