I just recently was introduced to The Wire. I swear, my cousin is like a crack dealer. She always pimps out TV shows to me and I get totally hooked (although this one is by way of her boyf). Funny thing is, the telly isn't what it used to be. I mean, sure, there are still mindless sitcoms with retarded laugh tracks, but there are a lot of really good shows out there that are edgy, thought out, and written well. TV networks are finding that they can't pander to audiences as much as they used to, so a lot of shows are willing to take more chances (especially with the rise of cable/satellite TV).
I realize that I am late (the show's final episode aired earlier this year) and that probably everything I'm writing here has been written previously, so I apologize because I haven't been much of a telly watcher until recently. I think my favorite thing about The Wire is that the characters aren't really judged for their actions. They are trying to get by and do their jobs with the tools that have been provided for them. Some people manage to change or reinvent themselves along the way, while others are caught up in an endless cycle. I dunno, the shit is riveting.
One of the bonus cool points is that the show's theme song is Tom Waits' Way Down In The Hole. I love Tom Waits, so yeah, big points on that one. One of the things that irritates the fuck outta me is that each of the five seasons uses a different version of the song, including Waits' original version in Season Two. The other versions are performed by The Blind Boys of Alabama (Season One), The Neville Brothers (Season Three), DoMaJe (Season Four), and Steve Earle (Season Five). You can listen to all five versions here.
Apologies again, but the other four versions of the song just don't hold a candle to Waits. I give them points for trying, but they just don't work for me. I mean, he's so distinctive that it makes covering one of his songs a difficult task. The only covers I've heard that I really liked were the ones that stripped the songs down and played to the artist's strength. For example, Petra Haden's version of I Don't Want To Grow Up keeps it simple and lets her beautiful voice shine. Same goes for Neko Case's version of Postcard From A Hooker In Minneapolis and 10,000 Maniacs' cover of I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You. Have you heard Springsteen's Jersey Girl or Rod Stewart's Downtown Train? Pass.
Check this shit out, tho...
Tom Waits > Way Down In The Hole
Petra Haden & Bill Frisell > I Don't Want To Grow Up
Neko Case > Postcard From A Hooker In Minneapolis
10,000 Maniacs > I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You