Television News: Expectations High For HBO’s New Drama “Treme”

3/21/2010 Posted by Admin

Television News

Expectations High For HBO’s New Drama “Treme”

By our guest blogger, Alexandra Cervenak

With its April 11 premiere date fast approaching, HBO is gearing up promotion for its new dramatic series “Treme,” which focuses on a New Orleans neighborhood three months after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The show takes its name from the Treme area of New Orleans, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, long a haven for a diverse population, and particularly for musicians. (Source)

“Treme” already comes with a high pedigree--its creators are David Simon and Eric Overmyer, both late of HBO’s other highly lauded series, “The Wire.” And even just a cursory viewing of the series’ trailer recently released by HBO turns up numerous familiar faces--Steve Zahn, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Khandi Alexander and Wendell Pierce, formerly of “The Wire” himself (Even Elvis Costello is set to make a cameo in the series, and he pops up in the trailer too).

The pilot has been in development since 2008 and is being helmed by well-known Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who, as you might already have guessed, also directed several episodes of “The Wire.” Importantly, the series is filmed in New Orleans using local actors whenever possible such as Pierce, himself a native of the city. Similarly, since a major focus of “Treme” will be the area’s music scene local musicians will be appearing throughout the series. Jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who cofounded the Rebirth Brass Band with other members of Treme’s Joseph S. Clark Senior High School’s marching band, will be appearing as himself in the pilot.

The search for authenticity doesn’t stop there--Overmyer lives part-time in New Orleans, and the show’s writing staff includes Tom Piazza, author of the book “Why New Orleans Matters,” and Louis Eric Elie, a Times-Picayune writer who also authored the documentary “Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans.”

Indeed, with such creative backing expectations could be impossibly high for “Treme.” I hope it doesn’t debut already full of self-seriousness because not only is its subject matter compelling, it could also end up being incredibly necessary. Despite what tourism boards would perhaps like us to believe, things clearly aren’t back to “normal” in New Orleans (if they ever will be), and if “Treme” experiences success it could do a lot to remind Americans of the disaster in their own backyard.

Check out the “Treme” trailer below and let us know what you think. Will it be weird to see Steve Zahn and John Goodman on television? Are you interested to find out how all these characters’ lives end up being interconnected? Do you think it will just be “The Wire” set in New Orleans, or something entirely different? Does it make you want to eat a po’ boy? Maybe with a side of gumbo?

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  1. badge said...

    While you’re waiting for the HBO premiere of Simon's new series, get prepped on Treme history with this great documentary. Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans by Dawn Logsdon and “Treme” staff writer Lolis Eric Elie. Essential history, great music and viewing pleasure to get you in the groove!!!