Friday, April 16, 2010

Is Treme Good Enough To Succeed The Wire?


The very underrated and now finally appreciated show The Wire has been over for a while now, but the creators of this acclaimed series have now brought us Treme, (pronounced Tre-May) the story of the people of New Orleans as they attempt rebuild their live and their town after the hurricane Katrina disaster. Although it’s fantastic news that people behind the wire are back with something new, it’s not clear how it can measure up to its predecessor. The survival of the show is even in question. The people behind these shows have always been unconventional. The Wire was too intricate, too smart, too slow moving for most people, but was a strong commentary and exploration of Baltimore with the disguise of a police drama. And that disguise allowed it to stay grounded, directed, and, well, watchable as a series. But Treme doesn’t have a direction or a purpose. It is only focused on the exploration of the New Orleans culture. It’s like writers said we don’t need any conventional stories.

Treme is a full blown study of New Orleans life that has no focus other than the day to day lives of various characters, and it doesn’t seem to have a purpose other than to show the greatness of this city. I think people are going to be disappointed with Treme as the succeeding show to The Wire. That’s not to say it isn’t good. It’s an interesting show and I reserve judgment until much more of it is seen, but it’s no The Wire. The self-important nature and fixation of the New Orleans people and music is, ironically, it’s down fall even though it’s an interest of the show. The characters, while interesting, are not that interesting. Watching them live cannot hold your interest. You need something in-between, but it isn’t there. The music is too time consuming for the show. You can tell the creators wanted to showcase the music, but it drains time and story from the show. And it’s just too slow. Very little happens in an episode, which would be fine if there was some conceivable payoff in the future like there was with The Wire. Treme does not have that. One of the redeeming qualities of the show is John Goodman, who seems in his element as a loud, fiery mayor passionate about his town. All that can be said about Treme is that New Orleans and its people better get really interesting if they want to continue with this format, or if they want to be even close to as good as its predecessor.

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