As of this writing, we are less than a week out from the start of a new month of programming and HBO has yet to present an official press release about the slate. Are they thinking as long as we have THE LAST OF US in front of our faces that we must be content? Or is WBD so caught up in the major change about to happen any month now that they don’t have time for the small details? Well, I’m sure some kind of announcement will be made, but no matter what it is and when it arrives, I’m guessing it is going to be rather slim choices. I’ll do my best with the information I have.
A few quick points:
- THE LAST OF US dominates
- Marc Maron Arrives
- HBO Lands an Oscar-nominated documentary
- Plus, we get plenty of animation
- Oh, and do you remember C. B. Strike?
HBO Original Series: Well, do ya, you remember C. B. Strike? He was the detective from that BBC show that was based on the book series “Cormoran Strike” by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The series originally played on Cinemax back when that service had dramatic series on it. The series then moved over to the HBO app and you can now find it on HBO Max. Each season featured a case; there was CUCKOO’S CALLING, THE SILKWORM, CAREER OF EVIL, and LETHEL WHITE. Now arriving is C. B. STRIKE: TROUBLED BLOOD. It begins its four-part run on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 06 (9:00 – 10:00 pm ET). While visiting his family in Cornwall, Strike (Tom Burke) is approached by Anna Phipps, who seeks his help finding her missing mother, Margot Bamborough. Together, Strike and Robin tackle the nearly 40-year-old cold case by first sorting through the various players in Margot’s life at the time – including a notorious serial killer.
The nine-episode first season of the HBO Original drama series THE LAST OF US continues SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 05 (9:00 – 10:00 pm ET) with back-to-back replays immediately following on HBO and will be available to stream in 4K on HBO Max. This month four episodes, # 4 – # 7 play out.
- –Episode #4 “Please Hold My Hand”
- Debut Date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 05 Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
It seems someone just may need a little comfort & security in this harsh landscape.
- –Episode #5 – “Endure and Survive”
- Debut Date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12 Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Because the Infected and the Factions both just don’t let up!
- –Episode #6 – “Kin”
- Debut Date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Is there family or at least kindred souls out here? How about the Fireflies?
- –Episode #7 – “Left Behind”
- Debut Date: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26 Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Dare there be anyone left behind, unless the Clickers got’em.
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER is back on topic. He has already sparred with Bill Barr, former U.S. Attorney General, and looked at the crazy world of Rep. George Santos. What’s next for him? Find out beginning FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03 (10:00–11:00 pm ET). Launching its tenth season this month is LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER. He will, no doubt, weigh in on George Santos at some point as well but we will have to wait until SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 (11:00-11:30 pm ET). As the PR says, this satirical, insightful, and meticulously researched look at current events in the U.S. and around the globe features Oliver’s hilarious, expertly honed perspective on today’s pressing political, social, and cultural issues, as well as lesser-reported topics that both inform and entertain. Shot in New York, season ten features the show’s weekly topical insights, signature deep dives, and distinctive comedy pieces. And now this…
Original Series Exclusive to HBO Max: The streamer seems to be cutting way back on the original fare. The best we can do is remind you that the controversial VELMA is still dropping episodes. It seems to be the show to hate watch but why would anyone want to do that? I don’t have time to watch shows I might dislike. Do you? Four more episodes are left beginning THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02. Anway, something might arrive late in this category so we’ll see.
HBO International Titles: What is new is some titles from across the Atlantic. Since I just mentioned adult animation, how about a cartoon series from Spain? The title is POOR DEVIL (Pobre Diablo) and it will follow Stan, the 18-year-old son of Satan, who’s sent to Earth by his father to bring chaos to the world. However, Stan is more concerned with drinking, partying, and following his dream of becoming a Broadway star, following the trend of teenagers who do precisely the opposite of what their parents ask them to do. If you are curious as to how other countries like their animation, this title begins uploading FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17.
And while we are talking animation, how about a French documentary all about the necessity for the supervillain in our culture? Yeah, that’s right, arriving THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02 is this French contribution featuring talking heads praising the virtues of supervillains everywhere including iconic characters like DC’s The Joker and Marvel’s Dr. Doom. It is simply entitled, SUPERVILLAINS, THE INVESTIGATION (Supervillains, l’enquête). And speaking of documentaries there is a title called FLORDELIS: A FAMILY CRIME (Flordelis: Em Nome da Mãe). This four-part Brazilian series investigates the murder of Anderson do Carmo, husband of Brazilian congresswoman, singer and evangelical pastor Flordelis de Souza. She was accused of having orchestrated the crime, along with six of her more than 50 children. No, that’s not a typo, most of those children have got to be adopted and could be a documentary of its own, but it is a crime investigation at the crux of it. It also uploads THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02. Debuting FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10 is MARCELLA ARGUELLO: BITCH, GROW UP. During her 37-minute stint, she discusses the gamut from race, gender, relationships, family, work & popular culture.
