9. THE WIRE
Created by David Simon
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Aired: HBO, 2002-2008
No series, arguably, is more responsible for the novelistic ambitions possible for television writers now. The Wire was creator David Simon’s Baltimore-set follow-up to his HBO miniseries The Corner, but this time he expanded his gaze to the multi-pronged bureaucracies and civic institutions that fed into and mirrored the ghetto drug trade. The Wire had a Dickensian sense of breadth and social relevance; its stories were told as microcosms of larger ills. In 2010, when Simon won a MacArthur “genius” grant, he told the Los Angeles Times: "One thing we were explicit about with The Wire was that the drug war needed to end. Now, the drug war is no closer to ending than it was when we started the series. And I don't expect that we're ever going to get there. But you can't go into it thinking you're going to change anything; you have to go into it based on the story itself."
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