RUSH: Now, I got a note last night. I was firmly ensconced — I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing. One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The Wire. It ran for five years on HBO from 2002 to 2007. I may be off by a year or two on the start and end years. When The Wire was originally broadcast, it was broadcast in standard definition at four-by-three resolution, four-by-three screen size. That’s what the standard old-fashioned television, the way they were sized.
I read last month that HBO had been involved in a project to reissue The Wire in high-definition 1080, 1080p at 16-by-nine. How could they do that? And I learned that they filmed it in 35 millimeter. They filmed it in wide screen, they filmed it in letter box — well, 16-by-nine. But they aired it in standard definition, four-by-three, for the effect, the graininess, the effect, given what the nature of the story was. But now they decided to reissue it brand-new in an HD format with wide screen, which makes it brand-new.
The story I saw was that the original, the creator of the series, David Simon, had not been told that HBO was doing this. And he got a little worried because he’s the artist on this, he’s the writer, he was charge of the cinematography. And he said (paraphrasing), “We framed everything specifically for four-by-three. We framed it and now they’re gonna run it 16-by-nine? We didn’t intend it to be seen 16-by-nine.”
So he asked and got permission to participate in the remastering of The Wire from four-by-three to 16-by-nine, and that added six months to the project. And even on his blog, he has posted short little video clips showing a scene in four-by-three and the new same scene in 16-by-nine.
He’s shown both examples, how it improves it and how it harms it. He says in some parts of the series, 16-by-nine destroys what we were trying to do. In other places it makes it really even better. Well, they finished all of this up, is the point, in December, and they announced that on December 26th on HBO Signature they’re gonna run the whole thing, all five seasons, back-to-back, until it finished. And then this past Monday they were gonna make it available at iTunes and Amazon Prime, and then by next summer, all of this will be out on Blu-ray.
Well, The Wire is one of my all-time favorites. I haven’t seen it in a while. So I made a point, I made a reminder, buy The Wire in HD on iTunes Monday, which I did. And I have been, in free moments, which I don’t have very many, I’ve been watching it. I lose myself. It is so good. I’m now watching it a second time. The first time we watched it, Kathryn had some dental pain and we were up ’til five in the morning. We were sitting in the room she’s recovering from dental surgery and so forth and we were watching this while she can’t sleep.
I’m on season two now, and there’s some things I don’t remember so it’s good I’m rewatching it, but I have to catch myself. You get caught up in this. There was a scene last night that I just belly laughed like I haven’t laughed in I don’t know how long. I kept hitting a 10 second rewind for 20 minutes to watch this one five second scene in a courtroom in season two.
Kathryn will send me a text message and I’ll respond to it almost in Wire lingo, you know, just to be funny. (laughing) And she doesn’t know what I’m doing, so she says, “What in the hell is happening to my husband?” I had to explain it to her.