Here we go! After what some considered a soft launch for HBO so far this year February is packed with series (new and old), good movies and great personalities. It is a jam-packed month of great entertainment so let’s get right to it without delay. Here is What’s On featuring the series debut of VINYL and ANIMALS and also new seasons of GIRLS, TOGETHERNESS, VICE and more. If you need assistance on remembering the following dates check out our Schedule Page.
Original Series: To start us off is information on the newest hour-length drama. From executive producers Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter, comes the drama series VINYL. It is set in 1970s New York and is a ride through the sex- and drug-addled music business at the dawn of punk, disco and hip-hop. The show is seen through the eyes of a record label president, Richie Finestra, played by Bobby Cannavale, who is trying to save his company and his soul without destroying everyone in his path. Additional series regulars include Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano, Ato Essandoh, Max Casella, P.J. Byrne, J.C. MacKenzie, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Juno Temple, Jack Quaid, James Jagger and Paul Ben-Victor. The series premieres with a special two-hour episode on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (9:00-11:00pm) with other new one-hour episodes airing subsequent Sundays at the same time. Here is the third trailer for the show.
Though we don’t have detailed episode descriptions for the other two installments this month here is a rundown of the pilot.
— Episode #1: “Pilot”
New York City, 1973. Together with his partners, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), president of American Century Records, is on the verge of selling his struggling company to German Polygram, in a deal that includes an impending distribution agreement with Led Zeppelin. But after a disastrous meeting, it’s clear that the sale is in jeopardy. Heading home to Greenwich, Conn., Richie takes a detour to an unplanned reunion with Lester Grimes (Ato Essandoh), a musical artist with whom he has a complicated history.
With thoughts of Lester weighing on him, Richie heads to the office, where, in addition to the Led Zeppelin situation, he learns of another problem: Bombastic Frank “Buck” Rogers (Andrew Dice Clay), owner of a chain of radio stations, is about to boycott American Century due to a perceived slight by one of the label’s artists. In crisis mode, Richie gives his A&R department the mandate to find new acts, prompting office assistant Jamie Vine (Juno Temple) to bring in The Nasty Bits, a protopunk band unlike anything anyone has ever heard.
Meanwhile, Richie enlists thuggish independent promotion man Joe Corso (Bo Dietl) to help with the Buck Rogers situation. After a three-day coke binge, Corso summons the sober Richie to Rogers’ home, where things go horribly awry. Despite American Century’s troubles, Richie learns that Polygram has agreed to buy the company after all. That night, with both Lester and the Buck Rogers debacle on his mind, he goes violently off the wagon, trashing the den of his Connecticut home and severely jeopardizing his relationship with his wife, Devon (Olivia Wilde), and their two children. Richie ultimately finds himself coked out and on his own, drawn by a crowd of young people to the Mercer Arts Center in Manhattan, where he sees The New York Dolls perform, a night that sets him on a completely new course.
Story by Rich Cohen & Mick Jagger & Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter; teleplay by Terence Winter and George Mastras; directed by Martin Scorsese.
Get ready for the wild, rockin’ world of VINYL!
Created by and starring Lena Dunham, the Emmy-winning series GIRLS is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their 20s. It begins its ten-episode fifth season SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21 at 10:00pm. Dunham executive produces along with Judd Apatow, Jenni Konner, Ilene S. Landress, Murray Miller and Bruce Eric Kaplan. The cast also includes Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, Ebon Moss Bachrach and Jake Lacy. At this time there is no released episode details, so in lieu of that we offer the trailer one more time and two different links to help you get up to speed with where the girls are in their lives.
From brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, TOGETHERNESS follows four adults living under one roof on the fringes of Los Angeles. We get to see where these relationships go as the show returns for a sophomore season. Brett and Michelle (Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey) are struggling to rekindle the spark in their relationship, which has puttered out from the stresses of marriage and children. When Brett’s friend Alex (Steve Zissis) and Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet) move in with them, the foursome engage in a tragically comedic struggle to follow their personal dreams, while still remaining good friends, siblings and spouses to each other. The eight-episode second season debuts SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21 at 10:30pm. Below is our first look at the trailer for the upcoming season.
Ah, man can they just work it all out? Can they say “I Bet My Life On You” to the person who needs to hear it most? We will have to find out.
