Well, here we are post-GOT and HBO didn’t implode. I haven’t bothered to see if subscriber numbers have dropped at all because it is just business as usual for me. There is plenty of content to fill up June. There are finales & premieres both and if you haven’t noticed new scripted content has already shown up Monday nights. Whether or not you are excited or at least a bit intrigued with HBO’s next evolutionary step is on you but I’ve got a schedule to present, so here we go.
Original Series: As always, we begin with the series that are fresh and new. Based on the groundbreaking Israeli series of the same name, EUPHORIA, debuting SUNDAY, JUNE 16 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other episodes debuting subsequent Sundays at the same time, is a provocative, authentic and unforgettable new drama that puts a fresh spin on the coming-of-age narrative. Serving as a guide through the teenage landscape of substance-enhanced parties and anxiety-ridden day-to-day life is 17-year-old Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a drug addict fresh from rehab, who’s struggling to stay clean and make sense of her future. Her life is changed drastically when she meets Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer), a trans girl who recently moved to town following her parents’ divorce, and, like Rue, is searching for where she belongs. Also in Rue’s orbit are classmates Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), a jock whose anger issues mask sexual insecurities; Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie), Nate’s on- and off-again girlfriend; Chris McKay (Algee Smith), a football star who finds the adjustment from high school to college harder than expected; Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney), a sweet girl whose sexual history continues to dog her; Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow), Cassie’s younger sister and Rue’s level-headed childhood friend; and Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira), a body-conscious teen exploring her sexuality. Raw and unapologetic, the series provides an up-close-and-personal look at what it’s like to be a young person today in a compelling narrative that’s equal parts shocking and empathetic.
–Episode 1: “Pilot” Debut date: SUNDAY, JUNE 16 (10:00-11:00pm)
Written by Sam Levinson; directed by Augustine Frizzell.
–Episode 2: “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” Debut date: SUNDAY, JUNE 23 (10:00-11:00pm) Written and directed by Sam Levinson.
–Episode 3: “Made You Look” Debut date: SUNDAY, JUNE 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m.) Written and directed by Sam Levinson.
The six-part limited drama series YEARS AND YEARS debuts MONDAY, JUNE 24 (9:00- 10:00pm), exclusively on HBO. It follows the members of one family as their complex lives converge on one crucial night in 2019 when Britain is rocked by political, economic and technological advances. Rory Kinnear, Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes, Ruth Madeley and Anne Reid star, along with Emma Thompson, who plays an outspoken celebrity turned political figure whose controversial opinions divide the nation. We just revealed the trailer in this post.
From Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega – two of the freshest voices in comedy – alongside Fred Armisen and Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, comes the primarily Spanish-language comedy series LOS ESPOOKYS, debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 14 (11:00-11:30pm), with other episodes debuting subsequent Fridays at the same time. This unconventional half-hour series follows a group of friends who turn their love for horror into a peculiar business: providing on-demand horror to those who need it. Set in a fictional, dreamy Latin American country, where the strange and eerie are just part of daily life, the show stars Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres, Cassandra Ciangherotti and Bernardo Velasco as The Espookys with José Pablo Minor and recurring guest star Fred Armisen.
–Episode 01: “El Exorcismo” FRIDAY, JUNE 14 (11:00:-11:30pm)
–Episode 02: “El Espanto de la Herencia” (The Inheritance Scare) FRIDAY JUNE 21, (11:00-11:30pm)
–Episode 03: “The Sea Monster” FRIDAY JUNE 28, 11:00-11:30pm)
Here is the First Look at the trailer. Be warned, it is…quirky…at best.
Also coming our way is the return of a work that originally was meant to be a one season and done series, but it grew too huge. HBO’s smash-hit drama BIG LITTLE LIES returns for its seven-episode second season SUNDAY, JUNE 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m.), with other episodes debuting subsequent Sundays at the same time. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoё Kravitz reprise their roles, and Meryl Streep joins the cast. On the surface, everything seems the same in the seaside town of Monterey, Cal.: mothers continue to dote, husbands support, children are adorable, houses are beautiful. But the night of the school fundraiser changed all that, leaving the community reeling as the “Monterey Five” bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Meanwhile, Perry’s grieving mother, Mary Louise Wright, comes to town in search of answers after her son’s death. Exploring the malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and, of course, the vicious ferocity of sound parenting, the new season promises plenty of twists and surprises, as relationships fray, loyalties erode, and the potential for emotional and bodily injury still looms.
