The Wire Puts Prequels on Amazon

Fans of HBO’s gritty urban drama The Wire don’t have to wait until season five starts to get their fix. Amazon is showcasing three exclusive “prequel” clips of the show on its site right now.

According to an HBO spokesperson, the clips were created with involvement from Wire creator David Simon and will start out on Amazon (to help promote the fourth season of The Wire now out on DVD), then migrate over to and eventually, to television.

All three clips take place before the first season of the show. The first clip shows a young Proposition Joe cleverly hustling his way through grade school; the second features the first time Bunk and McNulty met; and the last (and best, IMHO), features an oddly moral young Omar on one of his first stickups.

As a fan of the show, I’m always giddy over new content from The Wire. As a new media reporter, I’m intrigued by HBO’s recent moves. Necessity really is the mother of invention. No longer able to rely on franchise hits like The Sopranos and Sex and the City to drive or sustain subscriptions, the pay network is willing to try new things to boost its other programming.

Sure, some online experiements didn’t take off, HBO Voyeur and This Just In spring to mind.

But HBO did stream the first episode of its comedy Flight of the Conchords for free online, and that show turned into a cult hit. And now, in addition to putting new episodes of The Wire on demand a week before they air on the network, it’s creating original web content for the show that will be distributed through a third party before it migrates back to TV.

Just get all that Wire content while you can; season five is the show’s last.

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