Treme (TV Series 2010–2013) Poster

(2010–2013)

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8/10
Treme....Another piece of American art work from Simon
dstanmyer12 January 2011
Treme is definitely not a show for everyone. And that is fine. Most likely, if you're a fan of David Simon's The Wire, you will probably have the utmost patience with this carefully and skillfully constructed character drama, realizing there will be a payoff down the line.

In the mean time, the viewer slowly, yes slowly, gets to know a wide array of characters as well as become totally engulfed in a post-Katrina New Orleans. It is often depressing and saddening. It is true that the first 3-4 episodes are slow. The viewer does wonder where the story is going, where the intrigue will come from, and what exactly is Simon going for. There are several scenes each episode where the music seems to go on too long and is filmed just for the sake of the music, not necessarily because it helps the story. In this way, it is not quite the equal of The Wire. Things are sometimes too slow and meandering.

But....please....if you're a fan of well planned character studies, if you appreciate the art and skill in a form of film that is unique and original, stick with Treme for the entire season. If The Wire was a "slow burn", Treme is a long smoldering fire left to burn after midnight, just to still be there in the morning. You think it's going to go out, but instead it just continues to build and draw you in. By episode 5 or 6, the contemplative & intelligent viewer will be won over. By the end, you are completely riveted to the fortunes of the central 7-8 characters.

I cannot say enough for David Simon's ability to create something that is so different than 95% of what passes for drama and TV on the current airwaves. Every scene is crafted for a reason, every character is painstakingly created. Nothing is wrapped up in 55 (or 41) minutes, there are no shallow, one sided caricatures (other than maybe Sonny) that is the absolute norm on most network TV shows. CSI? Law and Order? The Mentalist? Child please....

Such episodic creations like CSI are for the average viewer who wants no challenge, wants a tidy ending tied in a bow, and who can care less for an artfully executed show. Treme attempts to reflect, and represent, true life as much as possible. Real life has an ebb and flow, very little is tidy, minimally is it black & white. There are gray areas. Sometimes you do the right thing, sometimes you cut corners. If you require ease and tidiness to be entertained, please don't attempt this show....instead stick with David Caruso's Horatio on CSI: Miami, an absolute farce rife with simple and obvious one-liners that exist no where except in the festering pool of prime-time network TV written for the average viewer who is incapable of deeper thought, critical thinking, and patience.

To call these characters one-dimensional must mean that you've watched with one eye or "didn't get it". Almost everyone in the show exhibits admirable traits but also some traits that may be annoying, irresponsible, or questionable. I can say the same things about almost everyone I know in real life. No one is perfect, but most people strive to be the best they can. Wendell Pierce's Antoine Batiste changes and fluctuates throughout the 10 episodes, turning into a well-rounded human being with depth. The same can be said for Steve Zahn's Davis, who starts very clownish, but who slowly turns into a real person with a serious and sensitive side. I could go on and on, referring to The Chief, his son, LaDonna, Annie, Creighton, Toni, etc. Nevermind Kim Dickens' Janette, probably the most well-liked character that the viewer pulls for the most. She is incredibly multi-dimensional and deep, from her struggle as restaurant owner to her relationship with Davis. Also, shame on some posters that seemingly have ZERO knowledge about suicide, why it happens, how it effects the survivors, and how it often occurs with little warning, committed by an individual with a "fine and normal" life. There was nothing wrong with how Simon portrayed this un-named characters' suicide which served to represent the many people that took this route in the aftermath of such trauma.

As far as New Orleans itself, it seems to be a believable and life-like portrayal of it. I've been there 3 times ('04, '05, '09) for a week each time and can say its a place I want to return to often. The food, the music, the history, the people...are all unique and quite a National treasure. Any vitriol for the city or its people completely makes ZERO sense to me and probably reflects ignorance and close mindedness. What the city and its people have had to go through is amazing and something that 99.9% of us will never have to experience. This show attempts to capture this feel, this struggle, the identity of a city and it's attempt to resurrect itself. The characters all reflect, seemingly realistically, an aspect of this struggle, the effects of such trauma, what happened to its citizens, and what it takes to come back, and who/what may be in the way of such recovery. Obviously, if you've never experienced New Orleans, "don't get" the city, care nothing about music, you may indeed be behind the 8 ball when it comes to the patience and focus needed for this show.

Once again, it is not for everyone. It takes focus, it takes time, and it takes faith. Many people may need more explosions, more "gotcha" moments, more spoon fed explanations, and more clichés.

