December 3, 2014

Who Cares About The HD Remaster Of The Wire?

I have a friend who once told me that he knew a guy who had every "conspiracy" episode of The X-Files recorded on a VHS tapes. My pal suggested this would be an ideal way to watch the show as watching "a guy's" recorded TV broadcasts from over 20 years ago complete with commercials and such would be in spirit with the vaguely creepy story of the show.  But the real appeal to this was the story, the characters, the conspiracy. I'm always more intrigued by THE STORY or if we want to get heady - THE SOURCE - than any other aspect of a piece of media.

Story or Source depending what you want to call always takes a back seat in conversations about film vs digital, 4:3 ratio to 16:19, and re-mastered vs original. This conversation is roaring again now that it has been announced that The Wire is returning in a HD, remastered, 16:9 format, which is amazing news not because it will look all pretty but because more people will watch the most important visual story of the modern era. Yeah that's right, I'm a "Wire" cultist, while not as deep as some other people I know - I am one of those people who consider David Simon's Baltimore saga pretty much THE GREATEST AND MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF MEDIA OF ALL TIME.

Am I being a little hyperbolic above, yeah probably, gawd knows I love me some "Bad Boys II", "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves," and some "LOST," but there isn't a single piece of media that I think about more than "The Wire." It has everything you'd want from a story: astounding characters who go on amazing journeys, a multi-layered plot, striking visual imagery, deep cultural commentary, highly quotable scenes, and well - the list goes on and on. 

I know there are many people out there to whom this announcement about the HD remaster is a huge deal, and that's OK. Let them come for the pretty visuals and have their souls shaken by the masterpiece, but seriously, the real headline here should be "More People Will Know Watch The Wire And That Is Good News." That's a blunt way to put it, so here's another more poetic way to put, straight from the show's creator himself:
We are always in it to tell people a story, first and foremost. If a new format brings a few more thirsty critters to the water’s edge, then so be it.