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What’s On: HBO Schedule for January 2024

by Jef Dinsmore
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Yes, it is slim pickings yet again, but they are good quality choices, just remember that. At least we can build up the anticipation of what is to come.  

A few quick points:  

  • At least we have TRUE DETECTIVE’s return  
  • A final season of SORT OF 
  • A highly acclaimed documentary on the slate 
  • Plus, Bill Maher’s holiday hiatus ends 
  • We meet tough Tatiana Suarez  
  • And experience something called CHOWCHILLA ?  

TrueDetective4_PosterHBO Original Series: The fourth season of the anthology drama known as TRUE DETECTIVE is upon us! Titled TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY, it debuts SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 at 9:00 pm ET/PT and plays out over six episodes. When the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, Detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice. Issa López serves as showrunner and writer and directs all episodes. The cast includes Jodie Foster as Liz Danvers, Kali Reis as Evangeline Navarro, Finn Bennett as Peter Prior, Fiona Shaw as Rose Aguineau, Christopher Eccleston as Ted Corsaro, Isabella Star LaBlanc as Leah Danvers, John Hawkes as Hank Prior, Anna Lambe as Kayla Malee, Aka Niviâna as Julia Navarro and Joel D. Montgrand as Eddie Qavvik.  

Here is a tipoff about the first installment:  

–Episode 01 “Part I”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 (9:00-10:01 pm ET/PT) 

When eight researchers at Tsalal Station suddenly disappear, Danvers orders a search but tempers expectations of finding the men. After handling a workplace dispute and checking in on her sister Julia, Navarro tries to convince a skeptical Danvers that the men’s disappearance is connected to the murder of local activist Annie Kowtok, a case that has long gone cold. 

Of the talking heads Bill Maher returns in January with the launch of a new season, but Oliver won’t be seen with his until February. REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER begins its 22nd season on FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 at 10:00 pm ET/7:00-8:00 pm PT, with a replay that night. We are sure he will stick to his tried & true format, and rely on his rotating panel of guests, but it is hard to say who he will snag for his interview segment or just what subjects will be broached. Regardless, the discussions can get quite interesting and that’s why people tune in.   

Original Series Exclusive to Max: Back in 2021 a unique Canadian comedy came to Max entitled SORT OF. Created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, the series stars Baig as Sabi Mehboob, a non-binary millennial trying to balance their roles as a child of Pakistani immigrant parents, a bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore and café, and a caregiver to the young children of a professional couple. Sabi is described as a first-generation Pakistani-Canadian trying to navigate life as they embrace their non-binary identity and combat the cultural expectations that have been put upon them.

The concluding season, its third, starts uploading THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 and runs for eight episodes. The season finds Sabi coming to terms with feelings of grief and an unexpected sense of freedom following the death of their father. Without the constraints of living up to dad’s expectations, they confront big questions about their identity, prompting some massive life choices. With the entire ensemble grappling with aftermaths this season, a rebirth comes in a sort of messy, sort of hopeful, sort of “Sort Of” way.

HBO International Titles: FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 is the day for a couple of international titles to drop; both titles are out of Poland and HBO Europe. The first title is THE CONVICT (Skazana). It is a drama series that is in its third season. Successful judge Alicja Mazur (Agata Kulesza) is known for her severity towards criminals. The woman is unexpectedly accused of a murder she did not commit. She is sent to prison, where she has to survive among the women she previously condemned herself. She is kept alive by a teenage daughter and a desire to take revenge on those who set her up. The other title is THE DISAPPEARANCE (ChyłkaZaginięcie), a story that notes the Polish legal system. Joanna Chylka (Magdalena Cielecka, pictured) is a renowned, uncompromising and rebellious lawyer in a legal world full of men who don’t give in to anything. A close friend’s three-year-old daughter disappears without a trace and the police find no evidence of kidnapping; the parents become the main suspects. It takes five six-episode seasons to resolve the crime. Those interested can soon binge them on Max.


