Voters explain why they’re not high on ‘The Wire’

Reasons include grim surroundings, lack of a California connection

The critical praise has been effusive enough.

Entertainment Weekly called it the best show on television last season. Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that it’s “proof that people in the television business are still trying, that genius still sprouts in fields of stupidity.”

But, somehow, HBO’s “The Wire” and its actors haven’t had a lot of Emmy acclaim. All the series garnered this year was a writing nom for creator David Simon and George Pelecanos.

Anonymously, several Emmy voters tried to explain their reluctance to nominate the show:

  • It’s so multilayered, so dense, that it’s difficult to tune in midway through the season, thereby making it practically impenetrable to new viewers.

  • The plot takes place in the drug-infested streets of west Baltimore, and with the vast majority of Emmy voters based in Southern California, there’s little connection. The grim surroundings and coarse language also might turn some people off.

  • With the series being shot on location, the actors aren’t in Los Angeles or New York, being seen around town and helping build publicity for the show. Out of sight, out of mind.

Despite the lack of kudos — and ratings that are marginal — HBO topper Chris Albrecht gave the greenlight for a fourth season of “Wire,” which begins shooting in a few weeks.

Chad Coleman, who plays ex-drug dealer Dennis “Cutty” Wise on the skein, can’t figure out what Emmy voters are thinking.

“It’s a little deflating. It makes me wonder where the standard is set, where the bar is,” Coleman explains. “Not to toot our own horns, but the amount of work and talent and commitment that goes into our show and the level we’re working at, how do we get knocked out of the box? What is the standard of measurement? I think we’re head and shoulders above some of these other shows.”