Its trailer is worth another look –
Next up is a look at what is concluding in June. The HBO/BBC drama series GENTLEMAN JACKcontinues its eight-episode season MONDAY, JUNE 3 (10:15-11:15pm), followed by the season finale the following Monday (6.10). From Sally Wainwright, this series tells a remarkable and unlikely love story, set in the complex, changing world of 1832 Halifax, the cradle of the industrial revolution. Starring Suranne Jones, it focuses on landowner Anne Lister and her determination to change the fate of Shibden Hall, her faded ancestral home, by re-opening the coal mines and marrying well. The charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling Lister – who dresses head-to-toe in black and charms her way into high society – has no intention of marrying a man. True to her nature, she plans to marry a seriously wealthy woman, heiress Ann Walker. Every part of the story is based in historical fact, recorded in the four million words of the real-life Anne Lister’s diaries, which contain the most intimate details of her life, once hidden in a secret code that is now broken.
The second season of WYATT CENAC’S PROBLEM AREASconcludes FRIDAY, JUNE 7 (11:00-11:30pm) Looking at social and cultural issues from the comedian and writer’s unique perspective, this season focuses on education in America. Cenac visits West Virginia, Oregon, California, Minnesota and other areas around the country to learn how communities navigate issues facing public education. To date, the issues he has broached in the main topic have been – teacher strikes, school safety, troubled students, sex education, the closing of schools, school lunch programs, standardized testing and higher education challenges. He does it all with a good dose of humor in play.
Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, as well as addressing broader issues, the Emmy-winning LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVERcontinues its sixth season SUNDAY, JUNE 2 (11:00-11:30pm), followed by other editions subsequent Sundays, exclusively on HBO. He has steered away from heavy commentary on the current Administration to focus on, of all things, bungled lethal injection instances and the proposed Green New Deal.REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHERcontinues its 17th season FRIDAY, JUNE 7 (10:00-11:00pm live ET/tape-delayed PT), followed by other new editions subsequent Fridays at the same time. Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists and interviews with guests. Recently on the panel has been personas like Moby, Fran Lebowitz & Congressman Tim Ryan. VICE NEWS TONIGHT, the half-hour nightly newscast from VICE Media and HBO, debuts a new edition TUESDAY, JUNE 4 (7:30-8:00pm), followed by other new editions subsequent weeknights Tuesday through Friday. The news feed has kept us abreast of changing abortion laws, India’s Prime Minister Modi and they are always from the country’s southern border. We conclude this portion with a bit from PROBLEM AREAS this month.
Movies: To me this looks like a good set of theatrical premieres this month. I am most intrigued by the first one; moviegoers raved the second one; a powerful message holds up the next one and two legends that never seem to go out of favor. Here is a brief look at BAD TIMES AT THER EL ROYALE, A STAR IS BORN, THE HATE U GIVE, THE OLD MAN & THE GUN with Robert Redford and ROBIN HOOD.
