Yeah, it's not binary. A character can be used to explore themes at the exact same time that those themes are exploring the character. I mean, I could just as well say that Tony Soprano was constructed in order to explore themes of sociopathy and megalomania in conflict with the necessarily calm and stable family man persona. The classic juggle of family life with power. It would no less reduce his centrality to the progress of the story.Mifune wrote:I think we are at crossed purposes here.
In The Wire different aspects of society are looked at. Throughout a season certain social structures are examined through characters eg. with Frank it is moral integrity and corruption. So the characters are used to explore it, rather than drive what the show talks about themselves.
Morality is a theme in Mad Men too but it is used to look at a character rather than like in the wire where characters are used to look at morality as a story.
Obviously this isn't binary and there are parts of both in most TV shows. Just taking about the overall structure of the shows.
I know what you're getting at. Taken as a whole, there is more plot to the Wire than the Sopranos, or at least plotlines that actually resolve themselves. But (putting aside the fact that I actually consider this a flaw of the Sopranos rather than a strength - imo it was almost Lost-esque in its willingness to open plotlines without any idea of how to end them) that doesn't mean that is necessarily the plot that drives the story.