HBO Theatrical Movies: First a quick mention of some movie titles WBD wants to draw our attention to in February. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 03 has 2 hours, 45 minutes of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug beginning at 5:15 pm ET followed by the Extended The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, clocking in at 2 hours, 30 minutes at 8:00 pm ET. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 07 gives us Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow, and SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25 offers Sandra Bullock’s Gravity. All titles also appear on HBO Max a few days earlier. One title is a newcomer to the lineup, Empire of Light.
The Oscar-nominated film EMPIRE OF LIGHT arrives on the streamer on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 07; its HBO date is to be determined. The film, directed by Sam Mendes, is about the power of human connection during turbulent times. Hilary (Olivia Colman), a cinema manager struggling with depression, and Stephen (Micheal Ward), a new employee longing to escape the provincial town where he faces daily adversity find a sense of belonging and experience the healing power of music, cinema, and community.
Movies Exclusive to HBO Max: The press release touts it as an exclusive movie so, we do also. It is AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE: PLANTASM. It arrives WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 08. It features everyone’s favorite Aqua Teens: the brainy Frylock, the mouthy Master Shake, the loveable Meatwad, and everyone’s favorite perverted neighbor, Carl. They split up then get back together to fight everyone’s favorite corporate overlord, Amazin, led by everyone’s favorite tech mogul, Neil (voiced by everyone’s favorite Peter Serafinowicz) and his trusty scientist sidekick, Elmer (Golden Globe winner Paul Walter Hauser, who is everyone’s favorite). I confess the above is all PR material, I’m clueless about the antics of Meatwad and company. But they are popular enough to get a movie featured on HBO Max before new editions of a series arrive on the streamer & Adult Swim. Lucky them.
HBO Documentary Films: One solo entry, but one solid entry in this category. Debuting TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 07 is ALL THAT BREATHES. This Oscar-nominated HBO documentary, directed by Shaunak Sen, follows two brothers who devote their lives to the quixotic effort of protecting the black kite, a majestic bird of prey essential to the ecosystem of New Delhi that has been falling from the sky at alarming rates. The documentary is the story of Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud, the two brothers who run a bird clinic in Wazirabad, Delhi where 20,000 raptors have been cured over the last 20 years because it is the environmentally correct thing to do.
HBO MAX Original Documentary Films: The same thing can be said, one solo entry, but one solid entry in this category. One of our many songstresses gets a biographic film. DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER follows the life and career of Dionne Warwick. Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, Bill Clinton, Clive Davis, Gladys Knight, Cissy Houston, Elton John, Damon Elliott, Kenneth Cole, Berry Gordy, Jerry Blavat, Snoop Dogg and Smokey Robinson appear in the film. It tells of her meteoric rise from New Jersey gospel choirs to international cross-over super stardom. It just might be appreciated by her fans and uploads THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02.
HBO Original Special: We are seeing a pattern here; another winning solo entry. Hopefully, the comedy can make our troubles just laugh away for a spell, right? Well, I don’t know, look at the title – MARC MARON: FROM BLEAK TO DARK. Legendary comedian and podcaster Marc Maron stars in his first-ever HBO comedy special filmed in front of a live audience at New York City’s Town Hall. Over the course of a hilarious and deeply personal hour, Maron explores such universal topics as getting older, antisemitism and faith, and the superiority of having cats over children – especially during the pandemic. The comedian also opens up about the loss of his partner in 2020 and reestablishing his complicated relationship with his father. Funny and fearless, this stint showcases the comedian’s expertly layered cynicism as he deftly weaves humor and pathos into his signature style of storytelling. It will be nice to have his presence on HBO. Its debut is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11. Now, look at the trailer; people are laughing despite the topics.
HBO Max Original Special: If they can tout Meatwad & company as a big movie event then these DC characters can surely constitute as an HBO Max Special, yeah? The Max Original adult animated special HARLEY QUINN: A VERY PROBLEMATIC VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL debuts THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 09 on HBO Max. As Harley goes to obsessive lengths to ensure that her first Valentine’s Day with Ivy is the best ever, Bane’s efforts to impress an unexpected date go horribly awry. Meanwhile, after an unfortunate online dating encounter, Clayface engages in some self-love. The voice cast for this lovefest includes Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Matt Oberg, James Wolk, Natalie Morales, Chris Diamantopoulos, James Adomian, Jim Rash, Vanessa Marshall, Janet Varney, Rachel Dratch, Leila Birch, Tyler James Williams, Josh Helman, Casey Wilson & Michael Ironside.
