Matthew Yglesias:

Trying to do a piece of extended drama that embodied the values of pragmatic progressive reformism would be impossible. The results, if serious and true to the spirit, would be deadly dull. Moderate optimism about human nature and the possibility for change is, if done in an entertaining way, the stuff of light romantic comedies, not big-time drama…

In political terms [The Wire is] a dark vision that, like Dostoevsky’s, veers wildly between radical and reactionary and that exists, fundamentally, outside the lines of “normal” arguments about policy. Simon believes that we are doomed, and political progress requires us to believe that we are not. But aesthetically it’s an extremely powerful conceit. And at the end of the day, it’s a television show not a treatise on urban policy.