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With excellent 'Treme,' it's Big Easy come, Big Easy go


It was as raw and experimental as the New Orleans jazz that provided its heartbeat.

Sadly, it proved to be just about as popular with mainstream audiences.

“Treme” (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) kicks off its final, five-episode microseason with its usual mix of idealism and corruption, hope and resignation, and music. So much music that, at times, the drama felt like a cast of characters occasionally getting in the way of a marathon concert.

A look at New Orleans in the weeks and months following Hurricane Katrina, “Treme” taught the world — or at least that minuscule portion of the world that bothered to watch it — about second lines and Mardi Gras Indians as well as how to pronounce the name of the historic neighborhood. (It’s truh-MAY.)

Alongside its resident dreamers and schemers, “Treme’s” musicians and chefs were lent an air of credibility thanks to appearances from their real-life counterparts ranging from Kermit Ruffins to Dr. John and Eric Ripert to Tom Colicchio.

David Simon’s follow-up to “The Wire” never amassed the sort of interest as that groundbreaking drama, one of TV’s all-time greats. Then again, nine out of 10 “Wire” fans never watched it during its run. So, perhaps “Treme” finally will be appreciated four or five years down the road.

Either way, in that grand Big Easy tradition, it’s going out with one heck of a funeral.

A potential hit: When writer-director Frank Darabont was forced out of “The Walking Dead” after turning Robert Kirkman’s comic into a monster hit (no pun intended), he moved from AMC to TNT. And he took Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) with him. But his latest creation, “Mob City” (9 p.m. Wednesday, TNT) doesn’t have nearly the same bite. (Pun intended.)

Bernthal and DeMunn are part of a task force out to bring down Bugsy Siegel (Ed Burns) and Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke) in 1940s L.A. Despite some nostalgic noir touches, “Mob City” too often feels like “Boardwalk Empire” on a budget.

If it’s any consolation, it’s still the second best series TNT ever developed. Although that’s not saying all that much. After Ray Romano’s “Men of a Certain Age” — “Southland,” TNT’s best yet, started on NBC — it was a pretty steep drop-off.

End of the road: “Sons of Anarchy” fans have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to enter for a chance to attend the “Sons of Anarchy” season finale party at The D Las Vegas, 301 Fremont St. “Anarchy” stars Theo “Juice” Rossi and Kim “Tig” Coates will be on hand to introduce the episode, answer questions, pose for photos and sign autographs for the 250 winners and their guests. For more information and to enter, visit thed.soafinale.com.

Tats entertainment: Las Vegan Sabina Kelley is back as a judge, and local artist Willy Cutlip of Bad Apple Tattoo is among the contestants, for the third season of “Best Ink” (10 p.m. Wednesday, Oxygen).

Saddle up: If your favorite belt buckle is off being polished, or some other inconvenience is keeping you from making it to the National Finals Rodeo, coverage kicks off at 7 p.m. each day, Thursday through Dec. 14, on Great American Country.

Climb aboard: Anthony Anderson hosts the Soul Train Awards (8 p.m. Sunday, BET), featuring tributes to Dionne Warwick and Keith Sweat, which was taped Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567.