I must confess that even though there is a wonderful array of content for November, the top news for me is that this month marks the 50th Anniversary of Home Box Office. I personally have been watching the brand since the late 1970’s so I guess you can say it holds a special place for me. We have already told you that HBO is drawing attention to the milestone and so will we. Enjoy the celebration and enjoy the great programming that is before us. Please, find something awesome to watch whether it is for the first time or something worth watching all over again!
A few quick points:
Another semester starts for Mindy Kaling’s Girls
Ralphie & Randy Parker return in time for the Holidays
There are four Stand-up Comedy Specials
Plus, we’re back at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Oh, and the Drag Queens are back!
HBO Original Series: Whether you watch them or not they are back sashaying their glittered selves all over the place and making people feel good about themselves along the way. Bob The Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka O’Hara offer up WE’RE HERE Season Three. The Emmy and GLAAD Award-winning unscripted series returns for a six-episode, third season FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT). Episodes will debut weekly on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
The trio and their posse continue their journey across small-town America, spreading love and connection through the art of drag. This season, the queens recruit a diverse group of local residents from Granbury, TX; St. George, UT; Brevard County, FL; Jackson, MS; and Sussex, NJ to share their stories, increase awareness, and promote acceptance in their communities by participating in one-night-only drag shows. In each town, the queens inspire their “drag daughters” to express their genuine selves in front of their families, friends and communities, at times facing increased opposition and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation laws. This show is a winner for HBO!
Another huge winning show had its newest season debut on October 30. Rolling out with new episodes weekly in November is THE WHITE LOTUS. The social satire is set at an exclusive Sicilian resort and follows the exploits of various guests and employees over the span of a week. The second season stars F. Murray Abraham, Jennifer Coolidge, Adam DiMarco, Beatrice Grannò, Meghann Fahy, Jon Gries, Tom Hollander, Sabrina Impacciatore, Michael Imperioli, Theo James, Aubrey Plaza, Haley Lu Richardson, Will Sharpe, Simona Tabasco, and Leo Woodall. Find it continuing SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 06 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT).
–Season 2, Episode 2: “Italian Dream”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 06 (9:00-10:00pm ET)
–Season 2, Episode 3: “Bull Elephants”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13 (9:00-10:00pm ET)
–Season 2, Episode 3: “In The Sandbox”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20 (9:00-10:00pm ET)
–Season 2, Episode 4: “That’s Amore”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27 (9:00-10:00pm ET)
Murray Abraham is Bert DI Grasso – Visiting Sicily with his son, Dominic (Michael Imperioli), and grandson, Albie (Adam DiMarco), Bert is getting frail, yet still sees himself as virile and capable; Jennifer Coolidge is Tanya McQuoid-Hunt – A wealthy, unstable woman, traveling with her husband, Greg (Jon Gries), and assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson); Meghann Fahy is Daphne Sullivan – A stay-at-home mom visiting Italy with her husband, Cameron (Theo James), and another couple, Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza). And Sabrina Impacciatore is Valentina – The passionate, dedicated manager in charge of the White Lotus resort in Taormina. Don’t miss it!
Halfway through its season is AVENUE 5. Find it continuing its final voyage on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 07 (10:00-1030pm ET/PT). Season two series regulars include Hugh Laurie, Josh Gad, Zach Woods, Rebecca Front, Suzy Nakamura, Lenora Crichlow, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Ethan Phillips. Guest Stars include Andy Buckley, Jessica St. Clair, Kyle Bornheimer, Adam Pålsson, Daisy May Cooper, Lucy Punch, Leila Farzad, Jonathan Aris and Arsher Ali. Created by Armando Iannucci.
–Season 2, Episode 5: “Let’s Play With Matches”
Debut Date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 07 (10:00-10:30pm ET)
After a failed revolt, the passengers put the ship’s leadership to a vote, bringing forth a pack of unlikely candidates. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Office of the Other President proposes a plan that could spell doom for Avenue 5.
–Season 2, Episode 6: “Intoxicating Clarity”
Debut Date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14 (10:00-10:30pm ET)
With a “new” leader at the helm, life on deck reaches a semi-status quo – until the discovery of a mysterious blip and dissident uprising threaten to upend the passenger’s tenuous peace. Later, life imitates art as the shocking conclusion of TV’s Avenue 5 puts those aboard the real ship in peril.
–Season 2, Episode 7: “I Love Judging People”
Debut Date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 (10:00- 10:30pm ET)
The crew turns to a Judd-designed ranking algorithm to deal with their latest threat. As Ryan’s rating mysteriously tanks, Billie searches for her more worthy counterpart, and Judd attempts to make amends with an estranged Iris.
