I almost had to stop watching Treme about 30 minutes in. Not because it wasn't good, it was actually quite the opposite. It was fantastic. I knew if I kept watching, which I did, I would be hooked. This was the definition of a great pilot.
Treme, from David Simon (The Wire) and Eric Overmyer (Law & Order), premiered on HBO in April 2010. It ran for four seasons, 36 episodes in all, and ended in December of 2013. The series follows residents and musicians in New Orleans three months after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
Three things about this show really stood out to me: the cast, the dialogue, and the music. While the three are very separate components, it seems difficult for the show to have one without the other. To be honest, looking at the cast is what made me choose to watch the show. Starring Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Kim Dickens, Steve Zahn, Melissa Leo, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, and John Goodman. That, my friends, is a legendary lineup. Not only does it look great on paper, but each and every one of them delivered. Wendell Pierce especially impressed me. He's always been a face I've recognized, but it was awesome to watch him in the spotlight.
If the actors brought the talent, the music brought the soul. Nothing beats the brass of New Orleans, and this show did it justice. Most of the characters were musicians and that can only speak to the talent of the actors. Watching them not only play, but play well, took the show to new heights.
The icing on the cake for me was how well the writing got you invested in the characters. There weren't necessarily a ton of cliffhangers, but you learned enough about the path of each character that you couldn't wait to see what happened next. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, but I felt so invested in each major character's life that I couldn't wait to see the next episode. It's rare that I can invest in each and every character's issues, but Treme pulled me in perfectly. If you're looking for a new show to watch, and you've got access to HBO, your search should end on the streets of New Orleans.