Earlier this week, I ran across an amusing blog that, while posing as a scholarly paper, likens HBO’s The Wire to a Victorian novel. The authors Joy DeLyria and Sean Robinson attempt to analyze the rise of a fake Victorian novel by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden (whose initials are coincidentally H.B.O.) also titled The Wire. It is complete with sketches from the fake book as well as excerpts (including a Victorian re-imagining of the Fuck Scene discussed in an earlier post).
While this piece is complete fiction, it does provide us with an interesting take on the popular HBO series and raises the question of how The Wire might be different (or the same) if its narrative was told in a different form. Would The Wire have been as successful as a movie or a novel? What about a series of paintings or a video game?
This article brings up some obvious connections between Victorian novels and television, such as serialization and the way it calls attention to social problems. But its commentary also harkens back to our earlier discussions of adaptation as well as speaks to the influence that different mediums have on each other. In this case, television is being influenced by literature. A large part of Linda Williams essay Ethnographic Imaginary dealt with the effects of David Simon’s journalism background on The Wire, which also suggests a certain level of crossover between television and journalism.