All I'll say about this nonsense (admittedly not evenly distributed) is this:
If you think Chris and Snoop are flat, one-dimensional characters, you seriously don't get it. Sorry, but you don't. One of the best and subtlest aspects of the fourth season was the relationship between Chris and Michael, and one of the more interesting aspects of this season is Marlo's almost complete dependence on Chris' (impressive) skills. One of the themes of the Wire is the wasted talent of people "in the game", and I can't think of someone who better fits that than Chris, damaged or no.
Well, and one other thing: I'm going to be very, very skeptical about the ability of journalists to fairly criticize an (admittedly savage) assault on the decline of the American newspaper. Even progressive ones, if they're so (oddly) myopic as to think that the Internet is an acceptable replacement for real foreign bureaus. What replaces foreign bureaus isn't Internet sources from other countries, it's a combination of reliance on wire services and simply ignoring foreign news entirely.
Is that good for America? Definitely not. So why argue otherwise, Matt?
Anyway, it's obviously too soon to tell. At this point in the second season, everybody I know was thinking "why do I care about any of these mopes?" and at this point in the third, Hamsterdam didn't exist yet. Give the "novel on television" time.