The Wire, BSG and TV on DVD
All has been quiet on the blog front for me lately, because I've been too absorbed in catching up with the 5 seasons of The Wire that I somehow missed. How I managed to ignore the best and most important show on television is surprising, so I've been trying to catch up.
At this point, I'm up to the beginning of season 3. The first two seasons are full of brilliant little moments, broad strokes of observation about the global economy, modern urban crime environment, the criminal justice system and humanity with an attention to detail and continuity unmatched by another series on television. More than any other series (particularly because of the "naturalistic" approach to using music cues), The Wire feels immediate and real.
Watching TV on DVD is a fundamentally different experience than watching episodes as they first air. Instead of having a week or so to digest the last episode, you can jump right in and binge on a 3 episode marathon. For a hour-long drama on a commercial-free network, that translates to 3 hour viewing session. Sure, the average American television viewer watches 4 and a half hours of television per day, but 3 consecutive hours in a single evening is a lot.
The participatory aspect of talking about TV in person or on the internet is perhaps the main impetus for watching live-- to be part of the community. There aren't many live discussions going about shows that aired five years ago.
In contrast, for shows that are on now, being able to participate without being spoiled, is a major motivation for watching live or slightly delayed.
One of the leading contenders for title of "Best Show Currently on TV" is certainly Battlestar Galactica. (I'd put Lost, 30 Rock and The Office in the mix, too for different reasons.) Some insightful discussion of episode 4.01, "He That Believeth in Me" at Sepinwall and The House Next Door. Galactica composer Bear McCreary discusses the score on his blog.