A run-down hotel on the border between California and Nevada becomes a battleground for seven strangers when BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALEdebuts SATURDAY, JUNE 1 (8:00-10:25 p.m.). The drama stars Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman and Chris Hemsworth. The Oscar-nominated A STAR IS BORN, debuting SATURDAY, JUNE 8 (8:00-10:20 p.m.), tells the story of famous musician Jack and struggling artist Ally, who come together on stage and in life. In this new take on the iconic love story portrayed in previous films of the same name, Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut, and stars alongside multiple award-winning, Oscar nominee Lady Gaga in her first leading role in a motion picture. Receiving eight Oscar nominations overall, the drama received an Oscar for Original Song. When a high school student witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend at by a police officer, she must stand up for what’s right while facing pressure from both the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school she attends in THE HATE U GIVE, debuting SATURDAY, JUNE 15 (8:00-10:15 p.m.). The film stars Amandla Stenberg and is directed by George Tillman, Jr.; screenplay by Audrey Wells; based upon the novel by Angie Thomas. THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, debuting SATURDAY, JUNE 22 (8:00-9:35 p.m.), tells the story of a criminal escape artist. The film stars Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits and Sissy Spacek. Written and Directed by David Lowery; based on The New Yorker article by David Grann. ROBIN HOOD, debuting SATURDAY, JUNE 29 (8:00-10:00 p.m.), is a modern telling of the legend of Robin Hood and stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin and Jamie Dornan.
HBOFilms/Miniseries: This five-part miniseries CHERNOBYL, concluding MONDAY, JUNE 3 (9:00-10:15pm), dramatizes the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and tells of the brave men and women who sacrificed to save Europe from unimaginable disaster, all the while battling a culture of disinformation. Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins and Con O’Neill star.
HBO Documentary Films: Emmy winner Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz return to direct and produce the second season AXIOS, debuting SUNDAY, JUNE 2 (6:00-6:30pm). The show spotlights leading Axios journalists who highlight the week ahead in politics, business and technology, and other big topics shaping the future. The new season will feature eight half-hour episodes, four this spring and four this fall, as well as four specials, reacting to the most consequential news of the moment and driving the conversation with shorter, interview-based programs.
In 1943, William Wyler, one of Hollywood’s most renowned and versatile directors, went to Europe to document the air war in progress. Wyler and his crew flew actual combat missions on B-17s, during which one of his cinematographers was killed. Incredibly, all of the raw color footage Wyler shot for “The Memphis Belle” was recently discovered in the vaults of the National Archives. After a frame-by-frame restoration, director Erik Nelson has constructed a compelling new film out of the material. A meditation on youth, war and trauma, THE COLD BLUE, debuting THURSDAY, JUNE 6 (8:00-9:15pm), is a tribute to one of the world’s great filmmakers and the men of the Eighth Air Force. In recent interviews, nine of the few surviving Eighth Air Force veterans recall the harrowing experiences that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943. ICE ON FIRE, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never before seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming. Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid, and directed by Leila Conners, the film will have its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival as an Official Selection on Wednesday, May 22. ICE ON FIRE debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 11 (8:00-9:35 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. From Chris Moukarbel, WIG, debuting TUESDAY, JUNE 18 (10:00-11:35pm), offers a vibrant cultural history of drag and the annual outdoor festival that came to epitomize it: Wigstock. Drawing on unfiltered access to some of New York’s most famed drag artists – tenured veterans and talented newcomers alike – the documentary follows legendary drag queen Lady Bunny as she aims to resurrect Wigstock for a new generation. The film also features appearances by its co-producers, actor Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka, who, as longtime fans Wigstock, try to help Lady Bunny with its revival. Showcasing footage of vintage drag performances from the ‘80s and ‘90s, the film takes a close-up look at the underground counterculture that gave birth to Wigstock and set the stage for the modern drag of today, exploring drag’s influence on pop culture. Featuring exuberant, bedazzled performances from Wigstock’s past and its present, the documentary is an uplifting, irreverent and provocative celebration of inclusivity and respect: for art, for each other, and for those who paved the way. In the last half-century, America has become the nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world, authorized the execution of hundreds of condemned prisoners and continued to struggle to recover from a long history of racial injustice. For more than three decades, Alabama public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has advocated on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned, seeking to eradicate racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. An intimate portrait of this remarkable man, TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, debuting WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 (8:00-9:45pm), follows Stevenson’s (pictured) struggle to create greater fairness in the system and shows how racial injustice emerged, evolved and continues to threaten the country, challenging viewers to confront it.
HBO Special: Comedian Ramy Youssef (pictured) stars in his first HBO stand-up special, simply named RAMY YOUSSEF: FEELINGS, taped before a live audience in New York City this spring. Executive produced by Ramy Youssef and Jerrod Carmichael; produced by A24; directed by Chris Storer.
