2020, what a year it has been. For many of us, we enter a Holiday time this last month, but it will be a Season like no other. At least we know we have some HBO content to enjoy. There may not be a lot of new content to find, but when you consider what HBO Max also offers, we are sure you will find something you haven’t seen before. Here is a look at some of the programming for December 2020.
A few quick points:
EUPHORIA Returns with a Special Episode
HIS DARK MATERIALS and INDUSTRY Continue
Issa Rae (INSECURE) is on the Movie Schedule
HBO Documentaries Abound this Month
and, HBO Max has WW, Holiday Specials & More
HBO Original Series:The Emmy-winning HBO drama series EUPHORIAwill return with two special episodes, with the first debuting SUNDAY, DECEMBER 06 at 9:00pm ET/PT. In the aftermath of being left by Jules at the train station and relapsing, the first special episode follows Rue (played by Emmy-winner Zendaya) as she celebrates Christmas. Written and directed by series creator Sam Levinson, the episode, titled “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” also stars Colman Domingo, who appeared in season one. The title and date of the second episode are forthcoming. Both special episodes were produced under COVID-19 guidelines.
EUPHORIA received three Primetime Emmy Awards this year, including Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series (Zendaya), Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. EUPHORIA is created and written by Sam Levinson, who also serves as executive producer; executive producers Ravi Nandan, Kevin Turen, Drake, Future the Prince, Hadas Mozes Lichtenstein, Ron Leshem, Daphna Levin, Tmira Yardeni, Mirit Toovi, Yoram Mokady and Gary Lennon; Will Greenfield serves as a co-executive producer. Produced in partnership with A24 and based on the Israeli series of the same name, which was created by Ron Leshem and Daphna Levin, from HOT.
HBO’s Monday night series INDUSTRY continues MONDAY, December 07 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT). This new drama series, from first-time creators Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, runs for eight episodes and follows a group of young graduates competing for a limited number of permanent positions at a leading international bank in London. Right now, the team is in the thick of it. As of 11.27, the series uploaded all the remaining episodes to the streaming sites. Check it out.
As Pierpoint is shaken by a former employee’s scathing exposé, Eric (Ken Leung) goes offsite for the day, prompting an unauthorized Gus (David Jonsson) to cover trades from his desk, while Harper (Myha’la Herrold) maneuvers her way into a meeting with one of Eric’s coveted, disgruntled ex-clients. But when Gus and Harper both cross the line, they risk compromising their futures at the bank. Following Robert’s (Harry Lawtey) successful first business trip, Clement (Derek Riddell) treats him to a special outing, while Yasmin (Marisa Abela) works her connections to land a major client meeting. Written by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay; Directed by Ed Lilly.
Sex, drugs, and secrets light up Pierpoint’s annual holiday party, where Maxim’s unexpected arrival aggravates tensions between Yasmin (Marisa Abela) and Kenny (Conor MacNeill), and Greg (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) finds himself in a painful predicament after partying a little too hard with Robert (Harry Lawtey) and Usman (Amir El-Masry). After confiding in Daria (Freya Mavor), Harper (Myha’la Herrold) is blindsided by a meeting with Sara (Priyanga Burford), the president of the London office. Written by Kate Verghese, Mickey Down and Konrad Kay; Directed by Tinge Krishnan.
With Reduction in Force Day looming, the graduates do whatever it takes to secure final recommendations from their superiors and solidify vital client relationships. At a dinner party hosted by Yasmin (Marisa Abela) and Sebastian, resentment and jealousy bubble to the surface, and Harper (Myha’la Herrold) divulges confidential company business. Written by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay; Directed by Mary Nighy.
–Season 1, Episode 8: “Reduction In Force” (Season Finale)
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 21(11:00pm-12:00am)
After a tumultuous few months at Pierpoint, the graduates take vastly different approaches as they stand before senior management to prove they’re worthy of permanent positions. Following an unexpected meeting with a familiar face, Harper (Myha’la Herrold) contends with a decision that could transform the culture of Pierpoint. Written by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay; Directed by Ed Lilly.
Also, the second season of HIS DARK MATERIALSis well underway. It continues its tale starting MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT). Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary. That is making for one intense Season Two.
–Season 2, Episode 4: “Tower of the Angels”
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 07 (09:00-10:00pm)
–Season 2, Episode 5: “The Scholar”
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 (09:00-10:00pm)
Just a note that REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER aired its 18th season finale on 11.20.20. There is no definite start date for 2021’s 19th season. Also, LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER’s Sunday show had the final episode of its 7th season on 11.15.20. That show has announced its return on an undetermined Sunday in February 2021. Oliver ended his 2020 perfectly.
