RIP, The Wire

I'm in mourning. You see, last night, The Wire ended our five-season relationship with its series finale. I've been through this before — Cheers, Friends, Sex and the City, Arrested Development, Six Feet Under, Seinfeld, The Wonder Years (I needed therapy after that one. Seriously, Winnie and Kevin don't end up together?), and I know I will again (Lost — I'm already counting our final freaky hours together). But what is it about the ending of a TV series, especially one that goes out on top, that can leave abandoned audiences so bereft, clutching DVD collections of seasons past?

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Great television creates a unique community, as when a scene prompts you to text other fans during an episode when it gets too intense, or there's an "oh no they di'int" moment. But the addictive quality to The Wire's coarse world of inner city streets and forgotten rowhouses was its very instability, where The Code — whether it belonged to The Police, The Politicians, The Lawyers, The Dealers, The Corner Kids or the almighty User — was never a sure thing. Those who had it coming didn't always get it in the end, and those who deserved so much more in life were rarely able to grasp it — or worse, hold on to it.

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After an hour and a half swan song, they were gone. I tried, in my heart-heavy state, to flip over to the last half hour of Dexter — a show I'd been assured by so many I would like. But it was too soon, I realized, clutching my glass of. It all seemed so slick by comparison. The music was too loud and showy, the characters forced. Michael C. Hall was no McNulty, and, in the worst hit of all, there was a friggin' voiceover. Like a blind date without the chemistry, I ended the night over the desert course and switched off the TV.

Instead, I let myself properly grieve for the world and the people I'd come to know, from the hustlers to the homicide detectives that we Wire devotees followed around for five seasons now in our brief-but-passionate affair. I'm left wanting more, but now the mems — and DVDs — will have to do.

As I hold out hope for The Wire: The Movie, I gotta know — what's the show that broke your heart?

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