A big exciting new year is upon us. HBO is putting its best foot forward to make it the best it can be. And with a countdown to HBOMax underway 2020 is going to be H-B-Oh-M-G-Outstanding, right? So, let’s start it off with what is coming in January.
Original Series: Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name,THE OUTSIDER, debuting with two back-to-back episodes SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), followed by new episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time, is a new drama series that 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), a popular high school teacher, Little League coach, doting husband and father. While the case appears ironclad, Ralph is baffled by the emergence of contradictory evidence that places his suspect in a neighboring city at the time of the murder. The mysterious set of circumstances surrounding this horrifying crime leads Ralph, a seasoned cop still grieving the recent death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable. A binge-worthy detective story and tense psychological thriller, The Outsider 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 1: “Fish in a Barrel” Debut date: SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 (9:00-10:00pm)
When the body of an 11-year-old boy is found in the Georgia woods, detective RalphAnderson (Ben Mendelsohn) launches an investigation into the gruesome murder. With eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to local teacher and baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), Ralph makes a very public arrest but is perplexed by Terry’s seeming indifference to hiding his crime. After Terry’s wife Glory (Julianne Nicholson) calls their attorney Howie Salomon (Bill Camp) for assistance, a bewildered Terry produces an ironclad alibi during interrogation. Meanwhile, Howie calls in his PI Alec Pelley (Jeremy Bobb) to look into Terry’s side of the story. Written by Richard Price; directed by Jason Bateman.
–Episode 2: “Roanoke” Debut date: SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 (10:00-11:00pm)
During a surreptitious late-night visit with Terry (Jason Bateman), Ralph (Ben Mendelsohn) admits to being baffled by conflicting physical evidence. The next day, an unexpected tragedy throws the investigation into a tailspin, and ornery detective Jack Hoskins (Marc Menchaca) is forced to cut his hunting trip short to return to work and pick up the slack. Meanwhile, Glory (Julianne Nicholson) tries to soothe her daughter Jessa (Scarlett Juniper Blum), who says she’s been visited by a strange man in her room at night. Written by Richard Price; directed by Jason Bateman.
–Episode 3: “Dark Uncle” Debut date: SUNDAY, JANUARY 19 (9:00-10:00pm)
Despite being on mandatory leave, Ralph (Ben Mendelsohn) continues to scrutinize the confounding circumstances surrounding the night of the murder. Frustrated by their lack of progress, Ralph and GBI detective Yunis Sablo (Yul Vázquez) meet with Alec (Jeremy Bobb) and Howie (Bill Camp), who suggests bringing in unorthodox PI Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo). Jack (Marc Menchaca) has a hair-raising experience at a remote barn where key evidence and a mysterious substance have been found. Glory (Julianne Nicholson) deals with the fallout at her daughters’ school and with Jessa’s (Scarlett Juniper Blum) increasingly concerning nightmares. Written by Richard Price; directed by Andrew Bernstein.
–Episode 4: “Que Viene El Coco” Debut date: SUNDAY, JANUARY 26 (9:00-10:00pm)
While retracing the Maitlands’ recent family vacation in Dayton, Ohio, Holly (CynthiaErivo) pursues a possible connection to an eerily similar case and gains valuable insight from local former detective Andy Katcavage (Derek Cecil). Meanwhile, Glory (Julianne Nicholson) faces increased scrutiny in her daily life, and Jack’s (Marc Menchaca) behavior grows progressively more erratic. Written by Richard Price; directed by Andrew Bernstein.
Here is our first Look at the Trailer –
The follow-up to 2017’s THE YOUNG POPE from Oscar-winning filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, THE NEW POPE, debuting MONDAY, JANUARY 13 (9:00-10:00pm), picks 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. Elected to the papal throne, Brannox assumes the name “John Paul III,” but quickly finds that his predecessor’s shadow looms large, as the devoted cult of Pius XIII proves hard to shake in their fierce conviction of his return. Meanwhile, an ambitious Voiello struggles to deal with a wave of scandals within the Church as religious fundamentalism in the outside world threatens to infiltrate the papal walls. Daring, stylish and wildly unconventional, THE NEW POPE dives into the inner workings of the Vatican, while exploring the very human desires, vices and fragilities of those in power and the complexities inherent in faith today.
