Yay! It is finally here. Aren’t you glad? Okay, I was thinking spring, but the majority of you were probably thinking GAME OF THRONES. It is April and that means both events are upon us and a whole lot more. The lineup is full of comedy, drama, social commentary, documentaries and even a miniseries. So without any further delay it is time for a look at what is on HBO in April 2015.
Originals: A fresh batch of shows are at the forefront on Sunday nights this month as we see the season premieres of GAME OF THRONES, SILICON VALLEY and VEEP.
GAME OF THRONES begins its ten episode fifth season SUNDAY, APRIL 12 at 9:00pm ET followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time. Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, this hit Emmy-winning fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent kingdom. The ensemble cast includes Emmy and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aiden Gillen, Kit Harington, Diana Rigg, Natalie Dormer, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner. But, you knew all that. What you want is episode details, right? There are three episodes in April.
— Episode #41: “The Wars to Come”: Cersei and Jaime adjust to a world without Tywin. Varys reveals a conspiracy to Tyrion. Dany faces a new threat to her rule. Jon is caught between two kings. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Michael Slovis.) Other air dates: 04.12 at 11:30pm & 2:00am; 04.13 at 12:30am; 04.14 at 9:00pm & 4:05am; 04.15 at 3:45am; 04.16 at 10:00pm; 04.17 at 9:00pm; 04.18 at 1:15am and 04.24 at 8:00pm.
— Episode #42: “The House of Black and White”: Arya arrives in Braavos. Pod and Brienne run into trouble on the road. Cersei fears for her daughter’s safety in Dorne as Ellaria Sand seeks revenge for Oberyn’s death. Stannis tempts Jon. An adviser tempts Dany. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Michael Slovis.) Other HBO dates: 04.19 at 11:30pm & 2:00am; 04.20 at 10:15pm; 04.21 at 9:00pm & 2:30am; 04.22 at 11:50pm; 04.23 at 10:00pm; 04.24 at 9:00pm and 04.25 at 1:50am.
— Episode #43: “High Sparrow”: In Braavos, Arya sees the Many-Faced God. In King’s Landing, Queen Margaery enjoys her new husband. Tyrion and Varys walk the Long Bridge of Volantis. (Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Mark Mylod.) Other HBO dates: 04.26 at 11:30pm & 2:00am; 04.27 at 1:15pm; 04.28 at 9:00pm & 2:30pm; 04.29 at 1:45am and 04.30 at 10:00pm and into May.
SILICON VALLEY returns for its ten-episode second season SUNDAY, APRIL 12 APRIL at 10:00pm. Mike Judge (Office Space, King of the Hill) brings his irreverent brand of humor to HBO in this Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series, which looks at the modern-day epicenter of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. The cast includes Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, Amanda Crew, Matt Ross and Jimmy O. Yang.
Yet to be seen onsite – the Season Two Trailer…and it looks like things are turning to shit.
— Episode #9: “Sand Hill Shuffle”: Following their success at TechCrunch Disrupt, the guys of Pied Piper find themselves aggressively courted by every VC in Silicon Valley. With Peter Gregory’s company facing major changes, Monica tries to do what’s best while dealing with her new boss, Laurie, a competitive bigwig who will do anything to hold onto Pied Piper. Later, Richard makes a decision about the company’s future and faces big news from Hooli. (Written by Clay Tarver; directed by Mike Judge.) Other HBO dates: 04.12 at 1:00am & 3:00am; 04.13 at 2:00am; 04.14 at 10:00pm; 04.15 at 7:00pm; 04.16 at 9:30pm & midnight and 04.17 at 1:00am.
— Episode #10: “Runaway Devaluation”: In the wake of Hooli’s bombshell, Richard and the guys struggle to find a backer as they face legal and financial woes. Monica attempts to balance her interest in Pied Piper with her job. A cash-strapped Dinesh tries to put an end to the Kickstarter campaign for his cousin’s new app, Bro. With Pied Piper on the verge of going under, Richard gets a surprising offer. (Written by Ron Weiner; directed by Mike Judge.) Air dates: 04.19 at 1:00am & 3:00am; 04.20 at 11:45pm; 04.21 at midnight; 04.22 at 6:30pm; 04.23 at 9:30pm & midnight and 04.24 at 1:00am.
