And isn't it awesome to see John Goodman back in a series? We've missed you, John!
Watch the video after the jump.
When dealing with serious and potentially flammable subject matter, especially something as cataclysmic as 2005's Hurricane Katrina, a TV show has to tread carefully. 'Treme', a 10-episode HBO miniseries focusing on post-Katrina New Orleans, does not tread at all. Instead, it dives deep under the floodwaters and resurfaces with the corpses of those dead and gone -- lest we forget the immense tragedy that unfolded there.
Where most shows would exploit the exploitable (the riots, the pillaging, images of dying or dead people, the Dome), 'Treme' takes a raw look at the aftermath through a series of vignettes. The viewer follows different families and individuals as they try to put the pieces back together. Sometimes those pieces are tangible, like the rotting structure of a flood-damaged home, and sometimes they're purely emotional, like the trauma caused by a relative missing for months.
But given that this is the latest effort from David Simon -- the much-heralded creator of the seminal HBO series 'The Wire' -- this drama proves to be so much more than just that.
Those expecting a Big Easy version of 'The Wire,' however, are out of luck. This is no police drama, and the city's politics are largely unexplored. The series takes its title from Faubourg Tremé, the historic New Orleans neighborhood adjacent to the French Quarter thought to be the birthplace of jazz. And the music from this multi-cultural, multi-storied, proud yet battered city pulses like a heartbeat throughout.
There's been no shortage of talent gracing this drama. The ensemble cast includes 'Wire' vets Wendell Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Clarke Peters, Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, John Goodman and Steve Zahn, in his first regular TV series role. Guest appearances from musicians such as Allen Toussaint, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and Kermit Ruffins lend authenticity.
Nor has there been a shortage of media coverage leading up to 'Treme's April 11 premiere. Sadly, part of that has been due to the unexpected death of one of the team's writers, David Mills. But 'Treme' is also being hailed as more than just another television program: It's an event. While some have noted the series' meandering pace, many critics have been praising Simon and co-creator Eric Overmyer's new series for its ability to immediately transport viewers on a musical journey into the heartbeat and the heartbreak of this weird and wonderful city.
Read what the critics had to say after the jump.
Perhaps a smaller storyline is John Goodman's return to a regular TV series. Goodman has been in a couple of short-lived sitcoms ('Normal, Ohio' and 'Center of the Universe'), has appeared often on 'Saturday Night Live,' and done some voice-over work and cameos (he had a particularly good stretch on 'The West Wing'). So he has kept a somewhat steady television presence.
Set three months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the series will focus on how the neighborhood of Treme is rebuilding. The series comes from David Simon, creator of HBO's 'The Wire' and his collaborator on 'The Wire' and 'Homicide: Life on the Street,' Eric Overmyer.
'Treme' stars quite a few familiar faces such as Steve Zahn in his first series regular role, Khandi Alexander, John Goodman and Wendell Pierce.
Check out the video after the jump.
So, with Treme, debuting on HBO in April, Simon tries to examine the lives of ten people who are trying to pull things together three months after Hurricane Katrina flooded out New Orleans.
"New Orleans, to me, represents a place where it's a triumph of American urban culture," said Simon. It's what - it's the best that an American city can be and also the worst in a lot of ways, as I said before, but it has created a culture that has gone around the world."
(S01E02) Whenever a character in a drama like New Amsterdam has a secret, there is always a character who knows about it. On Smallville, it was Pete and then Chloe, on The Greatest American Hero it was Bill and on this show it's Omar. The difference here is why Omar knows his secret...because he is John's son. That's different. It's really quite brilliant actually, because not only does it explain why Omar knows all about John and his entire history it also explains their relationship. Omar can be bitter and upset with John on a daily basis but they will always be there for each other since they are family. In the TV business, we call this the Simon and Simon principle.
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