Seinfeld, they say, was a show about nothing. Treme then is a show about everything – although you won’t realise that until after the final note has faded and the final image has melted from your vision.
Until that point, you could be forgiven for thinking that nothing much has happened as you’ve followed the intertwined lives of a handful of New Orleans’ residents feeling their way back after the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and, in the words of local figurehead Creighton Bernette (Goodman), the “man made catastrophe” of what happened next.
Musician Antoine (Pierce) is a musician struggling to make ends meet. His ex-wife LaDonna (Alexander) is trying to track down her younger brother David, who’s been missing since the storm. Helping her is Toni Bernette (Leo), civil rights activist and wife of Creighton. Their friend Janette (Dickens) is trying to keep her restaurant business afloat. DJ Davis (Zahn) is trying to make sense of his life in general. Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert (Peters) is trying to rebuild. The characters intertwine and come apart, thanks to David “The Wire” Simon’s story.
If, indeed, it is a story. Treme frequently feels like a camera has been dropped into real lives: the dialogue feels real, the performances feel natural (and Pierce, Peters and Goodman have never been better). And then, around it all, there’s the music, which is virtually a character in its own right.
Treme is not a programme you can put on in the background while you tweet, catch up with e mail, etc. It’s a programme you have to watch but the time you put in pays dividends by the score. The Wire was a hell of an achievement. Treme so far is on the same level. A modern classic and one that positively fizzes on Blu-Ray.
EXTRAS ★★★★ The Making of Treme, Beyond Bourbon Street Featurette, The music of Treme, 15 Audio commentaries, Previews and recaps, Down In Treme: A Look at the music and culture of New Orleans.