In a show of dedication to quality that almost compensates for the cancellation of Deadwood, HBO has renewed The Wire for the fifth and final season that David Simon had planned and hoped for so much that he would conclude his story as a novel if necessary. Only one episode of the fourth season has aired to middling ratings, but the staggering critical response to season four – most of the critics consider it the best show on television today, some ever – has tipped HBO’s hand toward a very early renewal.
This is such good news, a triumph for quality television after the end of Deadwood proved that anything was possible. Simon has always planned for the story to take five seasons, and now he gets the chance to finish the most important TV show of our time. I’ve found my faith in HBO again, even after the Deadwood and Carnivale debacles, the reanimation of The Sopranos and their airing of the mediocre Rome and Big Love. I look forward to David Milch’s John from Cincinatti and Alan Ball’s vampire drama with relish.