Movies: Only half of the Saturdays in December get a movie premiere slot. We knew the time would come, due to the pandemic, that choices would get slim. HBO is offering THE PHOTOGRAPH and WENDY.
Debuting SATURDAY, DECEMBER 05 (8:00-9:50pm) is THE PHOTOGRAPH. A picture from her late mother’s past sends a renowned photographer named Mae on a search for answers and into an unexpected love affair with a handsome journalist named Michael. Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield star in this “rare treasure of a romantic drama” (Culture Mix). Co-starring Lil Rel Howery, Rob Morgan and Courtney B. Vance. Written and directed by Stella Meghie. From the Oscar-nominated director of Beasts of the Southern Wild comes this inventive reimagining of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” centering on a young girl and her twin brothers who are transported to a mysterious island where time has stopped. It is called WENDY and it debuts SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19 (8:00-10:00pm).It stars Devin France as Wendy Darling, Yashua Mack as Peter Pan, Gage Naquin &Gavin Naquin as brothers Douglas & James Darling, Ahmad Cage as Sweet Heavy and Krzysztof Meyn as Thomas, both Lost Boys. Directed by Benh Zeitlin; screenplay by Benh Zeitlin and Eliza Zeitlin.
HBO Documentary Films: Five new documentaries beef up the December schedule; four of them delve into true crime. Take a gander at our world through the lens of the documentary filmmaker’s camera. We lead off with the trailer for the first one:
BABY GOD debuts WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 02 (9:00-10:20pm). It is a shocking examination of the work of a Las Vegas fertility specialist, the late Dr. Quincy Fortier, who assisted hundreds of couples struggling with difficulty conceiving and the many women he guided to pregnancy through the use of his own sperm without their knowledge or consent. The documentary follows several of his offspring as they grapple with new information about their origins, the scope of Fortier’s misdeeds, and the impact his genes have on how they view their own identities. Directed by Hannah Olson and executive produced by Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The following week, on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 08 (9:00-10:50pm) is the premiere of 40 YEARS A PRISONER. It details the controversial 1978 Philadelphia police raid on the radical back-to-nature group MOVE and the aftermath that led to a son’s decades-long fight to free his parents. The film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming topicality and modern-day relevance. The next night is ALABAMA SNAKE on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 09 (9:00-10:30pm). This film explores the story of October 4, 1991, when a violent crime was reported in the sleepy town of Scottsboro, Alabama. Glenn Summerford, a Pentecostal minister, was accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. The details of the investigation and the trial that followed have haunted Southern Appalachia for decades. The documentary features local historian and folklorist, Dr. Thomas Burton, who has spent his life studying the culture, beliefs, and folklore of Pentecostal snake handlers. The film paints a Southern Gothic portrait of Glenn Summerford and his tale of demon possession.
Offering a chance of pace next is a biographical documentary entitled THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Frank Marshall (Seabiscuit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), this work chronicles the triumphs and hurdles of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, otherwise known as the Bee Gees. The iconic trio, who found early fame in the 1960s, went on to write over 1,000 songs, including twenty #1 hits throughout their storied career. This film follows the Bee Gee’s meteoric rise as they rode the highs of fame and fortune, negotiated the vagaries of the ever-shifting music business and navigated the complexities of working so intimately alongside family. It takes a primetime Saturday slot debuting SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12 (8:00-9:50pm). The debuts conclude with THE ART OF POLITICAL MURDER on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16 (9:00-10:30pm). Based on Francisco Goldman’s book of the same name and executive produced by Oscar-winner George Clooney and Grant Heslov, this film tells the story of the 1998 murder of Guatemalan human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi, which stunned a country ravaged by decades of political violence. Just two days after presenting a damning report blaming the atrocities of the civil war on the Guatemalan military, Bishop Gerardi was found dead in his home. Fearing a cover-up, the church assembles a team of young investigators to take on the case. They begin to unearth a web of conspiracy and murder, entangling the upper echelons of the government.
The last installment of the docu-series MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH is presented in December.
With the 10-year anniversary of his mother’s death approaching, Madison leaves no stone unturned in his quest for the truth – despite concerns that his documentary may be doing more harm than good. As Madison presses on, there are surprising roadblocks to his investigation.
The docu-series AXIOS concludes its third season in December. Find its last installment debuting MONDAY, DECEMBER 07 (11:00-11:30pm). Featured interviews have included: President Donald Trump, Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner, President of Iraq Barham Salih, Alphabet Inc. and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, GM CEO Mary Barra, Microsoft Co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kamala Harris, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur and political commentator Andrew Yang, and former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, among others. The most recent interviews have been with Ted Cruz discussing The Supreme Court and with the biotechnology company Moderna regarding its COVID-19 vaccine.
