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146 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Episode (Pilot)
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...
Published on April 17, 2010 by Jazz Baby

versus
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT series, disappointing DVD set
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...
Published on April 16, 2011 by Howard Wuelfing


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146 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Episode (Pilot), April 17, 2010
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (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".

Signed,
A New Orleanian from Treme who has actually lived the show
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Jaw's on the Floor, June 14, 2011
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This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
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.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music was one strength..., July 21, 2010
By 
Michael D. Williams (Southern California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (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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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Orleans Moan, June 24, 2010
By 
Alberta (Upper Peninsular, MI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
I never made it to New Orleans. This show made that lack so poignant. The show was beautifully written, well-acted, great visuals, and the music was incredible! I love all the new (to me) music this show introduced me to. I wish it had gone on.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Show, Great Music, August 13, 2010
By 
Dante "Seeker" (Hiroshima, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (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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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT series, disappointing DVD set, April 16, 2011
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This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
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." No explanation whatsoever of who he was, no mention of his musical achievements and place in New Orleans music history.

What really makes all this especially irritating is that a number of folks have pointedly offered up highly detailed and fairly engrossing commentary on the series that does all the things you'd hope you were getting in purchasing this DVD set for instance, the Times Picayune's "Treme Explained" column:
[...]

NPR also provided a useful line of commentary.

So - the "Treme" series itself is one of my favorite television viewing experiences in DECADES. Engrossing, revelatory and educational (my music collection devoted to NOLA based music went from a couple Meters' albums, Lee Dorsey and Fats Domino to -- well a HEALTHY selection going from Jelly Roll to Mystikal and many points in between. But this DVD set is technologically inadequate and the extras I mention -- seem like a grudging after thought. In all fairness, we're still digesting all the extras and thus can't say anything about the documentaries included as of yet. Hopefully they'll be meatier.

Notwithstanding, I am eagerly looking forward to season 2. During a visit to NOLA December 2010, as we were leaving our hotel in the financial district, heading for the airport we happened upon the "Treme" crew filming a scene in the hotel restaurant, which was being used to portray chef Jeanette in NYC -- "cooking her way back to New Orleans" as a PA told us. YAY.

PS for folks who do get involved in deeper study on the people/culture/music of New Orleans there's an amazing free archive of video footage shot in 1982 by famed folklorist Alan Lomax here: [...]
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Acted, Best Written Show on TV, July 26, 2010
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars: Near perfect, March 8, 2011
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
I'm a native New Orleanian that lived in NOLA when Hurricane Katrina hit, so I'll start off by admitting I've a natural bias towards this show and the honest but loving way it examines my city. However, I also know it is imperfect in several ways and will examine those imperfections as well. On paper, Treme is a drama set in the city of New Orleans and takes place during the months that immediately follow Katrina. In reality, it's a love letter to the music and musicians that have been influenced by the city.

Much like their previous series (the outstanding Baltimore crime drama, The Wire), the show's creators seek to examine the heart of a city using a singular touchstone to interconnect a wide array of characters throughout nearly all aspects of the city. With The Wire that touchstone was the "war on drugs," with Treme it is music. Music permeates every character and every inch of this show. So if you're not a fan of, or at least remotely interested in, New Orleans' music, then this show isn't likely for you. And the show's creators are much more interested in the city's more traditional musical roots in jazz, zydeco, dixieland, and blues than the current musical landscape, which is mainly hip-hop oriented.

And this is one area where the series falters. In a show where seemingly every character is an expert on New Orleans' musical history--from a radio DJ, to a Tulane professor, to street performers and session horn players--there is a glaring absence of hip-hop and the local artists that've kept the city a major part of the current musical landscape. It's almost as if Master P, Cash Money, and Lil' Wayne are too mainstream for this show. Sometimes it could become a bit much hearing about this "legendary" artist or that "legendary" song which originated from the city. Sometimes it'd get to be a bit too much and you'd just want the plot to move forward already.

And I've read some reviews where that was another major complaint--the plot. I'll admit this series doesn't have an action packed, clearly structured plot--but that's the point. So many New Olreanians were left in this limbo after Katrina, there was no clear direction, and for many no clear destination. While some pundits across the country were asking, "Should we rebuild New Olreans?" this show examines HOW we are rebuilding New Orleans. And I say "are" because even in 2011 the city is still in the process of recovering.

