Don’t spoil anything for me by talking about recent episodes though; I’m still working my way through season three. But, if the fourth and latest season is anywhere near as good as the first three, it seems off-puttingly surprising that the show received not one Emmy nomination this year.
I’m not alone here in my amazement at this oversight, apparently. Over at The Chicago Tribune, television critic Maureen Ryan said:
“‘The Wire’ is not just considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time. It’s simply a classic work of art, by any standard in any creative field. The HBO drama getting only one nomination in its four-season history is like ‘The Godfather’ getting one measly Oscar nomination. It’s not just wrong, it shows an institutional inability (or even unwillingness) to recognize true greatness.”
(That lone nomination came in 2005, when the episode “Middle Ground” received a nod for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.)
Ryan’s right, but I prefer to look at it another way: the fact that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has gone so seemingly far out of its way not to honor “The Wire” is a kind of validation. I can only guess that there’s something so visceral, immediate and challenging about the show that it just plain frightens them. If it weren’t so uniquely great, if it didn’t set the bar so unattainably high for other series, and if it were instead merely a good show, they would have damned it with the faint praises of a handful of Emmy awards here and there, much as they have with many far, far inferior series.” When I think about it that way, I hope “The Wire” never gets a nomination.