Wow, that time again. Of course, February is a short month and quickly over with. It is time to move into March and the encroachment of spring. HBO is packed to the brim this coming month. An exciting time is building up for our premium channel as HBO takes the time to change its lineup. Plenty of new offerings have been showing up and old favorites have returned or are about to. Almost every month something interesting and fresh appears; TRUE DETECTIVE and GIRLS are strong and LOOKING is ground-breaking and I don’t think what March offers is going to disappoint either. Here is What’s On.
Originals: Loyal fans have their favorite Originals to watch on HBO, but we also love talking about them each month too. March’s programming is certainly worth talking about.
All good things must come to an end and such is the case with TRUE DETECTIVE. Only two more episodes remain before we bid adieu to Martin Hart and Rustin Cohle. If you haven’t been following this show you are missing a good one. It concludes Sunday nights at 9:00pm on 03.02 and 03.09.
— Episode #7: “After You’ve Gone”: Hart and Cohle forge a truce to probe a murky string of disappearances that tie to the symbology of the Dora Lange murder and the Tuttle family. (Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.) Air dates are 03.02, 03.03, 03.04, 03.05, 03.06, 03.07, 03.08 and 03.14 and on HBOGO.
— Episode #8: “Form and Void”: An overlooked detail provides Hart and Cohle with an important new lead in their 17-year-old case. (Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.) Air dates are 03.09, 03.10, 03.11, 03.12, 03.13, 03.14 and 03.15 and on HBOGO. You don’t want to miss it!
Sunday night’s comedic block from 10:00 – 11:00pm ET is still offering up new episodes in March starting with Lena Dunham and GIRLS. There are four episodes of the lovely ladies exploits to take in.
— Episode #29: “Flo”: While visiting her ailing grandmother (June Squibb, last seen on HBO in an episode of GETTING ON) in the hospital, Hannah is surprised by a strange request from her mother. Later, Hannah shares an uncomfortable drink with her overachieving med student cousin Rebecca. (Written by Bruce Eric Kaplan; directed by Richard Shepard.) Air dates are: 03.02, 03.03, 03.04, 03.05, 03.06 and 03.07.
— Episode #30: “Role-Play”: Alarmed by Adam’s indifference after she fails to come home after a night out with her co-workers, Hannah worries that the spark may be one in their relationship. Marnie begins working at Soo Jin’s art gallery, though not in the role she expected; later, Desi helps her rediscover her voice. Shoshanna has a surprise or Jessa. (Written by Lena Dunham & Judd Apatow; directed by Jesse Peretz.) Air Dates are: 03.09, 03.10, 03.11, 03.12, 03.13 and 03.14.
— Episode #31: “I Saw You”: Needing a quote for an article, Hannah and a starstruck Elijah drop by Patti LuPone’s apartment, where they end up staying for dinner – and get a glimpse of the realities of being part of an “artist couple.” Jessa searches for a job. Hannah, Shoshanna and Elijah attend Marnie’s open-mic performance. (Written by Lena Dunham & Paul Simms; directed by Jesse Peretz.) Air Dates are: 03.16, 03.17, 03.18, 03.19, 03.20 and 03.21.
— Episode #32: “Two Plane Rides”: On the day of Adam’s opening night, Hannah gets news that could change the direction of her career and their relationship. Marnie chooses an inopportune moment to divulge a secret to Shoshanna, who is dealing with her own unexpected news. Jessa’s boss asks her for an unusual favor. (Written by Lena Dunham; directed by Lena Dunham.) Air Dates are 03.23, 03.24, 03.25, 03.26, 03. 27 and 03.28.
Following is LOOKING. This comedy series revolves around three friends in San Francisco who explore the fun and varied options available to them as gay men of a new generation. The first season concludes this month.
