Why Not HD: The Corner

It’s not in HD, or even 16:9 widescreen, but tonight’s NZ TV premiere of The Corner (SoHo, 8.30) promises to be the week’s best bet on the set.

The fact it’s taken nearly 12 years for this forerunner of The Wire to debut here is an extraordinary indictment of TV programming in NZ – and explains why it’s screening in 4:3 standard definition on Sky’s premium HD drama channel.

Despite its dated technical specs, SoHo has deemed The Corner worthy enough for its prime 8.30 Monday slot, where Game of Thrones has held court for the past three months.

The winner of three Emmy Awards (it was nominated for eight), The Corner dramatises in six hour-long episodes the drug wars in a West Baltimore neighbourhood

A British DVD critic dubbed it “the TV equivalent of Last Exit To Brooklyn or Requiem For a Dream, with elements in common with both La Haine and Cieudad de Deus: raw, gritty, uncompromising, realistic, smartly directed, supremely well-acted, compulsively watchable, but harrowing and with little light at the end of the tunnel”.

David Simon adapted his book for HBO between Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, and cast it with actors familiar to viewers of the latter (Clarke Peters) and his latest, Treme (Khandi Alexander).

Fans of Simon’s works should check out an hour-long video interview on The Guardian website.

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One Response to “Why Not HD: The Corner”

  1. I’ve read the book, and have watched the show on DVD, and it really is an excellent show. Not quite up to The Wire standard, but still better than anything else on TV – both heartbreaking and hopeful, and the fact that it’s all true makes the lows that much awful, and the highs that much happier. Well worth watching.

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