- Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French DTS 5.1, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American) DTS 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish (Castilian), Swedish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: TV-MA
- Discs: 4 (4 x Blu-ray)
- Run Time: 660 Mins.
- Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 17, 2012
- List Price: $79.98
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HBO’s critically acclaimed series Treme returned for a second season with high hopes after its maiden voyage. The second season loses a key player in this ensemble cast, John Goodman, who helped bolster the likability factor of season one tremendously. The series follows the lives of ordinary people in New Orleans trying to get their lives back to normal after the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Whereas season one was set in “New Orleans, Six Months After,” season two is set in “New Orleans, Fourteen Months After.” The interwoven stories of these individuals deepens somewhat to include high crime rates, the lack of federal support, suicides, and migrations to other cities for work, with some stories taking place in New York City. Out of town contractors begin moving in, like vultures, preying on the vulnerable natives forced to sell off their ramshackle property at dirt cheap prices for lack of recourse.
As with season one, the intertwining of New Orleans culture, namely the music, is phenomenal. Blues, jazz, funk, bounce, and so on. It all figures in the acutely regional feel of the series on the whole. That is not to say that it isn’t universally enjoyable, however. Still, the second season suffers somewhat from a slump. It doesn’t have the same sense of urgency and purpose as the first season did. Perhaps being set so far after the disaster and, in reality, being so many years after that tragedy, the scattershot nature of its plot loses the impact the creators were trying to achieve.
Treme is captured on Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 Super 35mm and arrives on Blu-ray with a solid AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement from HBO Home Entertainment. The image looks wonderfully filmic and textured, absent any and all issues that appear in the cable broadcasts of the series, that is to say that macroblocking, posterization, and color banding are all gone. Contrast is strong and flesh tones look good if just a little too pinkish at times.
Sound continues to be a crucial element in Treme with the series’ heavy emphasis on its musical soundtrack and musical performances throughout each episode. As with the first season’s release on Blu-ray, season two’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) track is big, dynamic, ambient, and flawless. It effortlessly captures the musical performances in a lively manner, but also manages to incorporate the atmospheric sounds of New Orleans, like traffic, radios, children playing, etc. Dialogue is clean low frequencies are deep and tight and highs are natural and airy.
HBO has loaded Treme with a plethora of extras, interactive and otherwise, to allow viewers on more deeply explore the history of New Orleans from its music and cuisine to its art and various ethnic cultures. Several select audio commentaries are a must for music fans as well, with musical experts from NPR and WBGO reappearing from the season one release to continue the discussion on the rich musical soundtrack. Kudos to HBO for also including New Orleans chefs in a featurette on the delicious regional cuisine.
- Down in the Treme: A Look at the Music and Culture if New Orleans – Dig deeper into the world of New Orleans with this interactive, in-episode viewing mode with five different features with unique content for each episode, including “Music,” “Players,” “Lexicon,” “Locale,” and “Cuisine.”
- The Music of Treme – Discover the brilliant artists and vibrant music featured in Treme with this in-episode viewing mode that provides information about the song currently playing.
- The Art of Treme –A Tulane University symposium dedicated to Treme featuring co-creators/executive producers David Simon and Eric Overmyer, and cast member Clarke Peters.
- Behind Treme: Food for Thought – New Orleans chefs and restaurateurs John Besh and Alon Shaya discuss local cuisine and its importance to the cultural tradition of the city.
- Behind Treme: Clarke Peters & the Mardi Gras Indians – Clarke Peters (“Albert Lambreaux”) and Otto DeJean (“George Cotrell” on Treme and a Mardi Gras Indian Chief) discuss the rich tradition on Mardis Gras Indians in new Orleans.
- Audio commentary on Episode 1 with supervising producer/director Anthony Hemingway, Kim Dickens, and Lucia Micarelli.
- Audio Commentary on Episode 1 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattananon (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 2 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattananon (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 3 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 4 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 5 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 6 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 7 with director Brad Anderson and music supervisor Blake Leyh
- Audio commentary on Episode 7 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 8 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 9 with writer George Pelecanos, Clarke Peters, and Rob Brown
- Audio commentary on Episode 9 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 10 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
- Audio commentary on Episode 11 with creator/executive producer David Simon, executive producer Nina Noble, and Wendell Pierce
- Audio commentary on Episode 11 with Josh Jackson (WBGO) and Patrick Jarenwattanano (NPR Music)
The Definitive Word
More brilliant for its music and celebration of NOLA than it is effective in conveying the sense of tragedy after Katrina, Treme: The Complete Second Season continues to be an entertaining series, but not quite as impactful and enjoyable as it was the first time around. The Blu-ray release from HBO, however, is still top notch and well worth owning for fans of the series. It easily bests any broadcast version the show.
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