Season 2: Still has weaker threads and characters but mostly the show is still a lively sense of spirit, colour and music that is fun and engaging
Despite some reservations and doubts ahead of watching it, I had really quite enjoyed the first season of Treme, so I'm not sure why yet again I kept finding something else to watch ahead of the second season. In a way I guess this is partly down to one of the few problems I do genuinely have with the show – the nature of it being a rather colourful and messy jumble of life and stories. This "problem", if one can call it that, meant that I didn't approach the second season with a huge drive to "find out what happened" because Treme doesn't really do cliff-hangers or dramatic endings that have you desperate for the next episode as soon as possible. This isn't really a fault of the show since this is its heart, but for me it did mean that I had no urgency when I saw that the second season was out.
Even without this urgency though, I still did want to see it and as before, once I started it the season quickly grabbed me – not by virtue of narrative drive but more in a sense of place, culture and people that is really well done. This season continues to do that well and what it lacks in gripping narrative developments and flows, it more than makes up for in terms of the sense of people living their lives in this difficult but yet passionate and colourful situation. It improves on the first season though because there are fewer annoying or weaker characters; not to say that they have dropped characters but more that they have spread the time better across everyone this time. This is also helped by the characters I was less interested in last time, having a bit more about their threads this time around. Specifically I'm thinking about Davis on this point and, although I'm still not a fan, I did find him less annoying than before. The others are pretty much interesting and engaging across the board, good characters with interesting threads that take in small, comic moments up to moments of violent crimes. The show manages to do this without feeling uneven as well – indeed it balances the tone of the show so well that it makes it look easy when it isn't. Although we vary from violent acts to detective story to band dramas to comic interactions, it all sort of fits together really well because the overall thrust of the show is a sense of community and people – so even though the specific events vary, it is all the same setting of "life" and thus it fits.
The music remains a big draw for me and there is a lot of it. Those involved have a lot of talent and passion and the show is stronger for their presence and the regular musical moments that go with the story telling. The cast continue to be good within this ensemble approach. They are too consistent to pick one or two out really, but I do in particular like Alexander, Micarelli, Pierce, Brown, Dickens, Leo, Morse and Peters. The addition of Seda is pretty good in terms of character and story, while a few other additions add colour round the edges.
Overall Treme continues to be a show that is hard to sell to someone who hasn't seen it. It doesn't have one specific story thread that will grip new viewers from the get-go, indeed although it has a narrative flow, it never really has urgency or exaggerated flourish to the telling. Instead it has a sense of place and community and it does this with color and energy that I continue to find engaging and enjoyable. This may limit its appeal as it's story doesn't really demand viewers return but for me the spirit of the show and the feelings it fosters is enough for me and I look forward to the third season and hope it tweaks and improves upon itself again.
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