March comes roaring in with big blustery characters like Richie Finestra, Bill Maher and Jessa Johansson and goes on with the gentleness of Saba and Billie Holliday. The character cavalcade is pretty big for the third month of 2016. If you’re not familiar with all these names then you need to familiarize yourself with HBO’s schedule for the upcoming month. You’ll find specials and sports and more. Have a look at What’s On.
Original Series: The inaugural season of VINYL continues in March. The series continues with a new episode on SUNDAY, MARCH 06 at 9:00pm and continues each week. The hour drama stars two-time Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (BOARDWALK EMPIRE) as Richie Finestra, SAG Award nominee Olivia Wilde (seen on DOLL & EM) as his wife Devon and multiple Emmy winner Ray Romano, of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, as Zak Yankovich head of promotions at American Century Records. It also features the likes of Ato Essandoh as Lester Grimes, Richie’s first client in the early 1960s; Max Casella as Julius “Julie” Silver, head of A&R of American Century, P.J. Byrne as Scott Levitt, company attorney and junior partner and J.C. MacKenzie as Skip Fontaine, head of sales and partner at American Century.
Below is an episode breakdown for the first two weeks:
— Episode #4: “The Racket”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 06 at 9:00pm.
In lieu of attending a funeral, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) takes out his anxieties on a couch during a marriage-counseling session with Devon (Olivia Wilde). Later, over the course of a chaotic day at the office, Richie courts funk superstar Hannibal (Daniel J.Watts; pictured), agrees to let Robert Goulet (Matt Bogart) record an original song on his upcoming Christmas LP, and gets fired up after an acrimonious meeting with Lester (Ato Essandoh). Meanwhile, Zak (Ray Romano) and Scott (P.J. Byrne) ruminate on their futures in the aftermath of the lost deal with German Polygram. On the verge of signing with American Century, Kip (James Jagger) and the Nasty Bits enlist a new manager to work out a favorable deal with Richie. Armed with photos from Richie’s temper tantrum, Devon visits a divorce attorney. Skip (J.C. MacKenzie) looks to unload an overrun of bootleg albums, but finds no takers. As he’s about to be detained by two new detectives, Richie learns from Cece (Susan Heyward) that Hannibal is being courted backstage by Jackie Jervis (Ken Marino), and orders his assistant to do whatever it takes to keep the singer in the stable. Later, Richie visits a downtown jazz club in search of an alibi, while Devon has a meltdown at home.
Written by Debora Cahn; directed by S.J. Clarkson. Other HBO playdates include 03.06 at 11:40pm & 2:30am, 03.07 at 11:45pm, 03.08 at 9:00pm, 03.09 at 10:00pm, 03.10 at 3:25am and 03.12 at 12:30am.
— Episode #5: “He in Racist Fire”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 13 at 9:00pm.
Richie (Bobby Cannavale) visits a close relative in order to leverage a favor to his advantage. Devon (Olivia Wilde) agrees to join Richie for dinner with Hannibal (Daniel J. Watts) and Cece (Susan Heyward), playing up the vixen role to keep one of her husband’s biggest clients signed. Kip (James Jagger) faces a tough dilemma in the wake of the Nasty Bits’ recent signing: fire one of his bandmates or lose a prime gig opening for the New York Dolls. Desperate to shore up PR at American Century, Richie tries to recruit Andrea Zito (Annie Parisse), a former employee and flame who now works for Jackie Jervis (Ken Marino). Clark (Jack Quaid) gets a new job after an emotional meeting with Julie (Max Casella), while an indignant Jamie (Juno Temple) ends up keeping her old one. Richie has an inspiration for the name of his new label.
Written by Adam Rapp; directed by Peter Sollett. Other HBO playdates: 03.13 at 11:30pm & 2:00am, 03.14 at 12:50am, 03.15 at 9:00pm, 03.16 at 10:00pm, 03.17 at 2:30am and 03.19 at 10:00pm.
Then there are the GIRLS. They are growing up, but are they growing apart? Oh, there are some guys duly affected as well. The fifth season continues SUNDAY, MARCH 6 at 10:00pm followed by other weekly episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time. Here is what is happening in the four episode airing in March.