Bravo to Simon for another wonderfully and painstakingly created drama that only HBO would have the courage to stick with. The art, skill, and vision inherent in what he has done with this show, and The Wire, is truly an American treasure worthy of all the praise that may come its way.
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9/10
Beautifully shot; very real.
Professoressa19 April 2010
As a local who lived here during Katrina, I find this show particularly moving and powerful.

There have been so many films, documentaries, novels, etc. about New Orleans, and most tend to sensationalize or to give non-locals what they want or expect to see. This is the most real portrait of the city I've seen, and it does justice to the spirit of the city. Living here is a strange experience because it feels like a small town: you run into the same people again and again; people are always eager to show newcomers where to eat or drink or listen to music; people are very friendly; people do tend to cringe when visitors never stray from Bourbon (even though Bourbon is fun); people do have a fierce loyalty to local bars, restaurants, etc. Simon really captures all of this in the show.

I never saw The Wire, but I'm impressed with the style of giving snapshots of the city or characters to build portraits of the people and the atmosphere - particularly the second line parade, John Goodman's character reading the Tulane renewal plan (brought back some painful memories for me personally), the Mardi Gras Indian practice, the reaction of people walking into a house or bar for the first time since the storm and surveying the damage.

My main concern for this show: I have no idea how non-New Orleanians will feel about it. So much of my enjoyment of the show is rooted in seeing people I know and finally seeing a director do justice to some of the most wonderful things about this city. But I'm not sure how I would feel if I weren't so emotionally invested in it.
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10/10
A major artistic achievement from David Simon
bilko-125 April 2010
My first impression, from watching episode one, was that the writing did not have the flow of "The Wire" it was trying too hard to register the many characters and to quickly tick off the various "types" that make up New Orleans society. Bunk and Freeman were too firmly placed in my memory for me to make the leap to Antoine and Albert. As for the Steve Zahn character, I instantly took a dislike to him and found him unrealistic in the extreme.

By the time we had reached the scene with the Big Chief emerging from the dark, I had become hooked. The characters started to make sense. The generous helping of musical scenes produced what must be the finest portrayal of live music and musicians I have ever seen. I could not wait to catch episode two.

I have now watched the first two episodes twice and all my first impressions have been blown away. Once you get to know the characters and can watch their introduction again, things start to make sense. Steve Zahn? What a brilliant comic creation. Just watch the intro to episode two, his creeping around Elvis Costello, his first day on the job. Absolutely first rate, The shocking introduction of violence, suddenly alters ones perceptions of a major character. Bunk, still lingers in the memory, but Antoine's blowing is going to change all that. I was not familiar with Khandi Alexander, but am now a major fan. Her performance is charismatic in the extreme.

I know that this series is not going to be to everyone's liking, but then neither is Shakespeare or Dickens. However, for those who enjoy a multi-faceted piece of work that can examine society in minute detail whilst never failing to entertain, this will surely rank as a major piece of American art.
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9/10
Impressive. Its no wonder why all the good dramas are on HBO...and Treme is one of the best of the year
raysond16 April 2010
The intense drama series "Treme" is one of the best shows out there.

And there is a good reason why some of the best dramas on television end up on HBO.

This is an endlessly rich series coming from the genius of David Simon,who has re-team with "The Wire" writer-producer Eric Overmyer to re-create New Orleans,a city in chaos three months after it was nearly washed away by Hurricane Katrina. Like his previous efforts on "The Wire",Simon's brilliant five-year epic about Baltimore was told mainly through the eyes of its most beleaguered(and beleaguering)citizens,"Treme" teems with authentic life.

Simon doesn't coddle an audience,and landing in "Treme" is the artistic equivalent of landing in New Orleans itself. You're surrounded by people who know this city.....who talk about some of it's places, foods and culture and people without providing any background information to help you follow the discussion. They know the ups and downs of this city. And "Treme" delivers. As you'd expect from a Katrina story,the characters in "Treme" face myriad problems. But they have a sense of hope and resilience and a good-times-roll embrace of great food,great conversation,and so forth.

