4. TREME HAS GOT THE BEAT

When a show manages to snag Elvis Costello to guest star as himself in the premiere episode, you know it has the music aspect sorted out. The soundtrack isn’t exactly mainstream (save for Lil Wayne’s “Fireman” popping up in one episode) but that’s why it works—it remains authentic. Along with tracks by legendary Blues/Jazz singer Johnny Adams, music by real local groups like the Treme Brass Band are utilized in nearly every episode. And Kermit Ruffins, the New Orleans-born jazz trumpeter who makes regular appearance, steals just about every scene he’s in.