last year and it's funny to think I am now watching these shows and enjoying them! Unfortunately a few of them never made it to the small screen (and ones like Luck didn't make it far out the box) but Girls, Veep, Angry Boys and More As The Story Develops (now, The Newsroom, set to premiere in June) have all succeeded. One of last year's shows will actually re-appear on this list - Mindhunter - as it's still in development. But you should definitely see a scatter of these names below in the next 12 months... Of course HBO don't have a "upfront" launch as such, but they should still get their worth!
Tell me now: Three generations of a Midwestern family come together for "one last Christmas" at the turn of the millennium.
And who's in it: Chris Cooper (American Beauty, The Bourne Identity) and Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, Synecdoche New York) will play the elderly couple, with their children Ewan McGregor (Big Fish, Trainspotting), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary, The Dark Knight) and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Anonymous). Also signed on: Greta Gerwig (Damsels in Distress)!
Should I care?: Yeeeeeeees! Hugely excited about this (even with the involvement of McGregor) - not so much the storyline, which could mean anything really, or even the cast though it reads more like a film sheet - HBO sure can attract the big names these days! The reason I'm most excited is because Noah Baumbach is involved, and having a TV series from him would just be a dream. Plus, the book by Jonathan Franzen is universally loved and I may just add it to my Summer reading list...
EDIT: HBO literally just pulled the plug on this. Ohhhh lonnnng johnson.
The Art of Fielding
Tell me now: Following the fates of five people at a Midwestern University, whose lives are all affected by a single baseball throw.
And who's in it: The film rights in the book have just been optioned, so it's still in the very early stages - no cast as yet announced.
Should I care?: I haven't read the book but it is by all accounts excellent (and has just been released over here in paperback) and this sounds like a sweet, interesting premise which will hopefully cleverly intertwine the story arcs of several different characters. The author Chad Harbach will be involved in producing as well as Scott Rudin (who is also working on The Corrections, above). As long as there's not too much baseball...
Tell me now: A group of con men and magicians use their methods of deception to defeat Hitler and the Germans during World War II.
And who's in it: Still in development, no cast attached as yet.
Should I care?: The plot sounds intriguing enough, but it's the talent behind it which surely means it's one to consider: from an idea by author Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys) and his wife Ayelet Waldman (Love and Other Impossible Pursuits) the pilot will be directed by none other than Darren Aronofsky, his first project since Black Swan and his first foray into television. Squee!
Tell me now: An FBI agent's investigations of serial killers and rapists, and the profiling techniques he uses to track them.
And who's in it: No official cast as yet - Charlize Theron is definitely producing, but may not necessarily star.
Should I care?: I wrote about Mindhunter on last year's HBO list and as far as I can tell there has been no movement on it since, with the project still in development (but not officially panned like Spring/Fall). David Fincher is still attached to direct the pilot, but with the Millennium trilogy to finish off he's going to be a busy man for the near future.
Tell me now: In modern day America, where the old Gods have been neglected and forgotten by humans, new powers begin to emerge which seek to take over the world, prompting an epic battle between the two sides.
And who's in it: Again, too early for casting yet (but I'll be on it when we get some news!)
Should I care?: YES! I read the book last year (by Neil Gaiman) and had a lot of fun with it, though it does take its time to get going and the ending is a bit eh (apparently HBO have planned 6 series to tell the whole story). But the meat on the bones in the middle is terrific, particularly when we are following the main protagonist, Shadow, and when it delves into road movie/manhunt or mystery with the missing kids from Lakeside. It has a lot of potential, and would look to recreate the model and success Game of Thrones has forged. Gaiman is busy working on the pilot script at the moment. Cannae wait!
Tomorrow it's the turn of NBC with some - shock horror - comedies.