If the strong writing is a Simon hallmark,so is an impeccable ensemble that includes Wendell Pierce("The Wire"),Clarke Peters("The Wire"), Khandi Alexander("The Corner"),Melissa Leo("Homicide:Life On The Street"),and Nick Gomez("Oz"),along with such widely known actors as John Goodman("Roseanne"),and Steve Zahn. "Treme" sets up the characters and tells its story incredibly well and this maybe one of the best dramas on television,and it delivers. A Must See.
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8/10
Treme Opinion
Danny McCloskey19 April 2010
The Wire was a great show. Rather than imitating the backdrop that made The Wire tick....homicide, drugs, corruption, David Simon has created a program with the same reality, different circumstances. I have enjoyed both episodes and am already a fan. Treme showcases the people of New Orleans. Not as victims but simply as a community that has taken a very hard hit and are attempting to move forward. As a side story, it also focuses on the musicians that provide the soundtrack for the city and their own ways of balancing life with art and trying to give the impression that, on the outside, they care as much about family as they do about feeding their primary goal, playing. There is a lot going on but there are a lot of characters, back stories and lives interconnecting. Eric and David are doing a very good job at the set up, providing glimpses at personal lives to act as puzzle pieces for the whole picture.
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10/10
The mixed reviews were understandable - have patience, brothers and sisters
jatrudel20 April 2010
Yes, if you're a fan of David Simon you probably will be disappointed, but hold judgment until you've experienced both episode 1 and episode 2. In the first hour of the pilot there is a sense of the surreal. We feel a disconnect with the city and its characters. We catch glimpses of former New Orleans life but try as we might there is nothing drawing us in. New Orleans and its people are in a catatonic state. The city no longer has a soul. An hour doesn't seem that long but I must admit after sixty dreary minutes I was ready to pack it in, and then in the second hour the magic of Simon began creeping out of the cracks and crevices. It wasn't enough to convince me a compelling story would emerge, but it was enough for me to give it a second chance. A great story requires more of a setup than audiences are willing to give a writer these days. Thank god Simon never lets that influence him.

About a third of the way into episode two Simon had me. If you saw The Wire, that's probably the only criticism I had left. I can still see Bunk and Freamon. They were incredibly powerful characters and it's hard to dissociate Pierce and Peters from those parts. Wendell Pierce fills up a honky tonk stage as Antoine Batiste but aside from his trombone playing, I still expect him to wake up the next morning and head off to investigate another homicide. Same with Clarke Peters as the Indian. He's embraced his new role and already put his stamp on it, but in my mind he's still the recalcitrant Baltimore detective. I guess you could say that's pretty petty stuff. The new ensemble took over in the second episode and I can't wait for more. This is shaping up to be as good as The Wire.
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A Great Slice of Life Drama
Brian Washington9 May 2010
This is definitely one of the best shows on HBO. It shows how New Orleans is coping with the disaster of Katrina with not only great scripts but with great characters such as Davis (Steve Zahn), Ladonna (Khandi Alexander), Antoine (Wendell Pierce) and "Big Chief" Albert (Clarke Peters). In fact, the character of Davis is truly a one of a kind character. He is both passionate and manic and you can truly feel his passion as well as his anger over the disaster that destroyed his adopted hometown. Also, this definitely captures the spirit of New Orleans, both good and bad and the true star of the show is the city of New Orleans itself with This definitely has a chance of becoming a true classic and hopefully the audience will continue to grow for this wonderful show.
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10/10
Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Gooooood.
ghost-of-twain188825 April 2010
I was a kid when The Wire was out, and needless to say my parents didn't like the idea of me watching HBO. I had caught a few episodes here and there and was immediately drawn in, obviously it was a great show. But in just a couple of episodes I find myself entirely drawn to this show. The depth and lengths they went to capture the true essence of New Orleans post Katrina is awe inspiring and goes without saying, eye opening. Steve Zahn and Wendell Pierce are their characters. They are standouts, but every character has a lot of depth to them, reeling from the different effects the hurricane brought to them individually and the city as a whole. And not to mention the music!! If you're a jazz or blues lover, the music alone is worth the watch. It's amazing. 10/10, HBO scores again.
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8/10
Ahh, finally...
split-infinitive14 May 2010
Ahh, finally...

A production that is not formulaic and one dimensional like every one-story-per-episode cop, medical and law drama that has thrived on fear and gullibility and polluted the air waves and rotted the minds of millions of thoughtless automatons all over the world for the last decade.

The script is snappy, The characters are interesting and multi dimensional, the production is slick and the backdrop is an unusual and thought provoking set.

From the first scene, you can feel the pulse of Treme. As the characters are slowly revealed and interact, there is an air of anticipation and a real feeling of movement towards an unknown direction.

