Finally, it is here! Spring has sprung! Hah, you thought I was going to say GAME OF THRONES? Yes, it is finally here as well. But that is not the only content and you know we try here to address most of it. We will get to the big shows first, as always, and then explore a little deeper for all the rich and fun programming that HBO has to offer. A lot of eyes will be on AT&T’s HBO experience, at least while GOT plays out, so the offerings are plentiful. Here is What’s On.
Original Series: GAME OF THRONES returns for its eighth and final season SUNDAY, APRIL 14 (9:00-10:00pm), with other new episodes airing subsequent Sundays beginning at the same time. We have been doing a thorough job of keeping fans updated on GOT all along. We all know what little information leaked out about the final season. Finally, we got a full trailer, which I will repeat here, simply because we still have little to offer.
Scant information is also evident because, as of this publishing, there have been no episode breakdowns for the final six episodes. What we do know, and have reported, is the runtimes of the final season repeated here:
Season 8, episode 1 Debut date: SUNDAY, APRIL 14 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 0:54
Season 8, episode 2 Debut date: SUNDAY, APRIL 21 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 0:58
Season 8, episode 3 Debut date: SUNDAY, APRIL 28 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 1:22
Season 8, episode 4 Debut date: SUNDAY, MAY 5 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 1:18
Season 8, episode 5 Debut date: SUNDAY, MAY 12 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 1:20
Season 8, episode 6 Debut date: SUNDAY, MAY 19 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) Estimated running time: 1:20
HBOWatch will review each episode, so stop back to get our thoughts. Our writers are just as excited as you are.
Bill Hader and Henry Winkler reprise their Emmy-winning roles in BARRY, HBO’s dark comedy series about a depressed war vet-turned-hitman who finds passion and romance in a local acting class. Desperate to leave his violent past behind in favor of his newfound passion, Barry is attempting to untangle himself from the world of contract killing and fully immerse himself in acting. But getting out is messy. While Barry has eliminated many of the external factors that pushed him towards violence, he soon discovers they weren’t the only forces at play. What is it about his own psyche that led him to become a killer in the first place? The second season continues SUNDAY, APRIL 07 (10:00-10:30pm), with new episodes debuting subsequent Sundays at the same time. Created and executive produced by Hader and Alec Berg.
There is no intel on April’s episode but since the season debut’s information was not available last time we can insert it here.
–Season 2, episode 1: “The Show Must Go On, Probably?”
Debut date: SUNDAY, MARCH 31 (10:00-10:30pm)
Barry (Bill Hader) tries to convince Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and the rest of the class to go ahead with a performance, despite the absence of teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), who’s grief-stricken after the disappearance of Detective Moss. With Goran gone, Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and Cristobal’s (Michael Irby) new partnership faces growing pains and jealousy issues. Back in Cleveland, Fuches (Stephen Root) learns that replacement hitmen don’t come easy. Written by Alec Berg & Bill Hader; directed by Hiro Murai.
The seventh and final season of the Emmy-winning comedy series VEEP, continuing SUNDAY, APRIL 07 (10:30-11:00pm), follows the former vice president and president Selina Meyer (Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as she hits the campaign trail hoping to regain the highest office in the land, despite the flubs and scandals that have followed her and her staff for years.
The ensemble cast of the show also includes: two-time Emmy winner Tony Hale as Gary, her devoted bodyman; Emmy nominee Anna Chlumsky as Amy, her right hand; Emmy nominee Matt Walsh as Mike, her former spokesperson; Reid Scott as the ultra-ambitious Dan; Timothy C. Simons as Jonah Ryan, a former hanger-on turned congressman; Kevin Dunn as Ben, her campaign manager; Emmy nominee Gary Cole as analyst Kent; Sam Richardson as unassuming staffer Richard; and Sarah Sutherland as Catherine, Selina’s daughter. Recurring guest stars on the new season include: Clea DuVall as Marjorie, Catherine’s girlfriend; Margaret Colin as Jane McCabe; Patton Oswalt as Teddy Sykes; and Brian Huskey as Leon West, Selina’s spokesman.
