Monday, 11 April 2011


Always trust in HBO - for both drama and comedy, it never lets you down. I neglect it at times, and don't give it the attention I should. The biggest problem I find with HBO is not very much appeals to me blurb wise - the only drama I have ever loved and watched on the channel is Six Feet Under. Yet I can't take anything away from its reputation and if it's better quality TV programmes I'm seeking out in 2011/2, then I could do worse than look at what HBO has in its oven. Let's do that, shall we?

More As The Story Develops
Tell me now: behind the scenes on a busy cable news show - by Aaron Sorkin.
And who's in it: Jeff Daniels is in talks/has signed (whichever story you read).
Should I care?: Aaron Sorkin was always well regarded in the TV world prior to his Oscar win, but now he's even hotter property. This show is still in development at HBO - it may even go by another name by the end of it - but already the Internet is buzzing. Greg Mottola (Superbad) has also signed on to direct the pilot episode. For me, though I very much enjoyed the sharp dialogue in The Social Network I'll be tuning in more for the story. Yes, Morning Glory has had a lasting effect on me.

Tell me now: a drama centred around the world of horse-racing. Not by Aaron Sorkin.
And who's in it: Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Michael Gambon, Kevin Dunn
Should I care?: it's one of the most talked about HBO shows for the coming year, mainly because of its stellar cast but also because the show is the dual effort of Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies, The Last of the Mohicans) - in his first dalliance with the small screen - and David Milch, who has written for Deadwood to name but a few. I'm intrigued because horse racing is one of those sports where I can believe the drama, and I can absorb the emotion (only today I was watching the Grand National with baited breath, clutching my placed bet as my horse.... fell at the first. Gah!). It will definitely be worth a watch. Now if only they'd do a motor racing drama as well...

Angry Boys
Tell me now: the new mockumentary comedy gold from Chris Lilley introduces us to six characters - some of which are, well, angry boys.
And who's in it: Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley
Should I care?: you'd be flaming mad not to! Ugh, you're so random. Most of the WORLD has been waiting for Chris Lilley's new series to finally be out and now it's almost here. No more continuous repeats of We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High for the foreseeable future as we concentrate on new (a Japanese family with overbearing mother) characters, and recurring ones too (the twin brothers from We Can Be Heroes). Sadly it looks as though the run of Ja'mie has come to an end. The show will air on ABC in Australia in the next month, and hopefully we can expect a quick turnaround onto HBO. And UK fans can also rejoice - it will be show on BBC 3 this Summer! Now onto that trailer.

Tell me now: the lives, ups, downs, ins, outs, rises, pitfalls of a group of 20 something girls in New York City. Sex and the City a decade on, with younger folk, basically.
And who's in it: Lena Dunham (who also created and will write/direct for the show), Allison Williams, Alexi Wasser, Jemima Kirke, Chris Eigeman
Should I care?: I may have eluded to Sex and the City then but this is going to be anything but. Lena Dunham wrote and directed a film last year called Tiny Furniture - I wanted to like it as offbeat quirky films that go nowhere are a culturemouse staple, but the trailer bored me halfway through and I turned off. As long as the characters aren't all losers, then I'll be watching - put it that way. What further interests me - and this may sound strange - is that Judd Apatow is producing. Yes I loathe anything Apatow touches, but at the beginning of his career, he made an amazing TV show called Freaks and Geeks and if Girls has any of the humour and pathos of that then it'll be a winner.

Tell me now: a comedy set in the female US Vice President's office.
And who's in it: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Curb, Arrested Development) is rumoured to be playing the lead alongside Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh, Alison Trumbull
Should I care?: why yyyyyyyes! Americans reading this blog ('lo) probably haven't heard of Armando Iannucci, but you may recognise some of his creations: Alan Partridge, The Day Today and probably, hopefully, In The Loop, the 2009 film based on the brilliant TV series The Thick of It (there's more but you really wouldn't know them). Anyway, there was a segment in the film which featured the American political system, and that's what will be explored here in Veep, his first outing in the US market. He has categorically stated this is not the 'American The Thick of It', but more of a companion piece. Whatever it is, it's unmissable viewing - this man is a genius (and nice in person, too).

Tell me now: a comedy about two female fashion designers and their differing views of work, love and life while all the while being surrounded by beautiful clothes.
And who's in it: Tea Leoni and Hope Davis have just been confirmed as the two leads.
Should I care?: I'm not a fan of either actress, and tbh I'm not a huge fan of the US comedy on HBO - but of course, I am a sucker for the fashion industry, so this intrigues me. The involvement of R.J. Cutler who made The September Issue is also highly promising. This has only just recently been green lighted, so don't expect it this year.

Tell me now: investigating serial killers, yeah!
And who's in it: Charlize Theron looks pretty certain to star.
Should I care?: it's David Fincher's first TV project, so it's going to be big. I was never a fan of Seven, but I was engrossed by Zodiac, so Fincher knows what he's doing tackling this serious subject matter - and really getting a feel for the psychology behind it as well. Plus we all know Ms Theron can get mean and dirty when she wants to! The programme will be based on the 2006 book 'Mind Hunter' - the memoirs of an FBI agent and his experiences tracking serial killers in America. This is in the very, very early stages of development at the moment so don't be expecting this on your box in 2011 either. But exciting stuff.

And a couple of maybes...

Under The Dome
Tell me now: based on the Stephen King novel about a town that one day wakes up to find a huge dome has been placed over it (yes, like in the Simpsons movie).
And who's in it: no word yet on casting.
Should I care?: probably not unless you're into Stephen King mini-series. I need to be in the mood for them myself: I enjoyed Storm of the Century and The Langoliers has to be one of my all time favourite forgotten gems. This was rumoured to be happening in 2009, but I'm not sure what's going on with it - the IMDB page seems to suggest it's still going ahead, so maybe we'll hear more in the coming months.

All Signs Of Death
Tell me now: again based on a book - this time Charlie Huston's 'The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death' - focusing on a young slacker who accidentally falls into a career erasing crime scenes.
And who's in it: Ben Wishaw starred in the pilot alongside Max Martini, Kelsey Ford and James Read.
Should I care?: it's the new Alan Ball drama, so if you love Six Feet Under, American Beauty and True Blood then you'll be watching no matter what! I'm afraid I can't really keep track of this one: it was in development, a pilot was made, HBO turned it down, then it was back on again, then AMC were interested in taking it... I'm not really sure what the show's status is at the moment. The plot didn't really grab my attention, it was only Alan Ball's name and also finding out Ben Wishaw (who I do love) was starring as the main protagonist that got me sniffing around. But I have no idea what's happening with it at the moment so watch this space.

Tomorrow I'll be seeing if there's anything at NBC that takes my fancy.

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