This is a refreshing, polished human life drama. A dynamic, original breath of fresh air. A window to a very real culture and a very real class of people.
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10/10
A roller-coaster ride of a show, it started off slow but is now cranking into full gear now
dninc7926 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
HBO and David Simon.. Thank you!... This is truly one show about New Orleans i can fully say.. (IS NEW ORLEANS)

These episodes are leaving me with a feeling of "being taking back there" I don't know if you can get a better cast, (well you probably can)

I feel like this show was carefully done with love the way that there are some micro-stories that only exist in New Orleans are added, at the same-time you have to have "BALLS!" to be a director not from the city having various things in the script that take deliberate and constant swipes at the NOPD, the politicians, other cities and parishes, neighborhoods and people. Speaking on the micro-stories, a lot of people didn't know about the "Black Creoles Versus the African American blacks" existed, this story brings that out and i think it's going to come out even more as Ladonna character intensify her search for her brother. In a way it's almost a bipolar story, i feel like im on a roller-coaster ride thats never going to end.. Amazing, David Simon is the man and a genius!..

Last part of the 3rd Episode left me with a sick feeling in my gut and had to hold back tears, as the credits rolled i had to turn my head because i was soooooo upset! Wow "shivers man!!!"

Well done.. Bravo!
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10/10
A masterful celebration of character, culture and community, a humanist look at life and death – and music.
grinchbkb19 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
David Simon's new show, a heartfelt ode to post-Katrina New Orleans and the spirit of its inhabitants, is the best thing I have seen all year. It's The Wire with music instead of drugs. Many found this very concept boring – no blood, no guns, no romantic gangsters. Too bad for them. Treme is about everyday people trying to get by, a group of flawed but beautiful characters so real that it's bordering on the uncomfortable. It's not Eastenders after the levees broke though – nothing is soppy or melodramatic about these people's lives: romance is doomed or pathetic; tragedy is latent and ordinary.

Wendell "Bunk" Pierce and Clarke "Freemon" Peters reprise slightly altered versions of their Wire persona, but this time as local musicians. Pierce still plays the gregarious man who's real good at what he does (used to be PO-lice, here it's playing the trombone) but likes earthy pleasures a bit too much (women & booze, again). And Peters remains this charismatic, wise and brave old-timer (Morgan Freeman watch out!), as the Chief of a tribe of Mardi-Gras Indians. They are both great, but Clarke Peters once again steals the show: after transforming doll-house furniture building into a dignified past-time in The Wire, he pushes it further in Treme by making sewing pearls look like the manliest thing on earth.

The rest of the ensemble cast is on the same note, absolutely excellent. John Goodman is impressive playing the ungrateful role of the self- absorbed academic, who, despite having his beautiful house and life spared by the hurricane, lets his romantic love for the city draw him into a bleak depression. Khandi Alexander (yes, that sexy coroner from CSI Miami) redeems herself from all these years playing in that pathetic excuse of a show with her subtle portrayal of a bar owner looking for her missing brother in the aftermath of the hurricane. There is also the irksome but necessary figure of local white DJ Davis McAlary (played by the excitable Steve Zahn) who serves as a symbol for gentrification and the controversial issue of white appropriation of black music, also obliquely addressing the recurring criticism of David Simon as "that middle-class white dude pretending to talk and care about the black underclass".

Treme's pace is languorous, not dictated by the need to drive story lines or pile up cliffhangers. It's all about creating an atmosphere, getting a feel for the place. It is not, however, a sentimental postcard or a soppy mood piece: Simon's ambition is intact, layering the show with so many metaphorical story arcs (e.g. the great jazz debate between tradition and new jazz fleshed out by the feuding Lambreaux father and son) and socio-political observations, still pointing out the unfairness and contradictions of US society. In contrast to The Wire where institutions, like Roman gods, would crush the lives of the mere citizens, in Treme, no ones seems to care about institutions that are in even worse shape than the city anyway – symbolised by all that rotting, damp paperwork.

A quick word about the soundtrack: live music sounds like live music, and it's rare enough to mention – with sloppy notes, amp feedback, misunderstanding between performers, ego battles, failures to keep up, faulty equipment, etc. Whether you particularly like New Orleans jazz, southern rap, funk, second-line brass bands, Indian chants or not – the enthusiasm and freshness of the music will keep you interested (and there's a chance that you'll improve your iTunes library in the process).

In the long run, Treme could be considered superior to The Wire, as a masterful celebration of character, culture and community, a humanist look at life and death – and music. Let's hope Simon keeps it up with the next season.

ggendron.wordpress.com
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4/10
Tried real hard to like this, but...
solpsizm14 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One caveat to this review: I've only watched about halfway into season 2.

I tried real hard to like Treme, but despite multiple attempts and a season and a half of investment I just couldn't. When this first debuted, I tried twice to get into it but couldn't get past the second episode. I recently started watching this on HBOGO after having watched The Wire again. With the same creator/showrunner I gave this show the benefit of the doubt, and while season 1 does improve a lot as it goes on until a brilliant final episode, the first episode of season 2 took a few tries to slog through and the improvement after that wasn't nearly as much in season 2 as in season 1 after the first couple episodes, which caused me to stop watching this.

