We know it won’t be a lot of content but it should be good content. We hope you find something of intertest. HBO is just in one of those transition periods. It happened after THE SOPRANOS, it happened after GAME OF THRONES/SUCCESSION. The pandemic and industry strikes certainty didn’t help any and quite frankly, neither has Zaslav. It would have happened sooner with THE LAST OF US/THE WHITE LOTUS but a gap year has broken that rhythm. But all this will pass and a new HBO era will come around again. Could it be the HARRY POTTER-verse era? We will have to wait and see, but for now, we hope you enjoy what you find.
A few quick points:
- We say goodbye to Larry David’s show
- We say hello to the return of John Oliver
- We have a look at some woes in Texas
- We head back to Tokyo
- Plus, we got more animated clones
- And a couple of singing dicks
HBO Original Series: No new shows start up in February but we do have the return of an HBO icon. Larry David returns with the 12th and final season of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning HBO Original comedy series returns with a full 10-episode run beginning SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Larry David says, “As CURB comes to an end, I will now have the opportunity to finally shed this ‘Larry David’ persona and become the person God intended me to be – the thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate human being I was until I got derailed by portraying this malignant character. And so ‘Larry David,’ I bid you farewell. Your misanthropy will not be missed. And for those of you who would like to get in touch with me, you can reach me at Doctors Without Borders.”
The comedy series continues to prove how seemingly trivial details of one’s day-to-day life can precipitate a catastrophic chain of events. To keep the narrative spontaneous, the series is shot without a script, and cast members are given scene outlines and improvise lines as they go. The season also stars Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Cheryl Hines, J.B. Smoove, Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, Vince Vaughn and Tracey Ullman.
TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY is at the halfway point already. They pack a lot into the tale in just six installments, but don’t you wish it could play out a bit longer? There are three more episodes to go beginning SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 04 (9:00-10:00 pm ET/PT). The breakdown looks like this –
–Season 4, Episode 4: “Part 4”
Debuts: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT)
When Julia’s (Aka Niviâna) mental health struggles resurface, Navarro brings her to a local facility, promising that this time will be better. Later, Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Navarro (Kali Reis) confirm the location of Annie’s murder – and Danvers (Foster) levies a harsh punishment on Leah (Isabella Star LeBlanc) following her act of protest. Written by Namsi Khan and Chris Mundy and Issa López; Directed by Issa López
–Season 4, Episode 5: “Part 5”
Debuts: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT)
As Prior (Finn Bennett) digs into the links between Tsalal and mining company Silver Sky, Navarro (Kali Reis) rescues Leah (Isabella Star LeBlanc) from a local protest that has turned violent. At a meeting with Silver Sky exec Kate McKitterick (Dervla Kirwan), Danvers (Jodie Foster) balks when Connelly (Christopher Eccleston) shares the official cause of the Tsalal men’s deaths – and gets a warning against pursuing the case any further. Later, Hank (John Hawkes) receives a quid pro quo offer. Written by Katrina Albright & Wenonah Wilms and Chris Mundy and Issa López; Directed by Issa López
Season 4, Episode 6: “Part 6”
Debuts: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT)
Amid a brutal storm, Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Navarro (Kali Reis) find themselves stuck at Tsalal with no electricity or means of contact. As the truth about what happened to Annie and the Tsalal men unfolds, Navarro (Reis) and Danvers (Foster) each confront the demons from their past.Written & Directed by Issa López.
On the talk front, John Oliver returns to Sunday nights. HBO Original series LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER will return for its eleventh season on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will be available to stream on Max. A satirical, insightful, and meticulously researched look at current events in the U.S. and around the globe, the format 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 eleven will continue to feature the show’s weekly topical insights, signature deep dives, and distinctive comedy pieces. The series has been renewed through 2026. Oliver states, “We’re very happy to get to keep making this show with our fantastic staff. We will continue trying to stretch the term ‘entertainment’ to the breaking point.” REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER continues its 22nd season picking up with its FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02 (10:00-11:00 pm) edition. We have already seen an interview with California Governor Gavin Newsome and Seth McFarlane (Ted) has been on the panel. Who’s next?