Here is our first Look at the Trailer –
–Episode 1: “First Episode”
Debut date: MONDAY, JANUARY 13 (9:00-10:00pm)
Following his sudden heart attack, Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law) lies in a coma while his followers fervently pray for a miraculous recovery. As the threat of terrorism and the potential risks of Pius’s idolatry loom, Secretary of State Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando) is pressured to bring a new pope to power and, with the conclave at a deadlock, makes a hasty move that throws the Church into even greater chaos. Written by Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Bises; directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
–Episode 2: “Second Episode”
Debut date: MONDAY, JANUARY 20 (9:00-10:00pm)
As rumors swirl about the Church’s role in a sudden death, Voiello (Silvio Orlando, pictured), Gutierrez (Javier Cámara), Assente (Maurizio Lombardi), Aguirre (Ramon Garcia) and Sofia (Cécile de France) travel to the UK to the grand estate of Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich), hoping to convince him to return with them to the Vatican and accept the holiest of roles. An alluring but sensitive man who carries with him an unshakeable family tragedy, Brannox is harder to sway than expected, but a determined Voiello presses ahead. Meanwhile, Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) shares her son’s story with the press to makes ends meet. Written by Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Bises; directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
–Episode 3: “Third Episode”
Debut date: MONDAY, JANUARY 27 (9:00-10:00pm)
Still considering the offer of Supreme Pontiff, Brannox (John Malkovich) reflects on his past, while Voiello (Silvio Orlando) makes clear his commitment to his mission’s success. After being elected pope and taking the name “John Paul III,” Brannox preaches the importance of family, truth and love in his first public homily and to the cardinals. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) bonds with Fabiano (Alessandro Riceci), a widower and new member of the parish, who offers an unusual solution to her money woes. The Abbess of St. Therese (Kiruna Stamell) and an anguished Sister Lisette (Nora Waldstatten) are disheartened when their financial pleas fall on deaf ears. Written by Paolo Sorrentino Umberto Contrarello and Stefano Bises; directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
Created by Armando Iannucci of VEEP AVENUE 5, debuting SUNDAY, JANUARY 19 (10:00-10:30pm)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. The series stars Hugh Laurie as Ryan Clark, the confident and suave captain of “Avenue 5” – a space cruise ship with luxury amenities like gourmet buffets, a spa, an observation deck and yoga classes. Among the 5,000 passengers and crew on board are billionaire Herman Judd (Josh Gad), the mercurial face and name behind Avenue 5; Judd’s right-hand-woman Iris Kimura (Suzy Nakamura); head of customer relations Matt Spencer (Zach Woods) engineer Billie McEvoy (Lenora Crichlow); and strong-willed passenger Karen Kelly (Rebecca Front). Monitoring Avenue 5 from the ground is Rav Mulcair (Nikki Amuka-Bird), the seen-it-all head of Judd Mission Control. 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 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 1: “I Was Flying”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JANUARY 19 (10:00-10:30pm)
When a malfunction occurs aboard the luxury space cruise ship Avenue 5, it’s up to engineer Billie McEvoy (Lenora Crichlow) to warn Captain Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie), Avenue 5 owner Herman Judd (Josh Gad) and his right-hand-woman Iris Kimura (Suzy Nakamura) that the incident may have a cataclysmic knock-on effect. As Rav Mulcair (Nikki Amuka-Bird) manages the situation from mission control back on Earth, Matt Spencer (Zach Woods), the head of customer relations, tries his best to calm frayed nerves on board, and persistent passenger Karen Kelly (Rebecca Front) discovers the crew may know more than they’re letting on. Story by Armando Iannucci; teleplay by Armando Iannucci & Simon Blackwell & Tony Roche; directed by Armando Iannucci.
As Rav (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and her team meet with a NASA representative to plot a potential rescue mission, Ryan (Hugh Laurie) learns that Cyrus (Neil Casey) an engineer working in a hidden part of the ship, has a surprisingly optimistic theory about the ship’s future. Judd (Josh Gad) donates a lavish personal item to help commemorate a fallen crew member. Karen (Rebecca Front) becomes a vocal advocate for passengers. Mia (Jessica St. Clair) and Doug (Kyle Bornheimer) receive marital counseling from Matt (Zach Woods). Story by Armando Iannucci & Georgia Pritchett & Will Smith; teleplay by Georgia Pritchett & Will Smith; directed by Natalie Bailey.
We gave you the Teaser;here is our First Look at the Trailer –
The tenth season of the iconic Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedy series, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM debuts SUNDAY, JANUARY 19 (10:30-11:07pm). 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, the series continues to feature appearances by guests playing themselves or characters. New episodes also include returning favorites, Ted Danson and Saverio Guerra. This season, Larry gets into a series of escalating predicaments as he takes on a major project to spite a new adversary – an undertaking that proves to be more complicated than he anticipated.