The reason why it was almost a chore to get through the first couple of episodes wasn't because it was slow, which it was. Slow isn't bad by default, and I like shows that take their time layering their characters and stories. However, the problem with Treme IMO is that the characters are not likable or compelling.

By likable I don't mean the kind where the writers manipulate the audience into rooting for them. But there has to be something about them that either makes me care what happens to them, good or bad. Or something about their situation that makes me want to see what happens to them.

But what the characters that were presented to me after the first couple of episodes were: a part-time trombone player who tries to chump the people around him, an Indian chief/handyman who killed or at least tried to kill a kid for stealing his tools, an annoyingly outspoken musician/DJ who has an overblown sense of his entertainment value and a coke addict street musician who hits women when he's angry. Characters need not be nice or pretty on screen to be likable or compelling, but after a season and a half the way I would describe these characters is not that much different than the descriptions just offered.

The other characters are for the most part ones who you would like in real life but who, really, have no basis for being on screen. The closest characters to being having any dramatic basis or being likable/compelling are the bar owner who lost her brother in Katrina and who subsquently gets raped as a result of the dissolution of New Orleans, and an outspoken English professor/activist who then commits suicide that we surmise is from the aftermath of Katrina. In season 2 we are introduced to two new main characters: a carpetbagger from Houston who makes millions from the reconstruction and a police lieutenant who ruffles feathers in his department by caring about his city. Neither are stories that compelled me to watch further.

There are some great actors here, the directing and writing of each episode is solid, and the final episode of season 1 is a beautifully made collage. However, there is a reason why fictional TV shows and moviesdon't follow real life people: we're boring. Even the most most raw, gritty and realistic TV shows, such as the Wire or Six Feet Under, distill real life into characters and stories which are compelling.

Sometimes when watching this show I felt as if I were watching a show whose primary aim was to subsidize musicians who the vast majority of people have never heard of, or to help bring attention and revenue to a city in need of attention and revenue. While those are worthy goals, it simply does not make for good entertainment.

Also, Davis Macaleary, the part time musician/DJ, is probably one of the more annoying characters to hit the small screen in recent times.

Furthermore... if you're not a huge fan of jazz or blues, then be warned: in every episode there are multiple scenes of people playing music, mostly real musicians who aren't even characters in the story. The scenes are basically the camera watching them documentary style sans any drama. I like jazz or blues but after hours of watching people play with absolutely no dramatic purpose, combined with a lack of any likable or compelling characters/stories, I tuned off.
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10/10
Welcome to New Orleans
njmollo1 June 2010
After the superb series The Wire and the equally brilliant Generation Kill, David Simon brings us Treme.

Treme is a New Orleans neighbourhood suffering greatly from the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. Government bureaucracy, indifference and corruption compound the almost post-war-like situation.

This is very different from David Simon's previous work and comparisons can be made but will inevitably be fruitless. This drama revolves around the lives of a diverse set of characters that struggle to exist in Treme district.

The most disturbing and moving documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath is Welcome to New Orleans (2006) and Treme being a drama on the same subject, in many ways is as moving and provocative.

The casting is on the whole excellent with Khandi Alexander, Wendell Pierce, Lucia Micarelli and Clarke Peters being the standouts. John Goodman somehow feels out of place and less authentic than the rest of the cast but this could be because of all the excess baggage he brings by way of other film roles. I would have preferred Delaney Williams to have been cast in the role of Creighton Bernette and am sure as such an eloquent and talented actor, he could have nailed the part.

The real star of Treme is the music. The live performances are excellently recorded and freshly filmed, so that you really feel that you are there, in that bar, nightclub or strip joint.