Here is how the final season begins –
–Season 7, episode 1: “Iowa”
Debut date: SUNDAY, MARCH 31 (10:30-11:00pm)
Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) evaluates her past and present campaigns. Jonah’s (Timothy C. Simons) personal life sparks interest among the press. Amy (Anna Chlumsky) makes an important decision. Written by Lew Morton; directed by David Mandel.
–Season 7, episode 2: “Discovery Weekend”
Debut date: SUNDAY, APRIL 07 (10:30-11:00pm)
At an Aspen retreat for rich donors, Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) deals with potential adversaries and allies. Amy’s (Anna Chlumsky) behavior raises Gary’s (Tony Hale) suspicions. Written by Billy Kimball & Eric Kenward; directed by Dale Stern.
–Season 7, episode 3: “Pledge”
Debut date: SUNDAY, APRIL 14 (10:30-11:00pm)
In the run-up to the first debate, Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) makes a novel campaign proposal. Comments by Jonah (Timothy C. Simons) create blowback. Dan (Reid Scott) and Amy(Anna Chlumsky) take a road trip. Written by Rachel Axler; directed by Morgan Sackett.
Covering a wide range of social and cultural issues, the critically lauded late-night docuseries WYATT CENAC’S PROBLEM AREAS kicks off its ten-episode second season FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (11:00-11:30pm), exclusively on HBO. This season focuses on education in America, investigating teacher pay, student mental health, the school-to-prison pipeline and other pressing topics. Cenac will visit West Virginia, Oregon, California, Minnesota and other areas around the country to learn how communities navigate issues facing public education.
Our two big-name pundits are behind their desks for another month of hot topics & hot debate. Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, as well The Emmy-winning LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER continues its sixth season SUNDAY, APRIL 07 (11:00-11:30pm), followed by other editions subsequent Sundays at the same time, with a hiatus April 28. If you missed him in March you missed monologues on Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, Jared Kushner’s security clearance, effects of automation on U.S. jobs, robocalling, Christchurch, New Zealand, Brexit and public shaming, including an interview with Monica Lewinsky. REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER continues its 17th season FRIDAY, APRIL 05 (10:00-11:00pm), followed by other new editions subsequent Fridays at the same time, with a hiatus April 19. Guests as of late have included political advocate Matt Schlapp, Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director, Larry Charles, creator and director of Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy (pictured with Bill) and others. VICE NEWS TONIGHT, the half-hour nightly newscast from VICE Media and HBO, debuts a new edition TUESDAY, APRIL 02 (7:30-8:00pm), followed by other new editions subsequent weeknights Tuesday through Friday. Topics broach in the newscast have included the college admissions scandal, Democrats on the campaign trail, Algerian political protest and the Youth Climate Strike. Note a hiatus for Maher on 04.19 because VICE: SPECIAL REPORT – THE FUTURE OF WORK is slated for his timeslot that night (10:00 – 11:00pm). It will examine, via a number of correspondents, how technology is advancing & automation is replacing us.
How about this comment off of REAL TIME?
Movies: Some big movies make it to HBO in April. It is a great opportunity to see the upcoming horror, drama or comedy for the second time around or discover it for the first time in the comfort of your favorite seat – the one in your home box office. Seek out THE NUN, RICH CRAZY ASIANS, BLACKKKLANSMAN and THE DARKEST MINDS.
Investigating the suicide of a young nun, a team from the Vatican encounters an evil force in THE NUN, debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 06 (8:15-10:00pm). This haunting fifth installment in “The Conjuring Universe” franchise stars Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet. When after traveling to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, a young woman discovers that he comes from one of the country’s wealthiest families and is forced into the spotlight, finding herself seeking the approval of socialites and relatives in CRAZY RICH ASIANS, debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 13 (8:00-10:00pm). The smash hit stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh. BLACKkKLANSMAN, debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 20 (8:00-10:15pm), tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who infiltrated and exposed the Ku Klux Klan. Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, the film is directed by Spike Lee. THE DARKEST MINDS debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 27 (6:15: 8:00pm). From the producers of Stranger Things comes this riveting supernatural tale set in a world in which a terrible disease has suddenly killed 98 percent of children in the U.S.–and has left the rest with incredible powers. Starring Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore and Gwendoline Christie. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson; screenplay by Chad Hodge, based upon the novel by Alexandra Bracken.
