Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wondering out loud about David Simon, Treme and a confounding (to me anyway) storytelling question

I heard David Simon on the radio this morning talking about Treme, the HBO series about post-Katrina New Orleans. He was discussing how his series (like "The Wire") allow narrative, characters, situations and themes to develop over time, "to pay off when they're ready to pay off," as he put it.

Anyone who's watched "The Wire" can see how things that happened in the beginning came back around at the end, or provided context for what happened year-to-year in the series, or added depth to the entire series. But during the radio interview he also said that he doesn't know whether HBO will extend Treme beyond Season 2.

Here's my question: If you are writing/filming/producing a series in which you are purposefully patient, in which you do not intend to wrap everything up at the end of each season, in which you are using something in Season 1 to set up something in Season 5, how do you do that if you don't know that there will be a Season 5?

It would be like us writing a three-part series without any guarantee that parts 2 and 3 would be published. Don't know that there's an answer here, unless I can get this question to David Simon. But, like I said, I'm just wondering out loud. Any thoughts?