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post #1 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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AVS Forum Blu-ray Spotlight: The Wire - The Complete Series



Check out our Blu-ray Spotlight coverage of this superbly engaging HBO drama series that is making its debut on Blu-ray just in time for Father's Day. From the drug-infested streets of West Baltimore to the corruption of City Hall, The Wire chronicles the tribulations of a post-industrial American city. Viewed from the perspectives of both the police and their targets, the award-winning series captures a world where easy distinctions between good and evil, and crime and punishment, are challenged at every turn.




My Thoughts:


The Wire depicts an American urban dystopia, framed in our time, in which easy distinctions between good and evil and crime and punishment are challenged at every turn. In five successive seasons, the series depicts a Baltimore in which institutional prerogatives, economic inequalities and a brutalizing drug war confound the efforts to advance the city and its people. The series' first season lays out the futility of the drug war, while the second highlights the deindustrialization and the death of the working class. The third season introduces the city's political culture and lays out the forces that stand in the path of actual reform. The fourth season addresses the educational system and the actual opportunities that remain to coming generations. The fifth and final season examines the media culture and its role in perpetuating the status quo. Amid all of this, carefully drawn characters on both sides of the law and from a variety of Baltimore cultures move forward as best they can, human to a flaw, struggling against a system that seems weighted against civic progress.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to the watch The Wire during its run on HBO. I heard nothing but rave reviews about it from those that did and have had many recommend it on home video. With my busy review schedule I simply didn’t have the time but when HBO announced its release on Blu-ray I jumped at the chance. I watched the series with my wife and we were instantly hooked. The characters are rich on both sides of the narrative equation and compliment that show’s edgy themes and engaging dramatic content. I enjoyed The Wire through and through and am sure that I speak for its many fans when I say that I am thrilled to own the entire series in high definition.

The 20-disc box set featuring all 60 episodes of the hit series has been beautifully remastered in 16x9 Full-Frame HD from more than 8,000 reels of original 35mm camera negative and is showcased with newly redesigned box art. The Wire: The Complete Series on Blu-ray with Digital HD ($199.99) is loaded with an exciting slate of bonus materials, including four behind-the-scenes documentaries, three prequels that explore life before The Wire, and an all-new cast and crew Q&A from the Paley Center for Media's The Wire reunion event.


The series looks and sounds great on Blu-ray and will be of interest to fans hankering for the opportunity to own The Wire: The complete series in high definition. If you’ve never seen The Wire, I can’t think of a better introduction than this terrific boxed set.



Release Date: June 2, 2015



The Wire: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray containing the following Special Features:
  • Four behind the scenes documentaries
  • 22 audio commentaries with cast/crew
  • Three prequels that explore life before The Wire
  • All-NEW Paley Center for Media event: The Wire reunion
  • Digital HD Copy




The The Wire: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.


This 1.78:1 framed video presentation offers good high definition resolution that has a filmic texture that works very well with the show’s theme. Images are stable and relatively sharp with plenty of discernible texture and revealing fine detail during close-ups. Many of the show’s sequences are shot in uneven and low lighting. For the most part Shadow delineation and depth is quite good. Blacks have excellent dynamic range and contrast is slightly elevated but is never a detriment to fidelity. Colors are snappy and bright and sullen and muted where appropriate. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Other than a little digital noise against a few dark backgrounds I didn’t notice any overt instances of video related artifacts.


Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



The DTS-HD MA surround mix won’t knock your socks off but I found it rendered the components of the original recording quite well. The auditory is clean, with excellent dialogue intelligibility that is never lost amidst the other sounds emanating from the front soundstage. There is little call for deep low end support as things appropriately remain in the limited dynamic spectrum provided by the soundtrack. The end result is a satisfying and appropriate audio presentation.


Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA





The Wire is among the best original programming offered by Home Box Office and is justly deserving of the accolades it has received. I am a fan and highly recommend this long awaited Blu-ray release from HBO Home Entertainment.







Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 08:42 AM
 
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Wow, this wasn't even on my radar.

