In its final season of eligibility--and after being teased with appearing on the short list for Best Drama--The Wire's fifth season received only one nomination for the 2008 Emmy Awards, announced July 17, for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for the series finale, "30." One. That brings HBO's Baltimore-set televisual essay about the decline of the American city's Emmy nominations to the grand total of two.
Admittedly, The Wire has never been popular with the Emmy's mainstream vision of TV's best--even though today finds many critics refreshingly surprised by the nominations--but this final exclusion from the Outstanding Drama nominations is especially lame, if only because claptrap such as Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, House, Lost, and Mad Men fill out that category's ranks. Now, I watch all of those shows--and appreciate Boston's anarchic political comedy, Damages' absolutely ludicrous plot, Dexter making a serial killer its protagonist, Hugh Laurie's constantly livid adult white man, Lost's complete absence of a point, and Mad Men's, well, Christina Hendricks.
But, sheesh, The Wire actually deigned to try to discuss the problems facing most big cities in America: an unwinnable and devastating drug war, the decline of the working class, the porous inconsistencies of public education, the internecine compromises of local politics, and the fate of local news under media conglomeration. Whether the show succeeded or failed in addressing those concerns compellingly is totally open to debate, but it has been extremely refreshing to watch TV that felt involved with the way people live.
Granted, the Emmys don't have a good history with programs it's not sure how to handle--see also: Battlestar Galactica--but you can always hope The Wire might've been recognized as an Outstanding Drama this time around.
But no, so be it. All that means is that now The Wire can join those other TV shows that never earned an Outstanding Drama or Comedy Emmy,> You know, those totally forgettable, not at all innovative programs shows such as Homicide, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, The Honeymooners, and Roseanne.