HBO Max Kids & Family: I really don’t know how kid-appropriate some of these titles are but once again animation is highlighted. For a company claiming to have cut down on this type of content it sure is prolific this month. Creator JJ Villard returns to his Emmy-winning Adult Swim series for a new installment with KING STAR KING!/!/!/. That’s right, King Star King is back! And this time he’s a fat, bald, middle-aged slob with a family, a mortgage, and a job at Amazon. Join King Star King, Hank Waffles, Pooza, and Gerbils on a dimension-spanning adventure to save King Star King’s family! Then wrap your mind around BALLMASTRZ: RUBICON! Creator Christy Karaca returns to the post-apocalyptic world of the Ballmastrz for a high-octane adventure. When secrets from Crayzar’s past threaten the future of the planet, will he grow some balls and unite ‘Team Earth,’ or add humanity to the intergalactic endangered species list? Beats the hell out of me. That first tile arrives MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, and the latter title on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20. I guess I need to be schooled in Adult Swim content. For the younger set is new episodes of SESAME STREET starting THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02. You know, that’s the neighborhood where Jil Biden stops by with her Sheep-ret Service?
HBO Sports: GAME THEORY WITH BOMANI JONES continues its second season with a new edition on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03 (11:00-11:30 pm ET/PT). In January he had something to say about LeBron James’ empowerment and the Brett Favre scandal. REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL (10:00-11:00 pm ET) just got its new season rolling and will continue on with a TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 installment. HBO Max is going strong with soccer coverage as of late. It slates one known game for now. It is U.S. WOMEN’S SOCCER VS CANADA. The live event streams on HBO Max THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16. To close this category here is a bit from Bomani Jones.
Other Movies & Shows: I didn’t know where to place this Animal Planet import, in Kids & Family or HBO Sports, so I place it here and cringe that HBO Original SUCCESSION is now beside PUPPY BOWL XIX. The original and longest-running call-to-adoption TV event returns for its 19th year on Animal Planet, TBS, and streaming on HBO Max and discovery+. The three-hour television matchup will showcase more puppies, more animal shelters and rescues, and more inspiring adoption stories than ever before as the puppy players from Team Ruff and Team Fluff take to the gridiron in the Puppy Bowl stadium to win the Wayfair “Lombarky” trophy. It is presented SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12. Other imported titles include LOVE OFF THE GRID, HUNGRY FOR ANSWERS, THE GREAT SOUL FOOD COOK OFF, and THE CULPO SISTERS.
This month also brings The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) shorts to the platform on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 01 which includes HBO Short Film Award winner ANOTHER COUNTRY along with finalists THE FAMILY MEETING, TALK BLACK, and PENS & PENCILS. The award winner is a 15-minute film about an interracial couple retreating to the wilderness to give birth. The next title, also at 15 minutes is about a grandmother & granddaughter who are forced to face their fears about growing old and growing up. Talk Back, at 15 minutes, is about a timid lady who develops a wild and expressive split personality to help her talk to the men at work and that last title, at 20 minutes, is about a high school teacher who finds herself on a wild-goose chase to find a missing student that no one else seems to miss. HBO2 carries them one after the other on 02.01 beginning at 8:00 pm ET and they are peppered throughout the channels for the month.
If you are out for something with a few more minutes to them, of course, there are plenty of movies. They include some James Bond titles like CASINO ROYALE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, DR. NO, GOLDENEYE, MOONRAKER, OCTOPUSSY, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, and THUNDERBALL giving us a dose of Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig. If 007 isn’t your fancy, perhaps you’ll like TAXI DRIVER, HOTEL FOR DOGS, BULL DURHAM, or BLAIR WITCH. Well, whatever you’re liking I hope you can find it on HBO. I do like this though –
Next Month’s Tease: Daisy Mae Cooper (pictured). We noted her on AVENUE 5, but in March she lands another HBO gig. Is she on SUCCESSION, PERRY MASON, THE WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS, or something else?
Last month’s answer – I think one time before when I was at a loss, I alluded to these things (Jeff the Diseased Lung, Zebra Traffic Cop, Lord Buckethead, The Void, erotic rat art, and a certain koala chlamydia clinic which were all a part of LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER over the years. Remember, the season 10 premiere is this month.
Final Clip: Okay, so he’s not Bond, but he is Strike, Cormoran Blue (C. B.) Strike
Enjoy HBO and HBOWatch!