The issues raised in this series are important but the most disturbing is the fact that the American Government could treat its own people in such a despicable fashion. Brilliant Television!!
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Not the Wire, But Worthy
b_clerkin17 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It took me a while to warm up to Treme, but after watching all but the final episode, I must confess that it grows on you as you begin to care about the characters. Sure the annoying, but expected, meme about the disaster being Bush's fault is there, but Nagin and the rest of the endemically corrupt politicians and citizens do not get much of a pass. I even like Davis, though Steve Zahn's (does he play any other kinds of roles) arrested adolescent can be tiresome and is pretty much the epitome of the best and worst of NO. Love of fun and music, but no desire to do the unpleasant work necessary to pay for the party. The only character I detest is the greasy, selfish,no-talent Eurotrash Sonny. Every week I yell at Annie to kick his arrogant butt to the curb. I never thought I would love a David Simon character more than Lester Freamon in "The Wire" but Clarke Peters has made Albert Lambreaux an iconic American figure. A completely different man than Freamon, which proves how talented Peters is, Albert has the same core of integrity that forces him to take risks solely to stay true to himself. I hate summer and humidity, but I would go to the tavern and sew beads and feathers on his Chief suit in a heartbeat. Khandi Alexander, Melissa Leo and Kim Dickens play strong Southern women who would be cliché except that the writing and acting is so fine, they are real and will break your heart and make you yell, "Go, girl" at least once per show. Wendell Pierce exudes the charm of a scoundrel who would like to be a better man, but just gets distracted along the way. And John Goodman, a native of the city, does not seem to be acting at all. His profane rant that goes viral on Youtube is now a popular phrase in our house (we have no children). The music is sublime, and the NO Convention Bureau should include DVDs of the series when it comes out because the music and spirit that make the city the legend that it is are celebrated in every scene. The story can be extremely enraging, as the devastation and chaos and corruption keep thwarting the rebirth of this magical city, and the frustration of its citizens is palpable. But Simon does not let them off the hook, either. A contractor from Texas who comes to fix a roof that has been under construction for months with a local guy articulates the main problem in a nutshell when he says, "no, offense ma'am, but y'all have a defective work ethic."
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6/10
It's alright to admit the show is just "ok" and not "spectacular"
lv88883 June 2010
It's always better to let a show age before reviewing. I think too many David Simon admirers wanted to love this show just like "The Wire". It's a very different show in many ways. It's definitely watchable most of the time, but it's not great, and we shouldn't feel the need to expect it to be either. It gets much too pompous and self-important at times, I'm particularly tired of hearing how "special" New Orleans is and that we should all just accept it and bow down. Many of our cities have their own unique qualities and personalities forged over hundreds of years, New Orleans isn't unique in this way. My biggest problem is that I could overlook these misgivings if some of the characters were more engaging, but many I just don't have a vested interest in. And I must ask; how often do you end an episode with the feeling of "Wow, I can't wait to see what happens next week!"? Admit it, that rarely happens and that should tell you something...
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9/10
The music alone is worth 6 stars
johnlisa51354 May 2010
I had no expectations going in with this show, as I'd seen no reviews or promo. What I encountered is a raw depiction of New Orleans with the good and bad so intertwined you'll never tear them apart. You sometimes can't even tell them apart!

I haven't enjoyed a drama series this much since "Homicide: Life on the Street." Baltimore was laid out for all to see in the same way, even though the editing style is completely different. I like the characters and actors, and they have a place on my DVR.

And NO COMMERCIALS!!! The ONLY reason I'm withholding one star is the overuse of profanity. Yes, I use it myself (albeit not as much as these characters), and I understand the rationale for it. There's just too much of it, in my opinion, for 10 stars. Then again, I'm really f@#*ing old! ("feeling!" what did YOU think?)
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7/10
Let's be honest.
jbs001-121 June 2010
Let me start by saying that I don't hate this show. It just bores me to tears. I loved The Wire and it's pacing. This show tries so hard to duplicate it but falls painfully short.

Treme is not without its good moments and charm, but at least 20 minutes per 50 minute episode is just music with no content. Listening to Jazz music, dancing, and having a good time is awesome... especially in New Orleans. Watching people do it on TV gets old after about the 3rd episode.

Also, this show has an incredibly real feeling to it. You believe that all these characters really exist and they are superbly cast. There is one problem. Reality, for the most part, is mind numbingly dull. There are very few really dramatic moments contained in the show. Almost every story takes no figuring out. They all run the most boring and realistic course that you can think of.

Again, I don't hate it. I just think people need to be honest about how good a piece of work is before they start giving it a free pass because of who made it and that it's different from most of the garbage out there.
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7/10
A foreigner's perspective
Sven Andersson6 March 2012
I've now watched quite a few episodes of this show, and I though it would be fun to give you a Swede perspective of it. Oddly enough, my own home town of Gothenburg has some things in common with New Orleans. In Sweden, Gothenburg is known as the place that is more relaxed than the rest of the country, and the inhabitants are thought to be different - almost a breed apart.

Luckily we haven't had the misfortune of nearly getting our town flattened out by a hurricane flood. I really admire the people of New Orleans for surviving this and beginning to rebuild their great city. They have a lot of spirit - that's for certain.

