Spoiling HBO’s “The Wire”

Esquire‘s Jozen Cummings posted a story yesterday morning about how HBO’s decision to put out “episodes on demand” of The Wire is leading to plot spoilers getting around. (Any spoiler whiners out there who don’t know what he’s referring to should stop reading this item right now.)


Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. “Omar Little” in HBO’s The Wire

“In about two weeks, The Wire — HBO’s critically-acclaimed, gritty drama about Baltimore’s drug trade and how it intersects with union labor, media, and education — will end for good,” Cummings writes. “But instead of speculating on how the show’s final few episodes will conclude, fanatics of the show are giving away its secrets, posting spoilers on their Facebook pages, logging unseen episode information into Wikipedia, and posting about it on IMDB.com’s message boards.
“Even the urban lifestyle magazine Giant features cast members of the show on the cover of its latest issue along with a cover line that says, ‘How It All Ends.’
“How is this happening? Blame HBO. The cable network makes new episodes of The Wire available on its ‘HBO On Demand’ channel a full week before its ‘official’ airdate. It’s unclear what HBO hopes to gain with this strategy. In the fall, HBO’s head of program planning, Dave Baldwin, told the media that HBO was experimenting with its schedule “so we can learn more about how our viewers prefer to watch our programming.”

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com Josh Massey

    Well, not really. I’ve heard spoilers about the final episode, which won’t hit OnDemand until the day HBO airs it. Major points are leaking without OnDemand’s help.

  • http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/ Colin

    The Giant article merely contained speculation about how the series might end, not actual spoilers.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    IDMB, Jeff?
    Internet Dummy’s Movie Base…”all our base are belong to movies!”

  • starfunker

    The Bunk finally confesses his undying love for McNulty.

  • Dan Revill

    I caught up w/ the second to last episode yesterday. It was great. In the past two episodes, a lot of my misgivings with this season have been alleviated. It’s nowhere as great as season four was for me, but it’s not half bad. I can’t wait for the extended last episode. I am trying to stay spoiler free and am glad that things are shaping up to be as miserable as ever in west Baltimore. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    Bunk will have the final word in the series me thinks.

  • televisiontears

    Jeff, I know your readers have been at very least urging you to finally get with the program on this consistently amazing work of art, but let me re-up on the Greek chorus. No hyperbole, this is simply the best show to ever air on television. Nothing else even comes close. It’s scope is mind-boggling, it’s truth is inescapable. It’s a gut-punch tragedy of how every failed institution destroys the lives of those who don’t play “the game”. It’s an obsessive procedural in the vein of Zodiac, albeit with infinitely more depth. It’s everything – a microcosm of a country that is rotting away from the inside, and the inablility for the systems which are supposed to nurture change to do quite the opposite.
    You’ve heard this many times, I’m sure, but it needs to be said again.
    I’m sorry for the rambling rave, but the final episode is OnDemand next week, and I for one will be mourning the loss of one of the greatest works of fiction, well… ever.

  • starfunker

    Stringer Bell gets killed.

  • p.Vice

    Spoilers for The Wire aren’t usually as egregious as they are for, say, The Sopranos, because the show is completely about the execution of, not the surprises within, the narrative. Reading “Omar gets his head blown off” gives nothing away about how it is presented in the episode or its many implications across the narrative. Or, say, Marlo’s reaction in ep 59 when he finds out Omar called his punk ass out and he didn’t get a chance to step to.
    I’m sad to see the show end but it is going out as the definitive masterpiece of filmed art/entertainment ever produced. Nothing comes close.
    Tss-tss-tss dum-dum… da-da-dum….

  • alynch

    On Demand is only partially responsible for how spoilers have been spreading. HBO sent out the first seven episodes to critics and they were leaked before the season even started. HBO did the On Demand thing last season as well and it actually increased the show’s overall audience, so I’m kind of ambivalent about it.
    All that said, I’m glad that HBO is keeping the final episode close to the vest. It won’t be shown early. Anyone who wants to watch it will have to see it when it airs.

  • OddDuck

    The finale’s 90 minutes too. I imagine it’ll be worth the wait.

  • BurmaShave

    Has anyone been watching these two or three at a time and then feeling really really bummed out?

  • corey3rd

    In the final episode, Marlo gets his neck slit by Duff from Ace of Cakes.

  • berkguru

    Jeff I think you lose a lot of credibility on this site due to the fact that you have never even seen the Wire. It is probably the best thing to hit TV in 10+ years and better than 99% of movies also. The fact that you havent invested time in it is disconcerting.

  • OddDuck

    I didn’t realize this as I watched it happen, but apparently David Simon – whether intentionally or not – foreshadowed Omar’s exit all the way back in season 3:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ksUNm6TZ1rQ
    Fucking awesome.

  • JoshE

    The fact that you said “spoiler whiners”, as if being upset at having something spoiled for you is weak and unjustified, makes me wanna slap you, Wells.
    I did not read this post and I haven’t looked at any of the above comments, but I just wanted to drop in a comment expressing my absolute fucking blinding rage at the mother fucker who posted the biggest Wire spoiler of the series in the comments section of Wells’ Oscars article earlier this week.
    I was gonna stay quiet and not give the little cunt any sort of satisfaction, but I have to let this out somehow. So:
    Dear Cunt,
    I shit on your mother and father and every one in your life who thinks they care about you, you useless speck of human waste. Your life is worth nothing. Give up, fuck yourself with an icepick and die.
    I’ll just assume this post will be deleted and, who knows, I might even be banned. But it was worth it. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the guy who made the comment, but seriously, whoever you are, get hit by a car. Or better yet, robbed, anally raped, beaten and left for dead.
    Okay. I feel a little better.

  • televisiontears

    OddDuck,
    I’ve been watching the whole series again to catch my partner up on it. We watched that episode in Season 3 the same night I watched ep 58 last week. It was a perfect timing that made the shock that much more potent. I’m about to get into *SPOILER* territory so those who have not seen ep 59 please avert your dear pupils:
    SPOILER
    While Omar’s death initially felt like his crusade against Marlo was fruitless, take a look at what his presence has done. The note in his pocket that Bunk gives to McNulty helps in their illegal wiretap, and he put so much pressure on Marlo’s crew that it’s crumbling from the inside (“My name is my name!”). Their resulting tension will probably be the catalyst for the final blow to Mr. Stanfield.
    I see it as Omar’s work was finished, and even if it was post-mortem, he’ll finally take down Marlo. There was nothing left for him to do – the gods of Baltimore will do the rest. In retrospect, his seemingly meaningless death was anything but.
    Goddamn, I love this show.

  • televisiontears

    Also, I may be a bit too obsessed with The Wire, but has anyone else noticed that Marlo is an anagram for Omar L. Wow, this is the obsession this show breeds…

  • Aladdin Sane

    I caught up w/ the second to last episode yesterday. It was great. In the past two episodes, a lot of my misgivings with this season have been alleviated. It’s nowhere as great as season four was for me, but it’s not half bad. I can’t wait for the extended last episode. I am trying to stay spoiler free and am glad that things are shaping up to be as miserable as ever in west Baltimore. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Bunk will have the final word in the series me thinks.

  • http://www.hollywoodinterrupted.com MarkEbner

    Jeff – You owe yourself a full five seasons of the finest show on American television. Get NetFlixing.
    – Ebner

  • Jesse Perry

    JoshE, I love the show too, and while AJW shouldn’t have given that spoiler away, your response is fucking creepy. If you ever left your basement, I would be worried for your community.

  • Josh

    People who spoil shows/movies are the lowest form of life.

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