On the set of his new movie in New Orleans, Alex (Steve Zissis) gets a surprise birthday visit. Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass Additional dates are 02.21 at 12:30am & 3:30am, 02.22at 1:40am, 02.23 at 11:30pm, 02.24 at 4:00am, 02.25 at 10:00pm and 02.27 at 5:35am.
— Episode #10 (season 2, episode 2): “Everybody Is Grownups” Debut date: SUNDAY, 02.28 at 10:30pm.
Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) works on her plan to make the charter school idea a reality. At a welcome home party for Alex, Tina (Amanda Peet) clashes with his new girlfriend, Christy (Ginger Gonzaga), while everyone else tries to defuse the situation. Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Other HBO playdates: 02.28 at 12:30am & 3:30am, 02.29 at 2:30am and into March.
HBO returns to adult animation since THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TIM with ANIMALS! Created by Phil Matarese & Mike Luciano and produced by Duplass Brothers Television, this show debuts FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 05 (11:30 p.m.-midnight), with other new episodes subsequent Fridays at the same time. This animated adult comedy series focuses on the downtrodden creatures native to Earth’s least-habitable environment: New York City. Whether it’s lovelorn rats, gender-questioning pigeons or aging bedbugs in the midst of a midlife crisis, the awkward small talk, moral ambiguity and existential woes of non-human urbanites prove startlingly similar to our own. What follows is the site’s first look at the trailer and an episode breakdown.
— Episode #1: “Rats” Debut: FRIDAY, 02.05 at 11:30pm.
An uninitiated rat gets mating tips from his friend at a subterranean party. A pair of police horses complains about an old acquaintance who’s made it big. A bedbug has a midlife crisis .Written and directed by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano. Other HBO playdates: 02.05 at 1:30am, 02.09 at 3:25am and 02.10 at 4:20am.
— Episode #2: “Pigeons” Debut: FRIDAY, 02.12 at 11:30pm.
A naive male pigeon prepares himself for motherhood, while another is challenged by a New Jersey rival. One caterpillar’s metamorphosis is another’s lament. Written and directed by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano. Other HBO playdates: 02.12 at 1:30am, 02.16 at 3:10am and 02.17 at 2:00am.
— Episode #3: “Cats.” Debut: FRIDAY, 02.19 at 11:30pm.
Two privileged feline siblings find their perfect day interrupted by a crafty alley cat. Bored with the monotony of his life, a goose sets off on his own, and attempts to bond with a flock of Central Park swans. Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Wes Archer. Other HBO playdates: 02.19 at 1:30am, 02.23 at 4:00am and 02.24 at 4:30am.
–Episode #4: “Dogs.” Debut: FRIDAY, 02.26 at 11:30pm.
A papillon is thrust into an unwelcoming dog park. A dog-walking group deals with an unexpected secret. Two dogs dissect their owners’ first date. Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Dominic Polcino. Other HBO playdates: 02.26 at 1:30am and into March.
HBO partners with VICE, a premier new media company, on the innovative newsmagazine show, which kicks off its fourth season FRIDAY, FEBUARY 05 at 11:00pm, with other new episodes debuting subsequent Fridays at the same time. Hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith, the Emmy-winning show covers the kinds of stories often overlooked by mainstream media outlets. The weekly series is executive produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti, VICE’s chief creative officer, with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria serving as consultant.
This fourth season has been ramped up for a total of eighteen installments and as usual covers the world featuring all types of political, social and cultural happenings that affect us all. If you are not watching VICE than you are missing out on your connection to the world around you!
Here is a look at some of the subject matter ahead.
— Show #37 (season 4, edition 1) Debut: FRIDAY, 02.05 at 11:00pm
“Boko Haram”: The terrorist group Boko Haram is responsible for thousands of deaths in Nigeria. Now, the government is determined to drive these militants from the country. But is the hunt for insurgents causing as much harm as it’s preventing? Former Navy SEAL and new VICE correspondent Kaj Larsen travels to Nigeria to see what this cat-and-mouse game means for the people caught in the middle of the fight.
