For the longest time Monday nights have been the night HBO has premiered its lineup of Documentary Films. HBO officially announced on 06.30.14 that due to a rise in popularity of nonfiction filmmaking that it would now air weekly documentaries year round on that night. So every Monday night either a new documentary will debut or an encore presentation (really just a repeat) will air.
Though there was no advertising at the time HBO states the new format started on 06.22 with Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s THE CASE AGAINST 8 followed by Doug Block’s 112 WEDDINGS. Other titles already slated include debuts of THE NEWBURGH STING on 07.21; LOVE CHILD on 07.28 and NIXON BY NIXON: IN HIS OWN WORDS on 08.04. Encores coming up shortly are BOY INTERRUPTED and THE CHESHIRE MURDERS.
HBOWatch is committed to continuing its coverage of the HBO Documentary Films as they arrive weekly. All first-time-run documentaries will debut at 9:00pm ET and HBOWatch will review them. Any encore presentations not previously covered will also be reviewed. It appears that the repeated films will begin earlier in the evening than in the primetime 9:00 start time. Again, we will keep our followers informed each week of what is airing.
And while we are on the subject of HBO Documentary Films how about a bit of history. First there was TIME WAS… a nonfiction series that examined the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with host Dick Cavett which began in 1979. In 1980 a series of informational facts by Consumer Reports aired. A stand alone documentary of early note was SHE’S NOBODY’S BABY from 1981 which was about the women of the 20th Century narrated by Marlo Thomas.
It was in 1984 when the format really took off under the AMERICA UNDERCOVER banner. It offered installments like AUTOPSY, REAL SEX and TAXICAB CONFESSIONS and films like HOOKERS AT THE POINT and CRACK HOUSE USA. There was also 1987’s AIDS: EVERYTHING YOUR FAMILY NEEDS TO KNOW…BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK hosted by C. Everett Koop, the U.S. Surgeon General at the time.
Since then the nonfiction format has played strong on HBO covering a vast array of topics. It has a separate Sports Documentary division and has programming like WITNESS: and VICE. We conclude this post with just a few of our favorites since HBOWatch has been reviewing:
From 2011 there is SUPERHEROES.
In 2012 we liked MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT and PROJECT NIM.
From 2013 how about WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT FROM HERE; THE CRASH REEL and LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM?
In 2014 so far the films of note are STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS and PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL, but there are some exciting coming soon to rival those ones I think.
For what it is worth, besides the VICE and WITNESS series, the top two favorites that I have reviewed are the pieces about Abramovic and Nim. Below are the trailers from both of those. Feel free to pick your favorites and mention them below and join HBOWatch for more great nonfiction storytelling.