— Episode #45 (season 5, episode 3): “Japan”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 06 at 10:00pm
Thriving at her new job in Japan, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) flirts with the boss, but reminds her work friends that she has a “kind of” boyfriend back in America. Hannah (Lena Dunham) makes a shocking discovery on Fran’s (Jake Lacy) phone and struggles with how to react. After viewing Adam’s (Adam Driver) performance on a TV police procedural, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) shares her insights into his character.
Written by Jenni Konner; directed by Jesse Peretz. Other HBO playdates: 03.06 at 1:30am & 3:30am, 03.07 at 12:45am, 03.09 at 9:30pm, 03.10 at 10:45pm, 03.11 at 3:20am and 03.12 at 11:30pm.
— Episode #46 (season 5, episode 4): “Old Loves”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 13 at 10:00pm
Hannah and Fran disagree about their teaching methods. Marnie (Allison Williams) fumes over Desi’s (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) decision to launch a major construction project in their studio apartment. Jessa pushes Hannah away over an awkward rice-pudding meetup. Elijah (Andrew Rannells) gets closer to Dill Harcourt (Corey Stoll).
Written by Bruce Eric Kaplan; directed by Jesse Peretz. Other HBO playdates: 03.13 at 1:0am & 3:00am, 03.14 at 1:5am, 03.16 at 9:30pm, 03.17 at 10:30pm, 03.18 at 04:05am and 03.19 at 11:00pm.
Since we mentioned her above how about a pause for a Jessa Mashup?
— Episode #47 (season 5, episode 5): “Queen for Two Days”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 20 at 10:00pm
Hannah and her mom, Loreen (Becky Ann Baker), embark on a female empowerment retreat, where Loreen hopes for clarity in her situation with Tad (Peter Scolari), and Hannah relishes time away from Fran. In Tokyo, Shoshanna enjoys her budding romance with Yoshi (Hiro Mizushima), and gets a surprise visitor from the U.S. Jessa meets up with her sister Minerva (Marianna Palka) and asks for a favor.
Written by Tami Sagher; directed by Jesse Peretz. Other HBO playdates: 03.20 at 1:00am, & 3:00am, 03.21 at 1:15am, 03.23 at 9:30pm, 03.24 at 10:30pm, 03.25 at 3:40am and 03.26 at 3:05am.
— Episode #48 (season 5, episode 6): “The Panic in Central Park”
Debut: SUNDAY, MARCH 27 at 10:00pm.
Needing space after a fight with Desi, Marnie goes for a walk and has an unexpected run-in with someone from her past.
Written by Lena Dunham; directed by Richard Shephard. Other HBO playdates: 03.27 at 1:00am & 2:30am, 03.28 at 1:30am, 03.30 at 9:30pm 03.31 at 11:30pm and into April.
Oh, what the heck, here is one more Girls Mashup for ya.
Then we have all those happy people over at TOGETHERNESS. It still follows the highs and lows of four adults trying to balance their relationships and individual dreams. For example, Brett and Michelle (Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey) struggle to make sense of where their marriage might be heading next. Watch it and be pleasantly surprised. Here the details for March.
Brett (Mark Duplass) and Alex (Steve Zissis) get out of town, while Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) and Tina (Amanda Peet) juggle the kids, and Christy (Ginger Gonzaga).
Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Other HBO playdates: 03.06 at 12:45am & 4:00am, 03.07 at 1:15am, 03.08 at 2:35am, 03.09 at 4:20am and 03.10 at 10:00pm.
— Episode #12 (season 2, episode 4): “Changetown”
Debut date: SUNDAY, MARCH 13 at 10:30pm
Brett and Alex throw themselves into a new passion project. Michelle bonds with Anna (Katie Aselton), a new ally in her charter school effort. Alex is disappointed by major changes at work and is confronted by a slighted Christy. Tina gets a crash course in parenting.
Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Other HBO playdates: 03.13 at 12:30am & 3:30am, 03.14 at 2:20am, 03.15 at 10:45pm, 03.16 at 3:55am, 03.17 at 10:00pm and 03.19 at 4:05am.
