What I’m Watching: Week of 5/28/10
The Wire: Season 5
It takes a little while to get off the ground, but the farewell season of the greatest television show ever made does a better job than could be reasonably expected of tying up the sprawl of its numerous storylines and character arcs, culminating in a stunning final two episodes that attack the entire gamut of viewer emotions. As it did for four seasons beforehand, it’ll open your eyes, fill you with rage, lift you with excitement, and break your heart. It will also, just when you think this gorgeously despairing portrait of American decay is a bit too much to take, give you something akin to hope, a realization that it is in the souls of people that salvation can be achieved under the crushing hulk of institutional failure. The arcs in this season will stir you, surprising you as much for who survives as much as who we lose. But the cyclical momentum is brilliantly conveyed, and the grim march of American rot still carries the weight of the greatest Greek tragedy. This is the essential modern American Epic, where the heroic stands we make can be as a punishing as the mistakes we didn’t even know we made. It’s all in the game, yo.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Good lord. This documentary about the “persecution” of those trying to teach the scientifically unsubstantiated premise of “intelligent design” (a fancy term for Bible-based Creationism) is wrong-headed on so many levels. Don’t get me wrong, there are some arguments to be made and areas to explore with regard to the treatment of origin science in the American educational system. But they aren’t made or explored here. As a film, this is a pissy little expression of an inferiority complex that uses shocking bombast to make glaringly weak points. When you try to blame the teaching of evolutionary theory for the Holocaust and insinuate that our educational system is leading in a similar direction, you’d better have more in your deck than cheap and offensive montages juxtaposing American schools with concentration camps.