'Treme' premiere review: Making music and history, pumpin' it up

From its opening moments, the opening episode of Treme captured a musical culture in a way that's unlike anything that has ever been done on television or in the movies. Set in New Orleans three months after Hurricane Katrina. Treme - created by The Wire's David Simon and named after a neighborhood in the city known for its rich cultural heritage - follows a wide array of citizens struggling to rebuild their lives.

It was best to let Treme just carry you along in its flow. The series' rhythm echoes its music, with lots of fluid tracking shots. It's not a drama with a main plot plus subplots - an hour with the three- or four-act structure. It moved along so that the primary characters in every scene could have been the star of his or her own show. That's true whether we're talking about Wendell Pierce's randy trombone player, or Steve Zahn's dippy DJ, or Kim Dickens' struggling restauranteur, or Khandi Alexander's stalwart bar owner, or Clarke Peters' stoic Big Chief Indian, or well, you get the idea.

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