There are few shows that could take a scene with a couple kids earning how to play chess, and use it to explain the socio-economic conditions of gang life in Baltimore, while simultaneously acting as a prelude to the series, but leave it to The Wire to pull it off.
At this point just about everybody has an opinion about David Simon's masterwork. There are people who treat the series in the same way that basketball fans heap praise on Michael Jordan. I think The Wire was the first show of the modern era that would become almost annoying due to zealots constantly preaching its praises to those who hadn't seen it. I am certainly guilty of that. There are others who have blatantly refused to watch the show because because of the people in the first group. There isn't a week that goes by without at least reference from the show getting made in my Twitter feed.
Every book and/or think piece I've read about the golden age of television has had a hefty chapter about The Wire in it. There were even college courses designed around the sociological and economic themes that the show excelled at conveying. Not too bad for a series that was never once nominated the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.
Just hearing about the anniversary is enough to make me want to jump back into the series for a fourth (fifth?) re-watch, but life responsibilities and a monster backlog of good TV makes that impossible. Instead I'll resign myself to watch some classic clips on Youtube, and appreciate the series that inspired so many people to go out and create great television.