Original Series Exclusive to Max: The only new work is a reality series. Celebrity chef and best-selling author Carla Hall takes viewers on a global adventure to explore the unexpected roots of popular dishes within today’s American food culture on the new Max Original series CHASING FLAVOR. Follow along as Carla’s curiosity about America’s most delicious dishes from chicken pot pie to ice cream leads her to Ghana, Italy, Turkey, and more. Along the way, Carla traces the history and lineage of dishes, discovering the interconnected, international origins and cultures that paved the way for today’s American cuisine – because if you don’t know the history, then you don’t know the dish. Join Carla as she chases flavor across the globe to find out how it all comes together on the American plate. Find it uploading beginning THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 01.
It is time for the return of TOYKO VICE. Created and written by Tony Award winner J.T. Rogers, this critically acclaimed original drama series returns THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 08 on Max. The ten-episode second season debuts with two episodes followed by one new episode weekly for eight weeks. Loosely inspired by American journalist Jake Adelstein’s first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat, season two of the series, filmed on location in Tokyo, takes us deeper into the city’s criminal underworld as Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) comes to realize that his life, and the lives of those close to him, are in terrible danger. The series also stars Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe, Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi, Rachel Keller, Show Kasamatsu, Ayumi Ito, and new series regulars Yosuke Kubozuka and Miki Maya.
Since we are talking about a return series, there is also Season Two of CLONE HIGH to watch beginning THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 01. It follows a high school for clones of the greatest minds in history. Twenty years after the original experiment was put on ice, Joan, JFK, Abe, and Cleo have been thawed out to resume school with their new clone classmates – all while navigating a new set of cultural norms and overly dramatic teen relationships. If you haven’t checked it out, it is a modern refresh of an old MTV series.
HBO International Titles: An international title out of Taiwan is of note this month. It is called THE ACCIDENTAL INFLUENCER which is a comedy/drama series. It follows the life of Red Ho, a Taiwanese who dreams of owning an apartment and marrying her boyfriend as she hits a major milestone, her 30th birthday. However, her hope for a perfect life is dashed when she is suddenly dumped by her boyfriend on her special day. Heartbroken, Red makes an unconventional emotional decision to resign from her stable job while her friends attempt to distract and encourage her to move on. Now jobless and at a loss, Red turns to social media to air her grievances and is met with a surprising outcome, where she rediscovers her independence and embarks on an unexpected journey. It all starts on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10.
HBO & Max Theatrical Movies: Via the A24 deal we get a new film to the brand. It is DICKS: THE MUSICAL. And no, it is not about singing male genitalia. The musical, by Larry Charles, (Seinfeld, Borat) pair of identical twins who plot to reunite their divorced parents. God narrates the tale of Craig and Trevor, two straight, womanizing, misogynistic business salesmen who are, unbeknownst to them, identical twins separated at birth by their parents. They hatch a plan to get their parents back together to become a “real family.” Both parents discuss their respective issues with their sons on why the chance of that is not likely. 24 short songs help tell of their plight. The funny and depraved work stars Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp, who also wrote the film, alongside Megan Thee Stallion, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, and Bowen Yang as God.
Want some other titles from the ever-rotating crop of films? In February you’d think you’d find a batch of rom-coms for Valentine’s Day, but not so much as the following titles prove: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Everest (2015), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Godzilla 2000 (1999), The LEGO Movie (2014) and Se7en (1995).
