So when David Simon makes another TV series set as a portrait of a city, this time post-Katrina New Orleans, with an eclectic, talented cast and a mission to explore as broad a tapestry as possible, comparisons are inevitable. But Treme isn't The Wire. Nor should it be.
|Hey, weren't you in The Wire?|
A lot is made of The Wire's structure and that way that it is best viewed as a whole, with each episode a chapter, and the same is true here. But whereas The Wire felt like Dickens - moving through society to expose the ills of society and it's institutions, Treme is only touches on that, and is more a series of personal journeys in search meaning, redemption or restoration. Whilst this makes it perfect box-set viewing, again, I can't help but wonder how it played weekly, and to be honest, it feels almost complete in one series, with it's second bound to change the rhythm.
As you might expect the performances are outstanding, but more remarkably you get not one but two fantastic, meaty roles for women in Toni (Melissa Leo) and LaDonna (Khandi Alexander), carrying what is probably closest to a traditional storyline for the show with the investigation into LaDonna's missing brother. Its not to disparage any of the other acting but both have huge moments to carry in the show. More problematic for me was Davis (Steve Zahn) who started out incredibly annoying but ended the show possibly my favorite character, although I'll never know if this is because the writing and acting started to gel better or if it was always planned that way.
|This may look silly as a still, but the actual scene is electric.|
In the end, Treme is a show that is very much it's own thing - wandering storylines, impromptu jazz interludes, and a bittersweet sense of deep loss that at first I wasn't too sure off. But it gets to you, embraces you with it's style and pacing, for all at first that may feel a little off. So it's not The Wire, and more importantly it's not trying to be, because just like it's characters, it's moving on....