Best. Drama. Ever.: The Wire versus The Sopranos versus Deadwood

Last week’s amazing installment of The Wire (written by genius crime novelist George Pelecanos) was probably the best episode of the series’s five-season run, and with the grand finale coming up on Sunday, a lot of people have used it as an excuse to proclaim David Simon’s brainchild the greatest TV drama of all time. Last weekend, I discussed the topic with Newark Star-Ledger television critic Alan Sepinwall, a Wire man to the core, and freelance New York Times film critic/TONY contributor Matt Zoller Seitz, who considers Deadwood to be the high point of the medium. I myself am devoted to The Sopranos, and used the conversation to make a case for David Chase’s chef d’oeuvre. A transcript of the conversation can be found on Matt’s blog, The House Next Door, and fear not—while all three of us have seen The Wire’s final episode, our discussion is spoiler-free. A podcast recording of our debate can be found here (as an MP3) and here (as an MP4/AAC file—the link will expire in a few days, FYI), though it comes with a caveat: If you plan to listen with headphones, consider yourself warned re: the ambient-noise level—we were having breakfast at Joe Jr.’s in the West Village and had no choice but to sit in the booth next to the dirty-dish bin, so there’s a lot of clattering plate action going on.