Not waiting long after the show’s debut on Sunday, HBO announced that it picked up a second season of Treme today.
Just as the inside of a flooded house is the ideal breeding ground for mold, post-Katrina New Orleans seems to be the ideal subject for a David Simon series.
On the one hand, Treme is a very different show than The Wire. Despite Wire fans wanting more, Treme isn’t centered around a police task force running a long investigation on one crime syndicate per season. Treme follows a disparate mix of musicians and citizens. But, it shares a definite thematic link with The Wire in the opportunity to tell stories that focus on institutions and how institutions can fail people.
If Deadwood told the story of a society coming together and developing institutions, and The Wire is the story of institutions having grown up and having their own inertia, Treme looks to be the story of rebuilding a society after it has been catastrophically failed by its institutions. It shows how civil society has broken down in some ways, developed its own norms in others, and continues in accordance with tradition in other ways.
Upon returning to the city in October 2005 (two months after Katrina, and one month before the first episode of Treme), Ernie The Attorney blogged, New Orleans – Returning home:
New Orleans will never be the same. And yet, at the same time, it will always be the same. Is that a contradiction? Probably, but then so is this city. If you lived here and you understood the city then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t lived here and want to understand then come see what’s going on. It’s pretty amazing, but unfortunately I don’t even have an image to describe it. All I can say is that it’s worth being close to.
New Orleans is coming back to life. Have you ever witnessed the rebirth of a city? Creation of any kind is very hard to explain, especially when it happens to an entire community. So I won’t try. But if you are interested you should come here and see what’s going on. If you stand perfectly still and close your eyes you can feel the magic flowing in and saturating everything from the deepest soil to the tallest limbs.
Treme may be a more personal series than The Wire and focus on people as people rather than as members of their institutions, but this will be a show about society and how it rebuilds. And I expect David Simon, Eric Overmeyer and the producers, cast and crew of Treme to tell those stories well.
HBO’s ‘Treme’ creator David Simon explains it all for you
Dave Walker, The Times-Picayune, HBO’s ‘Treme’ finally gets New Orleans right, “This is the screen depiction that New Orleans deserves, has always desired, but has been denied.”
Walker is also running a blog post after each episode to explain the local references and traditions to the rest of us, HBO’s ‘Treme’ explained: ‘Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?’
James Poniewozik, Time Magazine, HBO’s Treme: “New Orleans is not Baltimore, but it’s a great and troubled city whose flood pointed out the failings of government–heckuva job, Brownie–and the lingering racial imbalances in America.”
Alan Sepinwall, Treme, “Do You Know What It Means”: The ‘n’ is for ‘nuance’: “It helps that we start off with a somewhat more famous cast this time around. You see, for instance, John Goodman’s Creighton going all Walter Sobchek on the British camera crew and you have many of the fine points of that character.”
Ben Collins, MTV News ‘Treme’ Music Recap: Death, Resilience And Broken Hearts