And it's a big smooch with a few minor spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled, look away!
I watched the finale of The Wire off the HBO-East feed so I didn't have to wait a few hours. My brother Steve had expected a Reservoir Dogs style ending where pretty much everyone was lying in a pool of blood. It didn't go down like that and I'm glad. I liked how they ended it. My brother probably won't like it as much.
I like how it ended because it ended very true to itself. Sometimes good things happen to bad people, and sometimes bad things happen to good people - and nobody is purely good or purely bad: not the cops, the politicians or the gangsters.
Don't fret, there was a body lying in a pool of blood or two.
The finale was a little longer than an hour and a half and even before the show began I was thinking as much as anything I was going to miss the new renditions of Tom Wait's Way Down in the Hole that accompanied each new season of The Wire. Fortunately, for the closing montage there was yet another version that ran longer than the opening credits. It was very appropriate. This is probably something Bill G. won't appreciate when I finally wear him down with my incessant harping to buy the DVDs for all four seasons and watch season 5 via On-Demand before it goes away. While I don't think Gorman will savor it as much as he did with HBO's Rome series, he'll love it plenty anyway.
Although I imagine from a Nielsen perspective I'm almost certainly one of less than a million people who'll watch the finale, if I were a conspiracy theorist I would claim a Nielsen scandal! I mean c'mon, everyone I read on the Internet writes about The Wire! It has all the buzz. Wherever I go there's an Aaron Barnhart of TV Barn, or Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle, or the Freakonomics blog, heck even Bill Simmons of ESPN.com loves him some The Wire. How can it possibly have less than a million viewers! FOURTY-TWO MILLION PEOPLE probably have downloaded it off the internet via Bit Torrent or watched it via On-Demand.
I'd say all that but a.) then I'd sound soooo Jericho and Gossip Girl, and b.)I believe the Nielsen numbers are probably fairly reflective of the truth -- which isn't anywhere near the same as exactly right, but fairly reflective nonetheless.
I can't recommend The Wire strongly enough. Buy the DVDs. This means you too, Bill Gorman!
Note to Gorman: I'm sure you already know and have your DVR set, but the 7 part miniseries John Adams (based on the David McCullough book) starring Paul Giamatti in the lead role premieres on HBO on March 16.