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Treme: Season 1

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,530 customer reviews

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(Mar 29, 2011)
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(Mar 29, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amid the ruins of an American city, ordinary people--musicians, chefs, residents--find themselves clinging to a unique culture and wondering if the city that gave birth to that culture still has a future. From the creators of The Wire comes a new series about adversity and the human spirit, set in New Orleans, in the aftermath of the greatest man-made disaster in American history. Welcome to Treme.

As Treme opens, a group of New Orleans residents are celebrating their first "second-line parade" since Hurricane Katrina blew through the city and across the Gulf Coast just three months earlier. Folks are strutting and dancing, a brass band is blowing a joyful noise--it's a celebration of "NOLA's" resilience and proud spirit ("Won't bow--don't know how," as they say). But there's darkness just below this shiny surface, and anyone familiar with The Wire, cocreator-writer David Simon's last show, won't be a bit surprised to find that he and fellow Treme writer-producer Eric Overmyer aren't shy about going there. The New Orleans we see is a city barely starting to recover from what one character calls "a man-made catastrophe… of epic proportions and decades in the making." Many people's homes are gone, and insurance payments are a rumor. Other locals haven't come back, and still others are simply missing. The people have been betrayed by their own government, and New Orleans's reputation for corruption is hardly helped by the fact that the police force is in such disarray that the line between cop and criminal is sometimes so fine as to be nonexistent. Bad, but not all bad. NOLA still has its cuisine, its communities, and best of all its music, which permeates every chapter, from the Rebirth Brass Band's "I Feel Like Funkin' It Up" in episode 1 to Allen Toussaint and "Cha Dooky-Doo" in episode 10. There's Dixieland and zydeco, natch, but also hip-hop and rock; there are NOLA stalwarts like Dr. John, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, and the Meters (as well as appearances by Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, and others), but plenty of younger, lesser knowns, too. Whether we hear it in the street, in a club or a recording studio, at home, or anywhere, music is the lifeblood of the city and this series, and it's handled brilliantly.

Treme has a lot of characters and their stories to keep up with. There's trombonist Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce), a wonderful player but kind of a dog, especially to his current baby mama and his ex-wife, LaDonna (Khandi Alexander), a bar owner who's desperately searching for her missing brother. There's Creighton Bernette (John Goodman), a writer preoccupied with telling the world what's really going on in the city, and his wife Toni (Melissa Leo), a lawyer and thorn in the side of the authorities. There's Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn), a well-meaning but annoyingly clueless radio DJ, his occasional girlfriend Janette (Kim Dickens), who's struggling to keep her restaurant open, and Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), who returns from Houston, finds his house in ruins, and sets about rebuilding it. You might not like all of them. Not all get through the series unscathed, or even alive. But that's part of the deal. The show feels authentic: dialogue (natural, plain, and profane), story lines, locations, camera work, the utter lack of gloss and glamour--this is no Chamber of Commerce travelogue. It's not a documentary either, but there are moments when it's just down and dirty enough to pass for one. --Sam Graham

Special Features

Audio Commentary
Making of

Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Zahn, Wendell Pierce, John Goodman, Kim Dickens
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 632 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,530 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AMUDK8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,078 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Treme: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The premier episode, "Do You Know What it Means", is a work of art. It will easily bear repeated watching because of its outstanding writing and masterful use of the indigenous music.

Not to mention the great acting, many levels of meaning, clever cameos and true-to-life subplots. And most of all: a major media production has finally "got it" about New Orleans, and got it right!

The entire series is "a love letter to New Orleans".

