We are about to launch into a new year of HBO programming and if you have been following HBOWatch or at leat caught the HBO 2013 Yearender clip you know that we are in for an exciting year ahead. We will see big shows returning, new series starting and intense documentaries and sports events play out on Home Box Office in 2014. As always we will try to highlight each interesting storyline and action that comes our way. It all starts in a big way in January. Here is out look at What’s On.
Originals: We are just adjusting the order of things and placing the intriguing fan favorite shows that are HBO’s Original Programming to the top of the list. January has some eagerly awaited shows for sure. Let’s start with one we have been talking about for a while now – TRUE DETECTIVE.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a killer, ranging from the original investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 to the reopening of the case in 2012. Michelle Monaghan also stars as Hart’s wife, Maggie, who struggles to keep her family together as the men in her life become locked in a cycle of violence and obsession. The show debuts SUNDAY, 01.12 at 9:00pm ET/PT and runs for eight episodes. Here for the first time on HBOWatch is a quick synopsis of the first three episodes.
— Episode #01: “The Long Bright Dark”: Two former Louisiana State CID partners, Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson), give separate statements to a pair of investigators about the murder of a prostitute, Dora Lange, 17 years earlier. As they look back, details of the crime, replete with occult overtones, are accompanied by insights into the detective’s volatile partnership and personal lives. (Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.) Additonal air dates are 01.13, 01.14, 01.15, 01.16, 01.17, 01.18 and 01.24.
— Episode #2: “Seeing Things”: Under pressure to land a suspect in the Dora Lange murder, Quesada warns Hart and Cohle they might be replaced by three detectives from a new occult-crimes task force. The pair lobbies for extra time in order to follow up on a lead that takes them from a rural cathouse to an incinerated church. With his marriage to Maggie already strained by work, Hart ends up finding respite away from home. (Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.) Air dates are 01.19, 01.20, 01.21, 01.22, 01.23, 01.24, 01.25 and 01.31.
— Episode #3: “The Locked Room”: A hidden image at the burned-out church leads Cohle and Hart to Joel Theriot, a tent-revival minister whose parishioners finger a scarred “tall man” seen with Dora Lange. Brought in for interrogation, a sex offender matching the description is quickly dismissed by Cohle, despite offering a confession. Hart gets sidetracked after Maggie sets Cohle up with a friend at a C&W bar. Looking to establish a pattern of murder, Cohle pores over old case files, finding a connection with a woman assumed to have drowned years earlier. (Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.) Air dates are 01.26, 01.27, 01.28, 01.29, 01.30 and 01.31.
Here are two more clips that have yet to appear on our site.
Are you pumped up for Sunday nights? They are always big on HBO. Each Sunday after the premiere of the big dramatic series comes two half hour comedies. One favorite returns and a new series begins. Let’s not forget our GIRLS! Created by and starring Lena Dunham, this Emmy winning series, which is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their 20s returns for Season Three Sunday nights at 10:00pm ET/PT. It offers a twelve (12) episode run beginning on SUNDAY, 01.12 with two back-to-back installments. The cast also includes Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky. We already have a report on the upcoming episodes elsewhere, so if you are GIRLS friends check it out here. — Episode 21: “Females Only”: Air dates are 01.12, 01.13, 01.14, 01.15, 01.16 and 01.17. — Episode 22: “Truth or Dare”: Air dates are 01.12, 01.13, 01.14, 01.15 & 01.17. — Episode 23: “She Said OK”: Air dates are 01.19, 01.20, 01.21, 01.22 & 01.24. — Episode 24: “Deep Inside”: Air dates are 01.26, 01.27, 01.28, 01.29, 01.30 & 01.31.
Following after the GIRLS, but totally not interested in them, is the guys of LOOKING. This comedy series, which launches its eight-episode season SUNDAY, 01.19 at 10:30pm, revolves around three friends in San Francisco who explore the fun and sometimes overwhelming options available to a new generation of gay men. Created by Michael Lannan and executive produced by Andrew Haigh and Sarah Condon, the show stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett. Here is our first look at Trailer #2.
And here is the first look at the synopsis of the first two episodes.
