after the wire

Look, I don’t get HBO, so I’ve only seen The Sopranos and The Wire when traveling and cooped up in a hotel room. And I try to avoid being cooped up in hotel rooms. So I dwell in the fog of ignorance, okay?

But as an outsider, I find that all this attention to The Wire — Slate’s ongoing lovefest, for instance — seems oddly sudden. I mean, I’d been hearing all along that The Wire is a terrific show, but I didn’t expect apotheosis, which is what I’m getting. Isn’t this an attempt to sustain the afterglow of the last season of The Sopranos, which so many people blogged their way through? Didn’t that turn out to be so much fun that as soon as it was over people started scanning for a likely object of obsessive scrutiny, and settled (properly I suppose) on The Wire as the ideal candidate?

If so, then once this season is over, what’s next? Presumably Lost will come back to the forefront of people’s attention once it gets closer to its promised conclusion, but that’s not immediate. So where will the people who like blogging the tube go when The Wire shuts down?