— Episode #7: “Looking for a Plus-One”: Already stressed that his parents will judge his choice of partner in Richie, Patrick reaches new levels of anxiety before his sister’s wedding, and runs into an unexpected guest when he arrives there. Still unsure whether to pursue a business or personal relationship, Dom rebuffs Lynn’s advice while in the throes of preparing for his restaurant popup. Unhappy with his photos of Frank and CJ, Agustín drops out of his art show, leaving Frank fuming. (Written by John Hoffman; directed by Jamie Babbit.) Air dates are 03.02, 03.03, 03.04, 03.05, 03.06 & 03.07.
— Episode 8: “Looking Glass”: Patrick looks to mend fences after Richie’s abrupt exit the day before. Frank tells Agustín what he really thinks about their relationship and his art. Later, Patrick and Agustín join Dom at the opening of his restaurant popup, where Dom is surprised by Lynn’s choice of guest. (Written by Michael Lannan and Tanya Saracho; directed by Andrew Haigh.) Play Dates are 03.09, 03.10, 03.11, 03.12, 03.13 & 03.14.
Note: All three of the above shows have been getting episode reviews weekly from the HBOWatch staff. Check in with us to read those thoughts and weigh in with your comments as these shows complete their seasons. Here is a tease from an upcoming episode of LOOKING which we have recently learned will be returning for Season Two.
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER is still going strong in March. It airs Friday nights at 10:00pm. Air dates are This series stars the outspoken comedian/social commentator as he discusses the topics and personalities of the moment in an edgy, uncensored forum. Air dates: Edition #310: 03.14, 03.16, 03.17, 03.18 & 03.19; Edition #311: 03.21, 03.23, 03.24, 03.25 & 03.26; Edition #312: 03.28, 03.30 & 03.31; Encore playdates of Edition #309 can be seen on 03.02, 03.03, 03.04 & 03.05.
Let us shift focus a bit now with a look at a returning series and the premiere of a new comedy. VICE is returning for its second season as HBO partners once again with the premier new media company VICE with this innovative news magazine show, hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith. It is all about covering the kinds of stories often overlooked by mainstream media outlets. Some of the topics covered may just be stories and issues the viewer was never aware was happening. Returning on air with Mr. Smith will be Thomas Morton and Suroosh Alvi and joining as correspondents this season are Ben Anderson, David Choe, Vikram Gandhi, Gelareh Kiazand, Milene Larrson and Fazeelat Aslam.
The season premiere debuts 03.14 at 11:00pm after REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER. Air Dates are Episode #11 – 03.14, 03.15, 03.16, 03.18 & 03.20; Episode #12 – 03.21, 03.22, 03.23, 03.25 & 03.27; Episode #13 – 03.28, 03.29, 03.30 and into April. HBOWatch will have more details forthcoming and reviews of each installment will appear weekly.
HBO is testing the airwaves with a number of comedies of late and launches another one in March. Coming to the premium channel on Wednesday, 03.19 is DOLL & EM.
Written by and starring real-life best friends Emily Mortimer (HBO’s THE NEWSROOM) and Dolly Wells (HBO Films’ THE GATHERING STORM), this work is a semi-improvised comedy exploring what happens when a Hollywood actress hires her childhood friend as a personal assistant while making a film in Los Angeles. A bittersweet, intimate portrait of female friendship, the series follows their relationship through unexpected complications and surprising twists. This six-episode comedy series airs Wednesday nights at 10:00pm. It is created by Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells; produced by Alessandro Nivola; written by Emily Mortimer, Dolly Wells and Azazel Jacobs; directed by Azazel Jacobs. Appearing for the first time on this site here is the trailer followed by the episodes for March.
— Episode #1: After a nasty breakup with her boyfriend in London, Doll joins her best friend, actress Em, in LA, agreeing to be her personal assistant during the production of a new film. Air dates are 03.19, 03.21, 03.22 and 03.24.
— Episode #2: At a pre-production Hollywood Hills party for Em’s new movie, Doll gets stuck babysitting for Susan Sarandon’s son, and later faces a rival when Buddy, a producer and the party’s host, invites her into his hot tub. Air dates are 03.19, 03.21, 03.22 and 03.24.
