TREME: Do Not Miss It

Tonight, on HBO, the next great television drama begins.

I have written about TREME in the past, but in case you have not paid attention, here is the dealio: Treme, named aftere the Faubourg Tremé neighborhood in the French Quarter, is set in post-Katrina New Orleans and looks at the situation through the eyes of the jazz musicians. The cast is damn impressive and features Simon vets Mellisa Leo ( Det. Sgt. Kay Howard in Homicide: Life on the Streets), The Wire’s Clarke Peters (THE WIRE), Wendell Pierce (Also from THE WIRE) and Khandi Alexander (THE CORNER) as well as John Goodman, Steve Zahn and Kim Dickens.

Simon has always had the ability to mix strong characters and engaging stories while examining the social issues of today’s society. And with all that, his shows are hella entertaining.

Treme is no different. The pilot does an excellent job of introduction characters and setting the table. The story begins three months after Katrina. The majority of the displaced residents have still not come home, so the town resembles something out of a post-apocalyptic film, abandoned and in ruins. For the musicians that made their living playing for tourists and celebrations, it is especially tough. Gigs are hard to come by, with even funerals being an appealing job.

Treme, like GENERATION KILL and THE WIRE, gives us a rich cast of interesting characters. Characters that you can’t help but care about. That makes his examination of the problems all the more effective. Instead of a cold, analytical look at the big picture, we see what the failures of government did to individuals and that makes it real in a way that all of the news footage could not. We now know these people.

Treme is going to be a series that MUST be seen. If you miss it, you will be missing out on what may end up being historic television.