HBO Films/Miniseries: NATIVE SON, based on the classic novel by Richard Wright, debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 06 (10:00-11:50pm). Directed by first-time director and renowned visual artist Rashid Johnson from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog), the drama tells the story of Bigger Thomas (Ashton Sanders), a young African-American living in Chicago who is hired as a chauffeur for affluent businessman Will Dalton (Bill Camp. As Thomas enters this seductive new world of money and power — including a precarious relationship with Dalton’s daughter, Mary (Margaret Qualley of THE LEFTOVERS) — he faces unforeseen choices and perilous circumstances that will alter the course of his life forever. The cast also includes Nick Robinson, KiKi Layne, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier and Sanaa Lathan. This is not to be missed!
Also appearing is GENTLEMAN JACK. Some publicity lists it as a series, others as a limited series but HBO’s Media relations files it as a Miniseries so that’s is what I categorize it under. Whatever you call it just call it good entertainment. The HBO/BBC drama series begins its eight-episode season MONDAY, APRIL 22 (10:00-11:00pm) Created, written and co-directed by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax), and starring BAFTA Award winner Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster), GENTLEMAN JACK tells the story of a woman who had a passion for life and a mind for business, and bucked society’s expectations at every turn. We’ll offer more detail later but, for now, is is the trailer.
HBO Documentary Films: Another documentary series is the focus for April. ON TOUR WITH ASPERGER’S ARE US, a six-part docuseries debuting TUESDAY, APRIL 30 (8:00-8:30pm), with two new parts airing each night Tuesday through Thursday at 8:00 and 8:30pm., follows the first comedy troupe consisting entirely of people with Asperger syndrome on their first cross-country tour, as the team of four crams into an RV that’s on the verge of explosion for six weeks, testing their understanding of friendship, comedy and carburetors. Mark and Jay Duplass (ROOM 104) executive produce.
HBO Special: HBO has confirmed that the exclusive special 2019 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY will debut SATURDAY, APRIL 27 at 8:00pm. This year’s inductees include The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and The Zombies.
HBO Kids: SESAME STREET continues its 49th season SATURDAY, APRIL 13 (9:00-9:30am) with other episodes airing Saturdays at the same time. April is Autism Awareness Month and in observance Julia (the series autistic character) will star in the special episode “Julia’s Haircut,” in which Elmo, Abby and Alan help Julia feel less scared about getting a haircut. Sesame Workshop’s ESME & ROY continues its first season SATURDAY, APRIL 06 (9:30-9:55am), followed by other new episodes subsequent Saturdays at the same time leading up to the season finale on April 27. The show spotlights a young girl and her monster best friend, two pals who share one impressive skill: they’re great at taking care of monsters! Aimed at children between the ages of two and six, each episode features two segments, in which Esme and Roy discover that even monster-sized problems can be solved through play and mindfulness.
I’ve introduced you to her before but, in light of her special episode that will appear on HBO & PBS, meet Julia!
HBO Sports: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL goes 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, MARCH 26 (10:00-11:00pm). Here is a recent clip. Oh, and you never can tell when an installment of THE SHOP is going to show up.
Other Movies and Shows: Two HBO FIRST LOOK movie previews drop. Find out details behind John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum on 04.23 and Tolkien on 04.25. There are movies like GRIFF THE INVISIBLE, INCEPTION and THE POST. HBO2 is marathoning GAME OF THRONES afternoons starting 04.08 with Season 1 and each day leading up to the final season premiere on 04.14. On 04. 24 from 3:30 – 7:00pm is a binge of BALLERS Season Three.