— Episode #3: Em is flummoxed by her inability to summon tears during an emotional funeral scene, while Doll, cast as an extra, makes grieving look easy. Between takes, Doll befriends John Cusack and twists her foot on a coffee run. 03.26, 03.28, 03.29 & 03.31.
— Episode #4: Em is forced, ironically, into role of personal assistant as a result of Dolly’s foot injury. She reaches the breaking point when Doll, already receiving an inordinate amount of attention from Buddy and the crew, interrupts a critical scene with Chloë Sevigny as Em is being critiqued yet again by Mike, the director. Air dates are 03.26, 03.28, 03.29 and 03.31.
If you want to catch this show remember it is only six episodes shown two at a time so it will go fast. Of course, you can always binge watch on HBOGo. Those originals should keep your interest until that show with dragons shows up.
Theatrical Movies: March is filled to the brim with five weekends which means five movies debuting Saturday nights. If you are starved for a movie because the winter weather has prevented you from going to the cinema (people still go to the movies, don’t they?) then settle in at home and watch one on HBO! The premieres coming are A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, SNITCH, THE GREAT GATSBY, THE HANGOVER PART III and THE HEAT. Here is a little about each.
The earlier part of the month has the action followed by a comedic turn by month’s end. Starting off on 03.01 is A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. It is Bruce Willis’ fifth entry in the McClane canon. Did you ever see Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) and/or Live Free or Die Hard (2007)? Well he is back at it again and this time he travels to Russia to free his jailed son. And he will be back for a sixth installment! Sebastian Koch, Rasha Bukvic and Cole Hauser also star and the movie is directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods. Air dates on HBO are 03.01, 03.02, 03.06, 03.11, 03.17, 03.20, 03.24, 03.28 & 03.3. Our second action picture to catch is called SNITCH. In this one a man, named John Matthews, (Dwayne Johnson) goes undercover for the DEA and infiltrates a drug cartel in hopes of lessening the sentence of his teenage son, who was imprisoned after being set up in a sting operation. Man, maybe he and McClane should team up and keep their sons from getting into trouble or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, don’t ya think? Anyway, this one is directed by Ric Roman Waugh and written by Justin Haythe & Waugh. Its air dates are 03.08, 03.09, 03.13, 03.16, 03.18, 03.22, 03.24, 03.27 & 13.29. Oh, and get used to Dwayne Johnson because you will be seeing his face on HBO again soon with BALLERS.
The following Saturday, 03.15, gives us THE GREAT GATSBY. In summer 1922, a young man living in the Hamptons is drawn into the lavish lifestyle of a mysterious millionaire. Now that is as vague a description as you are ever going to get. If you don’t know a bit more on the story than that well shame on you and you didn’t have a very good English department in High School because we all had to read it in school. Of course, our English teachers did not describe it to us the way Baz Luhrman does in his interpretation of the novel. Baz has his own style of telling a tale and if you don’t appreciate or get it then you might not enjoy this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton star. It airs on HBO on 03.15, 03.16, 03.20, 03.23 & 03.26. Here is a trailer.
The lighter fare in our theatrical movies begins with the third entry in the “Hangover” franchise. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis (seen in HBO’s BORED TO DEATH), Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong all team up for another go in THE HANGOVER PART III. It centers on the ‘wolfpack’ doing an intervention and escorting Zach’s character to rehab. And then there is the unfortunate accident involving the giraffe. I didn’t find that so funny, you? Viewers can decide for themselves and let us know what they think of it. The Razzie Awards loved it. It plays on HBO on 03.22, 03.23, 03.28 & 03.30. Which takes us to the latest stint from Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy called THE HEAT. Here an uptight FBI Special Agent (Bullock) and a rebellious Boston cop (McCarthy) team up to take down a mobster. This movie was a box office success, taking in over $200 million worldwide and was the second highest grossing comedy of 2013. I guess this woman offer up to the right combination for audiences around the world. Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans and Michael Rapaport also star and was directed by Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold. Air dates are 03.29, 03.30 and into April. HBOWatch will be offering its opinions about most of the movies upcoming so check back to see if you agree with our reviewers.
