Saturday, 10.45am, Box Sets (116)
This was the series that changed the rules of television storytelling in 2002, the groundbreaking Baltimore cop drama unencumbered by network limitations, following on from creator David Simon’s earlier innovative show Homicide: Life on the Streets. It brought another slice of messy and unsettling American life to an audience that took a while to find it — when they did, it became the inspirational model for drama in the 21st century. The visual style is highly evocative, cinematic and unsettling, with the narrative complexity we now expect of premium TV drama: multiple storylines and flawed characters, extended story arcs, and a refined but visceral sense of the real. Over five series it built up a detailed, layered picture of a collapsing rust-belt American city. Box Sets has the entire first series.
Michael K. Williams as Omar in The Wire