–Season 2, Episode 8: “That’s Why They Call It A Missile”
Debut Date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (10:00-10:30pm)
Directed by Armando Iannucci
Both talkers got their gigs going in November but, of course, take Thanksgiving weekend off. Installments #617 – #620 of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER begin FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 04 (10:00-11:00pm ET) and continues in the timeslot. Lately, he has talked with Chris Wallace, Chris Christie and Netanyahu. LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER returns SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 06 (11:00-11:30pm ET/PT). Lately, he has talked about some of the world’s most prestigious museums and how they have obtained stolen goods from other countries for their collections and he looked at how Law & Order can skew people’s perception of real law and order. Both shows are a good dose of serious talk served with silly banter.
Original Series Exclusive to HBO Max: We might be thinking of Holiday Break soon, but these girls are just getting started for their school session. Season Two of the critically acclaimed Max Original comedy series THE SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS debuts THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 with two episodes. The ten-episode season continues with two new episodes weekly leading up to the season finale on December 15. Created by Emmy-nominated writer/producer Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, The show follows four college roommates at New England’s prestigious Essex College. The new season picks up with the students returning after their Fall break, tackling the challenges thrown their way at the end of season one, and facing their next semester filled with new faces, parties and predicaments. The series stars Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Reneé Rapp, and Alyah Chanelle Scott. Additional series regulars for season two include Mekki Leeper, Christopher Meyer, Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, Lolo Spencer, Renika Williams and Mitchell Slaggert.
Oh, wonderful [sarcasm] foodie shows, and no, I am not talking about the return of SELINA AND THE CHEF. I’m talking about THE BIG BRUNCH. It has been on our radar for a while and uploads beginning THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10. This cooking competition series, created and hosted by Dan Levy(of the popular Schitt$ Creek), offers an eight-episode run that will launch with the first three episodes, followed by three additional episodes on November 17th and concluding with 2 final episodes on November 24th. The series celebrates inspiring and undiscovered culinary voices from every corner of the country and gives ten talented chefs the opportunity to share their stories and business dreams while vying for a life-altering $300,000 cash prize.
HBO International Titles: The international content does not let up as November is another big month for this type of content. And damn, there is even a foodie show! In series format, we have PARADISE (Paraiso), Season 2. Levante, 1992, at the end of summer in a town on the coast. Sandra, Eva, and Malena, three 15-year-old girls, disappear into a disco without a trace. The police do not seem to be looking in the right direction, so Sandra’s little brother Javi launches an investigation with his best friends Quino and Álvaro, his best friends, and Zeta, the class bully. Together, they discover that those who have his sister and her friends are not of this world. Uh-Oh. It arrives THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17. GARCIA, which launched in October, continues its run through November. We also focus on three documentaries THE CRITIC (El Critico) uploading on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, MUXES, coming on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 and on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18 CAMILO: EL PRIMER TOUR DE MI VIDA. The first one is about Carlos Boyero, one of Spanish cinema’s most followed and feared figures. Controversy has hounded him since he published his first article more than forty years ago, and he has remained in the eye of the hurricane ever since. To find out why takes a viewing. The second title there is a documentary about Mexico’s transgender community and the last one follows Colombian-born musician/singer Camilo during the “Mis Manos” tour, his first world tour. Includes behind-the-scenes moments about bringing some of his hits, and the life with his wife Evaluna.
There is more music when PIANO Y MUJER 2 debuts on concerts on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29. Once again world-renowned pianist Arthur Hanlon is joined on stage for a concert performance featuring Latino singers offering up beautiful renditions that stir audiences. There is also a Latino stand-up special ENTRE NOS: THE WINNERS 3. It welcomes the winners of the 3rd edition of the “Latino Stand-Up! Comedy Competition” Ralph Barbosa and Gwen La Roka. Disarmingly shy and low-key hilarious, Barbosa shares the good news about his apartment lease and analyzes the lyrics of great hip-hop classics. La Roka confesses her deepest fears during the height of the pandemic and teases her physical comedy chops while discussing inter-generational differences. Laugh it up on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11. Adding to the list of content is also the children’s animated series LUNA’S WORLD (aka No Mundo Da Luna) showing up on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13 and that promised foodie show FOOD AFFAIRS WITH MARK WIENS on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18. It is an HBO Asia series on Singapore’s obsession with all things food.