— Episode #13 (season 2, episode 5): “Just the Range”
Debut date: SUNDAY, MARCH 20 at 10:30pm.
Brett struggles with the challenges and unexpected perks of a new side gig. Tina and Larry (Peter Gallagher) discuss life goals. Alex initially bristles at an unstable new director, but warms to him and finds they have common ground. Anna proves herself indispensable to Michelle.
Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Other HBO playdates: 03.20 at 12:30am & 3:30am, 03.21 at 1:45am, 03.22 at 11:30pm, 03.23 at 4:05am, 03.24 at 10:00pm and 06.26 at 5:30am.
— Episode #14 (season 2, episode 6): “Geri-ina”
Debut date: SUNDAY, MARCH 27 at 10:30pm.
Alex recruits an unwanted face from Brett’s past to help with their project, and later considers a career choice. Tina becomes more proactive in trying to get what she wants. At a fundraiser for the school, Michelle challenges Anna.
Written and directed by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Other HBO playdates: 03.27 at 12:30am & 3:30am, 03.28 at 2:00am, 03.29 at 11:00pm, 03.30 at 1:55am, 03.31 at 11:00pm and into April.
Created by Phil Matarese & Mike Luciano and produced by Duplass Brothers Television, ANIMALS. continues FRIDAY, MARCH 04 at 11:30pm. However, if you weren’t aware this animated adult comedy series surfaces on HBONow/Go a day early. Here is a preview of the fifth episode out of ten which is the only March episode known about at this time.
— Episode #5: “Rats.”
Debut: FRIDAY, MARCH 04 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)
A rat invents pants. A moth tries neon light for the first time. Two fish couples have a tense dinner.
Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Wes Archer. Other HBO playdates: 03.04 at 1:30am, 06.08 at 4:30am and 03.09 at 5:00am.
The innovative news magazine show VICE continues its fourth season FRIDAY, MARCH 04 at 11:00pm. Hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith, the Emmy-winning show covers the kinds of stories often overlooked by mainstream media outlets.Installments to date have included a look at the European refugee problem and the white-collar marijuana industry. March includes the following:
“Meathooked”- The world is addicted to meat–in developing countries around the world, diets are starting to look more like ours, incorporating more and more beef and pork. Isobel Yeung travels to the feedlots, farms and slaughterhouses where our meat is made, to see the true costs of our burger habit. “End of Water” – Water is the single most vital resource we have–but it’s also one of the most threatened. Around the world, from the American West to China, South Asia, and the Middle East, the water we need is simply disappearing. Vikram Gandhi assess the depths of the crisis, and what can be done to reverse it.
If you are not watching then shame on you!
Then there is these two guys. Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, commentator Bill Maher continues the 14th season of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER on FRIDAY, MARCH 04 at 10:00pm and LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER continues its third season with a new edition SUNDAY, MARCH 06 at 11:10pm.
And Now This…
Movies: The main movie debuts in March are light on action, but do feature a favored comedienne of some and a real top dog just for starters. The others offer us the Bellas and the Griswolds. Here is a brief look at SPY, MAX, PITCH PERFECT 2 and VACATION.
Melissa McCarthy stars as a behind-the-scenes CIA analyst who goes undercover in the action comedy SPY, debuting SATURDAY, MARCH 05 (8:00 p.m.). Jason Statham, Rose Byrne and Jude Law also star. A Marine K-9 who served in Afghanistan is adopted by his handler’s family in the touching drama MAX, starring Josh Wiggins, Lauren Graham, Thomas Haden Church, Robbie Amell, Luke Kleintank, Joseph Julian Soria, Dejon LaQuake and Miles Mussenden. After an embarrassing performance at The Kennedy Center, the Bellas attempt to save their reputation by winning an international acapella competition when PITCH PERFECT 2 debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 19 (8:00 p.m.). Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow and Anna Camp star in the hit comedy. In an effort to reconnect with his family, a man (Ed Helms) takes them on a road trip to visit a theme park when VACATION debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 26 (8:00 p.m.). Christina Applegate and Leslie Mann also star in the comedy with Chris Hemsworth. We choose the trailer from the least recognized perhaps.
