This serie of 10 episodes was initiated by David Simon (The Wire, Generation Kill) and David Mills (NYPD Blues).
David Simon goes on with his exploration of contemporary United States, in places where not so many people want to give eyesights.
This time, New Orleans. The series takes place several months after the Katrina Storm that destroyed large parts of the city with an extremely high death toll and scenes of havoc in the city.
New Orleans is depicted as a wounded city, unique in its atmosphere, trying to go past the trauma and recover. All the characters live in the Treme district, legendary for its jazz musicians for more than one century.
The music is probably the best part of the show, I must admit I was a bit reluctant about it since “ New Orleans Jazz” in my mind is a kind of old dead music petrified back in time and offered to lazy tourists looking for some kind of authenticity.
The shows proved me wrong : the music and musicians here are amazing and amazingly creative. This gives the show a specific mood and since the main character of the show is New Orleans itself, this is nothing of out of touch. On the contrary, music is integrated in the story plots as if everything there is about the music and I was looking forward the musical sequences.
If this show has some flaws, it is rather that it is being too demonstrative. I had the feeling that the producers and writers had no connection with New Orleans like they had with Baltimore in The Wire. Something here gives the impression of being fake and I cannot escape a kind of “ postcard” or “ cliché “ feeling while watching it. The agenda of the show is too clearly showing how politicians have been ineffective, how America has abandoned some of its most great cultural cradles and how this leads to an irreparable waste of talent and great personalities. All of this is probably true, but I disliked this feeling of being too obviously manipulated. This one lacks the subtlety of other David Simmons shows.
Or, is it that for once, I found some characters he has written are not so interesting ? Some subplots are great, but some others gave me a kind of soap-show feeling, predictable and caricatural.
Still, the production standards are HBO top-quality stuff, acting and shooting is incredibly good, a special mention to Wendell Pierce (Antoine Baptiste) who also plays one of the main detectives in The Wire, unbelievable actor I hope to see in other movies and shows.
HBO has given green light for a second season of 10 episodes, I ll definitely watch it.