Netflix's gritty new documentary series is reminding a lot of people about The Wire 2 years ago

Netflix's gritty new documentary series is reminding a lot of people about The Wire

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It's fitting that 10 years since the last episode of The Wire aired, David Simon's superb TV show continues to be the benchmark that directors, producers, and documentarians aim to emulate.


Since McNulty's 'wake,' Omar's fateful trip to the convenience store and The Greek's disappearance, The Wire's legacy continues to grow stronger because as fans of the show will know, the HBO drama was more than just a simplistic tale of drug dealers vs the Five-O.

In Season 2, David Simon risked alienating a large part of The Wire's rabid fanbase by moving the focus away from the war on drugs that revolved around the Barksdale Towers. By focusing on the escalating unemployment levels in Baltimore's docklands, the show made it clear that this wasn't just a run of the mill police drama. That decision ensured The Wire's status as one of - if not THE  - greatest TV shows of all time.

The subsequent seasons that focused on Baltimore's school system and the media further cemented The Wire's brilliance.

The HBO show was an examination of urban American society that gave equal time and importance to low-level drug dealers, the police officers working the beat, corrupt politicians, rich industrialists and the people that were caught up in this web of poverty, addiction, and unemployment.

As Freamon famously said: "You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you." The Wire took us into the heart of Baltimore and Netflix's new documentary, Flint Town uses the same narrative approach.

From an American dream to an American crisis, Flint Town tells the story of Flint, Michigan. The entire story of the city is told through the eyes of the city's police department which explores the struggles of living in a constant state of emergency and the team of underdogs that are fighting against all odds to save the city.


Just like The Wire, we're told the stories of people who are forced to live in an area with a toxic water supply. To compound matters, the city also has widespread poverty, increasing crime levels and various cases of police brutality.

In an interview with Complex, the director of Flint Town even said that "we were trying to make the documentary version of The Wire" and throughout the documentary series, Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari depict what goes on in a police department and what's it like to be an officer that's working the beat.

Since being released, the documentary series has earned impressive reviews and it currently has an 83% rating on Metacritic and 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Guardian gave it a five-star review and noted that it's: "Brutal, unflinching, real (though it's worth remembering they're not going to forget they're being filmed), Flint Town is so rich it's almost impossible to binge. You need to pause between courses, to take it in, even if a lot of is hard to digest." On a similar note, the LA Times praised the documentarians for their broad choice of subjects and perspectives throughout the series. "It opens you up to different, conflicting points of view - or at least reminds you that they exist - which is just what you want from such a series," they said.

Since arriving on Netflix, plenty of viewers have felt that Flint Town is eerily reminiscent of The Wire in how it tells the story of a city.


Granted, nothing can ever beat the HBO drama in terms of quality, but simply being compared to The Wire is already an incredibly high compliment.