Another First Look Trailer!
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER begins its 18th season FRIDAY, JANUARY 17 (10:00-11:00pm). Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists and interviews with guests. Though it hasn’t changed its format Maher will be attempting to change his tone. We’ll see. Here is our First Look at his new promo.
Movies: Yeah, we know. The movie business has more misses than hits but HBO strikes the deal regardless to bring them to air. Look for the gems and either bravely peek at the rest or not. We list them all the same. This month includes The King (no, not Elvis) and more with THE AFTERMATH, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS and THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA.
Set in postwar Germany in 1946, THE AFTERMATH, debuting SATURDAY, JANUARY 04 (8:00-9:50pm) tells the story of a woman who travels to Hamburg to reunite with her husband who has been given the task of rebuilding the city, but finds herself living in the same home as a German widower and his daughter. The film stars Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke (HBO’s CATHERINE THE GREAT) and Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s TRUE BLOOD and BIG LITTLE LIES). In the third installment of this action franchise, the legendary hitman finds himself running from merciless killers following an incident with a member of the international assassin’s guild in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, debuting SATURDAY, JANUARY 11 (8:00-10:11pm). The film stars Keanu Reeves in the title role. When ancient powerful species once thought to be myths return vying for supremacy, members of a crypto-zoological agency face off against these beasts in GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, debutingSATURDAY, JANUARY 18 (8:00-10:12pm). The film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s SILICON VALLEY), Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe Zhang Ziyi and some of your favorite monsters. After being warned by a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment of danger, a social worker and her children are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural world inTHE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, debuting SATURDAY, JANUARY 25 (8:00-9:33pm). This frightening film stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz and Patricia Velásquez.
HBO Documentary Films: They are actually sitting out for the month of January. That is okay because it gives us a chance to catch up on 2019’s offerings before we look ahead.
HBO Specials: Aww, no new specials to herald in the New Year? I hope HBO ups its game for this kind of content in 2020.
HBO Kids: SESAME STREET continues its 50th season SATURDAY, JANUARY 04(9:00-9:30am), with other episodes airing Saturdays at the same time. Here is a breakdown of the first two installments –
–Season 50, Episode 8: “A Recipe for Dance” Debut Date: JANUARY 04, 2020 (9:00 – 9:30am)
Chris and Rudy have trouble learning the dance moves in Nina’s dance class, so they sneak out and leave. But they realize that they shouldn’t give up, so they practice and work together to learn the dance pattern and go back to join a dance class.
–Season 50, Episode 09: “Humpty Dumpty’s Football Dream” Debut Date: JANUARY 11, 2020 (9:00-9:30am)
Humpty Dumpty decides to join the King’s Horses and Men in their annual football game, so Telly tries to come up with the right protective gear to keep the Humpty from cracking.
HBO Sports: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBELgoes behind the box scores and statistics to tackle timely subjects in the world of contemporary sports. Featuring a top lineup of contributors this series is out to cover all of sports! Episode 01 of Season 26 debuts TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2020 (10:00-11:00pm). Here is a snippet o=from their 2019 recap show.
Other Movies and Shows: If the above content just wasn’t enough here are a few titles playing on the main channel you can catch. BREAKTHROUGH debuts 01.02. In it a teen falls through an icy Missouri lake and has no pulse for nearly 45 minutes, but when his mother prays over his body in the hospital he comes back to life and eventually makes a miraculous recovery. Chrissy Metz stars in this inspirational, faith-based tale based on a true story. With Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Dennis Haysbert. Directed by Roxanne Dawson; screenplay by Grant Nieporte, based upon the book by Joyce Smith. J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the greatest authors of our time but it was the turbulence of his youth that would shape his work. Hs story is told in TOLKIEN appearing on the main channel for the first time on 01.05. Nicholas Hoult is “convincingly smart” (Hollywood Reporter) as the young Tolkien whose fellowship with a group of like-minded friends is shaken by the brutality of World War I. Lily Collins co-stars as the young woman who snares his heart. Colm Meaney and Derek Jacobi co-star. A country doctor in 1948 England discovers that someone or somethingi s haunting the inhabitants of a decaying mansion in THE LITTLE STRANGER, debuting 01.07. Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Liv Hill and Charlotte Rampling star in this chilling gothic tale.
