“The Wire,” HBO’s groundbreaking and multi-layered drama about drugs, politics and life in Baltimore, is generally regarded by TV critics and experts as one of TV’s finest and most eloquent dramas ever. The show has gained even more admirers and acclaim since it went off the air in 2008 following a five-year run.
But its rank as No. 9 on the Writers Guild of America list of the 101 “best-written” TV series in history highlights one bewildering fact.
“The Wire” is the only series in the Top 10 of the WGA list that never won an Emmy Award for outstanding writing.
The show was nominated only twice in the drama writing division, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences failed to nominate the series in any major categories, including outstanding drama, during its entire run.
Every other series in the Top 10, including “The Sopranos,” “Seinfeld,” “The Twilight Zone,” “All in the Family,” “MASH”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Mad Men,” “Cheers” and “The West Wing,” won at least one award for outstanding writing for a comedy or drama, and all were nominated numerous times. “The Sopranos” won six outstanding writing Emmys.
In fact, “The Twilight Zone” is the only other series besides “The Wire” in the WGA’s Top 10 “best-written” series to not receive an Emmy for outstanding comedy or outstanding drama.
Critics and other TV observers have speculated that TV academy voters were turned off by the show’s dark subject matter and violence, intricate story lines that revolved around crime and narcotics in poor urban communities and its racially diverse cast, which featured several African Americans.