Sunday, 2 June 2013

TV: Treme (S3) (8/10)

Why did I watch it?
Regular readers of this blog will know of my deep affinity for anything David Simon related and yes that includes Treme. I've watched the show from it's beginnings so the third season was a must.

What's it all about?
The show returns to New Orleans for a third time, this time two years on from Hurricane Katrina and it simply carries on from where it left off with the ensemble cast of characters all continuing to rebuild in their lives as New Orleans begins to find it's feet following the storm.

Should you watch it?
I love Treme, I love it's wide array of characters, I love it's pacing and deliberate story telling and I love the way it's greatest character of all is New Orleans itself, its story told through it's culture of music, celebrations and food.

The third season is no different. The quality of story telling and acting is phenomenal. Melissa Leo, Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Khandi Alexander, David Morse and Jon Seda, the list of experienced polished performers could go on. Simon is dedicated to all of his characters and provides each one a meaningful story-arc that runs the length of the season, all linked in some way with either Katrina-related drama or the city and it's history as a whole. 

People are bound to have their preferences and wish to see more of some than others but there is someone for everyone watching. My personal favourites are Toni Bernette (Leo), this time aggressively going after the NOPD, Antoine Baptiste (Pierce), becoming a dedicated school band teacher (the same can't be said for his dedication to his marriage) and Terry Colson (Morse), the cop being alienated for trying to clean house from within the NOPD. Added to the cast for this season is investigative reporter L.P. Everett (Chris Coy) who works with Toni to uncover more shady police work that went down following Katrina. Also, this time around Antoine's girlfriend Desiree (Phyllis Montana LeBlanc) gets a bigger piece of the action investigating the city's unscrupulous renovation and demolition policies.

'In every crisis, an opportunity" - Nelson Hidalgo
While not always being integral to the show's narrative, the music set pieces are welcome insertions to each episode and have introduced me to a whole genre of music I previously had no appreciation for (I checked out Fats Domino's version of Blueberry hill after Davis paid him a visit in Careless Love). On the crime side, I don't think the story lines live up to the standard set by Simon on The Wire but this is a different show, with different priorities.

Now renewed for a further five episode fourth season, the final episode of season three was, at the time, perhaps the final ever episode and Simon and co. closed with a brilliant finale. Typical for a Simon show finale, the episode contained a musical montage covering the majority of the cast, however for probably the first time in the show's history the narrative brought almost all of the characters together in a single place during this. Magic. Also, the story appeared to come to a natural conclusion for each of the characters. Granted there was not always a complete resolution, an example being Janette's realisation that she has signed away control of her dream, but you could certainly appreciate this being an end. Thankfully however it isn't!

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