“Unnatural Selection”: For centuries, scientists have been working to change the genetic traits of plants and animals. Now, the new gene-editing method CRISPR has made that process astonishingly simple — so simple it could easily be used on humans. Isobel Yeung reports from Brazil, Scotland, China and the U.S. on the technological advances that could reshape evolution as we know it. It also airs 02.05 at 1:00am, 02.06 at 5:00am, 02.09 at 5:30pm, 02.10 at 9:00pm and 02.11 at 4:25am.
— Show #38 (season 4, edition 2) Debut: FRIDAY, 02.12 at 11:00pm.
“Escape to Europe”: With the war in Syria now in its fifth bloody year, half the country’s population has been displaced, and four million have fled. Many are heading to the safety and relative prosperity of Europe, but getting there is a long, life-threatening journey. New VICE correspondent Ahmed Shihab-Eldin follows the refugee trail from the Syrian border to Europe, meeting Syrians determined to find a better life.
“Cycle of Terror”: The bloody ISIS attacks in Paris stunned the world. And as rumors circulated that one of the attackers may have posed as a Syrian migrant, politicians in Western countries, including the U.S., raced to declare their territory off-limits to refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq. Gianna Toboni travels to France and around the U.S. to see how the global reaction to the violence in Paris is affecting the fight against terrorism. It also airs 02.12 at 1:00am, 02.13 at 2:35am, 02.16 at 5:30pm, 02.17 at 8:30pm and 02.18 at 5:00am.
— Show #39 (season 4, edition 3) Debut: FRIDAY, 02.19 at 11:00pm
“Right to Die”: When California enacted the End of Life Option Act amid fierce debate last October, the number of terminally ill Americans with the right to a doctor assisted death effectively quadrupled. But in parts of Europe, euthanasia is also administered to people other than the terminally ill, including those with autism, depression and personality disorders. VICE explores the moral, political and personal questions raised by how and when we end our lives. It also airs 02.19 at 1:00am, 02.20 at 3:00am, 02.23 at 6:45pm, 02.24 at 9:00pm and 02.25 at 3:10am.
Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER kicks off its third season with a new edition SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 at 11:00pm and Bill Maher continues the 14th season of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 05 at 10:00pm.
Speaking of which, did YOU sign the petition yet?
Movies: Two little reminders about movies; we mention here the Saturday night premieres only (check further down for other choices), but note that debuts are popping up at other times with more regularity and, remember, the theatrical movies HBO airs can only be as good as the movies the industry puts out. It is simple, if they make movies you don’t like HBO can only air movies you don’t like. Make sense? Coming in February are: A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, FURIOUS 7, MAGIC MIKE XXL and SAN ANDREAS.
First up is another round of Liam Neeson in action. Getting tired of him yet? In his latest a private detective (Neeson) is hired to track down the killers of a drug dealer’s wife in A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 06 at 8:00pm.The thriller also stars Dan Stevens. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson reprise their roles in the blockbuster car-racing franchise Fast & Furious, this time joining forces to take down an evil mastermind who seeks to avenge the death of his brother when FURIOUS 7 debuts SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13 at 8:00pm. Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Jordana Brewster and Djimon Hounsou, also star with Kurt Russell and Jason Statham in the film which was directed by James Wan and written by Chris Morgan. How about a glimpse of the action? After leaving the stripper life, Mike (Channing Tatum) and his crew return for one last performance when MAGIC MIKE XXL debuts SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20 at 9:00pm. Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias and Amber Heard also star with Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks and Jada Pinkett Smith. Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino star as an estranged husband and wife searching for their daughter following a massive earthquake in the action yarn SAN ANDREAS, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 at 8:00pm.
Choose your poison.
HBO Documentary Films: Debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 06 at 9:00pm JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY is a powerful documentary about American photojournalist James “Jim” Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and went missing for two years before the infamous video of his public execution produced shockwaves and introduced much of the world to ISIS. From Foley’s close childhood friend Brian Oakes, the film explores Foley’s life through intimate interviews with his family, friends and fellow journalists, while fellow hostages reveal never-before-heard details of his captivity with chilling immediacy.
