HBO has finally set a date for the highly anticipated return its critically acclaimed series, The Wire.  On Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 9/8c, the series created by David Simon will kickoff its fifth and final season, followed by the return of Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam at 10/9c.

Last year, the networked commissioned for a fifth season of The Wire consisting of 13 episodes but was eventually reduced to just 10 episodes.  Filming of the new season officially started in April and wrapped its production in the first week of September.

For those who are not familiar, The Wire is a police drama loosely based on the experiences of Simon’s writing partner and former homicide detective, Ed Burns.  Current cast members include Dominic West, John Doman, and Frankie Faison, just to name a few.  Ever since it premiered on June 2, 2002, it has aired 50 episodes over the course of its first four seasons and has received acclaim for its realistic portrayal of urban life and uncommonly deep exploration of sociological themes.

In the first season, The Wire concentrated on the ongoing struggles between police units and drug-dealing gangs on the west side of the city.  Season 2 and 3 continued with the investigation of the drug ring and introduced storylines involving the city’s political leadership, while season 4 focused on the lives of four young boys as they pass through adolescence in the drug-saturated streets of West Baltimore.

As for the fifth season, the new episodes of the series aim to take viewers to the world that awaits the four boys while giving emphasis on the need for American commitment to equal opportunity.

“The American obsession with police procedural and crime drama usually only allows for villains – in large part, black and brown – who exist as foils, to be pursued and destroyed by cop heroes,” Simon said. “We’re addressing ourselves to where the ‘villains’ actually come from, and whether we have any right to regard them as somehow less human than the rest of us.”

According to show runner Simon, season 5 will also significantly focus on journalism, which would be dramatized through a newspaper modeled after The Baltimore Sun.  The season will also be dealing with “what stories get told and what don’t and why it is that things stay the same” and will be shedding light on issues that tap on the pursuit for profit, the decrease in the number of reporters, and the end of aiming for quality news.

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: HBO, The Futon Critic
(Image courtesy of HBO)

Kris De Leon

Staff Writer, BuddyTV