Treme contains a lot of music. This is both a blessing and a curse, in my opinion. My grandfather has a huge (I really mean this - its HUGE!) collection of jazz records - a lot of it is trad jazz. So in my family we have a kind of tradition of listening to jazz records. There's a lot of other evolutions of Jazz in the show like soul, funk etc. but even if I'm used to all these genres from New Orleans I don't find all the performances in the show enjoyable. During some episodes it becomes a drag to sit through music you just don't like that much. But I have to say I especially enjoy almost all of the second line, soul/funk and bounce stuff. Actually, this show led to my discovery of bounce - a style I really enjoy.

The story of Treme feels a lot like The Wire - it focuses on different aspects of life in the recovering city. I thought the video-blogging professor and the struggling chef were the most engaging story lines. Especially the restaurant business, in fact; it made me really want to try New Orleans cuisine. I think HBO should push for exporting this show to many other countries to bring probably much needed food tourism to New Orleans.

The Mardi gras indians remain inexplicable to me as a Swede. Are they some kind of mock indians? According to Wikipedia, they are... But I feel the whole thing feels stupid somehow - like a Swede dressing up in a freaky Same costume for some special holidays. I just don't get it. One also wonders what the Big Chief is actually doing for a living when he is not sewing on his costume. This whole Indian thing is of course a depiction of a certain expression of culture in New Orleans - I know this. But it seems a little too odd. what's the point? Mostly the indians remind me of lion fish.

It's a little unfortunate that both Det. Lester Freamon of The Wire and the Big Chief are heavily into handicrafts because it makes you associate the two... which brings me to Antoine Batiste - the trombonist. He is too much like "The Bunk" from The Wire in both appearance and demeanor, sometimes. But as the show wears on this gets better, I feel.

Despite the few negative things I have to say about the show, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Don't be surprised if I show up looking for a special Treme-based tour of the city and the New Orleans people end up ignoring/tiredly staring at my stupidly gawking and sun-baked Nordic face as I am herded about by some tired guide...
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10/10
I wish you weren't allowed to write a review for a new show until after the end of the first season
Warning: Spoilers
And yet here I am writing one anyways for the midway point of the first season. I must say after watching the first five episodes of Treme and watching the first five episodes of The Wire I actually like Treme better. In the first five episodes of The Wire only 2 main things are established basically crime and financial failure on a city wide scale. However, in the first five episodes of Treme a city at war with its self and its identity yet still trying to hang on. The cast was well picked and it doesn't feel like their acting it feels like their living trying to rebuild the city around them both physically and culturally. Already in the first 5 episodes you have rich character development. This is the best representation of what happened in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. I haven't even talked about the music yet because thats a whole other issue. I love the storyline with the chief! However, I am not wild about the storyline with the two street musicians (boy and girl), I just don't care where its going maybe because its the least believable part. I mean one junkie dude from the Netherlands and a classically trained rich chick who just decide to leave their comfortable lives in Europe and New York together only to find happiness in the squaller of Katrina? I mean I'm all for creative story lines but man it seems like their characters are just written in to get more white women to watch the show because their story is soooooooo romantic. By far this show has the best music I've ever hear of any non-animated series hands down. Love New Orleans jazz! Love it! By the way whats with the bad reviews from all the soar limeys? Do you not like New Orleans or just the fact that there isn't enough chalk lines? This show has the meat in it to match The Wire and maybe top it. Come back and talk to me about this show at the end of 5 seasons.
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9/10
Season finale elevates this series to GREAT
thegort28 June 2010
I've enjoyed this series from the start. Of course it's been difficult to see the destruction of perhaps the country's greatest city reflected in the characters' lives. In spite of the effective use of music as the continual pulse of the show, I felt most of the middle episodes lagged. But the season finale catapulted the series, in my estimation, to the stratosphere. Incredibly moving and richly metaphorical, this is one of the greatest hours of television I've ever seen. Now,I can't wait for Season 2.

ALL of the actors are terrific, but Melissa Leo stands out. She's likely the greatest "mature" American actress working today.

But Khandi Alexander's scary plastic surgery froze her ability to express. Faces are the essential instruments of actors, and when you do facelift or botox or whatever she had, they no longer register as human. Is it just me?
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10/10
What a treat!!
donita515 June 2010
I have never been to New Orleans, and while watching this show, I wish I had. What a place it must have been before Katarina struck...

I was hooked on this show from the start, seeing it not as a series, but as a long, rambling epic, saluting the glorious past of the Crescent City, its (still) unbelievable music, its special people, its big heart and yes, its current misery.

