And we are off and running with another year of HBO entertainment starting off with THE OUTSIDER, which continues in February, accompanied by good comedy. We add documentaries into the lineup this month and the return of some of HBO greats, Gumbel and Oliver. So when the coldness creeps in just bundle up in front of HBO. The exciting content will keep your mind off the chill and the laughs will warm you up. Sit back and relax with HBO!
In A Nutshell:
Sunday nights THE OUTSIDER, AVENUE 5 and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM continue.
Monday nights THE NEW POPE continues.
Look for HIGH MAINTENANCE and LAST WEEK WITH JOHN OLIVER to return
2020 slate of documentary Films returns leading off with McMILLION$
HBO International Content, like BEFOREIGNERS, appear on HBONow/Go
Plus, note our special Final Clip.
Original Series: Back onto the schedule in February is The Guy of Friday nights and you know what he delivers. Yeah, the laughs and feel-good vibes. The HBO comedy series HIGH MAINTENANCE, created by Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, returns for its nine-episode fourth season FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 07 (11:00-11:30pm ET/PT). The critically acclaimed series uses The Guy (Sinclair), a marijuana dealer, to connect a variety of distinctly authentic, empathetic and insightful stories about the New York City community, including his own. This season finds The Guy (Ben Sinclair) back traversing the city on his bicycle, having said goodbye to last season’s RV. With a new friend by his side, The Guy drops in on a variety of customers whose disparate lives, jobs, identities and circumstances reveal the human connection that we all seek. Playing out over the course of a year, this season focuses on cycles of renewal, webs of human connections, and putting down roots in the ever-changing ecosystem of New York City.
Here is our first look at the trailer:
Continuing their runs are the following shows: Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, THE OUTSIDER continues SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (9:00-10:00pm followed by new episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time. This new drama series follows a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy. When 11-year-old Frankie Peterson’s body is found mutilated in the Georgia woods, police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate – with eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman). Anderson brings in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable that permeates the case. A binge-worthy detective story and tense psychological thriller, Te show meticulously reveals a spine-chilling series of twists that leads Ralph and Holly to question everything they believe to be real, as an insidious supernatural force edges its way into the case.
–Episode 5: ” Tear-Drinker”
Debut date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (9:00-10:00pm)
After returning from an eye-opening trip to New York, Holly (Cynthia Erivo) searches for clues at several locations connected to the Dayton case. Jeannie (Mare Winningham) finds herself shaken by an unnerving incident at work and delivers an ominous warning to Ralph (Ben Mendelsohn). Jack (Marc Menchaca) is put on the defensive at Tamika’s (Hettienne Park) baby shower. Written by Richard Price; directed by Igor Martinovic.
–Episode 6: ” The One About the Yiddish Vampire”
Debut date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 09 (9:00-10:00pm )
Holly (Cynthia Erivo) presents her unusual theory about the connection between two other mysterious child murders and the Frankie Peterson case. While Ralph (Ben Mendelsohn) remains skeptical, a more receptive Yunis (Yul Vázquez) suggests they start looking into Claude (Paddy Considine), the last person to have contact with Terry (Jason Bateman). Jeannie’s (Mare Winningham) attempt to include Glory (Julianne Nicholson) in their group of concerned citizens backfires. Written by Jessie Nickson-Lopez; directed by Karyn Kusama
Filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino’s THE NEW POPEcontinues MONDAY, FEBRUARY 03 (9:00-10:00pm) picking up where the previous series left off, with Jude Law’s Lenny Belardo, known as Pope Pius XIII, in a coma after an unexpected heart attack and the Holy See searching for his replacement. Out of the fray of competing interests rises Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich), a British intellectual best-known for a theological text he wrote in his youth. Doggedly pursued by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), Brannox is the antithesis of Lenny: religiously moderate, sophisticated and sensitive. Still, much like the previous pope, he hides secrets and deep-rooted insecurities that weigh heavily upon him. And so, the Papal story continues.