— Episode #11: “Bad Money”: While considering Gavin’s proposal, Richard is approached by Russ Hanneman, an image-conscious billionaire who wants to back Pied Piper, but may not be as “hands-off” as he claims. Monica must face a high-strung Laurie after learning Richard’s deal with Hooli is not quite settled. Gilfoyle and Dinesh play hardball to get what they want; Gavin finds a new strategy in dealing with the enemy. (Written and directed by Alec Berg.) Other plays on: 04.26 at 1:00am & 3:00am; 04.27 at 12:45am; 04.28 at 10:00pm; 04.29 at 7:00pm and 04.30 at 9:30pm & midnight.
That is followed up every week by VEEP. It launches its ten-episode fourth season SUNDAY, APRIL 12 at 10:30pm. Created by Armando Iannucci, this Emmy nominated series stars Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the onetime vice president and now president of the United States, who is running for election to keep herself in office. The show also stars Emmy winner Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh, Reid Scott, Timothy C. Simons, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole and Sam Richardson.
Here is the premiere of the Season Four Trailer:
How long is that going to last? Clues may lie in the episode descriptions.
— Episode #29: “Joint Session”: Twenty-four hours before Selina’s first major speech as president, her staff frantically tries to work out how she can say two completely opposite things at the same time. Gary questions his worth now that he can no longer be close to Selina; Jonah is put off by the approach of Teddy, the new VP’s chief of staff; Amy learns that Bill Ericsson (Diederich Bader), a rival campaign manager, may make a play for her job. Teleplay by Simon Blackwell & Georgia Pritchett; story by Armando Iannucci & Simon Blackwell & Georgia Pritchett; directed by Chris Addison. Other HBO air dates: 04.12 at 12:30am & 3:30am; 04.13 at 1:30am; 04.14 at (10:30pm & 5:00am; 04.15 at 7:30pm; 04.16at 9:00pm and 04.17 at 1:30am.
— Episode #30: “East Wing”: The president’s staff prepares for her state visit with the Israeli prime minister. Mike tries out a new look for his more visible role. Teddy does Jonah a favor, while continuing to invade his personal space. Stuck in traffic with Richard, Amy learns via FaceTime that Selina is bringing in a new director of communications. Gary goes overboard while planning the state dinner for the Israeli delegation, and a painting in the White House comes into the spotlight. Teleplay by Kevin Cecil & Roger Drew & Andy Riley; story by Armando Iannucci & Kevin Cecil & Roger Drew & Andy Riley; directed by Stephanie Laing. Air dates include 04.19 at 12:30am & 3:30am; 04.20 at 11:15pm; 04.21 at 12:30am & 3:30am; 04.22 at 7:00pm; 04.23 at 9:00pm and 04.24 at 1:30am.
— Episode #31: “Data”: When the personal details of a previously anonymous girl mentioned by the president are leaked, Selina’s team tries to find a scapegoat for the data breach. Catherine tells Selina she wants to support an anti-bullying campaign; Dan tasks Jonah and Richard with buying fireworks for a campaign rally. While Mike is about to make a dreadful error at a press conference, the president hosts the annual Easter Egg Roll and reads a story to the assembled kids. Teleplay by Simon Blackwell & Neil Gibbons & Rob Gibbons; story by Armando Iannucci & Simon Blackwell & Neil Gibbons & Rob Gibbons; directed by Becky Martin. Other HBO dates are 04.26 at 12:30am & 3:30am; 04.27 at 12:15am; 04.28 at 10:30pm & 3:30am; 04.29 at 7:30pm and 04.30 at 9:00pm.
