If, like me, you were late to the game on HBO's fantastic crime series The Wire, Christmas has come early courtesy of Amazon. The online retailer has marked the complete series box sex of the show down 64% as its Gold Box deal of the day, which means you can pick up all 60 episodes of The Wire for a paltry $72.49.

If I have one quibble about the set, it's that it's just DVD and the show still hasn't been made available on Blu-ray. Having recently burned through several seasons On Demand in high-def, I'd have a hard time downgrading to DVD quality. Sure, it's not a heavily visual summer movie that demands insane video quality, but the show finds a sort of strange beauty in the urban decay of its settings. Still, getting all five seasons of an exceptional show for over half off the list price is a worthy trade-off.

Created by David Simon (who can be found steering Treme these days), The Wire is a stark look at drug culture in inner-city Baltimore: the people that profit from it, the often futile attempts of law enforcement to stop it, and the crippling poverty that keeps it all going round and round and round again. It's a procedural in the truest sense, examining every facet of how the drugs get on the streets, who is affected, and why the so-called "War on Drugs" has been waged unsuccessfully for decades. It's not an easy show to watch, because it demands your full attention. This isn't a show you can have on in the background while making dinner and expect to get everything out of it. It's been described as a "novel for television," and that's fairly accurate. If you prefer your cops focused on sleeping with each other and making pithy banter in between cases, The Wire may not be for you. But if you're willing to dive in, The Wire will absolutely reward you.

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