HBO & Max Theatrical Movies: They are not promoting any recent movies onto the slate this month. So, that means we get to dig around for some older titles. What stands out for me is that there is a showing of StarTrek-OlderMoviesStar Trek titles in the line-up. It is not the first time the movies have appeared but in light of talks of WBD possibly merging with Paramount, we see you are playing this Paramount franchise anyway. Fans can check out Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). There are also a few Clint Eastwood movies like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1967) and, to throw out a few more titles, there is The Gospel According to Andre (2018), Hail Satan? (2019), Some Kind of Beautiful (2015) Ted 2 (2015) and White House Down (2013).

HBO Documentary Films: HBO Original documentary GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT (MONDAY, JANUARY 08 9:00 –10:45 pm)Travels through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of Nikki Giovanni, one of America’s greatest living poets and social commentators. Giovanni reckons with the inevitable passing of time through intimate vérité, striking archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, revealing the lasting impact of Giovanni’s work on American culture. The critically acclaimed film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Documentary and was an official selection in the Spotlight section of the 61st New York Film Festival. The film was recently nominated for three Cinema Eye Honors Awards including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, two International Documentary Association Awards, including Best Feature Documentary, and a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.

MAX Original Documentary Films: Max has an obligatory docu-travel series for yet another star who gets to travel the world with a camera in tow. It is ON THE ROAM, launching on THURSDAY, JANUARY 18. It is an eight-part series following Jason Momoa as he travels the country chasing art, adventure, and MaxDoc_Chowchillafriendship through the lens of craftsmanship. The eight-episode series will debut two episodes weekly leading up to the season finale on February 8. At least it burns off quickly. Another piece debuting is in joint with CNN Films. It is CHOWCHILLA. It is a documentary about a large-scale kidnapping of students off a school bus in Chowchilla, California in 1976. Featuring exclusive interviews with the survivors, director Paul Solet goes behind the headlines to reveal for the first time the complete saga of the infamous school bus abduction. And yet, this writer recalls nothing about it or that there was a town in this country of that name. You can find the film starting THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 on Max.

Max Kids & Family: Max wants aficionados to know that RICK AND MORTY is playing strong on Max_RickAndMortyS7-300x168Max. PR states – Season seven of Adult Swim’s animated hit series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. “Rick and Morty” has become a multi-platform sensation not just on television, but across digital, gaming, livestreaming, retail, and fan experiences. The Adult Swim series has earned two Emmys for “Outstanding Animated Program” and is currently nominated for a third. That seventh season arrives on Max MONDAY, JANUARY 22. SESAME STREET is going strong as well with its 54th season. In January the gang celebrates Song Day as Mia learns how to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in Spanish with help from her friends Nina, and Muppets Rosita and Lalo. New episodes appear on THURSDAYS.

People_TatianaSuarez-300x226HBO Sports: Not sure the of state of affairs regarding this category anymore but I am sticking the following documentary here. Debuting SUNDAY, JANUARY 31 (TBA) is THE UNBREAKABLE TATIANA SUAREZ. She is an American professional mixed martial artist and former wrestler of Mexican descent who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Her mixed martial arts record – Total, 10 Wins, 10; By knockout, 2, By submission, 5, By decision, 3; Losses, 0. Yes, she is indeed entitled to a documentary feature. HARD KNOCKS: IN SEASON WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS sees new episodes pick up on TUESDAY, JANUARY 02, 9:00 pm ET/PT. The series runs through January 09, and then subsequent Tuesdays for the duration of a potential Dolphins postseason run.  

Other Shows On HBO or Max: For those with the linear channels, on HBO 2 on MONDAY, JANUARY 01 is a binge-watch of Season One of THE LAST OF US, and on FRIDAY, JANUARY 05 starts a binge-watch of all 86 episodes of THE SOPRANOS. On the same channel, on SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 is a binge of Season One of TRUE DETECTIVE.  

Next Month’s Tease: The first episode was “The Pant Tent.”  

Last month – We asked you who started acting on TV in 1968 and had her first big movie hit in 1976. The answer is Jodie Foster. The movie was Taxi Driver and, of course, we are going to see her in January in TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY.  

Final Clip:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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