The Home Box Office channel, or HBO, is largely known as a movie channel for viewers but they have been growing in the market for television shows. This growth has largely been made possible by popular series such as “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.”
In 2010, HBO brought its viewers another entertaining and powerful television series, “Treme.”
The term “Treme” refers to one of the oldest neighborhoods of New Orleans, which is prominently African-American and rich in culture and New Orleans jazz music.
“Treme” takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, approximately just three months after the hurricane when Season One begins. The show focuses on the struggles of the residents of New Orleans who were brought to a state of disaster when the levees broke from Hurrican Katrina, causing massive flooding and massive damage to a city where the majority of citizens don’t have much money.
“Treme” chronicles a variety of characters when documenting the struggles of post-Katrina residents. The variety of characters includes musicians, chefs, bar-owners, government officials and even police chiefs.
“Treme” is brought to you by David Simon, the same writer that wrote the popular HBO Series “The Wire” and “Generation Kill,” along with Eric Overmyer, who is the writer and producer of “Law and Order” and “Homicide.”
Much like Simon did with “The Wire,” he does an amazing job of developing the characters of the show, and how they interact with each other. The show focuses on a group of characters, but the characters don’t all know each other, but since they are all experiencing similar situations, they tend to cross paths often without knowing each other.
If you liked the actors in “The Wire,” then you’ll love the ones in “Treme.” Simon has chosen to use many of the same actors, but in very different roles. This is great to see since it’s always nice to see familiar actors, but this time in a completely different role which shows just how capable they are.
One of my favorite characters in the show is Antoine Batiste, who is played by Wendell Pierce. Pierce was “Bunk Moreland,” in “The Wire,” an alcoholic detective in the city of Baltimore. In “Treme,” Pierce plays Antoine Batiste, a struggling musician who is getting pressure from his girlfriend to drop his trumpet and get a real job. But Batiste is getting pressure from the other side to continue playing music as his family has always been a group of musicians, plus he loves being a Jazz musician.
Many of the characters are musicians since the neighborhood of Treme is huge on culture and Jazz. This allows the show to provide a lot of music and demonstrations of their culture throughout the show, giving the viewer great insight into the culture of New Orleans.
Many scenes of the show feature musicians performing a show in a local bar, having a great time despite the damage that Hurricane Katrina has caused, which demonstrates the mentality of the neighborhood. The characters seem to use their music and culture as a form of coping with the disaster.
The show always keeps me wanting to see more episodes, which becomes a problem with “Treme.” They tend to have short, eight-episode seasons which are topped off with a powerful hour and a half season finale that always leaves you wanting to see more.
“Treme” provides a powerful insight into not only the horrific situations of a post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, but also the amazing culture that the historical city contains. If you are looking for a good show that provides drama, music, historical context, and good acting, I recommend you check out “Treme” on HBO.
The premier date for Season Three has yet to be announced, but until then you can watch the first two seasons on HBO Go if you have HBO, or rent them from Netflix or a local movie store.