Exploring one of today’s most divisive and pressing issues and spotlighting the threat posed by homegrown Islamic extremism, HOMEGROWN: THE COUNTERTERROR DILEMMA debuts MONDAY, FEBRUARY 08 at 9:00pm. Emmy-winning director Greg Barker (HBO’s MANHUNT) offers a gripping insider’s account from the perspectives of those who helped construct America’s counter-terrorism machine, as well as those who are its targets. BECOMING MIKE NICHOLS paints an intimate portrait of the director, producer and improvisational comedy icon through a set of final, historic interviews with friend and fellow director Jack O’Brien, filmed four months before his death. Nichols recalls his landmark comedy work with Elaine May, his direction of two Neil Simon stage classics (“Barefoot in the Park” and “The Odd Couple”) and his highly acclaimed first two films (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate.) Directed by Douglas McGrath, the documentary debuts MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22 at 9:00pm.MAVIS! chronicles the ascension of gospel and soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers, when the documentary debuts MONDAY, FEBRUARY 29 at 9:00pm. An intimate look at a tight-knit family, the film reveals their struggles and successes, featuring dynamic live performances and rarely-seen archival footage, as well as modern-day interviews with Bob Dylan, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy and Chuck D. Directed by Jessica Edwards.
HBO Kids: For more than four decades, SESAME STREET has helped children grow smarter, stronger and kinder by providing preschoolers with the gold standard in quality educational programming. This month, the award-winning show continues its 46th season with a new episode debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 06 (9:00-9:30 a.m.), with other new episode debuting subsequent Saturdays at the same time. The documentary family series SAVING MY TOMORROW debuts a new episode THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25 (7:30-8:00 p.m.). Produced in association with the American Museum of Natural History, the program features kids from around the world who address today’s biggest environmental challenges, from endangered animals to climate change, alongside portraits of animals and plants being affected by a changing earth. A mix of songs, science and heartfelt tips, it shows how everyone can protect the planet and everything on it, and includes performances and appearances by Laura Dern, Stephin Merritt, They Might Be Giants and others.
Come on people, help these kids out!
HBO Sports: Boxing’s winter season continues with an action-packed doubleheader when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: TERENCE CRAWFORD VS. HANK LUNDY AND FELIX VERDEJO VS. WILLIAM SILVA is seen SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 at 10:00pm from The Theater at Madison Square Garden, exclusively on HBO. The 2014 Fighter of the Year, Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) defends his junior welterweight title and unblemished record against veteran contender Hank Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs) when the two square off in a scheduled 12-round championship contest. In the co-main event, two undefeated lightweights will square off as Felix Verdejo (19-0, 14 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, takes on William Silva (22-0, 13 KOs) of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a scheduled ten-round affair. The HBO Sports broadcasting team will call the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed- captioned for the hearing- impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
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, FEBRUARY 23 at 10:00pm. HBO Sports, a trailblazer in sports reality programming, is teaming up with IMG’s Original Content unit for an unscripted five-episode series chronicling the men’s basketball team of Gonzaga University during its 2015-16 season. GONZAGA: THE MARCH TO MADNESS debuts TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16 at 10:00pm. The finale debuts March 15, the first day of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Championship Tournament. joins the team at the start of the season in November 2015, chronicling hard work and high expectations game-by-game in the highly competitive West Coast Conference, with the goal of a berth in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Championship Tournament. The series features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, offering a unique look at the personalities behind the powerhouse program and revealing how a small college nestled in Spokane, Wash. has achieved success against all odds. Here is a Tease.
Other Movies and Shows: This is where you hunt down those movies that are fillers in the schedule. But, often times a First Run feature shows up that doesn’t make it to the Saturday night slot. Such is the case with a few movies this coming month. First, in primetime, is ANNABELLE debuting Sunday, 02.07 at 9:-00pm. This “supremely creepy” (Hollywood Reporter) devil doll from The Conjuring terrorizes a young couple in this scary prequel. Late night movies premiering, at least on HBO proper, include THE 25TH HOUR in which the lead character, the day before he has to report to prison for seven years, reflects on his life and tries to reconnect with family and friends in the wake of 9/11. Edward Norton stars and it debuts 2:00am on 02.06. Billy Bob Thornton’s BAD SANTA also surfaces as does a movie called (and it sounds dreadful) INTO THE BLUE 2: THE REEF. In this sequel to the 2005 action hit, married scuba divers think they’ve struck it rich when they’re hired to find hidden treasure. And if that’s not enough check out JONAS BROTHERS: THE CONCERT EXPERIENCE, or not. There are also HBO First Look segments and documentary repeats all month long.
