From the Instructor

Ryan Chernin’s thesis constitutes an original and insightful contribution to the scholarship on The Wire. He is, in large measure, correct in his claims that others have yet to dial into that element of this complex work that hearkens back to that earlier phase of the detective genre and his careful attention to the literary texts in the ‘hardboiled’ genre above and beyond their rendering in film of the post-war period proves a well-conceived and fruitful gambit. Chernin properly belongs to a second generation of scholars of The Wire, who, along with Bramall and Pitcher, and Thompson too, all whom he cites, demonstrate how with the passage now of a decade we are entering the period where the initial quite defamiliarizing impact of the program is giving way to increasingly successful generic analyses. While provocative and very well executed, Chernin’s argument may nonetheless be open to countervailing systemic criticisms, such as has been inaugurated by Kinder, whom he also cites, that might question whether the stolid individualist figured in the hardboiled detective protagonist  stands in the avatar of Jimmy McNulty quite so proudly, quite so self-reliantly,  quite so self-assured, or whether the system he bucks is perhaps with the turn of the next century bucking him back in a new, ironic, and ultimately more problematic way.

— MICHAEL DEGENER

WR 150: Renaissance TV: Serial Drama and the Cable Revolution

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