The Wire

‘The Simpsons,’ ‘The Wire,’ and Why You Should Care About Cropped TV Shows

“I hold this truth to be self-evident, that all movies deserve to be seen in their original aspect ratios,” Roger Ebert wrote in 2001, describing a Chicago outdoor film series where classic movies were being “cropped” to create a widescreen presentation — leading, he fumed, to a screening of An American in Paris where “the projector was cutting off, among other things, Gene Kelly’s feet” and a Top Hat presentation “cutting off of the even more sublime feet of Astaire and Rogers.” That series was presented by HBO, who elected to screen the films in widescreen “so that people will not think we’re showing television.” That was 13 years ago, before HDTV put a wide screen in everyone’s living room, and now even television itself isn’t safe. Hard on the heels of FXX’s Simpsons marathon, which cropped all of the show’s pre-2009 episodes, HBO has announced a “remastering” of The Wire, and rumor has it that show will be cropped to widescreen as well. We’re seeing a trend here. And it’s a genuinely worrisome one. … Read More

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David Simon on Ferguson

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The 25 Best Cop Shows of All Time

It’s a big day for fans of ’80s television, cop shows, and, basically, things that are good: after first and second season releases that ended in 2006 and never resumed, the pop culture saviors over at Shout Factory have stepped up with a massive, full-series DVD box set for Hill Street Blues, the ground-breaking dramatic series that continues to influence quality television to this very day. And while it’s easy enough to earmark Hill Street as one of the best police series of all time, how do all those perp-chasing, car-crashing, rule-bending, good-cop-bad-cops actually stack up against each other? … Read More

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What’s Obama Watching?

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Flavorwire Staffers’ Cultural Resolutions for 2014

With the end of every calendar year comes the customary influx of “Best Of” lists, definitively ranking the créme de la cultural créme of the last 365 days. But as 2013 winds down, we’re also making plans for the next year of books, movies, and shows. Click through for Flavorwire’s cultural resolutions for 2014 — what we want more of, what we want less of, and what parts of 2013 we could do without altogether. … Read More

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10 TV Shows to Fill the ‘Breaking Bad’-Shaped Hole in Your Heart

Last night at 10:15 pm was the moment we’d all been dreading: the end of AMC’s Breaking Bad. As we brace ourselves for life in a post-Breaking Bad world (much like Low Winter Sun, we imagine), our Sunday nights seem as lonely as the New Mexico desert. To cheer ourselves — and hopefully you, too — up, we took a temporary leave from mourning to recommend ten television shows that should help fill the Breaking Bad-shaped hole in your… Read More

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A Brief Survey of Male Nudity in Television

CollegeHumor had a “boner” to pick earlier this week. A few funny ladies got together to discuss the lack of male nudity on television. In the short HBO Should Show Dongs, which we spotted on The Mary Sue, women argue for genital equality: “For every topless background extra, every actress that bears her bouncies but doesn’t even get a line, every minute we have to sit through this dumb double standard, you owe us an inch of grade-A man meat.” It’s funny, because it’s true.

We’re currently experiencing an exciting shift in television, with shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men changing public opinion about the boob tube and pushing the boundaries of small-screen storytelling. Are the standards for nudity changing along with it? … Read More

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