HBO Documentary Films: A docu-series straight out of the Lone Star State, you know, the one that wants to secede, gets scrutiny this month. Three short films comprise the 85-minute series which all fall
under the banner title of GOD SAVE TEXAS:. They are HOMETOWN PRISON, THE PRICE OF OIL and LA FRONTERA. The first title has filmmaker Richard Linklater revisiting his hometown to explore its diverse inhabitants, painting a vibrant portrait that encapsulates the criminal justice system of Texas. His city of Huntsville TX houses seven prisons alone! The middle title shows Alex Stapleton exploring the oil industry’s impact on her family, who arrived as enslaved people in the 1830s, built thriving communities, and now must cope with the human costs of Texas’ biggest money-maker. And that last title has Iliana Sosa examining how “nepantla,” an embrace of in-betweenness, characterizes relations to both her Mexican heritage and her hometown of El Paso, Texas, which sits on the southern border. We can watch this examination of Texas issues beginning WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27.
MAX Documentary Films: That was the trailer for an interesting documentary coming to Max on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 08 entitled THEY CALLED HIM MOSTLY HARMLESS. Based on the Wired article about the “mostly harmless” hiker found dead in a tent in Florida in 2018 this documentary chronicles the investigation to discover his identity as his body was surrounded by food and cash, but no ID. But perhaps, he didn’t want to be discovered as he did describe himself to passersby as ‘mostly’ harmless. Check it out. Another documentary announced is called THE TRUTH ABOUT JIM. there is not much out there about it yet, but it is a four-part docu-series from Skye Borgman (Abducted In Plain Sight) about a family discovering that a relative is a serial killer. It premieres on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15.
Max Kids & Family: The little ones at any rate get some new titles. The biggest one I think is CARE BEARS: THE QUEST FOR RAINBOW STONE. The plot comes from the Care Bear Wiki, who knew there was such a thing? It states, “A new friend named Togetherness is about to become an official Care Bear in a fun ceremony. But Cheer gets so excited that she accidentally breaks the magical stone needed to give Togetherness her color!” Oh, No! A Care Bear without any color? What kind of lessons can be wrought from that? The special plays on Max as of FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02. BEA’S BLOCK is another title; this one from Sesame Workshop and HBO Latin America. It seems down on Bea’s block they practice caring & empathy for others. It uploads on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15. While we are talking about something from the Workshop it is the perfect time to add that SESAME STREET is still pounding them out weekly. On THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 08 the Street observes the Lunar New Year.
Also, an extraordinary team of soccer players pursues their personal and athletic goals in the fantastic, sports-obsessed world of Sportsville in UNDERDOGS UNITED. It arrives on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16. And lastly, Season Three of JELLYSTONE, the cartoon rehashing old Hanna-Barbara characters, launches THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22.
HBO Sports: It is hard to pass over Sports, but there is no HARD KNOCKS and Gumbel is all done. So, pick up some sports programming if you need it. My # 1 pick would be 100 FOOT WAVE but there are also titles like TERRY BRADSHAW: GOING DEEP, BEING SERENA, SHAUN WHITE: THE LAST RUN, ANGEL CITY, SOCCER SOUL, and many, many more.
Other Shows On HBO or Max: I will just single out some titles being terminated off of the streamer this month. Say goodbye to the HBO Sports title THE MANY LIVES OF NICK BUONICONTI (2019); the remarkable tale of NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, whose story encompasses turns as a linebacker, lawyer, sports agent, and more. IT’S A HARD TRUTH, AIN’T IT; A companion to HBO Films’ O.G., this documentary was co-directed by 13 incarcerated men who reflect on their lives. And A TINY AUDIENCE; three seasons worth of half-hour intimate song sets from Latin American performers.
Next Month’s Tease: Easy one if you follow us – this work was once known as THE PALACE.
Last Month’s Tease: We stated that the first episode was “The Pant Tent.” No, it does not refer to what every guy has been embarrassed by at one time or another. It’s just that Larry David was sporting new pants. He improvised on it for a bit and the rest is history. It is the first episode of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, airing its final season starting this month.
Final Clip: How about the movie trailer?
Enjoy HBO & HBOWatch!