Yes, Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster, but what happened to New Orleans was a man made tragedy. Treme's first season examines how the people of the city come to grips with that fact and begin to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, wade through the flood waters, and come out on the other side with music in their souls and hope in their hearts.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the boys (and girls) on the battlefront, January 14, 2011
By 
James Ferguson (Vilnius, Lithuania) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
This is certainly one of the most ambitious television series in years, not just for the attempt to deal with post-Katrina New Orleans, but the incredible scope of feelings and emotions and music that at times overwhelm these episodes. Of course we all know that David Simon and Eric Overmyer are capable of great things, after giving us The Wire and The Corner. However, given that their roots are in Baltimore, you might think that New Orleans is a bit of a stretch for them. Not at all, as it turns out. Thanks to some very thoughtful research, a great appreciation for the city, and the Faubourg Treme in particular, they have produced one of the most insightful television shows of this generation.

The series is broken up over ten episodes with the first and last episodes directed by the incomparable Agnieszka Holland. She seems to capture the theme of the show the best, maintaining a looser style and letting the music carry the episodes. Other directors like Ernest Dickerson (Right Place, Wrong Time) and Anthony Hemingway (All on a Mardi Gras Day) tend to focus more specifically on certain characters. They all bring their unique brand of storytelling to the series, principally written by Simon and Overmyer.

The acting is a little uneven. The stories pretty much revolve around a nucleus of key characters, not much unlike Northern Exposure. These characters embody different characteristics of this great city, ranging from the Lower 9th Ward to the French Quarter to the Garden District. Khandi Alexander as Ladonna Batiste-Williams represents the strength and resilience of the badly ruined Lower 9th Ward, trying to rebuild her bar, while Wendell Pierce as her ex-husband Antoine Batiste struggles to find gigs, introducing us to the wealth of music in the city ranging from Kermit Ruffins, formerly of the Rebirth Brass Band, to the legendary Allen Toussaint, who appear in the series. On the other side of the city we have Steve Zahn and Kim Dickens, as Davis and Jeanette, trying to build on a one night stand, while both of them struggle to regain their bearings after the flood. Davis is a DJ at WWOZ, which does live streaming on the Internet, and Jeanette struggles to get her restaurant going again with the help of Ntare Mwine as JacQues Vaz. Anchoring down the Garden District is John Goodman and Melissa Leo as Creighton and Toni Bernette with their daughter Sofia (India Ennenga). Sonny and Annie cover the more familiar streets of the French Quarter, playing at street corners. Sonny (Michiel Huisman), a Dutch national has adopted New Orleans, bringing Annie (Lucia Micarelli) down with him from New York, but struggles to match Annie's prowess on the violin. There are many others.

The show definitely has its political edge, especially when Creighton discovers the power of YouTube to voice his anger and indignation over the slow recovery. In a very amusing episode Davis decides to run for city councilman, putting together a campaign music CD which becomes a big hit in the city. The most haunting episodes are those in which Toni, a civil lawyer, helps Ladonna in locating her younger brother, who has been missing ever since the flood, taking us through the Byzantine legal system of the city and ultimately into the jails themselves.

There is a lot to ponder and a lot to enjoy in this series. So glad that HBO has renewed it. The first season circles back on itself nicely, resolving many of the story lines, so it will be interesting to see where Simon and Overmyer take the series next.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thing going...., September 30, 2010
By 
Rob R. (Alexandria, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Treme: Season 1 (DVD)
Treme (Season 1) was the best thing on TV while it was in season. I was glued to the TV every Sunday night.... ready to catch the next episode.

Top to bottom, front to back, a great job on making a TV masterpiece. How this series garnered ZERO emmy nominations is absolutely beyond me. Those that are responsible for the lack of recognition should be moved as far away from the emmy ballot box as possible.

But those are just phony, popularity contest awards anyways. What counts is that this is one helluva show. Those that weren't lucky enough to catch it on HBO should buy this immediately.

Can't wait for Season 2!!!!
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Treme: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Treme: Season 1 [Blu-ray] by Steve Zahn (Blu-ray - 2014)
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