While he couldn't be too specific, Eric Overmyer, co-creator of HBO's post-Katrina New Orleans drama "Treme" did drop some hints about the focus of the show's second season, scheduled to begin shooting this fall in the Big Easy.
Overmyer, a playwright and TV writer who's worked on shows including NBC's "St. Elsewhere" and "Homicide: Life on the Street," talked about New Orleans, working with musicians and more on Wednesday at the Clinton School of Public Service.
The 58-year-old created "Treme" with David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun reporter whose previous HBO drama "The Wire" has been hailed as the best show in the history of television. Overmyer had a big hand in its success, working as a writer and consulting producer during the show's lauded fourth season, which focused on the troubled Baltimore school system.
Not surprisingly, New Orleans' school system stands to figure heavily in "Treme"'s second season, Overmyer said Wednesday, with some of the show's characters taking jobs in the schools as the city continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
After the jump, more from Overmyer's talk at the Clinton School, as well as hints about "Treme," Season Two.
Where "Treme"'s first season seemed content to luxuriate in the everyday lives of musicians, restauranteurs and Mardi Gras Indians, Overmyer's hints about the second season seem to point in directions that could excite "Wire" fans put off by "Treme"'s deliberate pace.
With writing about to begin on the new season, Overmyer said he and Simon are considering themes around the crime and city's police force, the school system and questions about federal aid dollars that seemingly disappeared before reaching the city.
Season Two is set to take place from fall 2006 to spring 2007. Overmyer noted that crime wasn't a major part of Season One because most of the city's residents had the left the city just before Katrina. And once the population returned, crime returned with it.
Overmyer, who has a home in New Orleans, said shooting the series in the city has been a pleasure. Unfortunately, he noted, it's been far too easy to find areas to film that still look as if Katrina just happened.
Overmyer shared some other "Treme" trivia with the audience:
- Wendell Pierce, who plays tombonist Antoine Batiste, doesn't play the instrument in real life. But like other actors on show who play musicians but can't play instruments, he's taking lessons.
- Overmyer and Simon had been talking about doing a show about New Orleans while working together on "The Wire" even before Hurricane Katrina. They wanted to do a show about musicians in the city. But Overmyer said Katrina gave them a good device with which to frame the show.
- John Goodman, who plays college professor Creighton Bernette, only signed on to do one season of the show. He's since joked with Overmyer that because of his dramatic weight loss, he could grow a mustache and return as Bernett's brother.