And what an actor Wendell Pierce is. He was great as Bonk in The Wire, but here he surpasses himself, giving the performance of a lifetime, and what a delight it was to read that he is a native New Orleannais. Chapeau, Wendell!

The rest of the cast are all good, with John Goodman clearly enjoying himself as the profane professor, but the real hero of the show is the music, real New Orleans music. Need one say more?
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10/10
most enjoyment in front of the t.v. yet
pjwills316 June 2010
I first traveled to New Orleans in 05 prior to Katrina. I fell in love with the people, the music, the food, the history, and the list goes on. I have since returned 3 times and have observed the changes and spoken to many locals about the struggles they have encountered in reestablishing there lives. This series hits the nail on the head in this regards. The characters are real and I mean even the fictional ones. I know that many of the roles are based on real people and events. The emotional roller coaster that is Treme is an event that that no one should miss seeing. I enjoyed The Wire , The Sopranos,and other H.B.O. series but this may be the best.
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10/10
Loved This Series
Pamela27 December 2010
Series TV is some of the best written, best acted, and all around best filmed entertainment out there these days. I have loved Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Dexter, and Boardwalk Empire in 2010. But Treme tops my list of favorites. Of all these excellent shows, Treme has been the one I've loved the most, the one I've watched over and over and still haven't tired of, the one I'll be buying the Season 1 set of.

I guess I love it for three reasons. I do enjoy a good character study, and these characters are all wonderful, non-stereotyped, and fascinating. Davis may be my favorite, but it's a tough pick.

I'm a pretty big music fan, especially blues, and every episode is crammed full of goodies of all kinds and before you know it you're thinking, "well I'll be damned, that's Elvis Costello" or somebody else real in the musical lower stratosphere.

I'm not from New Orleans. Only visited a couple of times, but the meld of cultures and history that has produced the uniqueness of New Orleans has always fascinated me and I greatly enjoy being smack in that city via these episodes.

I'm happy to read reviews from locals who testify to the accuracy of the show. It feels true, but just like accents, if you don't or haven't lived in the middle of it for a long time, you can't really tell if it's absolutely true blue or not.

I'm hoping Treme will pick up some steam with Season 2. Season 1 seems to have gotten good reviews, but not a lot of fan-follow. There isn't much chatter about it on the HBO message boards, nor anywhere else I've seen. This show is way, way too good to end anytime soon.
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6/10
Too much music, not enough story.
nrd515 .28 August 2013
I loved The Wire, but not this show, I gave it a shot, but I can't even say I like it much. Way too much music. Even a friend from NO says the same thing. It stops the story dead in it's tracks. Without all the music, each episode could easily hold two episodes worth of story, with time left over, but this isn't it's main problem. This show reminds me of "Cop Rock", a decent show ruined by the cops breaking into song all the time, just as something was finally happening. Treme could be a good show, if the music was gone or just reduced, all the other parts are there, casting, the basic stories, and the locations. I gave it two full seasons, and I'm done with it.
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9/10
"Treme" isn't perfect but I like it.......
walshbuckeye13 June 2010
I think HBO is still looking for new era of blockbuster shows that they need to replace previous blockbusters like "The Sopranos", "The Wire", "Six Feet Under", "Sex and the City", etc. I don't think "Treme" reaches that far but it's a good start (but you never know). I have a feeling "Boardwalk Empire" will be the show that "reaches".

No, it's not "The Wire" but it definitely has some of the same qualities. Urban life/culture, government incompetence/corruption, personal drama etc.

The story line does a real good job of making New Orleans come alive. The music, the sights, the food all make the story just go.

It does have it's flaws. I think it glorifies New Orleans to the point of where the viewer (that's not from NO or SE Louisiana) feels that New Orleans is the only place that has it's own quirky charm and culture. And they are plenty of cities that have their own cool way of life.

Character development could be better. Steve Zahn's character can be distracting at times with his scheming and juvenile behavior. They need to explore more into Wendell Pierce, Melissa Leo, and Kim Dickens.

Personally, I think Michiel Huisman needs to go. He comes off as your typical arrogant Eurotrash musician type that does too much cocaine, drinks too much, and is a total control freak. It wouldn't upset me if they scrapped the whole Sonny-Annie storyline(even though Lucia Micarelli is VERY talented). To me, those two really add nothing to the show.

I do agree with some that there maybe too much music vs actual dialog.

Overall I really like it and will continue to tune in. I don't think it will be a smash with the folks with Golden Globes or the Emmys (but I could be wrong) but HBO likes it enough for a second season.

I am an American History junkie that was looking forward to "The Pacific" (Huge Disappointment) and instead got hooked into "Treme".
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