After searching through Jason Kottke's site for links about The Wire, and remembering his strong recommendation of season 3, it feels a little strange to say that after watching both the first and second seasons, it's time for a break. Season 4 is currently in progress, so I don't feel like there's too much left to get caught up, meaning I can wait until the holidays and use the hour or two gained from not watching Baltimore homicide and narcotics cops catch the bad guys to catch up on the first season of space pilots battling their robotic creations.
Thoughts so far on the first two seasons: lots of parallels between it and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Both are set in Baltimore, Maryland. Both have homicide detectives joining police raids while wearing bullet-proof vests. Both have black ink on the whiteboard for solved cases ("clearances" in The Wire, meaning they passed it on to the district attorneys), and red for unsolved cases, like the 14 Jane Does in Season 2. Both had the district attorney's office as a largely tangential player, but from what I remember, The Wire has more politics. (A running theme is that if you follow the drugs, all you find are drug users and drug dealers, but if you follow the money, you don't know what you'll find.) Homicide was a little edgier, especially with the editing, and dark, and maybe a little better. But then again, it didn't have Method Man acting as one of the gangsters.