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What Season Should He Start With? Idris Elba Admits He Hasn’t Watched ‘The Wire’ Yet

What Season Should He Start With? Idris Elba Admits He Hasn't Watched 'The Wire' Yet

The success of “Luther” and numerous other film roles have allowed a bevy of reference points for fans of Idris Elba, but none has risen quite so high in people’s minds as the actor’s role of Stringer Bell on HBO‘s “The Wire.” You’d have been hard-pressed to find someone who actually thought Elba was British, so spot-on was Elba’s American accent in the Baltimore-set show, but while it exists for many in their top few slots of the greatest shows ever, one person behind on the whole phenomenon has turned out to be the actor himself.

As Elba admitted during a recent Playboy interview (via AV Club), he’s still got some catching up to do with the David Simon-created show — namely, all five seasons of it. “I’ve never watched ‘The Wire,’ ” he said. “I’ve seen a full episode at screenings but never at home. I’ve never watched an entire season. I’ve not seen any episode of season two, most of season three and none of seasons four and five.” Pinning his shirked viewing on the fact that he’s “supercritical” of his own work, Elba also explained that he’s dodged the acclaim for his role on the show to keep himself sane. “As an actor, if you’re being told how wonderful you are, what do you need to strive for? I don’t know if I’m good just because some critic says I am in the press… The Golden Globe award told me that, thanks. And the two Emmy nominations. Just the small things.”

Displaying the honesty regarding “The Wire” that most people keep repressed (this writer sadly included — season three was the drop-off point), Elba also delves into the real-life preparation for Stringer Bell on the streets of London and New York remembering that “flash drug dealers went to jail, cool drug dealers didn’t. I had that embedded in my system since I was a kid.” You can read the full interview with Elba over at Playboy, and let us know which season — if he could only pick one — he should marathon when he has a free weekend to spare.

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Ray H

Season 3 is a good place to end the series if you want to avoid great television. :) Seriously though, the producers thought it would be their last and it wraps everything up rather nicely. Some characters even get happy endings if you end with Season 3. But you'd be missing out on Season 4, the show's strongest and hardest hitting season. Season 5 isn't perfect, but it's still better than 90% of TV out there. The finale is one of the best. A loving send off to the show's characters and a perfect reminder of why we watch TV or movies.


Season 4 was the best! In the school? C'mon!!


If by "season three was the dropoff point" you mean that season three was the best season of any drama ever on television – yes, I agree so it's inevitable drop. But season four is great. Season two and season five are really the only OK seasons of "The Wire" — I think.

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