A New Orleanian from Treme who has actually lived the show
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I just finished watching the last episode of this first season of "Treme." I picked up the Season 1 box based on recommendations alone, and the fact that I've enjoyed other HBO series. I'm near speechless. I can't believe how deeply this series got under my skin. The first few episodes, beautifully crafted as they are, didn't grab me in the way other outstanding cable shows (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.) have done. I stayed with it, though, and I'm glad I did. By halfway into the season, I started feeling the characters and plot lines big time, and by this final episode, I wish it didn't have to end. I'm sure others here have raved about the performances, the music, the stunning cinematography, and all that. It's true: the series is worth every penny of the admittedly pricey box set. Ultimately, though, "Treme" is more than the sum of its parts. It captures something that ordinary words can't, similar to the way a poem can't be reduced to a linear narrative or second-hand description. You have to be in it to get it. But give yourself to this show, give it your time and your attention, and it pays off like no other series I've ever seen.
1 Comment 37 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I loved the series. The New Orleans Blues and Jazz music woven throughout the series was fantastic. It was especially interesting as many real and famous musicians were used in the story. The individual characters are interesting and varied. John Goodman was a hoot! Khandi Alexander (CSI: Miami 2002-2009) was really strong, but her stomach here was not. Very different from CSI. Musicians Trombone Shorty, Elvis Costello, and John Boutte, to name but a few, were great. Also the racial mix was a strength to the series and the reality of the real New Orleans and story of Hurricane Katrina.

I especially found the graphics during the credits roll interesting. Who would of thought that mold and fungus stains on walls, floors, and ceilings could look like art. Being interested also in biology and photography, I found the house mold interesting to look at, to itself artistic, even though it is often a serious health hazard. A great idea for a photo project: someone should photograph the mold stains of New Orleans with Ultraviolet light (Black Light). Many molds are UV fluorescent!

Anyway, it is a fantastic series, can't wait for Season Two and for this DVD set to be available. The only downer for me was the latter part of the season's final episode got a bit busy and confusing -- not their best work. Seems like the producer, director, and writers did not really want to do a season finale, eliminating some characters, but just keep going with the story lines into the next season. Wish there were a bit more about the foods of New Orleans and the Creole / Cajun South. But then you can't really taste food on TV.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There hasn't been a show on TV that has intertwined music and drama as well-ever-as "Treme."

And, BTW, it IS coming back for a second season next year. HBO renewed the show the day after it premiered.
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Format: DVD
Thanks to a friend sending me videos of this show from the States, I was able to enjoy this series, and am looking forward to it continuing. Very interested in buying the season 1 dvds, but am worried about the music used in the show. One of the things I really enjoyed was the music, and I hope that the dvd release will have the exact same soundtrack as what was broadcast. Have been disappointed before by a dvd movie that had some of the songs changed due to copyright problems. I also hope there are some good extras included on the dvds, maybe some more music. At any rate, looking forward to watching this again on dvd.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I really should be doing a video rant ala Crayton but...I ADORE this series. Brilliant writing, it's flaunting conventional wisdom of narrative flow and pacing makes for a uniquely immersive viewing experience. And its richness of obscure, yet accurate details of the history and experience of living in New Orleans invites a level of active participation that proves highly addictive. BUT...

The DVDs screen DISTINCTLY DARK - appreciably darker than the original broadcasts. So are simply technologically flawed -- and there's no reason for this other than HBO's lack of quality control.

As per the extras:
"The Music of Treme" in-episode viewing mode - perfunctory and ultimately pathetic. The pop up boxes list song title and the person performing it on screen, no mention of the writer or the performer that the song is most closely associated with or any of their history.

For instance, in the scene where Annie is accompanying pianist Tom McDermott at a private party and they're playing "New Orleans Bump" (could be titled, "New Orleans Blues" - I'm writing this in a rush early Saturday morning) - the pop up window says: "New Orleans Bump" Tom McDermott. There's no mention that it was written, originally performed and recorded by Jelly Roll Morton and as Morton is one of the originators of Jazz and inarguably one of the seminal figures in New Orleans music history that information might have also been useful.

Moreover, a lot of music is not thus notated at all -- the Mardi Gras Indian chants, songs playing on the radio or jukeboxes, etc.

The audio Music Commentaries are also shockingly lame. In the scene noted above the commentators say "That's Jelly Roll Morton.
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English Subtitles
It has English, French, and Spanish subtitles. It's also close captioned in English.
May 28, 2011 by Alex M. |  See all 2 posts
What about the subtitles?
There will be Spanish subtitles. There will also be a Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish audio track as well on the Blu-Ray.
Dec 16, 2010 by David N. |  See all 2 posts
Release date 3/29/11 Be the first to reply
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