TREME, the new HBO show from The Wire's creator David Simon has all the hall marks of one he intends to run and run.
Produced by Simon and Eric Overmyer it is set three months after Hurricane Katrina in the predominantly black neighbourhood of Treme which sits behind the French Quarter in New Orleans, a traditional home for the musicians and Creole community.
After the first couple of episodes those of us familiar with the greatest TV show ever will notice similar narrative and character hints being dropped slowly into a heady gumbo of a drama. Not much of major dramatic impact has happened in the first two episodes, but another large cast of characters has been introduced and plots and themes are emerging tentatively.
Signed up for at least two series by HBO, the experienced among us will know it may take all that time for everything to be tied up, by which stage series three will be taking on another set of injustices.
I'd say this series is going to deal with the institutionally racist neglect of flood victims, the deadly stasis brought on by Federal bureaucracy and the inherently corrupt political systems which allowed the huge humanitarian disaster to unfold down in N'awlins.
One thing already apparent is there's a tremendous cast working their socks off. The Corner and CSI Miami's Khandi Alexander is stressed bar owner LaDonna Batiste-Williams looking for her brother missing in the prison system, Clarke 'Lester Freamon' Peters is the Indian chief Albert Lambreaux looking to get his carnival gang back together, Wendell 'Bunk Moreland' Pierce (above) LaDonna's gifted but priapic trombonist ex-husband Antoine Batiste hustling for work while Steve Zahn plays the middle class white musician and DJ Davis McAlary in love with black music, its musicians and culture.
However, the stand-out character, and perhaps the moral barometer of the show, is English Literature professor Creighton Bernette played by John Goodman, a man leading a crusade to get the truth about Katrina known. It's not a natural disaster he says, 'but a federal fuck-up of epic proportions, decades in the making.'
The music is incredible, in what has to be one of the best opening sequences of any TV show, a panorama of the city's heritage from ragtime to revival, be bop, rock and dirty south hip hop all comes together before concluding with a full New Orleans jazz band marching the streets of Treme.
British and Irish gobshites, content yourself with this trailer and others like it on YouTube - as yet there are no dates for either a screening or DVD release in these parts.