Omar Goes 1080p: HBO Remasters The Wire in HD - Update 2

Omar Goes 1080p: HBO Remasters The Wire in HD - Update 2

Slim Charles never looked so smooth.

Update 2: It's been a while since news of The Wire HD first broke, but HBO is finally bringing the series into the 1080p world later this month.

The Verge says every remastered episode of The Wire -- all 60 of them -- will be available starting December 26th. The remasters will be pushed out to HBO Go, Google Play, iTunes, Xbox Video, and Vudu.

A Blu-ray box set is in the works, too, although that won't hit until Summer 2015.

Update: HBOWatch heard back from HBO about the remasters, and while the fun was originally supposed to start in September, the date has been pushed due to review. Hopefully a concrete launch date will hit these mean streets soon.

Original Story: You might think there's better television than HBO's The Wire. But in a rare moment where opinions can be wrong...well, you totally are! (And yes, that includes Breaking Bad. Come at me.)

So we must all pay tribute to our Home Box Office god, because HBO is bringing The Wire back to its airwaves in fresh new duds. Every episode of The Wire has been remastered in HD for your 1080p viewing pleasure (or probably 720p, depending on your cable provider).

According to a promo teaser (see above) uploaded by Polygon's own Arthur Gies, HBO will start showing the HD remasters on September 4th, specifically on its HBO Signature channel. The mini-marathon blocks will start every night at 8pm. Looking at my own Verizon FiOS guide today, the new programming has yet to be plugged into the lineup.

The Wire was originally shown in a 4:3 format, as was the norm before HD programming, and hardware became ubiquitous. Despite the tube TV-friendly showing, the Baltimore drama was shot on Panavision Super 35 cameras, which means the sides of the shots were lopped off for standard def TV. The remasters would bring chopped shots back to their original glory.

This kind of news is "EVERYONE FREAK OUT" levels of awesome, especially after Slim Charles got stabbed (in real life) last month in D.C.

And don't forget the other reason to be excited: Remastered episodes being aired on TV means a Blu-ray set can't be far behind.

It's all in the game, yo.

Source: HBOWatch

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Speaking of The Wire, I only recently learned that McNulty's actor...is British. And here I was thinking his role in The Hour was a little silly because his British accent sounded a little off. Yet there ya have it.

Cowabungaa:
Speaking of The Wire, I only recently learned that McNulty's actor...is British. And here I was thinking his role in The Hour was a little silly because his British accent sounded a little off. Yet there ya have it.

So is Stringer Bell. I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw Idris Elba live at Wondercon years ago promoting The Reaping (I think?) and he started talking on the panel with a British accent (on a related note, I recall someone screamed "Where's Wallace!!!" a few times during the panel). Elba is also a popular DJ that performs under the name Big Dris. No, I am not making this up. And his stuff is dope, too.

In any event, The Wire is the Greatest. Show. EVER.

So this means I will be losing night sleep for yet another few weeks as I marathon my way through this series a second time... I am not sure if I should thank HBO or curse its' name.

these are excellent news!
Love that show

Devin Connors:

You might think there is better television than HBO's The Wire. But in a rare moment where opinions can be wrong...well, you totally would are!(And yes, that includes Breaking Bad. Come at me.)

Breaking Bad >>>>>> The Wire.

I have no idea how people can assume the opposite. This doesn't even deserve discussing.

Oh and while we're bringing up unpopular opinions (at least on this site), Skyrim is the best RPG ever made, Avengers > Guardians, Halo 4 is the best FPS ever made, Half Life 2 was decent for a couple hours but it was way too long for its own good, games like the Last of Us, Gone Home, Bioshock series have good stories but terrible, uninspired gameplay, and Monster Hunter is the best game on the 3DS.

Come at me.

OT: To be serious for a second, this is good news. Can't wait to watch this in HD.

I was late to the party, so I just watched The Wire this past summer. And yes, it is better than Breaking Bad. Maybe not visually (BB is gorgeous), but the story, the writing, and the characters kill Heisenberg and Friends. Acting is an area where both shows are very strong, but in different ways.

BUT I am excited for this. When I first heard I thought it would be like the Buffy remasters on Pivot. They literally cropped the original to make it look widescreen. Unacceptable.

Any issues one might have with visuals in The Wire will be quickly remedied by the HD remasters.

The Wire has better acting, a plot not rooted in some high school teacher's fantasy mind, and characters more complex than Aaron "Let's see how many times I can say bitch in a TV show," Paul.

With that in mind, I love me some Breaking Bad...but it's barely a contest.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, Aaron Paul Hater Extraordinaire

Cowabungaa:
Speaking of The Wire, I only recently learned that McNulty's actor...is British. And here I was thinking his role in The Hour was a little silly because his British accent sounded a little off. Yet there ya have it.

There is a part in season 2 where McNulty has to pretend to have a British accent. It's pretty hilarious when you find out it's a British actor playing a Baltimore cop pretending to be British.

Devin Connors:
Any issues one might have with visuals in The Wire will be quickly remedied by the HD remasters.

The Wire has better acting, a plot not rooted in some high school teacher's fantasy mind, and characters more complex than Aaron "Let's see how many times I can say bitch in a TV show," Paul.

With that in mind, I love me some Breaking Bad...but it's barely a contest.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, Aaron Paul Hater Extraordinaire

The Wire at times is pretty uncomfortably real. It's got that right level of grounded, flawed and messy without it becoming boring.

It also has a couple of pretty explicit lesbian scenes if i remember correctly. That kind of took me by surprise.

Bolo The Great:
It also has a couple of pretty explicit lesbian scenes if i remember correctly. That kind of took me by surprise.

Another major plus for The Wire: Exploring sexuality. Omar is gay, as is Det. Greggs. I don't think anyone would expect that kind of angle in a gritty urban cop/crime drama.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, #1 Omar Fan

Devin Connors:

Bolo The Great:
It also has a couple of pretty explicit lesbian scenes if i remember correctly. That kind of took me by surprise.

Another major plus for The Wire: Exploring sexuality. Omar is gay, as is Det. Greggs. I don't think anyone would expect that kind of angle in a gritty urban cop/crime drama.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, #1 Omar Fan

Omar is one of the most complex and well written characters of modern times and i will fight anyone who says otherwise. I've seen him compared to Robin Hood but that comparison only goes so far. In many ways i think his collection of traits is pretty unique.

You forget Greggs is a lesbian sometimes, she is just Greggs. HBO also forgoes the whole "TV sex" thing so you do get a real eyeful That's what's so good about the show though, it's completely unflinching. Compared to the rest of TV i first saw it (season 3 had started i think) at the time that was almost jarring.

Devin Connors:

Bolo The Great:
It also has a couple of pretty explicit lesbian scenes if i remember correctly. That kind of took me by surprise.

Another major plus for The Wire: Exploring sexuality. Omar is gay, as is Det. Greggs. I don't think anyone would expect that kind of angle in a gritty urban cop/crime drama.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, #1 Omar Fan

Also, hidden background detail, Rawls is gay too. It was implied by a snippet at a gay bar, and confirmed by David Simon.

I just finished the show for the first time back in July. I guess I have a reason to go back again soon (and I really should because that shit is DENSE).

I just watched this for the first time last year. I am totally willing to go back and watch it again just for this.

And now my dad is going to hate me even more, because I already pimp The Wire to him every chance I get. I don't feel bad about it, because he tries to get me to watch every other show under the sun(shows that aren't nearly as good either).

Though I pimp the Wire to everyone. Breaking Bad? Watched the first episode. Found it Meh. Lost? Too long for no point. Game of Thrones? Like it but has serious pacing issues. The Wire? Omar's Coming!

So a 1080p TV show is being remastered into 1080p TV show. i dont understand.

The Wire was originally shown in a 4:3 format, as was the norm before HD programming, and hardware became ubiquitous. Despite the tube TV-friendly showing, the Baltimore drama was shot on Panavision Super 35 cameras, which means the sides of the shots were lopped off for standard def TV. The remasters would bring chopped shots back to their original glory.

Ah, now that makes sense. Not enough for me to rewatch a "meh" show but i can see this as a good thing.

The Wire is an astounding show and I've been wanting to re-watch it for a second time for a while now, a blu-ray release would certainly encourage me more so. However, Game of Thrones is probably the greatest TV show ever made (which, ya know, is obviously an objective qualification) because of many things: its scope, its themes, its production value, its ambiguity, its fantastical setting and most of all the unpredictable drama that unfolds due to the incredibly well-written and life-like characters. As much as I respect the Wire for its complex and nuanced study of police and gang and journalistic life and its highly believable characters, its most dramatic moments never had quite the same punch that Thrones' did.

