I haven’t seen Treme, and I may in fact like it, but this guy seems to be hitting the nail on the head:
It’s hard to write about music, fictionally or nonfictionally, without slipping into cliché or hyperbole or hipster-Mad Libs abstraction, which is why there are so few great rock ‘n’ roll novels and so many lousy record reviews, and why there hasn’t been a successful TV show about musicians since The Monkees (who didn’t talk about music much because they were too busy singing and/or being chased by spies who’d hidden microfilm in Davy Jones’ maracas.) But Treme‘s tendency to sashay right into these traps is frustrating, because you know Simon and his cohorts are capable of better. The Wire, which put a reporter’s-notebook premium on authentic dialogue, sometimes at the expense of clarity, would never have given lines this trite to its cops or its corner-boys. Music is a huge part of the argument Treme makes about the specialness of New Orleans culture, because you can’t taste food through your TV, so every time somebody makes an incredibly obvious statement about that specialness it undercuts the whole project.