An essay I wrote some months ago, "All the Pieces Matter," has been published in the latest issue of Bad Subjects. In this essay, I discuss Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, using The Wire as an example of today's complex television.
The appearance of this article is timely, considering the comments I wrote about Syriana yesterday. I noted how often I get confused by the plots of spy thriller movies, even though I love complex plots in television series. In the context of my article, I'm reminded of what I wrote earlier in the year about Crash: that it would have been better as a teevee series. I think the same could be said for Syriana ... if you've got 13 hours, or three seasons, or whatever, to explain what in a movie would be stuffed into 2 1/2 hours, your audience will both be enriched by the added complexity and be able to better understand what's going on.