HBO’s Other Platforms: What else is out there, you ask? We answer below. HBO Latino: This channel offers a concert movies and series. The big special of the month is the ALEJANDRO SANZ CONCERT which debuts Friday, 02.12. Grammy-winning Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz gives a thrilling hometown performance in front of a sold-out crowd at Madrid’s Palacio de Deportes. On the movie front there is HILDA about a maid who triggers an identity crisis in a woman who gave up her life as an activist to marry a wealthy man; debuts 02.05. LA PANTALLA DESNUDA (The Naked Screen) debuts 02.19 in which a young woman in a small town in Nicaragua faces ridicule and abuse when a video of her having sex with her boyfriend is stolen and posted online. On 02.02 is SEXO FACIL, PELICULAS, TRIESTES (Easy Sex, Bad Movies) about a Buenos Aires screenwriter who visualize his characters coming to life. In series PSI Season 2 continues. HBO Family: There is no mistake that SESAME STREET has taken over this channel. Every weekday morning there is a classic episode or a new episode airing. Newer ones include (the kid in you wants to know, right?) “Oscar’s Clean Tuxedo” and “Chaos At Hooper’s Store.” In movies there is SUPER CAPERS, IRON GIANT and KUNG FU PANDA. If you have little ones it is worth checking the new programming of this channel. HBO Signature: We found a total of eight movies making their debut on this channel. Surely you are going to like one of them at least. There is SHRINK with Kevin Spacey (pictured) who gives a searing performance as a burned-out, pot-smoking Hollywood psychiatrist struggling to cope with his own problems as well as those of his neurotic showbiz clients, including a fading starlet, a paranoid agent, a sexaholic, a drug-addicted actor and an aspiring screenwriter. Also there is THE CUP about a historic, though recent, Australian horse race; WIMBELDON, about love on the famed tennis courts; GODSEND, about a clone made for grieving parents; the Elmore Leonard comedy GET SHORTY; BLESS THE CHILD has a special six-year-old girl who stands at the center of a battle between good and evil and I ORIGINS, a movie that blends science, spirituality and romance. If you need a little comedy instead REVENGE OF THE NERDS comes to this channel for the first time. HBO Comedy: the comedy platform offers up a chance to binge VEEP Season Four, which you should because of the award-winning performances. There are also classic routines like BILL MAHER, BUT I’M NOT WRONG and CHRIS ROCK: BIGGER AND BLACKER. One random movie choice could be DOWN TO EARTH in which a young black standup comedian is whisked to heaven before his time. An angel sends him back to Earth–but in the body of a ruthless old white tycoon! Chris Rock stars. HBO Zone: We’ll just throw out a couple of titles from the Zone to wrap this up. How about DREAMCATCHER, EROTIC VAMPIRES OF BEVERLY HILLS, A COOL DRY PLACE or KILLER PAD? Come on, I can’t do everything; look’em up if your curious. From all the content listed above we conclude this segment with the following clip:
HBONow/Go: Here is a listing of titles coming onto the streaming sites. As far as series goes the biggest influx is episodes of A LITTLE CURIOUS for the kids. Ten episodes load to site. In juxtaposition Late Night offers TEMPERATURES RISING: THE BEST OF G-STRING DIVAS. Oh, and don’t worry there are Parental Controls on both sites. Movies coming on include KULL THE CONQUEROR, ROAD HOUSE, SUICIDE KINGS, ALI, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST and TRANSFORMERS. In Sports find the latest from Bryant Gumbel and Jim Lampley and THE GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB in Documentary. Cinemax: GONE GIRL, JOHN WICK and COP CAR are the three movies announced in a short press release for February, but you know there are a slew of other titles on the channel. It seems like the perfect time to catch up on the likes of THE KNICK and BANSHEE if you ask me.
Next Month’s Tease: The lead in HBO’s upcoming THE YOUNG POPE is mighty Fine in this comedy caper alongside character Susan Cooper. Who is the actor and what is the movie?
The answer from last month was TOGETHERNESS. Brett & Michelle and Tina & Alex are the lead characters in the show returning February 21.
Final Clip: Coming full circle now we over the “Invitation to the Set” of VINYL.
About The Author
Editor at Large of HBOWatch.com and the internet's foremost HBO expert.