12 September 2009

Redemption for "The Wire"

The Shawshank Redemption is now at number one on the IMDB Top 250 films of all time, and regularly appears in the top ten of other lists. What makes this remarkable to me is that it was not a big success on its cinema release, its reputation and popularity have grown largely by word of mouth. The Wire seems to be following the same line - even though it was critically acclaimed almost from the outset, it never attracted a large audience, nor did it win any major awards. Although the fifth and last series was shown in 2008, its popularity continues to grow, and it is now regularly rated as the best TV drama ever. At the time of writing an incredible 85% of users on IMDB have awarded it 10 out of 10.

Word of mouth popularity seems to becoming word of Internet, so in principle reputations can now spread much faster. Just in the last week Stephen Fry send a Twitter message with a strong recommendation for David Eagleman's book Sum, and within a day or so it shot up the charts to second place on the Amazon web site. This is an interesting and somewhat alarming development, not least to Stephen Fry who is now presumably being bombarded with books from publishers and authors.

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