Okay first off, when I watched the pilot episode I really didn't get what all the fuss was about considering what everyone had been telling me: “The greatest TV show ever!”, “You have got to watch this show!” and “Better than The Shield, dude.” Straight off the bat it was dense, murky, with unlikeable characters and by the end of the episode I still didn't know what the hell had gone on. I gave up on it for about 2 months before deciding I hadn't given it a proper go. Though by the time I finished the third episode I was totally hooked and glad I was so completely wrong! I'm now well on my way through season 5.
The Wire is unlike any crime television show you've ever seen. It inverts so many police drama cliches and constantly overthrows your expectations. Set in Baltimore, Maryland Season 1 focuses on the formation and operation of a wiretapping unit which aims to bring down a criminal empire; although this description doesn't really do it justice as it is much more subtle and intriguing than just that. Each of the five seasons show different aspects of Baltimore such as the docks, city administration, the school system and the newspapers. This keeps the series fresh although it never strays from its overall theme of administrative failure.
If there is a disadvantage to watching The Wire is it will make every other crime drama you watch seem shallow, obvious and dull. So believe the hype, buy this DVD, get hooked and be glad that you still have another 4 excellent seasons to watch of this unique and gripping show.