It’s been a year since The Wire ended its brilliant, five-season exploration of the post-industrial American city, a little less since Generation Kill took a crack at Iraq, and now, sources report that David Simon got the go ahead to shoot his pilot for Treme, a proposed HBO series that will look at New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, through the lives of musicians affected. When news broke earlier last year, I was thinking we’d get a North American version of the Buena Vista Social Club, but, Simon (of course) promises something much more complex: “It’s basically a post-Katrina history of the city. It will be rooted in events that everybody knows. What it’s not going to be is a happy stroll through David Simon’s record collection. It should not be a tourism slide show. If we do it right, it [will be] about why New Orleans matters,” Simon tells EW. After five years of showing us how Baltimore mattered, do we really expect anything less?
Details are sketchy but promising, and it looks like a bunch of the old Wire vets will be back for a second round. New Orleans-native Wendell “Bunk” Pierce will play Antoine Batiste, a struggling trombonist in the city (echoes of Buddy Bolden?); Clarke Peters (Freamon) will play the leader of a Mardis Gras Indian tribe “trying to get members of his tribe back home”; and a surprising cast member, Steve Zahn (of Reality Bites fame) looks like he’ll be the new Prez, playing a “dancer, DJ and band member with anger management issues.” Here’s hoping that Nola’s finest, Jay Electronica, might pull a Method Man, and land a role.
Between this and Milch’s Last of the Ninth, which started casting last year, HBO looks like it may ring in the new decade with a lineup that could rival its mid-auts heyday.