— Episode 1: “Looking for Now”: After a park-cruising experiment is derailed by a phone call, 29-year-old video-game designer Patrick meets up with his best friends, roommate Agustín, 31, and Dom, 39, to discuss the impending wedding of Patrick’s ex. The next morning, Agustín agrees to move in with his boyfriend Frank in Oakland, though he onders if domesticating is the right move. Dom, who’s been a waiter at the same estaurant for years, tells his roommate Doris he’s thinking of reconnecting with old lame Ethan, who has a successful real-estate career. Later, Patrick meets up with OkCupid date Benjamin; after the date goes south, Patrick is chatted up on the Muni by Richie, a cute barber who also works the door at a Latin drag club in the Mission. (Written by Michael Lannan; directed by Andrew Haigh.)Air dates are 01.19, 01.20, 01.21, 01.22, 01.23, 01.24 & 01.29.
— Episode 2: “Looking for Uncut”: While helping Agustín move his belongings to Frank’s house in Oakland, Agustín and Dom (a frequent Grindr user) question whether Patrick is capable of a casual sexual relationship, despite his assertion that he’s tired of searching for a boyfriend. Back in SF, Dom meets up with his LAified ex Ethan, and seems intrigued when Ethan tells him he’d like to “start over” as friends. Later, Patrick and Richie go out on a date, but a tipsy Patrick becomes a little too focused on personal details. (Written by Andrew Haigh; directed by Andrew Haigh.) Air dates are 01.26, 01.27, 01.28, 01.29, 01.30 & 01.31.
HBO owns Sunday night but Mr. Maher owns Friday. That’s outspoken comedian/social commentator Bill Maher who kicks off the 12th season of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER on FRIDAY, 01.17 at 10:00pm followed by other new editions debuting subsequent Fridays at the same time. Episode # 303 plays 01.17, 01.19, 01.20, 01.21 & 01.22. Episode # 304 runs 01.24, 01.26, 01.27, 01.28, & 01.29. Episode # 305 debuts 01.31.
Theatrical Movies: Saturday night is movie night and once again HBO offers us some variety. Hopefully, if all the stars align, HBOWatch will be able to review them just before their respective premiere dates. The movies stating us off in the new year are ADMISSION, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, OBLIVION and THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE. Here is a look at each premiere.
A tradition-minded Ivy League admissions officer (Tina Fey) makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school run by a former college classmate (Paul Rudd), inspiring her to reevaluate her priorities, when the comedy ADMISSION debuts 01.04 at 8:00pm. It is one of the few times Tina Fey has headlined a movie. Is this one of the good ones? We will have to find out, but her track record on TV has proven better. After learning he has a newborn son, a stunt rider (Ryan Gosling) begins robbing banks to provide for his family, putting him in the crosshairs of an ambitious cop (Bradley Cooper) when THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES debuts 01.11at 8:00 p.m. Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta also star in this tense crime drama. Here is the official trailer. It looks pretty good.
The other two movies of the month offer us some science fiction and more big name comedy stars. Our sci-fi flick though throws us a curve ball. It is OBLIVION and it actually debuts Sunday, 01.12 before our primetime premieres. It begins at 6:50pm. It also shows up on Saturday, 01.18. Following the evacuation of Earth in 2077, one man (Tom Cruise) goes back to extract vital resources that may save humankind. The futuristic action-thriller also stars Morgan Freeman. A magician duo (Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi) looks to freshen up its act to compete with the newest tricks in the outrageous comedy THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, debuting 01.25 at 8:00pm. It also features Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey.
There you go. Do any pique your interest? We kind of zipped through them this round, but there are eleven more months in ’14 to go. We’ll focus a little more on the theatrical movies another time. We are moving on.
Documentary: This genre is well represented in January. Two new documentaries air, a new installment of a series debuts and a new series launches. You can be sure HBOWatch will explore them all as they air. First up is the HBO Documentary Film: THE EDUCATION OF MOHAMMED HUSSEIN. It takes us inside a tightly knit Muslim community right here in the United States. It focuses on the children and teens who attend Al-Ikhlas, a traditional Islamic school in Detroit, Michigan. The documentary debuts Monday, 01.06 at 9:00pm. Other air dates are on 01.09, 01.12, 01.17, 01.20, 01.23, and 01.25. The other new film released is HBO Documentary Film: HERBLOCK – THE BLACK AND WHITE. It is all about tracing the career of Herbert L. Block. Mr. Block started cartooning in his teens in Chicago and went on to win four Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his 55 years at the Washington Post. It premieres on Monday, 01.27 at 9:00pm and airs again on 01.30 and into February. Also appearing in the beginning of the New Year is another installment of the MASTER CLASS series. This next one is JOSH GROBAN: SING YOUR SONG: A YOUNGARTS MASTERCLASS. It debuts Tuesday 01.21 at 6:30pm. The vocalist extraordinaire mentors a group of promising singers, offering encouragement and insights from his phenomenal career as a multi-platinum performer and recording artist. It also plays on 01.24, 01.26 and 01.30. We can also get all hot and bothered by a new series reminiscent of the classic REAL SEX franchise on HBO. It is called SEX/NOW and it will debut in late night on Thursday, 01.02 at 11:00pm. The press release simply states that according to estimates, 25% of all Internet searches are sex-related, and $100 billion is spent annually for online sex. SEX//NOW focuses on some of the ways women and men are cashing in on the craze. You can catch it also in late night on 01.05, 01.08, 01.10, 01.14, 01.16, 01.22 01.27. You can also catch a clip right here.