My favorite TV series ever, so glad it got this treatment as the 4:3 SD could turn a lot of people off.
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post #3 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 10:00 AM
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Definitely on my radar for YEARS. Even asked Ralph about a possible review so I would know the real story of this restoration on blu. So glad I now have that guidepost to inform my purchase decision. Never saw, or have yet seen, a frame of this production, though you can't help but hear about it -- even given recent news events. Thanks for you review, Ralph, Looks like a winner!
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post #4 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaych View Post
Definitely on my radar for YEARS. Even asked Ralph about a possible review so I would know the real story of this restoration on blu. So glad I now have that guidepost to inform my purchase decision. Never saw, or have yet seen, a frame of this production, though you can't help but hear about it -- even given recent news events. Thanks for you review, Ralph, Looks like a winner!
Awesome review of my favorite TV show. Will definitely purchase.
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 10:52 AM
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Even better, BB has it on sale for $99.99

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post #6 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 12:04 PM
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Best series ever made - especially in light of recent events in Baltimore. David Simon is a national treasure.
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post #7 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 03:03 PM
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Thank you for the review, have the series on DVD watched them as they aired. Had to binge the first two seasons to start watching during the third. Have them all on DVD, watched the Series in HD when it was recently aired again. Guess I will have to add this to my wish list.
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post #8 of 24 Old 05-31-2015, 07:06 PM
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Have heard loads of great reviews about this show. Going to have to HBOgo it at least before I take the full series BD plunge. They need to make HBOgo at least on par with Netflix audio wise, getting stereo audio using my PS3 burns me up.

Ralph, now you've got to review the complete series of Deadwood on BD, you will not be disappointed.
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post #9 of 24 Old 06-01-2015, 04:42 AM
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Love this show..a lot. I was working in Baltimore back when this show was airing, and it made ma rethink my route to work a few times. It is probably one of the top 3 US series ever made. Best of all, the series didn't lose steam as it progressed (like some other HBO shows I know). Thanks for taking a look at this show. The 4:3 aspect ratio got painful as the HDTV revolution took place right in the middle of this series' original run, so I'm overly ecstatic that it's now in HD 16:9!
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-01-2015, 08:57 AM
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The Wire in HD has always been a controversial topic. The series was originally envisioned and filmed for 4:3 SD format and the conversion to HD is a painful one in many places. David Simon wrote a very fascinating and illuminating article which details his thoughts on the subject. It's a really great read if you have any interest in the show (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS):
http://davidsimon.com/the-wire-hd-with-videos/

All things considered, I'll definitely be adding this to my library, but I'm keeping the SD version around as well, I'm ambivalent about this release. This is hands-down the best television I've ever seen and re-watchability of the series is as good as it gets for me.
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Last edited by Nugget; 06-01-2015 at 09:06 AM. Reason: (added spoiler warning)
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post #11 of 24 Old 06-01-2015, 10:03 AM
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Cant wait to watch this, people have been singing this shows praises for ages...gonna see what the hype is about, i'll be grabbing the digital code for this one
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post #12 of 24 Old 06-04-2015, 03:17 PM
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I could not get into the first few shows during its initial run. But got hooked years later and binged on it streamed for free. I won't see it again in bluray, it's been too recent. But what memories. People used to say it was the show befor Breaking Bad. Having seen Breaking Bad, I dove into The Wire. What an ensemble.
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post #13 of 24 Old 06-08-2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nugget View Post
The Wire in HD has always been a controversial topic. The series was originally envisioned and filmed for 4:3 SD format and the conversion to HD is a painful one in many places. David Simon wrote a very fascinating and illuminating article which details his thoughts on the subject. It's a really great read if you have any interest in the show (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS):
http://davidsimon.com/the-wire-hd-with-videos/

