“It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you.” That’s the opening line of a new promo for a plan to rebroadcast The Wire that promises “every episode, every season, remastered for the first time in high definition.” The promo says the episodes air weeknights 8pm starting September 4. If you check TV listings online, you’ll find other programs filling those timeslots—while About Time is a fine movie, it is not The Wire remastered in HD.
However, the Wire page at TV Guide has listings starting September 8 with season 1 episode 3, which would accommodate the first two episodes airing on September 4-5. I can’t guarantee these remastered episodes will start airing this week, but it sure sounds like they exist, and that’s a major step for those of you hoping for an eventual Blu-ray release. Hit the jump to watch the promo. [Update: It appears that The Wire is indeed in the process of being upgraded to HD, but news of the air date was premature. More after the jump.]
Update: Adam here. HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall reached out to HBO for confirmation about this HD upgrade business, and it appears that news of the marathon was premature:
Re: “The Wire” being remastered in HD for September marathon, HBO says the date was premature, and they’re still working on process.
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) September 2, 2014
So HBO has confirmed that they are indeed in the process of remastering The Wire in HD, but it will not be airing this week. Simon has been adamant in the past that The Wire shouldn’t be presented in HD so as to refrain from giving a theatrical presentation to what he sees as a more realistic series. I imagine that this promo making the rounds is fake, but a separate source claims to have more information on HBO’s plans for remastering The Wire. According to a Kottke reader whose friend works at HBO, the network plans to chop off the top and bottom of the 4×3 frame in order to create a 16×9 aspect ratio for the series. This is not unlike what FXX did to with recent The Simpsons marathon, and given that Season 5 of The Wire was the only one actually shot in 16×9, one imagines the quality of the “HD upgrade” of Seasons 1-4 will be quite terrible. Here’s hoping this is not actually the case.
Watch the probably fake promo below, via HBO Watch: