Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars After the flood, watching the paint dry, 12 July 2011
By 
This review is from: Treme - Season 1 (HBO) [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Were you one of those Wire addicts who couldn't resist watching just one more episode, staying up into the early hours?

If you're expecting Treme to take over your life in the same way, then think again. I've just finished the first series and believe me, it was hard work at times. There were actually evenings when we were searching for something, anything, else to view, just to give us a break from Treme's snail-pace plot development and all-too-frequent and all-too-long jazz improvisations and band rehearsals.

That's not to say that there isn't a lot to like in Treme. The acting is top-notch, the cast is packed with your old friends from Simon's previous ground-breaking shows (The Wire, The Corner and Homicide - Life on the Streets) and scriptwriters include novelist George Pelecanos (another Wire stalwart), Eric Overmyer (ditto) and James Yoshimura (from Homicide) as well as Simon himself. There are guest appearances as well, notably Elvis Costello and Steve Earle (barely recognisable, looking like a cross between Ben Gunn and a yak). The cinematography is faultless, not surprising with Ivan Strasburg at the helm, and the musicianship is superb (even if, like me, you soon discover that there's actually quite a lot of New Orleans music that is not exactly to your taste).

So what's gone wrong? Well, the storylines, or lack of them, are the main problem. As the characters try to rebuild their lives after Katrina, they fret about getting their roofs fixed or paying their bills, argue about which bands to play with or try to cope with writer's block. All very realistic, but not the stuff of good TV. Even the most dramatic thread - the search for LaDonna's missing brother - is slow and mostly uneventful, and its only in the final two episodes that the other main story-arc (that of ranting writer Creighton) reaches any kind of denouement, and produces (in me, at least), one's first real emotional connection with any of the characters, who for much of the series are either annoying, unsympathetic or simply uninteresting.

And weirdly, considering that the whole raison d'etre of the series is the revitalising of a city struck by a cataclysm, you don't really get the sense that New Orleans is on its uppers. The first episode begins just three months after the hurricane, and there's a fair bit of debris around. But in subsequent episodes there's little evidence of devastation; the streets are mostly clean, potholes mended (when Davis gets a flat from one of them, I could hardly see it!) the apartments (even those of the down-at-heel buskers) have spotless paintwork, and the cemeteries show little sign of the disarray and ruin that took more than a year to clear. And some New Orleans residents have complained that the waterlines, the omnipresent mark left by the floods, are almost nowhere to be seen in Treme, save in the opening credit sequence.

Only once in the series does the true enormity of Katrina come across, and that is when LaDonna searches amongst the bodybags in the makeshift morgue of a freezer container truck, hoping not to find her lost sibling. She steps outside, and the camera pulls back to reveal truck after truck after truck, mute testimony to the huge death toll suffered by the city.

Apparently Simon thinks Treme is the best thing he's done, and the critical response in the US has been mostly favourable. But it hasn't won any awards, as yet, and I think that at the time of writing it's worth noting that this is only the 15th Amazon review of Series 1 to be posted. The second season has just finished its run in the States, so it won't be too long before the box set is available over here. I'm not going to be counting down the days to its release, though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Aug 2011 06:22:54 BDT
Paul M says:
Balanced and fair review = thanks
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Cornwall, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 130,894