Documentary: HBO is into showing documentaries two nights a month right now. March gives us three films with interesting topics, one of which is an Oscar nominee. We will know if it receives the honor or not before it premieres. The first work, which debuts on Monday, 03.17 at 9:00pm and is entitled PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK: THE LIFE & TIMES OF KATRINA GILBERT. Executive produced by Maria Shriver, this documentary explores complex issues of women and poverty in the United States today through the story of a single mother (Katrina Gilbert, pictured) from Chattanooga, Tenn., who raises three children, works a full-time job and lives below the poverty line, despite earning just above the minimum wage. The film is part of the multiplatform series “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.” We will have to see whether HBO will carry any other entries in this series. It is directed and produced by Shari Cookson & Nick Doob. Air dates are 03.17, 03.20, 03.23, 03.26 and 03.29.
03.31 is the date for the next set of HBO Documentary Films. They are two short films and the first one is considered for a Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. It is PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL. This film goes inside the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary, one of America’s oldest maximum security prisons, to tell the poignant story of terminally ill prisoner Jack Hall. Filmed over the course of six months, the documentary explores the prison’s hospice system, and the volunteer care that Hall receives from other prisoners, who care for fellow inmates during their final days. It is directed, produced and photographed by Edgar Barens. it begins at 9:00pm on 03.31 and will air into April. The second film that night also focuses on the lives of inmates. It is THE UNIVERSITY OF SING SING: This documentary follows several inmates at the infamous maximum-security Sing Sing Correctional Facility as they pursue their education through Hudson Link, a rigorous college program that yields impressive results. Directed by Tim Skousen this piece begins at 9:45pm on 03.31 and goes into April. HBOWatch will review all three of these documentaries in March.
Specials: We don’t include the Specials heading often enough around here but we have cause to do so this time around. An HBO Comedy Special is coming our way with JOHN LEGUIZAMO’S GHETTO KLOWN. It debuts on Saturday, 03.22 at 10:00pm. The comedian’s fifth HBO solo special is an adaptation of his Drama Desk Award-winning one-man stage show of the same name. The special presents Leguizamo in an unabashed, uninhibited performance focused on the next chapter of his personal and professional story. It is written and performed by John Leguizamo and is directed by Fisher Stevens. HBO dates are 03.22, 03.27 and 03.31. We hope it is special indeed!
Sports: HBO always has Bryant and boxing and March is no exception. REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, is the Emmy Award-winning HBO Sports magazine show looks at the world of contemporary sports, going behind the box scores and statistics to tackle timely subjects. The next installment debuts Tuesday, 03.25. Its Edition #204 airs 03.25, 03.28 and 03.29. Edition #203 encores on 03.01, 03.02, 03.05, 03.10 & 03.15. As for boxing check out CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR. VS. BRYAN VERA II AND ORLANDO SALIDO VS. VASYL LOMACHENKO: One of boxing’s biggest names makes his 2014 debut in a major rematch and a two-time gold medalist from Ukraine goes for a world title at the Alamodome in San Antonio. In the main event, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KOs) of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, and Austin’s Bryan Vera (23-7, 14 KOs) meet in a highly anticipated 12-round super middleweight rematch. Opening the telecast is a 12-round featherweight title fight between the formidable Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs), 33, of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, who captured the vacant 126-pound crown last October with a seventh-round knockout of Orlando Cruz, and Ukraine native Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO), who won gold at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and scored an impressive fourth-round knockout of seasoned pro Jose Luis Ramirez last October in his first bout since declaring himself a pro. The event is 03.01 and also plays on 03.02 & 03.04.