HBO Documentary Films: Two of the documentaries listed below were nominated for Oscars this year and one of them walked away with the golden boy.
The Academy Award recipient for Best Documentary Short, A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS is the story of Saba, a courageous 18-year-old Pakistani woman who is condemned to death for falling in love, but lives to tell the tale. Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (HBO’s SAVING FACE) follows this gripping tale as it unfolds, revealing some of the complex forces at work in a country where more than 1000 women are killed in the name of “honor” every year. The documentary debuts MONDAY, MARCH 07 at 9:00pm. We know it debuts soon but my intrigue about this one prompts me to pass the trailer onto you early.
EBOLA: THE DOCTORS’ STORY, BODY TEAM 12 and ORPHANS OF EBOLA, a series of three short films on the Ebola epidemic, debut back-to-back MONDAY, MARCH 14 at 9:00pm. EBOLA: THE DOCTORS’ STORY follows a British emergency response doctor inside a Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center at the height of the epidemic in Sierra Leone. BODY TEAM 12, which is nominated for a Best Documentary Short Oscar, highlights the heroic and heartbreaking work of a female Liberian Red Cross worker tasked with collecting the dead from homes and villages, removing the bodies to halt transmission of the disease. ORPHANS OF EBOLA follows Abu, a 12-year-old boy from a village in Sierra Leone, who loses eight members of his family and must restart his life elsewhere.
EVERYTHING IS COPY, debuting MONDAY, MARCH 21 at 9:00pm, is an illuminating, candid portrait of Nora Ephron, the writer and screenwriter-director known for her biting honesty and intelligent humor. Written and directed by her son, Jacob Bernstein, the documentary explores the line between professional ambition and personal loyalties, and features intimate interviews with some of those closest to her, including her three sisters, as well as Mike Nichols, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep. Co-directed by Nick Hooker; executive produced by Graydon Carter.
ONLY THE DEAD SEE THE END OF WAR documents the encounter of a veteran battlefield journalist and the world’s most feared terrorist leader when the documentary debuts MONDAY, MARCH 28 at 9:00pm. After receiving a horrifying video from Abu Mousab al Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the progenitor of ISIS, Michael Ware embarks on an epic journey through the major battles of the Iraq war, into the darkest recesses of the human heart, filming as he goes. Directed by two-time Oscar winner Bill Guttentag (HBO’s YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE) and Michael Ware.
HBO Specials: HBO is into music right about now. First there was VINYL then MAVIS! and now Lady Day. Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald brings her acclaimed Broadway portrayal of jazz icon Billie Holiday to HBO when LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 12 at 9:00pm. The special tells Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous, including “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “T’aint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”
One of the most revered musical inspirations is reborn by today’s powerhouse of the stage.
HBO Kids: For more than four decades, SESAME STREET has helped children grow smarter, stronger and kinder by providing preschoolers with the gold standard in quality educational programming. This month, the award-winning show continues its 46th season with a new episode debuting SATURDAY, MARCH 05 at 9:00am with other new episodes debuting subsequent Saturdays at the same time. Episode titles in March are 03.05 – “What I Love About Art”; 03.12 – “Thank You To Your Face Day”; 03.19 – “Abby’s Fairy Garden”; 03.26 – “Elmo Steps In For Super Grover.” Hey, you can’t say we’re not through.
HBO Sports: GONZAGA: THE MARCH TO MADNESS continues TUESDAY, MARCH 01 at 10:00pm and concludes with the finale, which debuts March 15, the first day of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Championship Tournament. Tournament. The show features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, offering a unique look at the personalities behind the powerhouse program and revealing how a small college nestled in Spokane, Wash. has achieved success against all odds, capturing the hearts of America each March. REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL does its thing with a new edition debuting TUESDAY, MARCH 22 at 10:00pm. Again, we never get a heads up on the topics of Gumbel’s session, but the past edition looked at the retiring Kobe Bryant; Rick Welts, the first openly gay man in the NBA; Matt Stutzman, an awarded archer despite his lack of arms. Also included was the show’s continued look at extreme sports by asking how far is too far?