–Episode 4 – Debut date MONDAY, FEBRUARY 03 (9:00-10:00pm)
Following an audience with Marilyn Manson, Brannox (John Malkovich) decides to pay a visit to Pius XIII (Jude Law) and is confronted with the intensity of his predecessor’s followers. Later, Brannox appoints Cardinal Spalletta (Massimo Ghini), with whom he shares a past, to a new role. Voiello (Silvio Orlando) prepares for a long war with the defiant Sister Lisette (Nora Waldstatten) after the nuns go on strike. The Church faces the prospect of bankruptcy as the Italian government looks to make changes. Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) has a clandestine meeting, which he later confesses to the pontiff. An angry Fabiano (Alessandro Riceci) questions Ester’s (Ludivine Sagnier) commitment to her faith. Written by Paolo Sorrentino Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Bises; directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
A brutal act of terrorism in France leads to an unconventional response from the pope that strikes a chord with the public. Feeling disconnected from her husband, Sofia (Cécile de France) reaches out to Brannox (John Malkovich), who shares more of his personal history. Pius XIII’s (Jude Law) followers flock to Venice when there’s a sudden change in his condition. Written by Paolo Sorrentino Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Bises; directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
Created by Armando Iannucci of VEEP, AVENUE 5, continuing SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (10:00-10:30pm), with an early premiere on HBO’s nonlinear platforms beginning Friday, January 31, is a new HBO comedy set 40 years in the future when traveling the solar system is no longer the stuff of sci-fi fantasy but a booming, multibillion-dollar business. As the series begins, Avenue 5’s eight-week journey around Saturn is underway and its systems are optimal. But when the ship suddenly encounters technical difficulties, it’s up to Captain Ryan and his crew to calm the disgruntled passengers and find a way to deal with unexpected events onboard – though they may or may not be equipped for the task.
–Episode 3: “I’m a Hand Model” Debut date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (10:00-10:30pm
With Avenue 5 staff slacking in their customer service, Ryan (Hugh Laurie) offers Karen (Rebecca Front) the opportunity to channel her unique talent for speaking the passengers’ language. Judd (Josh Gad) outlines the plan for a rescue mission and tasks Iris (Suzy Nakamura) with organizing a vigil on Earth to raise the money to fund it. Rav (Nikki Amuka-Bird) endures a barrage of messages from the ship and handles an unruly press conference. Story by Armando Iannucci & Peter Fellows & Ian Martin; teleplay by Peter Fellows & Ian Martin; directed by Natalie Bailey
–Episode 4: “Wait A Minute, Then Who Was That On The Ladder?”
Debut date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 09 (10:00-10:30pm)
With Judd (Josh Gad) worried about his reputation, Iris arranges a meet-and-greet with several passengers in his luxury suite. Frustrated by a bridge crew with no answers, Ryan (Hugh Laurie) and Billie (Lenora Crichlow) bond with the engineers below deck. Matt (Zach Woods) encourages Frank (Andy Buckley) to become the man he always wanted to be. Story by Armando Iannucci & Peter Fellows & Ian Martin; teleplay by Peter Fellows & Ian Martin; directed by Natalie Bailey.
The tenth season of the iconic Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedy series, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASMcontinues SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (10:30-11:08pm.), with an early premiere on HBO’s nonlinear platforms beginning Friday, January 31. The series stars writer/producer/comedian Larry David as an over-the-top version of himself in an unsparing but tongue-in-cheek depiction of his fictionalized life. With cast regulars Jeff Garlin (as manager Jeff Greene), Susie Essman (as Jeff’s wife Susie), Cheryl Hines (as Larry’s ex-wife Cheryl), JB Smoove (as Larry’s live-in friend Leon) and Richard Lewis (as Larry’s long-suffering best friend Richard) reprising their roles.
