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September 2014, Week 2


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Charlotte Boyle <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Sep 2014 10:14:09 +0000
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Apologies for cross posting

<>On The Wire
Linda Williams
   "I must admit being skeptical of Linda Williams's thesis that The Wire is best understood as melodrama. But after reading her convincing and compelling analysis, I not only came away with new insights into a series that I knew very well, but have fully revised my notions of how serial melodrama applies to contemporary television. This vital book is essential reading for scholars and viewers of both The Wire and television drama more broadly."-Jason Mittell, author of Television and American Culture
   "Linda Williams's kaleidoscopic study compellingly considers The Wire as art, as rhetoric, and as political intervention. Her absorbing argument for the series as 'institutional melodrama'; upends conventional discussions not only about this narrative but about the broader practice of contemporary television drama. We understand The Wire not as tragedy, not as a novel, not as a piece of journalism; rather, we see and feel the show at the intersection of home and the world, as the orange couch in the courtyard of the low rises."-Sean O'Sullivan, author of Mike Leigh
   Many television critics, legions of fans, even the President of the United States, have cited The Wire as the best television series ever. In this sophisticated examination of the HBO serial drama that aired from 2002 until 2008, Linda Williams, a leading film scholar and authority on the interplay between film, melodrama, and issues of race, suggests what exactly it is that makes The Wire so good. She argues that while the series is a powerful exploration of urban dysfunction and institutional failure, its narrative power derives from its genre. The Wire is popular melodrama, not Greek tragedy, as critics and the series creator David Simon have claimed. Entertaining, addictive, funny, and despairing all at once, it is a serial melodrama grounded in observation of Baltimore's people and institutions: of cops and criminals, schools and blue-collar labor, local government and local journalism. The Wire transforms close observation into an unparalleled melodrama by juxtaposing the good and evil of individuals with the good and evil of institutions.

Duke University Press

August 2014 288pp 60 colour illustrations 9780822357179 PB 15.99 now only 11.99when you quote CS0914WIRE when you order

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