Just finished season 4 of The Wire. No question: it's the greatest show ever made. It's so brutally honest and unsentimental. As much as I love Dexter, it indulges in all the television fairy tales indicative of Hollywood. It shows a world where all people are beautiful and the "good" guys always win in the end, where people (aside from Dexter, anyway) can be cleanly separated into "good guys" and "bad guys," and where everyone who commits a violent crime does so because they're evil and deserve to be killed. The justice system is flawed specifically because it offers bad people things like the right to appeal and legal representation. And the good cop ladies chase down the bad guys in heels.
The show I just finished is a meditation on corporate inertia, on the way large organizations swallow up their members and force them to submit to the status quo, no matter what their original intentions and how committed they are to changing things for the better. This last season was focused on inner city schools, specifically how and why they fail to keep so many kids out of the drug trade and fail to improve kids' cognitive skills, failures that occur in classroom management, in the curriculum, in the administration and allocation of funds, and in the methods of evaluation.
One season to go.