Other Movies & Shows: It is time for another random throwing out of titles to illustrate what else is on the schedule for the month. I don’t know what you want so I’ll just go for it. Movies to watch include WAR OF THE WORLDS(2005), THE THREE STOOGES, MISS CONGENIALITY 2, CHASING MAVERICKS, MR. & MRS. SMITH, APOLLO 13, UNDERCOVER BROTHER and THE FANTASTIC FOUR. The list can go on and on, but a number of movies only run once or twice in the month and it is futile to list them all. Some first run movies not premiering in primetime include HIGH ROLLER which stars THE SOPRANOS Michael Imperioli in the biography of high stakes World Poker champion Stu Ungar. Also appearing on HBO will be a MAKING OF SILICON VALLEY piece, ROAD TO CHAVEZ JR./VERA II bout and late night offerings of REAL SEX.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Just a reminder that there are still more places to watch HBO than just the channels listed here. There is also HBO Zone and HBO On Demand. But let’s look at our usual haunts. HBO Latino: I found one new movie to premiere on the channel entitled TENGO GANAS DE TI (I Want You). Sorry guys, it is a romance movie as a young man returns to Madrid for a funeral and discovers love and then his first love reappears to complicate things. Also on the channel are episodes 8 -13 of PREAMAR and the sports show DESTINO DEPORTE which has reports on a female bullfighter and the World Cup 2014 coming to Brazil. HBO Family: This channel is for the kids and/or families who watch TV together. One popular series on there that will run blocks of 5 or 6 episodes at a time in March is entitled A LITTLE CURIOUS. It is a series of shorts mixing live action and animation with each episode grouping stories by theme. Enjoy them with your kids! If I were to single out a movie how about BATTLE FOR TERRA? It is a computer animated space adventure using the voice talents of Dennis Quaid, Luke Wilson, Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood. It is about displaced humans wanting to colonize a planet and the aliens who end up defending their world. HBO Signature: While we are on movies this channel has a few not airing on the other channels. I give you BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, CRITICAL CARE and LEAVING LAS VEGAS. The first one stars Javier Bardem as Cuban poet & novelist Rinaldo Arenas. Johnny Depp costars. The next one is a 1997 Sidney Lumet film about a doctor (James Spader) taking on a special medical case. The last one I mentioned is the Nicolas Cage & Elisabeth Shue movie you might of heard of. It is true life story of suicidal alcoholic. I know, sounds lovely, right? HBO Comedy: The channel that is all laughs is repeating such series as HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA and, if you missed them, get caught up with HBO latest comedies HELLO LADIES and JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL. On the stan-up front check the banter from such performers as Carlos Mencia, Caroline Rhea, Margaret Cho and Ralph Louis Harris (pictured). HBOGO: Movies rotate on the online platform. Here are some Last Chance items before they disappear. How about A RAGE IN HARLEM, THE TROUBLE WITH SPIES, THE CRUCIBLE and NETWORK? There are a couple dozen others, but they are all replaced with other titles. The few titles I include here I’ll break down by genre. In Action there is INVASION U.S.A., MISSISSIPPI BURNING and SPAWN. In Comedy how about ANNIE HALL, JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE or THE WATCH? In the Drama category you’ll find 9 ½ WEEKS, CLOUD ATLAS, LADYHAWKE and NORMA RAE. A title in the Family section could be FAT ALBERT and from the Romance list SMALL TOWN SATURDAY NIGHT. There are many, many more. Find one and enjoy it. Cinemax: In March, CINEMAX continues to be the only premium channel presented in 100% True HD (that’s from their press releases). Season two of the Emmy-winning BANSHEE continues FRIDAY, 03.07 followed by the season finale Friday, 03.14. The movie premieres that are promoting are of THE PURGE, debuting 03.07; THE CONJURING on 03.14 and JACK THE GIANT SLAYER on 03.22.
Next Month’s Tease: Some show about dragons, of all things!
Final Clip: To go out let me throw in something unexpected instead of a trailer from one of the series. How about HIGH ROLLER!