Treme - The Complete Series
HBO met David Simon halfway in granting "Treme" a truncated five-episode fourth and final season despite low ratings. This was enough for Simon and his fellow writers and producers to bring the show home and finish up their sprawling story of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Now the entire series (36 episodes) can be viewed as a televisual novel, much in the same vein as Simon’s earlier portrait of an American city, "The Wire." The Blu-ray release of "Treme: The Complete Series" takes a somewhat minimal approach in that it simply gathers all the individual season sets and packages them into a box. But simpler is probably better in this case: Each season set already features its own slate of special features, and the added bonus that this complete package offers is both clever and gratifying. There’s an extra Blu-ray disc enclosed in a special sleeve containing "music videos" of fifteen of the songs featured during the show’s run.
The videos range from off-the-cuff to downright classy. (A black and white video of Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint performing "The Greatest Love" is shot on film, with shimmering grain and minor imperfections that give the video a retro look and feel.) Other selections feature the show’s signature mix of cast members and established New Orleans musicians.
The videos are set within a couple of framing devices. Some include a short intro by a radio DJ, while others start off with brief scenes of bar patrons ordering up tracks on a jukebox. It’s cute and sort of funny, if not really necessary.
For the "Treme" fan who might not have collected all the season sets on the same format (this reviewer started with DVDs for the earlier seasons), or for the newly-minted aficionado, this release is ideal.
"Treme: The Complete Series"