Looks like I'll soon have a DVD and Blu-Ray box set of The Wire.
The greatest TV series ever made deserves no less.

Bolo The Great:
The Wire at times is pretty uncomfortably real.

Especially if you're from Baltimore.

Devin Connors:
With that in mind, I love me some Breaking Bad...but it's barely a contest.

I was a big fan of Breaking Bad too, but not only is The Wire a great drama, but feels as real as you can get with a TV show without it becoming a documentary. Helps that it was written by the same people who did Homicide: Life on the Street, a former Baltimore Sun journalist and former BPD Homicide detective. They also have pretty good stand-ins for real people, the guy who plays "Tommy Carcetti" the councilman who moves up the ladder does a perfect O'Malley, which is who his character is meant to emulate.

Right, these are going to be the tipping point for me buying a PS4 or another blu-ray player. Well played HBO, well played.

Also The Wire is in a whole other league from conventional TV shows like Breaking Bad. Everything else just feels kind of fake by comparison. Breaking Bad is well made but it is still just an ordinary TV program with cliffhanger endings, simplistic or unrealistic characters (not necessarily ALL characters), good guys and bad guys, music to help you feel excited during the exciting bits or emotional during the sad bits, etc. The super genius able to make super meth and magnet trucks and automatically firing machine guns.

The Wire seems to transcend all that. The fact that every side and almost every person is given nuance and is viewed with some sympathy makes it seem like you're watching people rather than caricatures. The use of diegetic music to fit the scene. The in-depth sociological examination of how Baltimore works for the criminals and police on its streets. The fact that there are no winners or tidy endings.

To put it another way, Breaking Bad is like Homicide: Life on the Streets. David Simon has recounted an anecdote where he wanted there to be a major drug dealer that the police couldn't catch. Whatever they tried, over the course of a few episodes, he got away, in the end he simply won. The execs wouldn't have it and said that if the police didn't get him he'd have to be shot dead by a rival drug dealer. The realism that criminals do get away didn't matter, just giving a resolution.

In the Wire he had free reign and went far, far beyond such rudimentary concepts - showing how many criminals are not only never caught but are also never sought and that the catching of criminals has no effect on the endemic crime of society - that the war on crime is a failure by default.

Or to put it yet another way Breaking Bad is a really well made program for everyone to enjoy while The Wire is, well:

"My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell." - David Simon

Basically The Wire is the single greatest TV program that has yet been made. As much as I enjoyed Breaking Bad and loved The Wire's spiritual relatives (The Corner, Treme and Generation Kill) The Wire is something else entirely.

TLDR: I would IRL fight people for dissing The Wire.

I very much look forward to going back way down in the hole...and to seeing the Three Landsmans (Landsmen?).

Overhead:
Right, these are going to be the tipping point for me buying a PS4 or another blu-ray player. Well played HBO, well played.

Also The Wire is in a whole other league from conventional TV shows like Breaking Bad. Everything else just feels kind of fake by comparison. Breaking Bad is well made but it is still just an ordinary TV program with cliffhanger endings, simplistic or unrealistic characters (not necessarily ALL characters), good guys and bad guys, music to help you feel excited during the exciting bits or emotional during the sad bits, etc. The super genius able to make super meth and magnet trucks and automatically firing machine guns.

The Wire seems to transcend all that. The fact that every side and almost every person is given nuance and is viewed with some sympathy makes it seem like you're watching people rather than caricatures. The use of diegetic music to fit the scene. The in-depth sociological examination of how Baltimore works for the criminals and police on its streets. The fact that there are no winners or tidy endings.

To put it another way, Breaking Bad is like Homicide: Life on the Streets. David Simon has recounted an anecdote where he wanted there to be a major drug dealer that the police couldn't catch. Whatever they tried, over the course of a few episodes, he got away, in the end he simply won. The execs wouldn't have it and said that if the police didn't get him he'd have to be shot dead by a rival drug dealer. The realism that criminals do get away didn't matter, just giving a resolution.

