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Treme Review

Treme-hbo On Sunday night, the much anticipated series Treme premiered on HBO. David Simon and Eric Overmyer, both creators/writers/producers of The Wire, created the series.

Treme-hbo So, I know we're a few days late on this, but the first episode was an hour and a half long and started at 10 p.m. And, well, I'm old and have a day job. I was finally able to take in the premiere last night and I think it's safe to say that we have another classic on our hands.

We're introduced to the main characters and get a sense of their story lines. Some are New Orleans residents who are returning to their homes three months after Hurricane Katrina, which is never named but only referred to as "the storm." Some are musicians working to make ends meet more than ever while reviving the musical heart of the city. And some are working to rebuild the parts of their lives that were destroyed.

The episode opens as a second-line parade begins. Wendell Pierce, who played Bunk on The Wire, plays Antoine, a trombone player who is always late, always short on cab fare, always disappointing his woman, and always stunning everyone with his skills. He slips into the parade as Steve Zahn's character, Davis, is also a struggling musician who trails behind the second-line, dancing and singing. As the parade winds through the city, Albert Lambreaux returns to his city, determined to re-open a bar and restart his music career.

The parts early on in the episode that are most striking are the images of the homes covered in mold and soggy, some of which still contain dead bodies, according to one character.

The episode ends with a stunning New Orleans funeral. Antoine joins the band and they play "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" as the hearse and the deceased's loved ones march somberly toward the cemetery. It's a fitting beginning to a farewell to a city that will never be the same and I imagine that near the end of this season or the series, we will get to see the traditional joyous refrain.

It's truly a finely crafted work, nothing less than what you would expect from the folks responsible for The Wire. So much depth and exploration, and wonderful stories and dialogue to guide us along the way. I can't wait for the rest of it.

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I'm from New Orleans..lived there for 25 years of my life ...lived there for 6 months after Katrina before the US Navy made us move so I'm familiar with it. This show is completely authentic..the musicians were wonderful...and it appeared to me to be an authentic second line...the acting was top notch, I felt like they were all people that you would meet there. I cried...it made so homesick...excellent show!

Washington "Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya" Cube

Right now HBO is floating around a documentary on "The Making of Treme" and tons of interesting facts to be picked up by viewing that. The history of Treme, using local talent (I don't think they missed the use of a single musician.) Lots of actors from The Wire or Homicide. I am "not" a big Steve Zahn fan, especially after he played Glenn in "Out of Sight." So annoying. He seems to specialize in annoying character roles. They picked up a lot of ongoing real-life events during the filming including that footage of the second line in the neighborhood where they just slid the actors into the action. Also, as used in the show, when you see a Chief in his costume, it is appropriate to say, "That is real pretty," just as they did in the show. This crew is detail obsessed. They had one scene at the bar and were using a certain kind of beer, and a local told them, "If this is a New Orleans bar you won't see anything but Budweiser bottles on the counter," so they changed it. And John Goodman, sadly to say, is looking one step away from a heart attack. He looks decidedly unhealthy, and it's not just the weight. The mold should get it's own credit at the end. I wasn't as immediately sucked in as I was with Homicide or The Wire, but then they were more "local" for me, but I know good writing and acting when I see it, and Treme has got it all going on.

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