Also weekly on HBO is some serious commentary and some that is rather tongue-in- cheek, but it is all good. From the former category is the winner of the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special, HBO’s VICE which continues its third-season run with a new episode debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 10 at 11:00pm. The new season correspondents are Shane Smith, Thomas Morton, Suroosh Alvi, Ben Anderson, Vikram Gandhi, Gianna Toboni, Eddie Huang, Isobel Yeung, Hamilton Morris, Sal Masakella, Tania Rashid. An encore presentation of VICE SPECIAL: KILLING CANCER airs on Friday, 04.03. New episodes play as follow – Episode #27: 04.10, 04.11, 04.14 and 04.16; Episode #28: 04.17, 04.18, 04.21 and 04.23; Episode #29: 04.24, 04.25, 04.28 and 04.30. They don’t disclose episode details very readily so that is all we got. We will review each episode as it comes along as well as with reviews of the other three shows mentioned above. Representing the more comedic take on the news are the following two shows, of course. LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER: This weekly series, debuting SUNDAY, APRIL 5 at 11:00pm, always presents a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events. Recently he has looked at Israel’s elections, March Madness, and Jeff the Diseased Lung (pictured left.) Air dates are Edition #32: 04.05, 04.06, 04.08 and 04.09; Edition #33: 04.12, 04.13, 04.15 and 04.16; Edition #34: 04.19, 04.20, 04.22 and 04.23; Edition #35: 04.26, 04.27, 04.29 and 04.30. REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER: Devoted primarily to news and comedy, the show’s format includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviews with guests. His April runs starts FRIDAY, APRIL 10 at 10:00pm. Other dates are: Edition #349: 04.10, 04.12, 04.13, 04.14 and 04.15; Edition #350: 04.17, 04.19, 04.20, 04.21 and 04.22; Edition #351: 04.24, 04.26, 04.27, 04.28 and 04.29.
We are slipping yet another HBO Original in April. It is The HBO Miniseries/BBC adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s global bestseller THE CASUAL VACANCY. It centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty façade, however, is a town at war, with conflicts between rich and poor, parents and children, wives and husbands, teachers and pupils. The cast includes Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and Julia McKenzie, and introduces Abigail Lawrie. Parts 1 and 2 of the miniseries debut back-to-back on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 at 8:00pm. In Part 1 a sudden death creates chaos in the town of Pagford over a pivotal empty seat on the Parish Council. In Part 2 as the town mourns at Barry’s funeral, candidates for his seat find their darkest secrets revealed. Both parts are followed by the debut of Part 3 the next night, THURSDAY, APRIL 30 at 8:00pm. In Part 3 the election results and the Sweetlove House matter are decided as another tragedy rocks Pagford.
Here is something quite odd. HBO.com, besides factoring this miniseries in on its schedule has no other information on it yet. There is not even a trailer launched in the U. S. for it. We looked at the BBC version in this post. I dug one up, however, from HBO Netherlands to share. How about that?
Theatrical Movies: Nice variety of movie premieres on the way for April. Well, everyone’s tastes are different so if you don’t dig say…musicals or superheroes then you might have to find something else. The titles are JERSEY BOYS, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, LET’S BE COPS and GODZILLA. Of course, they play across the platforms including HBOGo.
JERSEY BOYS: Have you ever heard of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons? How old are you? Maybe you went to the “theatah” to become familiar? Well, now you can catch them on HBO. John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star in the story of the iconic hitmakers The Four Seasons. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the drama was based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name, and also stars Christopher Walken. Rated R. It debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 4 at 8:00pm. Other main channel dates are 04.05, 04.07, 04.13, 04.21 and 04.24. Watch and sing along! Watch and sing along! The next week you can switch it up and play superhero with X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. You know the drill; Wolverine has got to save humans and mutants. Hell, I remember X-Men long before he even came along! This time out though, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) goes back in time to save humanity in this installment of the popular superhero franchise. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart also star. Rated PG-13. It debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 11. Air dates: 04.12, 04.15, 04.19, 04.20, 04.22, 04.25 and 04.28.
I missed any notion of this one in the theaters. It is not the biggest comedy we could have gotten to appear this month, but here it is anyway. They call it LET’S BE COPS. While dressed up for a costume party, two friends (Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Johnson) are mistaken for real policemen in this outrageous buddy comedy. Something tells me they won’t be good at it. Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, James D’Arcy and Andy Garcia also star. Rated R. It debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 18. Other dates are 04.19, 04.22, 04.27 and 04.30.