All things considered, I'll definitely be adding this to my library, but I'm keeping the SD version around as well, I'm ambivalent about this release. This is hands-down the best television I've ever seen and re-watchability of the series is as good as it gets for me.
Without the HD upgrade, I would never watch it (just ordered from Amazon). I always wondered why it was still 4:3 when all the other HBO shows were in HD at the time. I get his reasoning, gritty, etc. but 4:3/SD certainly doesn't resemble reality. It was just a technical limitation that doesn't exist anymore. Sorry if I come off as a snob, but I don't have a dedicated theatre room with 8 foot screen to watch hours of standard def material. (I do watch DVDs, or 4:3 BDs on occasion, just not very often.)
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post #14 of 24 Old 06-08-2015, 03:59 PM
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I've watched this entire series many times on DVD in 4:3, as it was created. The BD release is certainly a huge improvement in color, contrast and of course resolution. The framing/composition of some scenes and shots does suffer from the conversion to 16:9. But over all I find it to be a worthy upgrade, especially for the audio/video quality improvements. That said, those things could also have been achieved in 4:3 aspect. David Simon would never have agreed to make the 16:9 transformation if he had been asked, but he wasn't. It was only after he learned HBO was going to do it anyway that he got involved.
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-09-2015, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
I've watched this entire series many times on DVD in 4:3, as it was created. The BD release is certainly a huge improvement in color, contrast and of course resolution. The framing/composition of some scenes and shots does suffer from the conversion to 16:9. But over all I find it to be a worthy upgrade, especially for the audio/video quality improvements. That said, those things could also have been achieved in 4:3 aspect. David Simon would never have agreed to make the 16:9 transformation if he had been asked, but he wasn't. It was only after he learned HBO was going to do it anyway that he got involved.
Greetings,

Thanks for offering your thoughts rdgrimes.


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post #16 of 24 Old 06-15-2015, 10:07 PM
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Does anyone know if the blu ray disks (not streaming) will be available to rent from Netflix anytime soon? thanks
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Hello all is there anyone that would be willing to spare the the wire UV code please someone redeemed mine without me knowing but if possible that would be amazing inbox me if you Can I will try and return the favor somehow
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post #18 of 24 Old 06-20-2015, 04:29 PM
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Thanks for the great review, Ralph!

I've never seen even a single episode but have always heard lots of good things about it, so between that and your review, my copy of the complete series on blu-ray is now on its way for delivery. I'm really looking forward to watching it.
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I can't get this excellent series now, but I will probably get it before Christmas.
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post #20 of 24 Old 06-26-2015, 07:01 PM
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I'm six episodes into the first season now and enjoying the series so far. Some episodes seem a bit slow at times, but the writing and casting are truly excellent. I'll report back after I've completed the entire series. Thanks again for the review and recommendation, Ralph!
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post #21 of 24 Old 06-27-2015, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ozar View Post
I'm six episodes into the first season now and enjoying the series so far. Some episodes seem a bit slow at times, but the writing and casting are truly excellent. I'll report back after I've completed the entire series. Thanks again for the review and recommendation, Ralph!
Greetings,

You're quite welcome oz. I look forward to your thoughts after completing the series..


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post #22 of 24 Old 07-27-2015, 06:33 AM
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I've now finished all 5 seasons of The Wire on blu-ray and found it to be very worthy of my time and attention. One thing that I noticed about each season is that the first few episodes start off a bit slowly then gain momentum as the seasons progress. Sticking with it turns into a rewarding experience by the end of each season.

There was a huge amount of talent exhibited in this series, and most of the characters, including the bad guys, had many admirable qualities. One of my favorite characters throughout was Reginald 'Bubbles' Cousins (played by Andre Royo). After seeing the final episodes of the series, I found myself wishing for more of it, so I'll certainly be taking another look at it in the future.

This one comes highly recommended to anyone that enjoys good police/crime drama, and I'm glad to have it in my collection.

Thanks again for the review and recommendation, Ralph!
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post #23 of 24 Old 07-27-2015, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post
I've now finished all 5 seasons of The Wire on blu-ray and found it to be very worthy of my time and attention. One thing that I noticed about each season is that the first few episodes start off a bit slowly then gain momentum as the seasons progress. Sticking with it turns into a rewarding experience by the end of each season.

There was a huge amount of talent exhibited in this series, and most of the characters, including the bad guys, had many admirable qualities. One of my favorite characters throughout was Reginald 'Bubbles' Cousins (played by Andre Royo). After seeing the final episodes of the series, I found myself wishing for more of it, so I'll certainly be taking another look at it in the future.

This one comes highly recommended to anyone that enjoys good police/crime drama, and I'm glad to have it in my collection.

Thanks again for the review and recommendation, Ralph!
Greetings,

Awesome oz! I am glad that you enjoyed The Wire. Thanks for posting your thoughts buddy..


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post #24 of 24 Old 07-27-2015, 10:28 AM
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...most of the characters, including the bad guys, had many admirable qualities.
In the Wire, all the characters are bad guys. Or none of them are. I can never tell. Glad you enjoyed it. I think it's the best show ever aired on Television.
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