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER continues its 18th season FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 07 (10:00-11:00pm. live ET/tape-delayed PT). Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists and interviews with guests And speaking about guests he really loaded the deck for his season debut, didn’t he? He had Speaker Of The Houde Nancy Pelosi on and Presidential Candidate Andrew M. Yang. That was followed by Journalist Megyn Kelly, now reduced to YouTube star and PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. We won’t know who he has on in February until the episodes arrive. And don’t forget that there is even more Maher in OVERTIME!Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, as well as shining a light on issues big and small as the U.S. heads toward a pivotal 2020 Presidential Election, the Emmy-winning LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER begins its seventh season SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16 (11:00-11:30pm), exclusively on HBO.
Movies: Saturday night has been a premiere movie night on HBO since the beginning. Every week since the late ‘70’s we’d check out what was playing. Back then HBO was the first to bring back old favorites. Its own inhouse Warner Bros. movies always debuted on the network at some point. Here we are today still checking out what’s debuting. For February 2020 they are Alita: Battle Angel, Ma, Shaft, Annabelle Comes Home and Anna.
A dismantled cyborg from the past is found and revived, but with no memory of her past, she must go on a quest to discover her purpose in ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 01 (8:00-10:05pm). The film stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali (HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE). When a group of teenagers befriends a lonely, middle-aged woman who allows them to throw parties in her basement, they are faced with pure terror in MA, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 08 (8:00-9:40pm). The film stars Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis (HBO’s CAMPING), Diana Silvers, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis and Luke Evans.
A cybersecurity expert seeks the help of his estranged father to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death in SHAFT, debutingSATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 (8:00-9:55pm). The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher and Richard Roundtree. The seventh installment in the popular “Conjuring Universe” franchise, ANNABELLE COMES HOME, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (8:10-10:00pm), tells the story of two teenagers who, while babysitting, unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll. The film stars Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife, along with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. When a young victim of domestic abuse agrees to temporarily act as a KGB assassin to escape the life she is trapped in, the Russian beauty finds the organization unwilling to release her of her duties and threatens her life in ANNA, debuting SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 (8:00-10:00pm). The film stars Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren (HBO’s “Catherine the Great”) and Alexander Petrov.
HBO Documentary Films:From 1989 to 2001, a criminal mastermind named “Uncle Jerry” defrauded the hugely popular McDonald’s Monopoly promotional game of millions of dollars in prize money. By stealing valuable game pieces from McDonald’s, Jerry was able to hand-select winners, hoodwink the authorities and share the ill-gotten gains. The deception, which started among family and friends, soon expanded to include a cast of shifty ex-cons, gruff gangsters and sly grifters. MCMILLION$, debuting MONDAY, FEBRUARY 03 (10:00-11:00pm) with other episodes airing subsequent Mondays at the same time, is a six-part docuseries delving into this stranger-than-fiction story. ALI & CAVETT: THE TALE OF THE TAPES, debuting TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 (9:00-10:35pm), highlights the courage and undeniable charisma of boxing legend Muhammad Ali through the unlikely bond he formed over the years with pioneering television host Dick Cavett. An intuitively genius television personality, Ali appeared more than a dozen times on The Dick Cavett Show, where the duo regularly discussed the news of the day, Ali’s latest bouts, and engaged in playful yet provocative debates about race relations in America. Interweaving priceless archival footage of Ali’s many appearances on the show with insights from a number of people. WE ARE THE DREAM: THE KIDS OF THE OAKLAND MLK ORATORICAL FEST Debuts TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (7:00-8:10 p.m. ET/PT). In this one we learn that every year in Oakland, CA, hundreds of pre-K through 12th-grade students compete in the Martin Luther King Oratorical Festival, performing a mix of published and original poetry and speeches. This documentary chronicles the months leading up to the 40th annual event showcasing a diverse cast of passionate young orators.