HBO Saturday Night Movies: Only one new movie hits this month. Man, I hope the dearth of movies ends soon, but with movie studios getting their own outlets these days it is hard to get titles outside Warner Bros. itself and with the budget cuts for that company…. Yeah, we’ll see what happens, but for now, we have coming up first, SEE HOW THEY RUN. In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and eager rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril. Directed by: Tom George; Written by: Mark Chappell and starring Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson. Premiere date: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 05 (8:00-9:40pm ET). A last-minute arrival to the slate is a movie that got some tabloid buzz, DON’T WORRY DARLING. Called audacious, twisted, and visually stunning, this psychological thriller follows a couple living in an experimental 1950s community whose idyllic appearance hides a sinister secret. It stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, and Chris Pine. It arrives on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 (8:00-10:00pm ET/PT) but appears on HBO Max earlier in the month.
Movies Exclusive to HBO Max: “Ohhhhh, Fudge!” Now, if Discovery stuff invading our space wasn’t bad enough, we add to the list Holiday-themed movies just like Hallmark & Lifetime. Well, at least one of them offers Ralphie & Randy all adult now.
A CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS follows Ralphie, now an adult, who returns to the house on Cleveland street to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child, reconnecting with childhood friends, and reconciling the passing of his Old Man. Starring original cast players Peter Billingsly as Ralphie, Ian Petrella as Randy, Scott Schwartz as Flick, R.D.Robb as Schwartz and Zack Ward as Scut Farkus. This is not to be confused with A Christmas Story 2. Will you embrace this sequel or stay away to keep your memories intact? It uploads THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17. The other two holiday flicks arrive on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24 and they are HOLIDAY HARMONY, which finds singer-songwriter Gail (Annelise Cepero) late for a Christmas Eve performance because a misfit bunch of kids that need her talents more, and A CHRISTMAS MYSTERY. When her best friend’s dad is falsely accused of stealing the town’s prized jingle bells, a young amateur sleuth and her friends must find the real thief before Christmas. Jingle bells? Okay.
HBO Films Presentation: Unfortunately, there is no new title under this banner but we will pause to reflect back on the first HBO Films feature – THE TERRY FOX STORY because we can.
HBO Documentary Films: Two new documentaries will air on the HBO channel and of course be available to stream. The first one is presented on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16 (8:00-10:30pm ET/PT) and it is called MASTER OF LIGHT. It tells of George Anthony Morton, a classical painter who spent ten years in federal prison for dealing drugs. While incarcerated, he nurtured his craft and unique artistic ability. Since his release, he is doing everything he can to defy society’s unlevel playing field and tackle the white-dominant art world. Now, he is on a journey back to his hometown of Kansas City, where he tries to heal the broken relationship with his mother and paint family members in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. Going back home forces George to face his past in his quest to rewrite the script of his life and discover the contribution of African influences to the realist tradition. At the end of the month is MY SO-CALLED HIGH SCHOOL RANK. It goes deep into the lives of high school students in three radically disparate communities as they navigate the pressures around college while staging a musical about the stresses of high school life until seismic events (like the college admissions scandal) upend their dreams and expectations. It comes available on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 (8:00-9:40pm ET/PT). Also, THE VOW PART II has three more installments to go in November. Its parks on Monday nights at 9:00pm. The breakdown of the remaining episodes is as follows –
–Episode 4: “The Breach”
Debut date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7 (9:00-10:00pmET/PT)
Lauren Salzman testifies to decades of manipulation at the hands of Keith Raniere, a man she loved. Her loyalty and devotion eventually turned her into both a victim and victimizer of other women. NXIVM supporters are unconvinced by the evidence presented in court. Nancy Salzman grapples with learning the extent of Raniere’s sexual pursuit of both of her daughters.
–Episode 5: “The Room”
Debut date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT)
A witness for the prosecution gives heart-wrenching testimony about how Keith Raniere groomed her from a very young age and describes the coercive abuse she suffered at his hands, including being isolated in a room for two years. We learn the witness’s younger sister was preyed upon by Raniere; this shocking and overwhelming evidence finally convinced Nancy Salzman to plead guilty and disavow Raniere. The trial concludes and all await the verdict.
–Episode 6: “Crime and Punishment” (Finale)
Debut date: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 (9:00-10:30pm ET/PT)
Keith Raniere is found guilty on all charges, including racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, identity theft and production and possession of child pornography. Many survivors of his abuse come forward to deliver powerful victim impact statements and he is sentenced to 120 years. His supporters work to exonerate him, and he plans to appeal. Nancy Salzman comes to a painful reckoning; she is sentenced to 42 months in federal prison.