HBO Kids: SESAME STREETcontinues its 49th season SATURDAY, JUNE 1 (9:00-9:30am), with other episodes airing Saturdays at the same time. Coming in June are – Sesame Street Season 49 Episode 29 “Oscar Uncanned” on SATURDAY, JUNE 01. Someone has taken Oscar’s trash can! With Abby and Rudy’s help, Oscar finds out that it was a sanitation worker (Allison Williams of GIRLS) who took it. Episode 30: “Counting Critters” on SATURDAY JUNE 08; Episode 31: “Grocery Games” on SATURDAY, June 15; Episode 32: “Baby Bear’s Just Right Cafe” on SATURDAY, JUNE 22 and Episode 33: “Camp Grover” on SATURDAY, June 29.
HBO Sports:REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBELgoes 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, JUNE 25 (10:00-11:00pm).
Other Movies and Shows: HBO2 has a marathon of SUCCESSION S1 on 06.01, TRUE DETECTIVE S3 on 06.02, BAND OF BROTHERS on 06.06, SHARP OBJECTS on 06.08, BIG LITTLE LIES on 06.09, VEEP S7 on 06.16, MY BRILLIANT FRIEND S1 on 06.22, INSECURE S3 on 06.22, BARRY S2 on 06.23 and DIVORCE S1 & S2 on 06.20. HBO offers many opportunities to catch up on CHERNOBYL, DEADWOOD: THE MOVIE and GENTLEMAN JACK.
Other HBO Platforms: You know the drill, so here we go with choices from the other HBO outlets. HBO Latino: The second season of El JARDÍN DE BRONCE debuts MONDAY, JUNE 10 (8:00-9:00pm). The first season told the story of the mysterious disappearance of a couple’s four-year-old daughter, who vanished without a trace while on the Buenos Aires metro. Without motive, clues, or witnesses, the girl’s parents, Fabián and Lila, began a desperate hunt for their child, embarking painful, long, and dangerous search that, over the course of years, will take the couple to a surprising destination. In Season Two yet another child goes missing. Forced to flee the violence in their native Colombia, a mother and her two children make their way to a Brazilian island on the Amazon, where they encounter ghosts from the past in the movie LOS SILENCIOS(TheSilences). In SOMOS CALENTURA (We Are the Heat) a group of friends living in a crime-ridden town in Colombia tries to escape from poverty and violence by entering an urban dance contest that could change their lives forever. JERRY GARCIA; IT’S NOT MY WEEKEND, debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 14 (9:30-10:00pm), spotlights the energetic funnyman and a single father of three. It is part of the ENTRE NOS standup series. Recorded in front of a live audience, the special reveals the California-raised comedian’s superior ability to make fun of himself, his parenting style, and his efforts in dating. HBO Family:Settle the family around to meet THE LITTLE RASCALS or the adventures of EARLY MAN or introduce them to MY DOG SKIP or EL PERRO Y EL GATO to help preschoolers learn English & Spanish. For the older set, there is HONEY an “upbeat hip-hop fable” says the New York Times starring Jessica Alba. HBO Signature:I offer you BIG FISH, I AM SAM, ANNAPOLIS, THE PRINCE AND ME and THE PRESTIGE. That is a Tim Burton fantasy, a Sean Penn drama, a stir of the patriotic, a dose of romantic royalty and some prestidigitation. HBO Comedy:BIG BUSINESS gives us comedy via Bette Midler and Lilly Tomlin; AMELIE give us a romantic spin with Audrey Tautou; A shy and awkward limo driver tries to better himself after he is set up on a blind date with an equally quirky woman in JACK GOES BOATING. Also, bop back to the nifty ’50s in a comic look at growing up, Ohio-style in MISCHIEF. In this one a klutzy kid with a hopeless crush on the local poodle-skirt princess hopes to score. For some stand-up try ROSIE O’DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STANDUP which is a routine she crafted after her heart attack. HBO Zone:HBO Zone:Ever hear of MY LITTLE EYE, SUNSHINE, DÉJÀ VU, BEN and/or RESCUE DAWN? That first one is a horror movie with contestants on a live webcast turning up dead. What, I spy with my little eye…dead people? SUNSHINE offers a space mission to prevent the sun from burning out. How do they pull that off? The next one has an agent going back in time to thwart a terrorist attack and BEN is the sequel to the rat-tastic WILLIARD. The last pick is Josh Brolin as the DC Comic demonic lawman Jonah Hex. We are about due for a video clip so here is SUNSHINE (something we are not seeing enough of right about now).
