What critics are saying about ‘Treme’

TV critics weigh in on the new HBO series from “Wire” creator David Simon

April 08, 2010

'Treme' review at ew.com
"Hoo boy, are you going to have fun watching this. It bursts with great rhythm & blues, funk, and jazz music. It's got superb performances from two ‘Wire' vets, Wendell Pierce (as devilish trombone player Antoine) and Clarke Peters (as the leader of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe). There's also Steve Zahn, in his first TV series, playing a ditzy DJ; John Goodman as a righteous English professor; and Khandi Alexander (forget " CSI: Miami" — this is her best work since 2000's ‘The Corner,' another Simon project) as Ladonna, a bar owner. Add cameos by Dr. John, Elvis Costello, the genius record producer Allen Toussaint, and many lesser-known but terrific musicians as both players and actors (go get Trombone Shorty's new album, ‘Backatown,' now!), and ‘Treme' explodes with pleasure." —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

'Treme' review at variety.com
"As with New Orleans residents still grappling with Hurricane Katrina's bitter aftermath, patience is required in viewing ‘Treme.' Yet here, at least, that virtue is rewarded. Producer David Simon's ‘The Wire' charted a vicious cycle of poverty, violence, neglect and political ass-covering in a corroding American city; his latest urban tragedy takes a lower-key approach, examining the hardscrabble existence of musicians, restaurateurs and others desperately clinging to their way of life in a damaged, wounded town. Rich, textured and too leisurely in its gait, ‘Treme' won't be to everyone's taste, but by episode three, a hardy band will be hopelessly hooked." —Brian Lowry, Variety

'After the Storm: An Advance Review' at televisionaryblog.com
"Prepare to be swept away by the very human dramas that these compelling and memorable characters bring with them and the issues of class, race, gender, and politics that their struggles bring to the surface."—Televisionaryblog.com

''Treme': A Haunting Snapshot Of Life After Katrina' at npr.org
"Best of all, perhaps, is what the show does with music. Without getting sappy or preachy, ‘Treme' demonstrates, early and often, how organic music is to the culture of New Orleans. Real-life musicians like Dr. John and Elvis Costello make the rounds in the recording studios, and music is everywhere — from funeral parade lines to tunes on the radio and songs from street buskers. Music is always lurking in the background — and every so often, it rises to the surface, takes center stage, and all but takes your breath away with its defiant vitality." —David Bianculli, NPR

'Drama Etouffe' at newsweek.com
"'Treme' is neither as intimate as ‘The Corner‘ nor as vast as ‘The Wire. ‘ It feels as if it wants to be a smaller-scale story about the people who had their lives washed away, but Simon doesn't treat his characters like people as much as walking ambassadors for the most esoteric details of NOLA culture."—Joshua Alston, Newsweek

'From 'The Wire' creator is 'Treme,' insightful look at post-Katrina New Orleans' at washingtonpost.com
"Is it good? Yes, it's quite good. Sunday's episode is nearly flawless and a textbook example of how to launch an ensemble saga that may eventually embroider itself into a haunting tapestry. Will it be as good as ‘The Wire‘? Three episodes in, I'm willing to say ‘Treme‘ (the title is two syllables; it rhymes with away) has the potential to be better than ‘The Wire. ‘ It's suffused with characters and an amazingly crafted musical and ethereal texture that is as lovely and depressing as New Orleans itself. The pain and joy it portrays are as beautiful as the faded, peeling paint and floodline watermarks on which the camera tenderly lingers."—Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

'HBO strikes the right chord with 'Treme'' at washingtonpost.com
"Solid as some of HBO's current roster may be, nothing has filled the shoes of ‘The Sopranos,‘ ‘Deadwood‘ or ‘The Wire.‘ ‘Treme,‘ created by ‘Wire‘ mastermind David Simon, may not ultimately get to the level of those others, because it's going to take a while to sort out the characters and lay down the themes. It also looks to have a deliberate pace, and it doesn't seem to be setting up for a lot of blood-and-guts action, so it may end up attracting a more cerebral crowd. But its opening chords Sunday ring true, with an intensity that's matched by its clear respect and love for the rhythms of the city." —David Hinckley, The Daily News ( New York)

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