What took so long? Coronavirus Hits, and Finally Everyone Is Watching The Wire

After reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle over 10 years ago in which the Critic called The Wire, “the best television series, ever” I began watching and was hooked.

I have every season on DVD and feel vindicated that The Wire is now receiving the viewership it has always deserved.

The Wire is gritty, violent, realistic and definitely not for the squeamish.

Vanity Fair 3.25.2020

Upon entering indefinite periods of self-isolation, millions of people across the country apparently had the same exact idea: This would be a great time to finally watch The Wire. You know—the Baltimore-set HBO crime drama that critics have never stopped swooning about? The one that offered Idris Elba a breakout role on American television? Yes, that one. You come at the king, et cetera, et cetera, you know how this song goes.

According to Variety, HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia, says that viewership of The Wire has nearly tripled in the last week on HBO Now, its streaming service.

At last, all the people who silently nodded and smiled whenever the show became a topic of conversation at parties (sigh, remember parties?) are finally playing catchup, using this quarantine season to see what all the fuss is about. Or worse: All the people who have already seen the show are refreshing their memories, arming themselves to pepper their Zoom hangouts with important points such as, “It’s actually the first Dickensian work of television,” or “You know, I prefer season five to season four,” or “How come they never showed that many wires?” (I have never seen The Wire.)

WarnerMedia shared that flagship shows The Sopranos and Sex and the City have also almost doubled in viewership, bringing two of television’s most notorious antiheroes—Tony Soprano and Carrie Bradshaw—back into the spotlight. One can only hope that friends all across this nation are having renewed arguments about who is truly the worst man on Sex and the City. Viewers are also checking out contemporary shows, though. Westworld is the number one show on the streamer, while shows like Euphoria, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials, and the miniseries Chernobyl have all seen boosts in viewership.

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Dominic West and Michael K. Williams

Streaming has become more important than ever, as millions of people across the world shelter at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. In fact, people have been binging projects with such alarming speed that it’s placed a strain on internet providers. Over in Europe, Netflix has had to take the extra step of reducing its video quality for 30 days to decrease the stress on internet networks. Per the BBC, Netflix said lowering video quality will reduce data consumption by 25%. The streamer has not yet said whether it will take the same step in North America. And for those in need of additional TV recommendations across streamers, we’ve got more than a few suggestions to keep you company.