I usually wait for television shows to become trendy before I start watching. Even better, trendy among those I think share my taste. It saves me a lot of time.
The Wire finally generated enough buzz for me to invest the time. And it hasn't disappointed. It dissects Baltimore's inner-city drug culture without condescension or glamorizing the business. I feared it would be politically correct, but it is not. The characters are complex and interesting. (It has an irritating habit of killing off some of the most complex and interesting, though).
The first season was great; the second just so-so; the fourth season was very good.
But the third season was brilliant. My thoughts -- and spoilers -- below the fold.