John Johnston, hearing my call, created an automated supercut video of all the mentions of “the game” in Season 1 of The Wire. The VideoGrep script provides a quick, easy, and exacting way to analyze a show like The Wire around very specific themes in the script. It’s not comprehensive, but seeing John create this video moments after my blog request is mind blowing.
What an amazing resource for students to be able to search and be immediately presented with the clips across 60 episodes of The Wire as a starting point for their analysis. What’s more, playing the above video back is mesmerizing. It’s like the show is speaking back to the me through the filtered lens of a coded theme deeply embedded in a masterpiece of television. This technology provides a pretty compelling example of how quickly we can extract these themes/patterns across a TV series like The Wire to open up new and powerful ways of reading. We provide variables that fuel a formula to represent our interpretive assumptions, as well as challenges them. Can machines tell stories? I think they can if we provide interesting search terms and damn good metadata 🙂