There are a few rounds for boxing fans too. BOXING AFTER DARK: ORTIZ VS. THOMPSON/ALI VS. VARGAS plays out SATURDAY, MARCH 05 beginning at 10:00pm. HBO Boxing travels to the nation’s capital for this fight doubleheader headlined by a heavyweight showdown between undefeated Cuban native Luis Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) and veteran Tony Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs). In the evening’s co-main event, a vacant welterweight championship is on the line when Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) battles Jessie Vargas. Also on the slate is WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: ANDRE WARD VS. SULLIVAN BARRERA on SATURDAY, MARCH 26 starting at 9:45pm. How about a promo?
Other Movies and Shows: Let’s hunt down some other content airing on HBO in March, shall we? All of the following movies may have appeared on another HBO channel before, but they are surfacing on the main channel for the first time in March. They are OUIJA, REMEMBER THE TITANS, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, FLY ME TO THE MOON, STATE & MAIN, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, THE GALLOWS and BARBERSHOP. Check any one of them out if you haven’t seen them yet. HBO2 is running the complete five-part HBO Miniseries: PARADE’S END (pictured) on 03.25.
HBO’s Other Platforms: We are going to keep this section on the light side this month. HBO Latino: KAMIKAZE tells of a would-be suicide bomber’s plan to blow up a plane from Moscow to Madrid which is detoured when a snowstorm delays the flight and he gets to know some of his intended victims; starring Alex Garcia. An abused pregnant woman and her young son go on the run from the boy’s violent father and embark on a harrowing search for a safe haven in REFUGIAFO (Sheltered). HBO Family: How about THE BABE, about the baseball giant not the pig? Also there is Tim burton’s CORALINE and TWO BROTHERS, a family film about twin tiger cubs living a carefree life until separated. One is sold off to the circus, while the other becomes the pampered pet of a governor’s son, until fate brings them together for a dramatic reunion. Awww! HBO Signature: Have you heard of GRILLED, KEEPING THE FAITH or PLAY IT TO THE BONE? Respectively, they are movies about door-to-door meat salesmen with VINYL’s Ray Ramano; a rabbi & a priest falling in love with the same woman and one about over-the-hill boxers not named Rocky. HBO Comedy: We single up one stand-up stint and one classic comedy with DAVE ATELL: CAPTAIN MISERABLE and THREE AMIGOS. HBO Zone: There are plenty of movies to watch if you have HBO Zone, but I don’t know anyone who does. If you are so lucky then you can catch ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST.
Once again, we say Awww!
HBONow/Go: You know the drill. Here are some movies coming to the streaming sites and a few going off. First, exiting from view are the likes of Woody Allen BANANAS, Harrison Ford in BLADE RUNNER, the Coen Bros.’ MILLER’S CROSSING, Robin William as MRS. DOUBTFIRE and V FOR VENDETTA. Replacing them, however are films such as THE LAST CASTLE, THUNDERBIRDS, RAISING ARIZONA, ANTWONE FISHER and EVERYONE’S ALL AMERICAN. Cinemax: The press release for March highlights the following movies: the remake of POLTERGEIST on 03.05, the prequel/sequel INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 on 03.12, THE MAZE RUNNER on 03.19 and HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 with Jason Bateman. On 03.28. You do know though, that CINEMAX has unparalleled movie volume and variety making it the best selection of the most movies, including new top theatrical films, timeless favorites, classics, critically acclaimed independents and more? Yeah, I thought you did.
Next Month’s Tease: 2004’s HBO Films: MARIA FULL OF GRACE was about a drug mule, but now it is the Black Widow’s turn. Can you name the actress and the movie coming in April?
The answer from last month was Jude Law costarring as Bradley Fine in SPY coming in March.
Final Clip: We rushed through Movies so here is a bit from SPY.
And that’s all there is to it. Refer back to this post as often as you need to or hit our Schedule Page.
About The Author
Editor at Large of HBOWatch.com and the internet's foremost HBO expert.