HBO Sports: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuts a new installment TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15 (10:00-11:00pm). If I’m not mistaken it should be the concluding installment of its acclaimed 25th season. As always for each episode, the actual segment topics aren’t known in time for this post, but you can always count on Gumbel and his team to cover an array of topics in the sports realm. In the last installment they looked at “Psychedelics in Sports,” used in therapy for retired athletes; “Millionaire Explorer” Victor Vescovo and “Sidelined Superfans” about their downtime since being kept away from their favorite sports.
HBO Channels:A few titles are included here that you can unwrap by poking around the HBO channels. HBO2: On 12.05 you can binge-watch THE UNDOING in its entirety; also on 12.05 into 12.06 you can binge-watch EUPHORIASeason One. On Christmas Eve the channel runs three F & F movies in primetime with The Fast & The Furious,2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. HBOLatino:This channel offers quite a few debuts starting withLA LEYENDA NEGRAon 12.04. In this one, an El Salvadorian teen attending high school in California becomes involved with a group of activist immigrants fighting deportation. A new documentary is also in the lineup. It is called MIDNIGHT FAMILY. Described by the New York Times as “terrifying and exhilarating,” this documentary takes you on a harrowing ride with the Ochoa family who owns one of Mexico City’s many private ambulance companies. With the camera right in the back of the ambulance, the film follows the emergency workers as they race rival ambulances to the scene, tend to the injured and live on a ragged edge of danger and poverty. A nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Luke Lorentzen. It debuts 12.11.HASTA QUE LA BODA NOS SEPARE (AKA The Wedding Unplanner) debuts on 12.18 In this romantic comedy a woman finds herself in an awkward position when she learns that the man with whom she had a one-night stand is getting married to the childhood friend whose wedding she is planning. How about a Latino holiday concert? Well, right after the aforementioned movie is the debut of DIEGO TORRES SINFONICO. Diego Torres walks onto the Gran Concierto Davivienda de Navidad’s stage in Bogota, Colombia, to delight the audience with Christmas songs and his own works. Alongside classics like “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells,” Torres performs symphonic versions of his hits like “Color Esperanza” and “Tratar De Estar Mejor” among others. Then on 12.29 is the premiere of LOS DIAS DE LA BALLENA (AKA The Days of the Whale). Two teenage graffiti artists in Medellin, Colombia fall in love while running afoul of street gangs in this sensitive coming-of-age story. HBO Signature:Horror is not just for Halloween anymore. ITand US still play here. But you can also find movies likeWalk The Line, Billy Elliot, and Revolutionary Road as well. HBO Comedy: Some modern comedy classics still hold onto the schedule like School of Rock, Muriel’s Wedding, Billie Madison and Happy Gilmore. HBO Family: The schedule is awful light especially since SESAME STREET and ESME & ROY went to HBO Max. The old library of kids shows are scattered across a weekday morning here and there and that’s it. For the holidays there is plenty of Snow Buddies, Santa Paws, etc. HBO Zone: The Crow,The Pledge, The Namesake, The Ruins, The Whole Ten Yards, The Thing; you get the idea.
HBO Streaming: Even though all advertising touts HBO Max, the HBO streaming service, formally HBO Now, still exists, for the time being anyway. Right now, the site has a “Watch With the Family” Collection which includes live-action works like We Bought A Zoo,Herbie: Fully Loaded, and Sky High, plus animated tales like Flushed Away, Storks and Over The Hedge. There 25 movies in total. There is also a “Get Into The Holiday Spirit” Collection with 12 titles including the 1991 version of Yes Virginia, There is A Santa Claus with Richard Thomas, Edward Asner and Charles Bronson. Uploading to the service are such titles as The Blind Side, Bright Young Things,The Crow, The Crow: City Of Angels, The Crow: Wicked Prayer, Fifty Shades of Black, Misery, Shaun of the Dead and more. If you are an HBO purist like me, this will be the main go-to site for as long as it exists.
HBO Max:If you see entertainment news of any kind, or our opening clip, you already know the big news for the new WarnerMedia site. Warner Bros. Pictures announced that its highly anticipated superhero tentpole film WONDER WOMAN 1984 will be released simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming platform in the U.S. on December 25, while debuting theatrically in international markets a week earlier starting on December 16. The film will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost to subscribers. Did you get that? WONDER WOMAN 1984uploads FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25. I’m not a superhero fan myself but, I understand and respect your excitement.
