'The Wire' battles 'The Sopranos'

'The Wire' battles 'The Sopranos' (HBO / March 27, 2012)

In a battle of the television behemoths, it came down to Baltimore versus New Jersey.

Or was it street thugs versus the mafia?

Maybe was just Omar against Tony.

In any event, the website Vulture.com has had some fun recently, March Madness style, pitting favorite television shows against each other in a bracket. The goal was to crown the greatest drama of the last 25 years.

Shows like "My So-Called Life," "NYPD Blue," "The X-Files," "The West Wing" and "Mad Men" didn't make the ultimate cut.

When it came down to the championship, it was an HBO smackdown,"The Wire" battling "The Sopranos."

Obviously in Baltimore there would be no contest.

But it wasn't quite such a slam dunk on Vulture. New York Magazine TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz had the final call.

He judged on a number of factors. Sophistication. Characters. Daring. Consistency. Influence on the medium.

"The Sopranos"put up quite a fight, winning on a number of those categories. But when push came to shove, when the street met the suburbs, Baltimore pulled out the hat trick.

"It’s one of the most intelligent, moving, and politically astute dramas ever aired on American TV, and a rare series that truly deserves the adjective novelistic," Seitz wrote.

"'The Wire' stands tall as one of the most ambitious, creative, and, yes, audacious dramas, doing more with less, and more with more, than almost any scripted series in TV history."

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

@BaltInsider