Sports: Sports is a bit light this month. HBO Sports’ groundbreaking 24/7 reality franchise wraps up its four-episode run of 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC on Saturday, 01.04 beginning at 10:00pm. The Winter Classic itself plays in its outdoor arena on 01.01 so this last installment of the show looks at the outcome. Liev Schreiber narrates. Episdoe 4 also airs on 01.05, 01.06, 01.07, 01.08, 01.09, and 01.10. REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL goes behind the box scores and statistics to tackle timely subjects in the world of contemporary sports. With his usual host of top-notch contributors Mr. Gumbel brings the next installment on Tuesday, 01.21 beginning at 10:00pm. Edition # 202 also airs on 01.23, 01.26, 01.28 and 01.31.
Other Movies & Shows: Now is the segment where I get to dig deep into the web to find just some of the other offerings HBO is presenting for the month. So on the channel in January 2014 are such movies as BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE (pictured), HBO Films: BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, EDTV, IDLEWILD and MILLION DOLLAR BABY. TV shows include HBO FIRST LOOK: Lone Survivor, LOUIS C. K.: OH MY GOD, MAKING TRUE DETECTIVE and STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS. There a plenty of others but they mostly just play once or twice on the channel and don’t repeat throughout the month. A quick glance of some of the non-primetime premieres include an animated Superman adventure called ALL-STAR SUPERMAN on 01.04 at 6:45am and at the other extreme there is WOULD YOU RATHER billed as “torture porn” debuting late night on 01.09.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Originals and new premieres are awlfully slim across the other channels. HBO Latino: This channel, of course, simulcasts all of HBO’s movie and series premieres but only seems to offer just one movie premiere exclusively. It is EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN. In this one a mundane Argentinian doctor takes over the persona of his twin to bad results. HBO Family: For the kids how about MUPPETS FROM SPACE, THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE or THE MIGHTY DUCKS? Don’t worry it is not all fluff there is also the documentaries STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS, WEIGHT OF THE NATION and AN APOLOGY TO ELEPHANTS airing during the month as well. HBO Signature: It has such movies as Michael Bay’s THE ISLAND and modern classics like RAIN MAN and JANE EYRE. HBO Comedy: The humor is still going strong here every day, all day. Check it out and you will find such talents as the Flights of the Conchords, Ellen DeGeneres plus movies like OFFICE SPACE and HOT FUZZ. HBOGO: Just to give you an idea of how much this online service changes its lineup there are q total of 26 documentries and 40 different standup comedy shows debuting on 01.01. If you don’t check out HBOGo you should. Cinemax: The sister channel is premiering MAMA, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, BULLET TO THE HEAD and TAKEN 2 and how about this highlight of the month – INTERGALACTIC SWINGERS! When a deadly asteroid threatens to destroy the Earth, two beautiful space aliens step in to save the day and sample Earth’s men and women. Erika Jordan, Ryan Driller, Sophia Bella and Christie Stevens star in this erotic comedy. I’d thought you’d like that.
We know we kind of rushed though all that without much in-depth information for some of it. But look at the huge size of the post and you get the idea that we need to trim it down somehow and also, though there are gems hidden within the schedule, quite a few of the same titles circulate across all the platforms thus making them redundant to mention. We will take a fresh look at February in a few weeks.
Next Month’s Tease: It will be EPIC!
Final Clip: We have been focusing on the new series as of late and even in this post so here is another movie trailer for you as we conclude. HAPPY NEW YEAR!