25 April 2010 | bilko-1
A major artistic achievement from David Simon
My first impression, from watching episode one, was that the writing did not have the flow of "The Wire" it was trying too hard to register the many characters and to quickly tick off the various "types" that make up New Orleans society. Bunk and Freeman were too firmly placed in my memory for me to make the leap to Antoine and Albert. As for the Steve Zahn character, I instantly took a dislike to him and found him unrealistic in the extreme.
By the time we had reached the scene with the Big Chief emerging from the dark, I had become hooked. The characters started to make sense. The generous helping of musical scenes produced what must be the finest portrayal of live music and musicians I have ever seen. I could not wait to catch episode two.
I have now watched the first two episodes twice and all my first impressions have been blown away. Once you get to know the characters and can watch their introduction again, things start to make sense. Steve Zahn? What a brilliant comic creation. Just watch the intro to episode two, his creeping around Elvis Costello, his first day on the job. Absolutely first rate, The shocking introduction of violence, suddenly alters ones perceptions of a major character. Bunk, still lingers in the memory, but Antoine's blowing is going to change all that. I was not familiar with Khandi Alexander, but am now a major fan. Her performance is charismatic in the extreme.
I know that this series is not going to be to everyone's liking, but then neither is Shakespeare or Dickens. However, for those who enjoy a multi-faceted piece of work that can examine society in minute detail whilst never failing to entertain, this will surely rank as a major piece of American art.