Hurricane Katrina was a devastating, depressing debacle whose ramifications are still felt today. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed. You’d think “Treme,” a new HBO series that takes place in New Orleans in the months after Katrina, would be a downer, that viewers would be treated to a humbling, depressing television experience. You’d be wrong. “Treme,” through two episodes, is among the most uplifting TV series I’ve ever seen.
This is one reason why “Treme” has the potential to be an all-time great show, to place among the best in the modern era and, dare I say it, possibly surpass its predecessor, “The Wire,” in terms of quality.
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David Simon is the brains behind both “Treme” and “The Wire,” and there is no human more capable of telling the story of Katrina and its aftermath than he is. Obviously, any hyperbolic claims concerning “Treme’s” legacy are premature. Rarely is a TV series fully formed at the start, and a stellar pilot isn’t necessarily a recipe for sustained greatness or longevity. And, yet, is there any person alive who inspires confidence in a viewership like Simon?