HBONow/Go:If you follow HBO International content like I do then you know that the HBO Europe series and the first one out of Croatia debuts on the U. S. streaming sites in June. It is called SUCCESS. The six-part drama series follows four strangers whose lives are tied by a terribly violent event starting with a lady who is a motivational speaker on achieving success. Don’t be scared, there are subtitles. Look –
So, while I have your attention on international content let me remind you that both of HBO’s streaming sites have plenty of choices from around the world. Latino content holds the largest selection with series like the melodrama ALICE to the comedic MAJER DE FASES both from Brazil. HBO Europe has shows like WASTELAND (I just finished this Polish series) and HBO Asia has horror like the miniseries GRACE. I know I’ve ranted on these before but if you are only watching HBO’s American content you are missing out. Movies falling out of rotation from the sites by the end of the month include CLASH OF THE TITANS, THE HUMAN STAIN, LOVE, SIMON, PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, TOMB RAIDER and others. Seek them out before they are gone.
Cinemax:The sister channel is launching another action series on Friday nights and wraps up a premiere season of another. Created, written, directed and executive produced by Sebastian Gutierrez, the new crime dramaJETT, debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 14 (10:00-11:00pm) with other episodes debuting subsequent Fridays at the same time, stars Carla Gugino as Daisy “Jett” Kowalski, a world-class thief just out of prison and trying to stay on the straight and narrow. When powerful crime lord Charlie Baudelaire (Giancarlo Esposito) offers her the proverbial “last job” – a jewel heist in Cuba that will see her reunited with former flame and safecracker extraordinaire Quinn (Mustafa Shakir) – Jett goes back to doing what she does best. Over the course of the nine-episode season, Jett deals with the fallout of this heist, finding herself buffeted from job to job through a series of unpredictable reversals, tethered to a cast of morally ambivalent and eccentric criminals – from budding femme fatales to compromised law enforcers to unscrupulous Russian mobsters – as she deftly navigates shifting loyalties, trying to figure out who double-crossed her and how to protect her daughter, Alice.
WARRIOR, the gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century, concludes its ten-episode first season FRIDAY, JUNE 7 (10:00-11:00pm). The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs (Chinese organized crime family).
There are, of course, a slew of movies but the debuts to the channel are as follows. A typical weekly get-together goes too far when the group of friends must solve the real-life mystery of a kidnapped friend in GAME NIGHT, debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 7 (8:15-10:00pm). This comedy stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. Based upon the novel “The Death Cure,” by James Dashner, MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE debuts FRIDAY, JUNE 21 (7:35-10:00pm). The fantasy finds the liberated Gladers on a final, perilous mission in the legendary Last City, which holds the knowledge the Gladers have been searching for since they arrived in the maze. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee and Kaya Scodelario. Directed by Wes Ball; screenplay by T.S. Nowlin. When a couple rents a home in the Italian countryside for the weekend to work on their relationship, they soon become victims of the homeowner’s malevolent plans in THE GETAWAY, debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 28 (8:20-10:00pm).
Next Month’s Tease: A visual clue this time around. If you recognize this logo then you know the acclaimed cinematic work coming to HBO in July.
Last month we cited projects that Zendaya was a part of in her earlier years. Now she is in EUPHORIA.
Final Clip: We single out the movie we had no room for from above. Here is THE HATE U GIVE.
Enjoy the month! Discover HBO. Stop back here for more news, reviews and schedules.