Final Thoughts: Treme Season One

Coming off The Wire, my expectations for Treme were impossibly high, a fact somewhat mitigated by knowing that they were impossibly high.  Truthfully, David Simon’s latest series has not come close to his last one, but then, that’s not what it needed to do.  What was required of Treme, and where it thoroughly succeeded, was moving past the comparison.  At some point this series grew out of The Wire’s considerable shadow and became its own brilliant entity.  I’m now just as happy to see Antoine and Albert as I was to watch Bunk and Lester, and that is pretty damned impressive.

What Worked

The cast was incredible, ranging from pretty good to outright amazing.  These people embodied their characters so thoroughly that I was rarely even aware of the performance.  I try to name the standouts, but I’d end up listing most of the cast.  If I wanted to call the Emmy nominees I’d say Khandi Alexander and Clarke Peters.

So much of this show was riding on the music and it never-ever failed to deliver.  Glee fans take note: THIS is how you integrate music into a show.

“Authenticity” was put to astonishing use, not only being a goal the creators sought, but integrated as a thematic element of the series.  Damned impressive.

Indian Costumes

Creighton Bernette’s arc was likely my favorite, starting off as a voice of righteous anger and then becoming something else entirely.  I’m really gonna miss him next season.

Albert Lambreaux may have been my favorite character, although it’s rather difficult to choose.

Shame, Shame, Shame

Lt Colson added some essential nuance to an otherwise vilified NOPD.  Exploring the tribulations of trying to make a dysfunctional police force function would’ve invited too many Wire comparisons, but hopefully this character will get some room to breathe now that Treme’s established itself.

Janette & Jacques somehow had the most chemistry of any pairing without being romantically involved.

The friendship between Antoine and the Japanese fan was incredibly touching, and developed in only a single episode.

Excellent use of celebrity cameos.

In true David Simon fashion, nothing was ever handed to the audience.  This show hit the ground running and expected us to catch up.  Doing so was completely worth it.

What Didn’t

Annie/Sonny’s break up ended up being pretty predicable.  TV relationships seldom end without a villain, and so it was refreshing to see these two drift apart without anyone being at fault.  Sadly, Sonny emerged as the bad guy and we had to wince our way through watching Annie stay with him before things finally ended with a feeling of relief rather than drama.

The Texan leaving Sonny and Annie’s place.  I STILL don’t know what was up with that.

Antoine’s story somewhat petered out in the final episodes.  It was a bit of a waste of a great character.

The David Brooks storyline was the only arc we could really recognize in the early days, and wasn’t quite strong enough to carry us between episodes.

This show won’t be back until April:(

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