Review: TREME on HBO “Do You Know What It Means” Episode 1

Treme On HBO (17)

Tonight, HBO will premiere its new original series TREME which is set in a New Orleans neighborhood called Treme, one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans that is known for its vibrant music culture. “Treme” boasts of an amazing cast: Wendell Pierce as Antoine Batiste, Clarke Peters as Albert Lambreaux, Khandi Alexander as Ladonna Batiste, Steve Zahn as Davis McAlary, Kim Dickens as Janette Desautel, Rob Brown as Delmond Lambreaux and Melissa Leo as Toni Bernette. I had the opportunity to watch the first episode of the season “Do You Know What It Means” and wanted to share my thoughts on it.

Treme, created by David Simon, the creator of The Wire, follows the lives of a group of artists and musicians three months after Hurricane Katrina hit new Orleans. Similar to The Wire, Treme is the kind of show with multiple intertwined storylines carried by a great ensemble cast. Every character is related to each other either directly or indirectly in some way or another.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. You have Batiste (Wendell Pierce) the struggling artist that has not met a taxi cab he hasn’t conned into paying less than he owes. He is divorced but still in good terms with Ladonna Batiste (Khandi Alexander), who is working with a local civil rights attorney, Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo) to try and find her brother who disappeared after Katrina. Toni happens to be married to Creighton (John Goodman), an expert on local history, who is also trying to speak to the media to vocalize the fundamental issues with the whole Katrina issue.
See what I mean. Four characters, Four Storylines, all linked together in beautifully scripted and acted moments. Just sheer brilliance. I love every single one of these stories as they are told with a very authentic and captivating tone that has become the staple of David Simon shows.

In addition, to the fantastic stories, you just can’t help but fall in love with the main character of the show which is ultimately the music. From the soulful new orleans second line parade that starts the episode until the final funeral procession that ends it, music is constantly present throughout the episode and it just makes the show that much better. You can’t help bobbing your head when listening to it and it makes you feel for the city and the people that much more.

All and all, Treme is a show that you cannot miss. It has it all: An authentic and powerful story, fascinating characters you can relate to and entrancing music you can’t help loving. In short, Treme is another win for HBO.

Don’t forget to watch TREME “Do You Know What It Means” Episode 1 which premieres tonight, Sunday, April 11 (10:00-11:20 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer of the show below.