Treme: Season 2 - TV Review

'plot wise there's a lot going on, all of it developing no faster than a lazy steam boat ride'

Treme disappeared from Sky Atlantic's airwaves recently, not with the cacophonous thud of a cliffhanger but with the quiet whisper of slow character development ticking over yet again. It's a sound that fans of the series have grown accustomed to, although there's no doubting that its relative inaudibility also contributes to the series' meagre viewing figures. As pointed out by Alan Sepinwall though, the fact that Treme is a HBO property means that its viewing figures are less important than a 'regular' show and Season Three has already started shooting, with Season Four reportedly not far behind.

HBO's willingness to support series creators Eric Overmyer and David Simon has, in the first instance, produced this second season of the slow-burner which, implausibly enough for those who saw the first, moves even slower than its predecessor. The best characters from Treme's previous outing - Janette (Kim Dickens), Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), Antoine (Wendell Pierce), Davis (Steve Zahn) and Toni (Melissa Leo) - are all back and they've been propped up with some worthy additions, perhaps the most innovative of which is Oliver Thomas, a real-life New Orleans Councilman, who plays a semi-fictionalised version of himself rather well.

Of the rest of the new crowd, David Morse - who's been a fantastic minor screen presence for a while now - sees a welcome increase in his role as Lieutenant Colson, but sometimes struggles under the one-dimensional development of his character. Ditto The Pacific's Jon Seda, whose shady Nelson follows a predictable track which seems to eliminate him from the running for Season Three, making you wonder why Overmyer and Simon allowed you to spend so much time with him in the first place. If there's a trend here it's that newcomers are going to struggle to make an impact on viewer's hearts, especially when characters who were fairly marginalised but nevertheless present in the first series (Michiel Huisman's Sonny) get their chance to shine too, the latter benefiting from an already well-established backstory.

Plot wise there's a lot going on, all of it developing no faster than a lazy steam boat ride. Redemption and forgiveness obviously feature in Toni and Sofia's (India Ennenga) story, whilst the corporate corruption angle weaves through the tales of most of the players and is highlighted by Thomas. Recovery is also very much on the agenda as Delmond (Rob Brown), who still fails to ignite much interest, finally finds a way to help Albert and Antoine gets a band together.

It's all very softly softly until a storytelling jolt in Episode Nine pulls the narrative into some formal order, preparing for a finale which delivers little apart from a feeling of careful unease under the assumption that no-one is safe from the unpredictability of Overmyer and Simon. Inevitably, nothing much happens but watching two master storytellers whisper tales of beautiful characters to you beats watching action-shtick turned up to eleven any day of the week and Treme is still one of the best-produced dramas the networks can offer.

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'"Treme," like "The Wire," is a show that teaches you how to watch it. What can seem like plotlessness is, again, the writers taking the long (but often very entertaining) way around to making big points about character.' - HitFix


  1. Season four? That's excellent news. I really like the laidback pace of this show. Not much happens, but when you spend so many hours with the characters, even the little things matter.

  2. Yeah, completely agree. I think four seasons is the right length for it as well. Things like this are going to run their course eventually and its better to go out whilst everyone's still invested. Looking forward to S3!