Give me South Park over the Simpsons any day.
Oz turned into a male soap opera? Not really, it stayed virtually the same only with awesome character development. Yeah, the whole thing with Keller and Beecher was a bit soap opery but it served a purpose and created a realism of what prison life would be like.
Also, the Wire wasn't "much more diverse"...it was a brilliant show..but again, didn't have the complexities and all the diversities that Oz had.
Yes really. There's always some beef somewhere between a couple guys, different gangs vying for power, a new prisoner on the block, McManus (McMahon) pulling moves. The shit is like wrestling but with more themes.
And no, it isn't quite realistic. It is visceral in that it shows alot of gully shit that goes down, but its far from realistic. Even the shows creators and the people who advised them said they took some of the realities and processes of prison and magnified them so the drama could work. I mean really, look at all the shit that happens on that show and tell me that any prison would have as much zany shit going down and not be seriously overhauled.
Oz is about the prison system, the people inside, the human condition, sure, but the Wire is much more complex in that it took each aspect of society, crime, education, policing, politics, media, and wove them into a dramatic plot with believable characters. Its much more 'realistic' than OZ in this way, I mean, its not even comparable, at the base the Wire simply had better production values. And as I said before it had a precise motive and objective to what it wanted to portray and did so brilliantly. Oz just had the directive of 'prison drama' and tried to keep things interesting.
In the end they are different types of shows, the Wire I think was more about showing social structure accurately, and the people as examples caught within it, while OZ had an aspect of structure but was more interested in individual human drama period, the difference is the Wire executed its themes much more effectively while OZ got lost in its own games.