Written by TV

The Wire Sans Commercials

I’ve just been watching an excellent episode of Dexter on the FX channel – at a slight delay via my Sky+. I let the playback run at the end and up popped a couple of things of interest.
First, I see that Generation Kill is coming to FX in the UK soon which has got to be a good move (Indeed FX seems to show just about all my favourite current US TV shows at the moment).
But then they ran a promo for The Wire. Now I’ve not really blogged about it here, but it really is everything everyone says, and I really enjoyed the fifth season on the media. Anyway, the promo consisted of David Simon the show’s creator, giving answers to Charlie Brooker in an interview evidently conducted somewhere like the NFT BFI London. A good idea, since Brooker is a notable fan of the show and made a pretty good behind the scenes programme for FX a year or so ago.
On screen during this promo we first see on screen and then hear Simon say: “I can’t watch a storytelling medium that breaks every 13 minutes to sell you soap and iPods and cars.” He says that he can’t watch network television, and he uses the analogy of breaking up a story around the campfire to pause and introduce his sponsors.
What Simon’s getting at is the fact that HBO shows its programmes uninterrupted and without ads or on-screen distractions like BUGs and other logos. That’s fine, but over here it’s on FX, and they do take commercials since they’re not a premium cable channel like HBO which relys on significant subscription levels. So it’s utterly bizarre that FX should use that particular statement in this promo.
The one coda I should make is that for various reasons, I’ve caught up with The Wire on DVD, and so just maybe, FX run the show ad free. The fact that it’s scheduled for about an hour and ten minutes tomorrow night when the show runs about 56 minutes tends to suggest that like all the rest of their programming, they do run ads in The Wire, but having not seen the programme on the channel, I can’t be 100% certain. Still curious.
I did love the story in the promo about Obama saying that The Wire was his favourite show and that he loved Omar the most – the murdering thief Omar, that is.