Other HBO Platforms: Start off the new year by finding something different to watch or perhaps an old favorite HBO Latino:HBO LATINO PRESENTS: A TINY AUDIENCE is a new series of intimate musical specials featuring a variety of Latin American music stars, live and unfiltered, who will not only share a personal secret to their intimate audience but will also perform songs of deep personal importance. Look for them a sneak peek surfaced in December, but the specials will appear throughout 2020. In NINA ERRANTE (Wandering Girl) a 12-year- old meets her three older stepsisters for the first time following the death of their father and embarks on a life-changing road trip across Colombia in search of a new home. It debuts on 01.03. On 01.17 the movie TEJANO premieres. In that one, a South Texas farmhand gets in over his head when his grandfather becomes ill and he gets mixed up with a Mexican drug cartel to make some quick cash. HBO Family: Settle down with an early Marvel movie with 2005’s ELEKTRA with Jennifer Garner (pictured). I know I’ve mentioned this one before but it looks like one tweens might sit for – JUNE MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER. Other titles appearing are IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, THE LAST UNICORN and BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA trilogy. HBO Signature: Can’t you always watch MRS. DOUBTFIRE, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY or BRUCE ALMIGHTY? You can also catch Jude Law in ALFIE. There is A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES that I don’t remember seeing here before. That has Renee Zellweger as a shy young woman who enters into an arranged marriage with a Hasidic Jew, but struggles for fulfillment and yearns to break free from the strictures of the community. HBO Comedy: I mention DEAR GOD, CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? and GOING THE DISTANCE as suggestions. Greg Kinnear, Alexandra Daddario and Drew Barrymore, respectively. I also found a 1995 Steve Harvey routine on the schedule. HBO Zone: Can I interest you in MY SOUL TO TAKE, AMERICAN NIGHTMARES or THE THAW?
HBONow/Go: Rotating into the cycle of movies offered to lead of the new year are such titles as the classsic THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT, SWEET DREAMS, THE RUSSIA HOUSE, MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS, HEAD OFFICE and ARTHUR. One of the Collections the sites have running is the “2000’s Time Capsule” which lists 28 works that reflect on the past twenty years. Titles include A STAR IS BORN, DESPICABLE ME, THE HURT LOCKER and MOULIN ROUGE!. If I can draw your attention to a series exclusively on the sites how about HBO Europe’s UMBRE or SHADOWS, as it is known in the U. S. It hails out of Romania and tells us of Relu. He is a family man; has two children, a wife, and a double life. Seen through the eyes of his family, Relu Oncescu appears to be an ordinary taxi driver. No one suspects that Relu works as a collector for Capitanu, a local mobster. Neither of the two worlds (his family and the mafia) knows of the other’s existence. Relu manages to keep everything under control, but not for long. After accidentally killing a man, he tries to get out of the underworld, but he can’t find his way back. Day by day, the secrets he keeps become increasingly oppressive and the lies begin to surface, one by one. There are two seasons available, so far. Here is Season One’s trailer –
Cinemax: With big changes for WarnerMedia in 2019 and with HBOMax just a few months away from launch where exactly the sister channel stands in the future is unclear. There are no big action series to usher in 2020, but the channel and its streaming site still pack in the movies. But does it still pack in subscribers, especially since many outlets no longer bundle HBO and CINEMAX together? Here are the movies it announces are debuting in January – When the universe’s deadliest hunters return to Earth, a group of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled scientist must prevent the end of the human race in THE PREDATOR, debutingFRIDAY, JANUARY 10 (8:10-10:00pm). The film stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Sterling K. Brown. Directed by Shane Black; written by Fred Dekker & Shane Black, based on the characters created by Jim Thomas and John Thomas. Forty years after she narrowly escaped his wrath, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) faces killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) for a final showdown in HALLOWEEN, debutingFRIDAY, JANUARY 17 (8:10-10:00pm). The sequel to the 1978 horror classic of the same name also stars Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton and Virginia Gardner. A former salesman finds himself among a group of high school dropouts forced to attend night school to pass the GED exam in NIGHT SCHOOL, debutingFRIDAY, JANUARY 24 (8:05-10:00pm).The comedy stars Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish.
We’ll keep you posted if anything exciting happens.
Next Month’s Tease: Who is “Uncle Jerry”?
Last month we gave you an equation that read “HBO = (HBO / Lenny Balardo) U (John Brannox)” which breaks down to “THE NEW POPE = THE YOUNG POPE minus Jude Law’s papal character and being replaced by John Malcovich’s papal character.” It debuts this month.
Final Clip: Here is the big NewYear Promo for 2020!
Enjoy the month! Discover HBO. Stop back here for more news, reviews and schedules.