September is always a big month in television. The broadcast networks, of course, start their Fall Premieres launching new shows and new episodes of returning favorites. Cable, of course, attempts to draw viewers to their fare instead and a big war for TV dominance and ad dollars begins again. The question for the month is can HBO entice you to watch its movies, originals and specials and get your viewership? The channel offers five movies premieres, two returning drama series of its own and more. Well, let’s take a look at what it is offering and see what we like. As always we go by category.
Theatrical Movies: HOP, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, A THOUSAND WORDS and THE SITTER are the theatrical premieres in September. They are a variety pack of movies that seem to have hit or miss with critics but might make an enjoyable Saturday movie night. The first offering has me miffed. HOP starts on 09.01.12. Hell, though I never saw it I swear it has already aired on HBO. I could be wrong about this life action/animated film about the Easter Bunny which came out way back in April 2011. Maybe, HBO is just airing it again because they expect low numbers over the Labor Day weekend and didn’t want to put a bigger movie in that spot. Regardless, it might be a cute flick for the younger brood as a reward for starting another school year.
The next weekend (09.08.12) offers EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. It is one of those pictures with mixed reviews, but those who loved it cite the weight of the movie on a young actor named Thomas Horn. His nine year old character is out to solve the mystery of a key owned by his father who died on 9/11. If you haven’t seen it yet maybe, now is the time. If emotional drama is not your taste then wait a week and catch the action of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. It opens 09.15.12. Nothing might give you a thrill like rampaging apes! The month then closes with two comedies. First, Poor Eddie Murphy really lands an odd premise when A THOUSAND WORDS premieres on 09.21.12. His fast talking character in this film will die after he utters 1,000 more words and a magic tree keeps track by shedding a leaf for every word! How does Eddie get out of this one? And better yet, how does he get some good scripts his way? The next comedian has better luck in that regard I think. He is Jonah Hill and we can catch his movie THE SITTER opening on 09.29.12. It is another take on the raunchy adventures in babysitting if you are game.
This briefly leads me into what I am game for. In August my must see movie premiere was J. EDGAR which did not disappoint though its narrative was a bit muddled. My movie interest in September will be seeing RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES yet again. The originals are top favorites for me, so I enjoy this flick as well, especially over Tim Burton’s attempt. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE will also be of interest. I’ll let you know what I think of it.
Originals: In this household Sunday night is reserved for HBO. In September two dramas make their return. The big night for BOARDWALK EMPIRE is 09.16.12. The third season starts 16 months after last season’s big bang of an ending. Nucky Thompson is a changed man and it appears it has not been for the better. This is appointment TV for sure as this season adds Bobby Cannavale as a big time threat to Nucky’s plans. It is going to be explosive, literally as well as figuratively. With a totally different tone is the return of TREME. For the longest time there was no whisper that this show was even going to continue its story but it does so starting 09.23.12.The story picks up 25 months after we left it and it is 2007. Sadly, and amazingly, New Orleans is still in the grips of tough issues and emotion as it deals with destruction and incompetence. If you haven’t seen the poster for Season 3, check it out, it says it all. This show hasn’t been for everyone but it offers some powerful and meaningful storytelling. These two dramas airing this fall should give broadcast TV a run for its money.
In other original fare REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER is going strong Friday nights at 10 ET. And with the Presidential Elections ever closer you can be sure HBO’s top comedian has something strong to say about it all. There is also a documentary sequel scheduled for Monday, 09.24.12. It is called THE LATINO LIST: VOLUME TWO. This documentary series started with THE BLACK LIST on HBO and the same approach has now been used for THE LATINO LIST now airing its second installment. It chronicles the opinions, testimonies and lives of people of Latino heritage in the US of A. It features many recognizable celebrities defining their culture. HBO is often in support of a number of causes and one such cause gets special attention on HBO in September. Premiering Friday, 09.07.12 at 8:00 pm ET is STAND UP TO CANCER. A large showcase of celebrities offering encouragement & hope through both word and song as the fight against cancer continues. If you are so moved then watch this HBO Special Presentation on September 7th.
Sports: Boxing is back and going strong on HBO! Beginning 09.01.12 another round of 24/7 airs. This time it is the build-up to a bout with Chavez Jr. and Martinez and airs Saturdays leading up to the event. Get ready for the match with 24/7: CHAVEZ JR. / MARTINEZ. WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KO’s) is dueling against Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s) when they meet at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada for their upcoming pay-for-view bout. On 09.08.12 there is a Super Middleweight Championship fight between WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s) and WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO’s). And if fans still can’t get enough boxing than take on Jim Lampley’s THE FIGHT GAME. A new installment airs 09-22-12. Also talking sports is Bryant Gumbel and his team with a new edition of REAL SPORTS starting Tuesday, 09.18.12. Lastly, “the toughest five weeks of their lives” concludes for the Miami Dolphins with the finale of HARDS KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS airs on 09.04.12. It has been a wild ride!
Other Movies & Shows: Of course, if all that isn’t enough entertainment for you check out some of the other content that pops up during the month. As usual let me single out some titles for you: THE ALARMIST is about two burglar alarm salesmen who create a demand for their product by becoming robbers. BETTE MIDLER: THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO ON showcases Bette Midler performing her biggest musical hits in Las Vegas. How about a few behind-the-scenes specials? HBO has THE MAKING OF… DESPICABLE ME, THE DILEMMA, FAST FIVE, HOP, IN TIME, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES,THE TOWN and WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS or a re-broadcast of the 2012 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY. I’m sure you can find something. Enjoy.
HBO”s Other Platforms: Here are a few quick highlights playing on some of the other HBO Channels now through September. HBOLatino is premiering a new series entitled PROFUGOS on 09.24.12. It is the adventure of a failed drug trafficking operation that starts on the border between Bolivia & Chile and just escalates from there. HBOGO has got some titles not offered on the channel including some older movies. Some titles include 2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN and THE SUNSHINE BOYS just to name a few. Finally, sister channel Cinemax promotes Saturday night as their big movie night; the following movies hit primetime Saturdays in September – THE HANGOVER: PART II; FINAL DESTINATION 5, TROY, JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN and BEYOND. The last flick I never heard of but it stars Jon Voight as a cop on a child abduction case that is not what it seems. The original series STRIKE BACK still goes strong in September as well.
Whew, I told you September was full of entertainment for you. I’m sure you found something in the line-up that you are going to want to watch. Share it with us here at HBOWatch when you do.