Last night’s episode of HBO’s Treme was difficult to watch. For a show that is often criticized for moving too slowly (this, despite the jarring suicide of a main character towards the end of its first season), it packed quite a bit of action — of the heartbreaking, tearjerking variety. Today, Salon’s Matt Zoller Seitz is denouncing the episode’s most shocking story line as a “cheap, ugly showstopper.” As someone who found the same harrowing twist to be as effective as it was devastating, I respectfully disagree.
Warning: If you don’t want Sunday’s most recent Treme episode spoiled for you, stop reading now.
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As early as the first few minutes of last night’s Treme premiere, we felt like we had never left David Simon’s post-Katrina New Orleans. The singular characters, the obsession with music (evoked, this time, by a boy who wanders the streets playing the trumpet when his mother shoos him off the stoop), the multi-faceted portrait of a city in crisis – yes, the show that (like its predecessor, The Wire) makes almost everything else on TV look hopelessly shallow and contrived is back. Much has changed in the half-year since we left our characters. After the jump, we share our hopes for the cast in Season 2. Add yours in the comments.
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Treme, the quietly brilliant HBO musical drama that examines New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, debuts this week on DVD and Blu-ray, and if you haven’t seen it, you should rent or buy it post haste. (If there is one takeaway from this post, that’s it.) The series was co-created by David Simon, the journalist-turned-TV genius behind the show that launched a thousand blog posts, the late, great The Wire. And in addition to the many things that are somewhat miraculous about Treme, there is this: It is a rare case of a follow-up television show that measures up to its iconic predecessor.
TV is a tricky business, and more often than not, the creator or primary creative force behind a big hit will go into their next series, guns a-blazing, only to find that television audiences are more fickle than they thought. Steven Bochco followed Hill Street Blues with Bay City Blues; Garry Marshall and Thomas L. Miller followed The Odd Couple with Me and the Chimp; West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin’s next show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, was a costly one-season flop for NBC; M*A*S*H show runners Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart’s Karen folded after five months; Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Gilmore Girls follow-up The Return of Jezebel James lasted a mere three episodes; and Mitchell Hurwitz’s Running Wilde reunited him with Arrested Development stars Will Arnett and David Cross but ran only spottily on Fox last fall before disappearing altogether. However, there are occasions when a TV series manages to equal (or even surpass) the critical and popular success of its predecessor. Join us after the jump for a look at ten television shows where lightning struck twice.
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Today at Flavorpill, we were happy to see Emma Donoghue, Julie Orringer, and Jennifer Egan among the talented authors on the longlist for this year’s Orange Prize. We were intrigued by the results of a new study that shows that having demanding job can be just as bad for mental… Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we marveled at Sam Havia’s culturally relevant cassette tape paintings and the trippy art of teenage drug rehab patients. We wished we could un-see these creepy videos of monkeys wearing human masks and working as waiters. We learned that Bob Dylan actually wrote every popular… Read More
Has anyone else noticed that there’s no shortage of depressed characters on television these days? The National Post‘s Robert Fulford wants to know why downers make for such good television in recent times, from modern sagas to historical retellings. Whatever the reason behind such writing and its success, there are certainly plenty of morose roles out there. Here are our picks for top 10 most depressed characters on TV today. Let us know who we missed.
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Today at Flavorpill, we were sad to find out that our friends at Gen Art are calling it quits after 16 years of promoting emerging talent. We adored this “photographic collage of 99 pedestrian traffic-light icons collected from around the world.” We spent longer that we’d care to admit poring over the ever-expanding… Read More
Everyone is eagerly awaiting the April 11th premiere of HBO’s new David Simon drama, Treme. So what’s up with the toe-taps, vegetable chops (and anything involving Creole food), colorful parades, and trumpets on display like trophies in this new teaser? We get it already. Anyone who was a fan of The Wire knows that Simon doesn’t do cliches — so should we believe that he’s just trying to lull viewers into a false sense of security before he brings down the post-Katrina hammer? Check out the preview after the jump, and let us know what you think.
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New Orleans is having a major cultural moment. Be it sports, music, television, or film, everything that the once-beleaguered city touches turns to gold. The resurgence is enough to make us wonder if NOLA has plans to take over the world. After the jump, we’ve compiled a list of our five favorite cultural exports — it’s best to be ready when the inevitable… Read More
While it made us excited for the series’ premiere on April 11 and reminded us why we love Wynton Marsalis, the teaser trailer for HBO’s Treme didn’t provide much information about Wire creator David Simon’s latest drama. All we really knew for sure: It would be set in post-Katrina New Orleans and it had to do with musicians. The TV gods (otherwise known as the 2010 Winter TCAs) must have heard our prayers, because today Simon shed some new light on what the show will cover.
Find out what specifics we’ve learned after the jump.
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