Here is our first look at the lead into the 2020 documentary slate:
HBO Specials: Comedian Whitmer Thomas features his deeply personal, provocative and unconventional standup and original songs in his first HBO special whenWHITMER THOMAS: THE GOLDEN ONEdebuts SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (10:00-11:03pm). Taped before a sold-out, live audience in September at the legendary Flora-Bama Lounge, which straddles the state line between Florida and Alabama, Whitmer’s first HBO hour-long special features a provocative and intimate blend of storytelling, comedy, music and documentary. Here is our first look:
HBO Kids:SESAME STREET continues its 50th season SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 01 (9:00-9:30am), with other episodes airing Saturdays at the same time.
–Season 50; Episode 12 -“Elmo’s Good Luck Charm” Debut date: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 01 (9:00-9:30am)
Elmo loses his lucky baseball card before a game of tee-ball and says he can’t play without it. When Abby, Alan, and Rosita tell Elmo that all he needs to do is practice, Elmo learns that he can still play without his lucky card.
–Season 50; Episode 13 – “A New Friend On Sesame Street” Debut date: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 08 (9:00-9:30am)
There’s a new friend on Sesame Street! Charlie (pictured, above) just moved into the neighborhood. Her parents were in the military, so they moved around a lot. Now Sesame Street is their new home. Elmo and Rosita show Charlie around and she learns that Sesame Street is a place where anyone can be friends no matter who you are.
Rudy feels frustrated because he made a mistake on his drawing. Alan helps Rudy calm down and encourages him to keep trying. Rudy suddenly gets an idea from his mistake and by using his imagination, he changes his drawing.
-Season 50; Episode 15- “There’s A New Count In Town”
Debut date: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (9:00-9:30am)
Charlie is counting everything on Sesame Street so the Count decides to leave, thinking he’s not needed anymore. But there’s too much to count for Charlie on her own so she asks for the Count’s help. Charlie explains that she loves to count but she could never take his place. The Count agrees to stay and he and Charlie continuing counting together.
-Season 50; Episode 16 – “You Can Do It, Elmo”
Debut date: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 (9:00-9:30am)
When Abby uses magic to improve Elmo’s basketball abilities, Elmo learns there are no shortcuts when it comes to mastering a skill.
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, FEBRUARY 25 (10:00-11:00pm). Another installment of THE SHOP: UNINTERRUPTED appears FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 07 (9:30 – 9:50pm).
Other Movies and Shows:Interspersed throughout the schedule this month are the American Black Film Festival’s HBO Short Film Competition Winners. They are DAYS AFTER OUR DEPARTURE, EMERGENCY, HAIR WOLF, MOTHS & BUTTERFLIES, SUITABLE, FLIGHT, CAP, EVELYN X EVELYN, THE FISHERMAN and WEDNESDAY. Movie titles on HBO including the moving little drama called LITTLE BOY and the tense suspense of PRISONERS. Watch out for HBO2’s mini-marathons of back-to-back episodes of THE OUTSIDER, AVENUE 5 and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM during the month.
Other HBO Platforms: There is always something to find if you venture off the main channel. HBOLatino:DESCHEO (AKA Debris) is a 14-minute short film that appears for the first time. Also debuting, INCIALES SG(AKA Initials S.G.), which is a dark comedy about the misadventures of an aging porn star with an anger management problem who is constantly running into bad luck as he tries to make it as a mainstream actor. ANdalso there is MURALLA (AKA The Goalkeeper). In this thought-provoking thriller about human trafficking, a washed-up former goalkeeper has a change of heart after kidnapping a girl to pay for his son’s medical treatment. FOr a series right now, HBO LATINO PRESENTS: A TINY AUDIENCEcontinues. HBO Family:Leading off with a few titles per channel, some family fare you might nestle in for. How about THE HONEYMOONERS, a retelling of the old classic 1950’s sitcom with Cedric The Entertainer and Mile Epps as Ralph Kramden & Ed Norton? Speaking of retro stuff there is JETSONS: THE MOVIE, an animated adventure of the space-age family. And speaking of animated there is EVERYONE’s HERO. In that one (pictured) a fired Yankee Stadium worker’s son goes in search of Babe Ruth’s stolen bat in this Depression-era animated tale.HBO Signature:In a world dominated by sexist males, a female vocal coach tries to make her mark doing movie-trailer voiceovers. Lake Bell wrote, directed and stars. You got that title’s meaning, right? I’ll also point out SILVER CITY, a political satire and SALINGER a documentary about reclusive author J.D. Salinger HBO Comedy:There is WITLESS PROTECTION, and no that is not a typo, with Larry The Cable Guy and BABY’S DAY OUT with Joe Mantegna. You don’t picture him in a comedy, do you? But the title I was drawn to here this month is TEETH. I’ve mentioned it before. It is the horror movie about a straight man’s worst fear – an avenging woman’s vulva armed with… HBO Zone: Christian Bale is an unstable Gulf War vet in HARSH TIMES, India Eisley stars as Maria, whose reflection is her opposite in every way: aggressive, tough, striking; they agree to switch places in LOOK AWAY. But what about THE SKULLS trilogy?
