Treme: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]

Treme: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]
It's no small task to try and follow-up an enormous success. While David Simon's The Wire wasn't commercially successful when it originally aired on HBO between 2002 and 2008 (it was only nominated for two Emmy during its run), thanks to the magic of DVD, it's generally considered one of the greatest television shows of all time, if not the greatest. So, the bar was pretty high when Simon's new show, Treme (following the Generation Kill mini-series), premiered last year and, fortunately, it manages to meet expectations nicely, though not exceed them. While comparisons to The Wire are not unjust, Treme has its unique voice, even though its conventions and style pattern themselves after its predecessor. Treme drops you into the world of New Orleans, four months after Hurricane Katrina. Some people are returning home, some have lost their houses and others have stayed. The overt military and police presence creates a sense of unease that builds and builds as we learn more and more how government bureaucracy is not only at fault for the lack of emergency response, but also for the continual torment of many of the characters. There are too many plot threads to summarize, but the show is in essence a socially aware, character-driven drama. Like The Wire, there's a risk that the characters will only serve as representatives of certain demographics, not as fully realized individuals, but again, Simon avoids that pitfall thanks to a stellar cast that includes John Goodman, Kim Dickens, Khandi Alexander, Melissa Leo and Steve Zahn, as well as The Wire's Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters. Although a continuing storyline involving two buskers falls flat, the rest of the tales are rich enough to gloss over these missteps. In addition to the realism of its characters, Treme creates a three-dimensional portrayal of the city of New Orleans, specifically the titular neighbourhood, which is famous for producing great musicians. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic music, which is a big part of the show, and a big part of the city ― several of the characters are working musicians and the cultural importance of jazz couldn't be more deeply felt than it is in Treme. The HD transfer of the Blu-Ray showcases the wonderful cinematography, which makes for an extremely potent atmosphere and immersive experience, and the sound mix helps showcase the glorious soundtrack. The special features are plentiful, including a making-of doc, a featurette on the history of the Treme neighbourhood and a plethora of audio commentaries. (Warner)