Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Reading Series in Order?

Date: 22 Jun 2008

The Wire must be VIEWED in order. It's often pointed out (including by Dave Simon) that the show is novelistic in approach, that there was no attempt to make individual episodes stand on their own. And while the seasons tell largely contained stories, there are more than enough loose threads, continuing characters and references to past events that a whole lot is missed if you do not start at the beginning of the first season. No wonder the show couldn't add fans; anyone entering a later season, even at the beginning of the season, would be missing a lot. Maybe they should have issued programs (or trading cards): can't tell a player without a program!

Frankly, I'm having trouble thinking of a written series that has that level of interdependence. Sure, a reader would miss a lot if picking up a random book in, say, Sallis's Lew Griffin series, but the reader would not be totally lost (well, maybe with last couple). Same with Michael Connelly's books. I enjoy the fact that, regardless of main protagonist, they are all set in the same world. I enjoy spotting cameos (or bigger) by characters from other (generally thought to be standalone) books. However, missing those crossovers (like the security guard in Duane Swierczynski's The Blonde and Severance Package or Vinny in several of Russell James's books) would do little to diminish a newcomer's enjoyment of any given book. They're in jokes for the observant reader.


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