Now I am going to surprise you all about now. The other theatrical premieres this month are pretty big titles, so I am going to offer the trailer for this lesser known comedy as our Movies highlight instead.
Okay, okay, let’s move on to the iconic King shall we…GODZILLA! The movie monster returns to threaten humankind anew in this modern reboot of the classic sci-fi thriller. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins star, with David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston. Rated PG -13 It debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 25 and plays on the main channel on 04.26, 04.29 and into May. Sorry, I know the accompanying graphic is sort of misplaced below, but I couldn’t resist. Look for him to stomp all over our first page this month too.
Documentary: Four solid documentaries also make it on the line-up for the month, including more music and murder. The musical charm of Frank Sinatra comes center stage in SINATRA: ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL, directed by Alex Gibney (MR.DYNAMITE: THE RISE OF JAMES BROWN and other films on HBO). It is an up-close and personal examination of the life, music and career of the legendary entertainer. Told in his own words from hours of archived interviews, along with commentary from those closest to him, the documentary weaves the music and images from Sinatra’s life together with rarely seen footage of his famous 1971 “Retirement Concert” in Los Angeles. The two-part HBO Entertainment documentary debuts SUNDAY, APRIL 5 at 8:00pm and MONDAY, APRIL 6 at 8:00pm also. Part 1: Frank Sinatra’s rise to superstardom, his mid-career decline, and his epic comeback and Oscar triumph. Main channel dates are 04.05, 04.08, 04.10, 04.14, 04.18 and 04.28. — Part 2: Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack years, allegiances with JFK and Reagan, and his (short-lived) retirement in 1971. Playdates: 04.06, 04.08, 04.10, 04.15, 04.18 and 04.28. The tale of murder comes to us via TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER which is a shocking investigation of Lonnie Franklin Jr., arrested in 2010 as the alleged perpetrator of a 25-year killing spree in South Central Los Angeles in which he may have murdered more than 100 victims – most of them young, African-American women marginalized by addiction and poverty. Critically acclaimed documentarian Nick Broomfield reveals the lack of action by the Los Angeles police force, which found the link between Franklin and the murders not through painstaking detective work, but by accident, and gives voice to a neglected community that has survived despite the odds, ultimately conveying a sense of grave injustice that extends well beyond this case. Another gripping murder case for HBO! It debuts MONDAY, APRIL 27 at 9:00pm and plays into May. I’ll give you an early tease:
Two more documentaries premiere in April. LIVING WITH LINCOLN explores one contemporary family’s physical and emotional connection to Abraham Lincoln, while drawing on a rarely collection of 19th-century photography. It debuts MONDAY, APRIL 13 at 9:00pm. Directed by Peter Kunhardt (HBO’s Emmy-nominated GLORIA: IN HER OWN WORDS and Emmy-winning JFK: IN HIS OWN WORDS) and Brian Oakes, the film reveals a personal side of Lincoln through a modern-day journey of discovery, obsession, depression and despair. This sounds like quite a unique film. Other airings include 04.16, 04.20 and 04.25. There is also another installment of the documentary family series SAVING MY TOMORROW. It debuts a new episode on Earth Day, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 at 7:30pm. Produced in association with the American Museum of Natural History, it features a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips from the children who will inherit the planet. It is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the environment. The series features readings and performances by Alan Cumming, Laura Dern, Tina Fey, Karen O, Audra McDonald, Liam Neeson, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Wright and Dan Zanes, and an appearance by Pharrell Williams, among others. Can also be seen on 04.25, 04.27 and into May. Look for reviews throughout the month.
