The conventional wisdom about David Simon, the creator of The Wire (yes it really is the greatest show of all time as many people annoyingly but correctly remind you), Treme and Generation Kill is that he is a pessimist: that his shows are about the inability of society to resolve its ills. And while this is true to some extent, it does not paint the full picture of his work. Simon’s shows can be optimistic about people — ordinary people just trying to get by and do the right thing. Rather, he seems to be deeply pessimistic about human institutions. These institutions, whether they be government bureaucracies, drug gangs or entire cities, are unable to reform themselves, and often in their structure, prevent individuals from doing the right thing.