A Tale of Another City

There is no single protagonist in HBO's Treme, a sprawling ensemble drama set in New Orleans during the months and years after Hurricane Katrina. Instead, the star is the city itself.

Creator David Simon previously helmed The Wire, the critically acclaimed show about cops and drug dealers in Baltimore. Like that show, Tremé, named for a New Orleans neighborhood, follows characters from all walks of life. This time, however, the focus is on culture rather than crime. There are cops and lawyers and politicians, but also cooks and musicians and contractors.

Treme, which ended in December after four seasons, is not as focused as The Wire or as trenchant in its social and political critiques. But it offers a showcase for great acting, and it has a keen eye for urban dysfunction and the ways local governmental failures can make life difficult, even and especially for those who simply want to live normal lives. 

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