Other HBO Platforms: Hey, if you get hit with an April shower and need to kill some time perhaps you could check out the following content. HBO Latino: HBO Latino’s psychological drama series PSI continues its fourth season FRIDAY, APRIL 05 (10:00-11:00pm), followed by other episodes subsequent Fridays at the same time, exploring the complexity of modern life and relationships through Dr. Carlo Antonini’s unusual cases. A psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychoanalyst, Antonini finds himself in a tough spot this season: his dear friend and colleague Valentina has left Brazil to do humanitarian work abroad, while at home he receives disconcerting news from his doctor. This difficult experience makes Antonini reflect upon his own mortality: He spends his life trying to save others, but does he believe his own life is really worthwhile? Emílio de Mello, Liliana De Castro, Paula Picarelli, Raul Barreto and Marcello Airoldi star. Top U.S. Latino comics Crystian Ramirez, Vanessa Gonzalez, Rojo Perez and Erik Rivera take turns at the mic in ENTRE NOS: SPOT ON, HBO Latino’s exclusive stand-up comedy show, debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 26 (9:00-10:00pm. Recorded before a live audience at The Alex Theater in Glendale, California, the special features anecdotes both hilarious and deeply personal. Movies include EL PIEDRA El (The Stone) about a washed-up boxer who gets paid to lose fights and tries to straighten out his life after he meets a street kid who claims to be his son and wants to learn how to box and EL PARAMO (The Squad). After losing contact with a military base in Colombia, a group of soldiers are sent to investigate but soon find themselves losing their grip on reality as they become trapped and terrorized by an unknown enemy in this horror tale. There is also the psychological thriller ANIMAL and ACUSADA (The Accused) airing. HBO Family: Have I mentioned this one before? BARK RANGER is its name and it has two kids and a dog finding a map that points them in the direction of a legendary treasure. I can also single out HOP because Easter is this month and, for no good reason, FIRST DAUGHTER, INVINCIBLE and THE EMPEROR’S CLUB. HBO Signature: Always good content here. How about 1993’s THE PELICAN BRIEF with Julia Roberts & Denzel Washington or the cinematic spin of VERONICAS MARS with Kristen Bell? HERE ON EARTH is a romantic drama and PRIDE is an inspiring true story that are both worth seeing. Then, there is JESSABELLE which is not to be confused with Anabelle, though they are both horror movies. HBO Comedy: After his mother is apprehended by the police, a 13-year-old has to grow up fast and fend for himself over the summer in THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER AND PETE. THE LAYOVER is about young BFF’s fighting over a hunky fireman while they are stuck in a layover in a city that they don’t want to be stuck in. EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK is classic Woody Allen form 1972 and LOVE HAPPENS has Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart at the heart of it. Also find airings of recent comedic bits like TAG, GAME NIGHT and PETE HOLMES: DIRTY CLEAN. HBO Zone: May I suggest Ang Lee’s HULK, 1987’s THE LOST BOYS or the hardcore gamers of STAY ALIVE? No, No, I know, how about LOWRIDERS in which a street artist is forced to choose between the world of L.A.’s custom-car culture or following in the footsteps of his ex-con brother. No, better yet is GEORGE A. ROMERO’S LAND OF THE DEAD, ‘nuff said.
HBONow/Go: HBONow/Go: First of all, did you know that the series DEADWOOD is observing its 15th anniversary? The streaming sites, in light of the upcoming HBO Films followup, have not forgotten and remind us that the whole 3-season series can be watched on either site. It also has a “Deadwood: Fan-Favored Episodes” Collection offering 11 must-see episodes from the entire 36. There are also 10 episodes of VEEP, including “C**tgate,” that comprise the “Selina Meyer’s Most Presidential Moments” Collection. The third season of GOLDEN LIFE joins the other two seasons as of 04.01. This series from Hungary, with subtitles, can be summed up this way – THE SOPRANOS + SUCCESSION + BARRY = GOLDEN LIFE. Though I am checking out other content right now this one is on my list. Lastly, it is the last chance to see movies like WONDER WOMAN, DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, THRE MUMMY, PHANTOM THREAD and PITCH PERFECT 3.
Cinemax: Cinemax is coming on fighting in April with one gritty new drama on the scene. WARRIOR, an action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century, begins its ten-episode season FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (10:00-11:00pm), followed by new episodes subsequent Fridays at the same time. 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). Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, the show is based on writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and created and executive produced by Jonathan Tropper (Cinemax’ BANSHEE) under Tropper Ink Productions and Justin Lin on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment.
