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'The Wire': A complete power ranking of every season

Pretty much anyone who has ever watched The Wire has tried to get the rest of their friends to watch the HBO original series. The show gave us so many memorable characters, from Omar Little to Stringer Bell, but it also gave us some of the most engrossing seasons of television ever. With that in mind, let’s rank all five seasons of The Wire from best to worst (well, “worst” is a relative term).

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t watched The Wire, close this page and start watching the show immediately. You’re missing out.

5. Season 2

For the sake of this argument, I’m going to rank the seasons from the perspective of someone watching them the first time. The first time you watch season 2, it seems strange and out of place, following the Sobotka family while uncovering the issue of smuggling into the city of Baltimore. It’s not until you re-watch the season that you realize just how close McNulty and company were to shutting down one of the biggest crime organizations in the city.

There are still plenty of great moments in the season, including Ziggy’s mental breakdown, but the story, which focuses on trying to catch crime in the city port, has some pretty slow moments.

4. Season 3

There are plenty of major plot twists and storylines in season 3. Stringer Bell gives up Avon Barksdale just before he is also betrayed by his partner — and supposed best friend. (Hey, the game is the game. Always.) However, the whole idea of a police officer going rogue and setting up a “safe zone” in Hamsterdam for drug dealers feels like a bit of a stretch. Although the idea does highlight the problems with the way the war on drugs is handled, it’s hard to believe that the experiment goes unnoticed as long as it does.

This is still a fantastic season, but it has a hard time standing out from others in the series.

3. Season 1

From the start of the series, you start to get the feeling that The Wire isn’t a typical cop drama. Not all the cops are good guys, and not all the drug dealers are necessarily bad guys. Like all great shows, it starts slow, but as the characters begin to develop, you understand just how complicated (and genuinely human) they really are.

This isn’t a stereotypical cop series in any way. The drug dealers aren’t dumb, and politics within the police force make taking down a crime organization that much harder. It isn’t the best season of the series, but it might be one of the best debut seasons of any show out there.

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2. Season 5

The final season of The Wire tends to cause a bit of a debate among fans. Some don’t like the storyline in which McNulty manufactures a fake serial killer, finding it to be a bit over the top. Others refuse to believe that Omar could jump out of a 20-ish story building and somehow survive. But even with those arguments, season 5 is still the second best season of the show. We’ve all seen major characters die on television, but rarely have we ever seen such a popular character as Omar die in the middle of an episode, let alone get shot in the head by a child at a convenience store.

The true beauty of the season comes in the final episode, where we see that nothing has really changed in Baltimore. Carcetti becomes governor without ever really helping the city he promised to save. Dukie becomes the new Bubbles, and Michael becomes the new Omar. The war on drugs doesn’t end, and everything keeps moving.

Considering everything that happens in the show, that seems pretty fitting.

1. Season 4

While there is a lot of fan debate about season 5, there is general consensus in favor of season 4 as the all-time greatest season of The Wire. For those who never grew up in an inner-city environment, this season is a sobering discovery of how the public school system shapes the children of the area. The entire season follows a group of kids, all of whom have their own problems that they are trying to deal with at such young ages. Michael, Namond, Randy, and Dukie are all great characters who are introduced in the season, but Prez also returns and redeems himself after having such a hard time as a police officer. As a math teacher, Prez winds up having a much more positive impact on the community without realizing it.

The season ends on a very dark note, especially with Michael, but that’s what makes it such an unbelievably memorable season and the best of the entire show.

Tyler Brooke is a contributor and Associate Producer for FanSided.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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