Saturday, February 27, 2010

David Simon's Treme on HBO - why television is kicking Hollwood's ass

For those of you who never watched The Wire - shame on you.
Shame, shame, shame.

I'm forever puzzled by people saying there's nothing good on tv.  We are living in a golden era of television with the last ten years providing us with some of the finest shows ever produced.

The Sopranos started it all and raised the bar all those who followed:  Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, The Office, Rescue Me, Mad Med, Breaking Bad - I could go on and on.

While Hollywood continued to focus on big-budget spectacle, television became a nurturing haven for brilliant writers.  The long-format of a broadcast season allowed writers to delve into controversial topics and breathe nuance and complexity into their characters.

I'd take this year's Breaking Bad or Mad Men over any of the Oscar nominated films of this year.  And as much as I like and admire The Hurt Locker, I have to say that Generation Kill did a far better job of shedding a light on the horrors and contradictions of modern-day war.

Which brings us to The Wire, which I consider to be the finest television series ever produced.  David Simon created a masterpiece of institutional dysfunction and the people who bang their heads against it every day.  Whether you're a cop, a senator, a teacher, a drug-dealer, an addict, a student, a journalist, or just someone trying to make it through the day, the overwhelming reality is that society is broken and those who try to swim against the tide get crushed.

And now Simon has a new series on HBO that only he could tackle - the intricate social, racial, artistic and political gumbo that is a post-Katrina New Orleans.

When Treme premieres in April, do yourself a favor - watch it.


  1. Not much of a substantive comment here, but my love for The Wire runs deep. With a background in anthropology, I must say it is one of the best ethnographic accounts of American culture ever created.

    Thanks for reminding me of Generation Kill. I remember seeing previews for it, but never got around to watching it.

  2. I'm still astonished at the amount of media-savvy people who have never seen The Wire. I try to sing its praises whenever I have the opportunity.