–Episode 1: “The Itchy Onion”
Debut date: FRIDAY, APRIL 05 (10:00-11:00pm)
San Francisco, 1878. Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a newly arrived Chinese immigrant with serious fighting skills, is introduced to Chinatown’s most ruthless tong, the Hop Wei, by Chao (Hoon Lee), a fixer. After impressing Young Jun (Jason Tobin), son of tong leader Father Jun (Perry Yung), Ah Sahm is branded and taken to a brothel, where he befriends Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng), a courtesan with connections. Later, in search of a woman who left China two years earlier, Ah Sahm crosses paths with Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) and Li Yong (Joe Taslim), followers of the rival tong leader Long Zii (Henry Yuk), who is trying to avoid an opium war with the Hop We – a war that Walter Buckley (Langley Kirkwood), deputy to San Francisco Mayor Samuel Blake (Christian McKay), actively promotes. Meanwhile, after two Chinese laborers are killed by white thugs, police sergeant “Big Bill” O’Hara (Kieran Bew) is tasked with creating a Chinatown squad. Enlisting southern-born cop Richard Henry Lee (Tom Weston-Jones), Bill soon finds that the hostility between the Chinese and white dock workers, whose unofficial leader is Irish tough Dylan Leary (Dean Jagger), is unlikely to end anytime soon. Written by Jonathan Tropper; directed by Assaf Bernstein.
–Episode 2: “There’s No China in the Bible”
Debut date: FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (10:00-11:00pm)
Intercepting a shipment of opium at the docks, Young Jun (Jason Tobin), with Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) and his Hop Wei lieutenant Bolo (Rich Ting) in tow, decides to send a message to Long Zii (Henry Yuk). Big Bill (Kieran Bew) and Lee (Tom Weston-Jones) investigate a grisly murder scene in an alley next to an Irish bar, The Banshee. Penny Blake (Joanna Vanderham), the young wife of San Francisco’s mayor (Christian McKay), finds herself in a bind while visiting the wharf with her Chinese manservant, Jacob (Kenneth Fok). Ah Sahm pays a steep price for playing the hero. The Long Zii clean up a mess, and brace for more bloodshed. Written by Jonathan Tropper; directed by Loni Peristere.
—Episode 3: “John Chinaman”
Debut date: FRIDAY, APRIL 19 (10:00-11:00pm)
Leary (Dean Jagger) pressures gentleman industrialist Byron Mercer (Graham Hopkins), who is Penny’s father, to hire his men for a cable-car track job – despite the fact that Mayor Blake (Christian McKay) hasn’t yet awarded Mercer the contract. Accused of assault and perhaps worse, Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) gets a cold shoulder from the Hop Wei, with his fate in the hands of an unexpected ally. Buckley (Langley Kirkwood) urges Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) to eschew restraint and start a war with the Hop Wei. Written by Adam Targum; directed by Loni Peristere. \
–Episode 4: “The White Mountain”
Debut date: FRIDAY, APRIL 26 (10:00-11:00pm)
Big Bill (Kieran Bew) finds himself compromised by his gambling excesses, but discovers a possible solution after an opium-den raid. Penny (Joanna Vanderham) reveals the circumstances that prompted her to marry Mayor Blake (Christian McKay), who’s determined to show voters he won’t tolerate San Francisco’s “Yellow Peril.” After meeting with leaders of the Fung Hai tong, Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) offers Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) a way out of a protracted – and bloody – tong war. Written by Kenneth Lin; directed by David Petrarca.
Also, on Cinemax is the debut of these three movies: Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Diana Price (Wonder Woman) team up to recruit a team of superheroes to fight a new enemy in JUSTICE LEAGUE, debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 05 (7:55-10:00pm). The film stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons. After finding a laptop and planning an evening of online gaming with friends, a young man finds that the original owner of the computer will stop at nothing to get it back in UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB, debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (8:25-10:00 p.m.). This horror film stars Colin Woodell, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel, Connor Del Rio, Andrew Lees, Stephanie Nogueras and Savira Windyani. BLINDSPOTTING, debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 26 (8:20-10:00 p.m.), tells the story of a man on probation and his relationship with his volatile friend. The film stars Daveed Diggs, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Wayne Knight.
Next Month’s Tease: Keeping in mind we are talking HBO here, do you know what happened on April 25-26, 1986?
Last month we wondered if you knew that the character Bigger Thomas was at the heart of HBO Films: NATIVE SON coming in April.
Final Clip: Let’s recognize Spike Lee’s award-winning BLACKkKLANSMAN. What a story!
Enjoy the month! Discover HBO. Stop back here for more news, reviews and schedules.