TV review: Treme

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more hands-on showrunner than David Simon. Writing nearly every episode of "The Wire" and now his latest, "Treme," Simon gives his shows an unparalleled amount of personal attention.

His dedication made "The Wire" the last decade's most critically-acclaimed series, and "Treme" is a strong follow-up. Still, viewers don't embrace "Treme" with the same voracity.

Maybe they were more compelled by gritty crime stories in "The Wire." Maybe reliving the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina with Simon's trademark realism is too difficult emotionally.

Or maybe "Treme" just couldn't live up to "The Wire." In fact, it didn't until the last few episodes of Season 1.

Those final episodes last season produced an explosive crescendo after a season's worth of well-developed, if sometimes slow, storytelling.

This season's early episodes - which boast the best music on television - give glimpses into the lives of myriad characters trying to pick up the pieces in post-Katrina New Orleans.

The wonderful ensemble cast (including "Wire" vets Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters, plus recent Oscar winner Melissa Leo) means there are too many good story lines to explain here.

Increased screen time for David Morse's competent cop Lt. Terry Colson and Jon Seda's corrupt venture capitalist Nelson Hidalgo signals an important thematic shift toward portraying the city's rampant crime and corruption - one of Simon's specialties.


10 p.m. Sundays on HBO

3.5 stars out of 4