In this week's installment of Notes from the Wasteland on Monsters & Critics, I advise you on what to bother watching and what to avoid as the new fall season of TV begins.
This column only covers the network shows, so I want to put in a special shout out to HBO's fourth season of The Wire, which may be the best show ever put on television, and which premieres September 10. The first three seasons (available on DVD - rent, buy, or steal them!) are some of the most absorbing, intelligent, funny, violent, real storytelling you will ever see. This is art, on par with the best literature and film, written and produced by a reporter for the Baltimore Sun and a former infantryman/cop/teacher (Dave Simon and Ed Burns) who know the world they're depicting intimately.
It's fun too. Don't get put off when I compare it to Shakespeare or Citizen Kane, thinking somehow that it's good for you but hard to swallow. Pop the first two episodes in of Season One, and you won't be able to stop. And don't be fooled into thinking this is just a cop show -- this show is about life in these United States, from the most intimate moments between human beings to the failings of our society. I get the chills just thinking about how good this show is. You. Must. Watch. It.