In the Wire he had free reign and went far, far beyond such rudimentary concepts - showing how many criminals are not only never caught but are also never sought and that the catching of criminals has no effect on the endemic crime of society - that the war on crime is a failure by default.

Or to put it yet another way Breaking Bad is a really well made program for everyone to enjoy while The Wire is, well:

"My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell." - David Simon

Basically The Wire is the single greatest TV program that has yet been made. As much as I enjoyed Breaking Bad and loved The Wire's spiritual relatives (The Corner, Treme and Generation Kill) The Wire is something else entirely.

TLDR: I would IRL fight people for dissing The Wire.

Now that I've seen both, and have read all of Alan Sepinwall's blogposts about every episode of The Wire, I've come to the conclusion that Breaking Bad is by far the more entertaining show, but The Wire is more... important, and educational. I've only come up with this conclusion because, for some reason, people recently can't mention one show without mentioning the other, like you gotta pick a side and defend your show; so I can throw my two cents in and move on. One show doesn't make the other any worse or better. Both are absolute must-watch TV in a sea of shit but are quite different from one another. You don't have to choose one, make time for both.

I love the wire but I'm not all that bothered about how many p's it has.

Cursed Frogurt:
Now that I've seen both, and have read all of Alan Sepinwall's blogposts about every episode of The Wire, I've come to the conclusion that Breaking Bad is by far the more entertaining show, but The Wire is more... important, and educational. I've only come up with this conclusion because, for some reason, people recently can't mention one show without mentioning the other, like you gotta pick a side and defend your show; so I can throw my two cents in and move on. One show doesn't make the other any worse or better. Both are absolute must-watch TV in a sea of shit but are quite different from one another. You don't have to choose one, make time for both.

I don't understand why people must compare apples to oranges and declare one show or another as "greatest of all time". What's more important is analysing a show's intent and how well it achieves this intent through it's dramatization and characterization. Breaking Bad and The Wire are two completely different shows with very different approaches to plot and characters, but to say that BB is complete out there fantasy with unrealistic plot points is extremely reductive and speaks to this modern obsession with naturalism in entertainment. Yeah, so what if a real life Walter White would have been killed 3 dozen times over the course of the series, that's not the point.

Equally, people who fawn over how realistic The Wire is are also selling that show short. One example that springs to mind is that first season episode where the cold open is Herc trying to move a desk through one of the office doorways, and eventually half of the people in the office are all trying to help him move it until they figure out that they're all working against each other, some trying to move it into the office, some trying to move it out, because of a miscommunication on Herc's part. Did this scene advance the plot? Of course not, but it set the theme for dysfunction among team members for the rest of the episode, both among the police and the criminals. The Wire may go for verisimilitude, but it is no stranger to dramatization and semiotics.

What I'm trying to say is that people who love Breaking Bad or The Wire (or both, or The Sopranos, or Six Feet Under, etc.) are perfectly justified in their love because all are great shows that succeed in what they set out to do. Even if they love the show for some or all of the wrong reasons (Sopranos in particular suffered from "low threshold viewers", let's call them.)

I also have to say that I'm with David Simon on 4:3 SD being the intended way to watch The Wire. I'm biased toward original presentation, and although it sounds like HBO are using the original film elements rather than crappy pan & scan, I've also heard that even though the cinematographers did protect for 16:9 (they exposed the film in its full aspect ratio rather than using a plate to frame the film in 4:3), they also did not take special care to make both the 4:3 and the 16:9 framing work. It's just going to be more empty frame around what was a perfectly composed 4:3 shot, and in some cases it can actually screw up the intent of a shot (I read David Simon blogging about one shot of D'Angelo and Wee Bey talking and they're standing directly below neon signs that read "chicken" and "burgers" respectively, while in the full 16:9 framing there's a bunch more of the sign off to one side that ruins the composition of the shot).

Going back to the protecting but not composing for 16:9, some shots have equipment, crew, and even actors who aren't supposed to be in a particular shot now visible in the uncropped frame, and that all has to be digitally painted out. It is nowhere near as bad as Star Trek TNG was (had to rebuild the CG elements from scratch just for 4:3 HD) but is all this really worth it when it goes against the intent of the creator of the damn show? I may be a freak for high def widescreen content, but I still prefer to watch old TV shows in their original format, cleaned up and restored but otherwise untouched.

 

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