Sports: HBO Sports presents the return of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to New York City when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO VS. BRYANT JENNINGS debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 25 at 10:00pm from Madison Square Garden. Recognized as the world’s premier heavyweight and boasting a collection of title belts, Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) takes on undefeated challenger Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) in the main event, a scheduled 12-round championship contest. The opening bout will be announced at a later date. The HBO Sports team will be ringside for all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino. It also replays on 04.26 and 04.28. HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: LUCAS MATTHYSSE VS. RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV AND TERENCE CRAWFORD VS. THOMAS DULORME, presented SATURDAY, APRIL 18, at 9:45pm, features an action-packed, split-site doubleheader from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY, and College Park Center at University of Texas Arlington. Two of the most exciting fighters in boxing, Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KOs) and Ruslan Provodnikov (27-3, 17 KOs) meet in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight fight in what is already being lauded as a probable “Fight of the Year” candidate. In the opening fight, BWAA “Fighter of the Year” Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) makes his 2015 debut when he battles Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round bout for a vacant super lightweight title. The HBO Sports team will be ringside at both sites for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL goes behind the box scores and statistics to tackle timely subjects in the world of contemporary sports; featuring a top lineup of contributors, the next monthly edition debuts TUESDAY, APRIL 21 at 10:00pm. If you don’t watch this show here is a sample of what you been missing.
Other Movies and Shows: Time to throw out a few ideas and see what might stick in your mind as something to seek out, but I’ll keep it light since April I a big month. Due to the concluding March Madness, maybe we get LOVE AND BASKETBALL. It delivers what it says, romance and sports. More X-Men to binge on including, X-MEN, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and WOLVERINE are available. SCARY MOVIE 2 debuts in late-night.
HBO’s Other Platforms: There is truly a variety across the platforms. So go find some hidden Easter Egg in the schedule and enjoy the likes of the following. HBO Latino: There are three premieres to single out for those who know the language. CHRONICLE OF THE END OF THE WORLD centers on a retired teacher who fears that the world is coming to an end, and his jobless son, whose wife has abandoned him after having a baby. All just might seem lost in this Colombian film. Another movie is CARMINA Y AMEN (Carmina and Amen). Writer-director Paco Leon’s follow-up to his 2012 cult-hit, Carmina or Blow Up is a “hilarious” (Hollywood Reporter) farce about a foul-mouthed matriarch from a working-class section of Seville who hides the fact that her husband has died in order to receive his bonus paycheck. Also on is YANDEL: CAMINO AL CONCIERTO which is a concert from famed Puerto Rican Reggae star Yandel. Who, you ask? At least, this channel offers up a concert every once in a while. HBO Family: All we got is the schedule module to figure out what is on this channel since it no longer has its own website. So I just picked three movies this month that the family might huddle around. They are FAR FROM HOME: THE ADVENTURES OF YELLOW DOG in which a shipwrecked 14-year old boy and his dog face the Canadian wilderness alone after being after being separated from dear old dad. THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE offer the Jay Ward characters and E. B. White’s THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN as an animated musical. HBO Signature: A great channel with great movies. May I suggest AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN? You know the one with Richard Gere and Debra Winger. How about CHANGELING? Angelina Jolie offers a heartfelt performance as her character searches for her missing son in this movie directed by Clint Eastwood. One more and it is SAVING GRACE. HBO Comedy: If you haven’t seen BILLY CRYSTAL: 700 Sundays than by all means catch it here. If not, then there is always MONKEYBONE and TALKIN’ DIRTY AFTER DARK. The first is about a cartoonist (Brandon Fraser) who has a monkey on his back both figuratively and literally as a animated monkey gives him what for. The latter is a comedy about the love life of a bunch of stand up comics that work the circuit. HBOGO: Did you know that there are a dozen Latino series, that all air on HBO Latino, on the site to watch? Titles like CAPADOCIA with 39 episodes and PROFUGOS with 26 episodes are there. Some movies coming active on APRIL 01, no foolin’, on the site are GRAVITY, PINK CADILLAC, LEAN ON ME, RAGING BULL, THE PIANO and WEST SIDE STORY. Cinemax: There are no original series with new episodes right now but this channel always has movies running non-stop. Like what you ask? All right we are running long but I‘ll give you three titles: DANCES WITH WOLVES, FULL METAL JACKET and SWORDFISH.
Next Month’s Tease: Last time we hinted that the movie JERSEY BOYS would play in April. This time around I offer you two hints to two different entertainments coming in May. First, the original source material was written by Pierre Boulle and the second one is a song called “Polly.”
Final Clip: It speaks for itself and it should be BIG, but I’m not talking about GODZILLA! Are you in?
They have a cool way of editing their ads, don’t they? Enjoy HBO in April!