HBONow/Go: THE TEENAGE PSYCHIC (from HBO Asia) launches its second season to the sites in February. Accompanying it is a featurette to get you caught up in the world of Xiao Zhen. It is titled THE WORLD BEHIND THE TEENAGE PSYCHIC. Xiao Zhen, a 16-year-old with psychic abilities, does her best to juggle school life and her duties as a temple medium, all while dealing with her first crush. In this series, her experiences teach her how happy life can be, how brief life is, and how learning to smile in the face of life’s ups and downs is the greatest gift of all. Mandarin, with English subtitles. Both titles appear as of February 03. But that is not all from HBO International. Season of One of BEFOREIGNERS from HBO Nordic arrives on February 18. It hails from Norway and the series takes place in Oslo where suddenly there are several flashes of light in the sea. The flashes of light turn out to be a worldwide phenomenon where people from the past suddenly emerge in the present – people from the Stone Age, the Viking Age and the 19th century. Fast forward to five years later, and the so-called “beforeigners” are struggling to integrate into modern Norwegian society.
I’m going to carve out some time when this one drops to binge this one. A new docuseries is already available called THE PIONEER in which viewers can explore the colorful life of politician, football mogul and property tycoon Jesus Gil of Spain, who rose to prominence in the late 1980s and 1990s before his death in 2004. Over the course of four one hour-long episodes, the series delves into never-before-seen footage, archival images, and exclusive interviews with key people who were close to him.
Cinemax: The long-standing series STRIKE BACK returns for one more rock-em-sock-em season. It will return for its seventh and final season FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (10:00–11:00pm. ET/PT). Starring Warren Brown, Daniel MacPherson, Alin Sumarwata, Jamie Bamber, Varada Sethu, and new cast members Alec Secăreanu and Ivana Miličević, the season concludes the explosive escapades of Section 20, an elite, multinational, covert special ops team, as it spans the globe fighting a vast web of interconnected criminal and terrorist activity. This time around, when an Albanian crime family kidnaps a scientist responsible for the development of a top-secret British bioweapon, the covert special-ops soldiers of Section 20 are sent on a mission to secure the virus and take down its potential black-market buyers. But what starts as a relatively straightforward mission quickly escalates into a race against the clock to neutralize an even deadlier weapon of mass destruction pursued by a pair of jihadist brothers, whose terrifying ambitions threaten global conflict. Check out the trailer:
Three movies brought to our attention are THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, debuting FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 07 (8:25-10:00pm.); BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, debuting FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 (7:35-10:00pm.) and ROBIN HOOD, debuting FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 (8:00-10:00pm).
Next Month’s Tease:He goes by Caleb in “The New World”
Last month we gave you the name “Uncle Jerry”, who happens to be the villain in the documentary MCMILLION$. But we still don’t know who he really is until we watch the six-part series when it debuts this month.
Final Clip:Rest In Peace!
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