If Gail Gadot’s presence isn’t enough joining her this month is Meryl Streep. She stars in the HBO Max Original Movie: LET THEM ALL TALK. It tells the story of a celebrated author (Meryl Streep) who takes a journey with some old friends (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest) to have some fun and heal old wounds. Her nephew (Lucas Hedges) comes along to wrangle the ladies as well as her new literary agent (Gemma Chan) who is desperate to find out about her next book. Academy Award winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh directed the movie which stars Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Candice Bergen, Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges, Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) and Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest. Deborah Eisenberg wrote the screenplay and Gregory Jacobs (The Laundromat, Magic Mike) produced. The film begins streaming on HBO Max Thursday, December 10. The site also has a 4-part docuseries to promote entitled HEAVEN’S GATE: THE CULT OF CULTS. All four episodes will launch on Thursday, December 03. The docuseries is a thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern New Age religion forever.
Holiday specials come to the site, of course. DECEMBER 03, HBO Max is spreading holiday cheer with the debut of Carrie Underwood’s new music special MY GIFT: A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL FROM CARRIE UNDERWOOD. She performs a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating the joy and hopefulness of the holiday, as well as new original material from her first ever full-length Christmas album My Gift, which was released earlier this fall. On the special, she is accompanied by her band, as well as a live orchestra and choir, conducted by Underwood’s longtime friend, Emmy Award-winning musical director Rickey Minor. For the younger set, uploading the same day, there is a Looney Tunes Cartoon special called BUGS BUNNY’S 24 CARROT HOLIDAY SPECIAL, (12.03), an HBO Max Holiday Special Episode of ESME & ROY (12.10) and it’s Holiday time on SESAME STREET with SESAME STREET: HOLIDAY AT HOOPER’S. When their parents run late from the holiday concert, Elmo and Baby Bear stay with Alan and Nina at Hooper’s store. But they are disappointed not to celebrate Christmas Eve and Hanukkah as they had planned. Alan wonders how to make Hooper’s feel more festive. What if they make their own holiday decorations? Elmo, Baby Bear, Nina, and Alan sing carols, eat latkes, and make lots of decorations. They create a wonderful holiday celebration all by themselves—and Elmo and Baby Bear realize that the best part of holidays is being together with friends and family. Join the family fun on DECEMBER 17.
That’s not all, folks. Launching is the series HOUSE OF HO (12.10). Follow the lives, loves, and conflicts of the Hos, a wealthy Vietnamese-American family in Houston who’ve built a multimillion-dollar empire. In this unique and wildly entertaining new reality series, power struggles and family drama collide as Binh and Hue, immigrants who proudly achieved the American dream, attempt to control the lives of their adult children Washington and Judy, who find themselves under constant pressure to live up to their parents’ impossible expectations. Along with Washington’s wife Lesley, kooky Aunt Tina, and party girl Cousin Sammy, the Ho household is filled with love, laughter, and of course, designer handbags. Also uploading isSTYLISH WITH JENNA LYONS (12.03). As president of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons became “the woman who dresses America”—a formidable business and style icon. Now, Jenna is experiencing a rebirth, and her reputation is on the line. In a refreshing mix of elevated documentary and formatted competition, the show follows Jenna as she tackles design projects that will help define her future business. On DECEMBER 17is HOMESCHOOL MUSICAL CLASS OF 2020, an HBO Max Special. Inspired by Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti’s (“My Fair Lady” and “She Loves Me” on Broadway, Younger, Supergirl, Nashville) online movement #SunshineSongs, in which she offered to be an audience for the students around the country whose spring musicals were canceled because of COVID-19, this television event will give students the opportunity to sing and dance like the stars they are, from the safety of their homes. Older series like The West Wing,Stargirl, Summer Camp Islandand 4 Blocksupload.
Cinemax:WARRIOR gets in one more move!
–Episode 10 “Man on the Wall” (Series Finale) DEBUT DATE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 04 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
Young Jun (Jason Tobin) faces a crucial decision after Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) tries to drive a wedge between him and Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), who has emerged as a hero in Chinatown and takes the opportunity to go on the offensive against Leary (Dean Jagger). Determined to take Buckley (Langley Kirkwood) down, Penny (Joanna Vanderham) goes to the press. Bill (Kieran Bew) reckons with what he’s become, and Lee (Tom Weston-Jones) seeks out a familiar face. Mai Ling finally plays her hand against the Hop Wei. Written by Jonathan Tropper; Directed by Dennie Gordon.
Plus, this. It’s something:
Next Month’s Tease: The only thing we know for sure is that Eldrick Tont is coming to HBO in January 2021. Who, you ask? Figure it out.
Last month’s answer – We showed you an image of a face reflected in someone’s eyeball. If you weren’t sure who’s visage we were seeing just look up to where we talk about EUPHORIA. Reflected is the character Rue Bennett played by Zendaya.