HBO MAX Original Documentary Films: The streaming site has three diverse documentaries of its own; which means they won’t play over the linear channel. Uploading on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03 is a three-part true crime tale entitled LOW COUNTRY: THE MURDAUGH DYNASTY. It is exploring the legacy of the Murdaugh family, whose decades of powerful influence over the legal system in the South Carolina lowcountry unravel amid accusations of fraud, deception, and murder. It questions the unchecked power of privilege – and the trail of death and destruction left in one family’s wake. Something completely off-beat uploads on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17; it’s called SANTA CAMP. Every summer, a horde of professional Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves descend on a campsite in the New Hampshire woods to learn the tricks of their trade. But this year is different. The organizers, members of the one-hundred-strong New England Santa Society, have decided to tackle a complicated and historic problem – the lack of diversity in the Santa industry. They decide to enlist a Black Santa named Chris, a Santa with a disability named Fin, and a transgender Santa named Levi, each with their own surprising Santa origin story. A celebrity documentary is presented THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24. After U. S. followers gorge on turkey & the trimmings you could always seek out LOVE, LIZZO, if you’re into her music at all. The documentary follows three-time Grammy Award-winning superstar singer, songwriter, rapper, flutist and actress Lizzo as she makes history shifting the sound, soul, and spirit of popular music and culture all while balancing the challenges of life, love and stardom. The film shares the inspirational story behind her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise with an intimate look into the moments that shaped her hard-earned rise to fame, success, love and international stardom.
HBO Original Special: One stand-up gig this month before the big ceremony I wait for every year. First coming to the stage, as it were, is a familiar comic back for his second special. Put your hands together for LIL REL HOWERY: I SAID IT. Y’ALL THINKING IT presented on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 (10:00-11:05pm ET/PT). Sort of self-explanatory, isn’t it? He is going speak out loud truths that we only dare to think about. Whatever, we’ll roll with that. Howery returns home to Chicago to share candid takes on fame, fatherhood, and therapy. Wow, a lot of comics confess the need for therapy these days! Sorry though, the big special for me is the annual concert event that is always full of great sounds, ‘what do they look & sound like now’ icons, and always a dose of some controversy or another. I’m talking about THE 37TH ANNUAL ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY for 2022! This year the event will take place on Saturday, November 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, then package up to be aired on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 beginning at 8:00pm. Long Live Rock & Roll! Below is a clip reminding us of the Inductees:
HBO Max Original Special: Two new stand-up gigs come to the streamer. I’ll confess I’m not familiar with either one, but that doesn’t mean they’re not funny. First (THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03) is CHRIS REDD: WHY AM I LIKE THIS?, which sounds like another comic in therapy, right? Executive produced by Conan O’Brien, Redd’s routine features the comedian examining “pivotal parts of his life that made him into the person he is today.” We have a trailer for this one below. The second show is IAN LARA: ROMANTIC COMEDY, uploaded on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11. The New York comedian delights HBO audiences with his first standalone special. Lara explores the lessons learned during the pandemic, including common problems of New Yorkers during travel, and offers some essential advice to avoid risky dating experiences.
HBO Max Kids & Family: Just a few more categories to go as we jump into what is fun for the family. We can’t let this posting slide without giving a nod to the launch of SESAME STREET Season 53. The season is devoted to helping children grow up with a healthy self-identity and sense of belonging, in full celebration of our diverse world. Celebrity and special guests Mickey Guyton, Amber Ruffin, Zazie Beetz, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Samuel L. Jackson, Brett Goldstein, Ava Duvernay, and HAIM. Families can head back to the special neighborhood beginning THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03 via the CARTOONITO Hub. And now, without further ado…
Sorry, I think I got carried away. Also uploading is a new season of MY SESAME STREET FRIENDS, which focuses on creativity, on the same day. But Elmo & the gang are not the only friends at HBO Max, the Looney Tunes characters have new content too. On SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 05 more episodes of BUGS BUNNY BUILDERS (that’s the one where they get creative in construction) begin, and on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20 settle the kids in front of KING TWEETY. In this 72-minute animation Tweety, his ‘puddytat’ Sylvester and Granny go on holiday to the Canary Islands. However, when the queen of the island paradise disappears, Tweety unexpectedly becomes next in line for the crown. Ah, royal problems of a different kind for a change. Uploading new episodes of its fourth season is Cartoon Network’s CRAIG OF THE CREEK coming TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08.
HBO Sports: Are you ready for big players and sports icons? HBO Sports has got them. First up to the plate on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08 (9:00-10:40pm ET/PT) is legendary ballplayer Willie Mays. The documentary, SAY, HEY, WILLIE MAYS, a film exploring the life and career of the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, debuting TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08 (9:00-10:40pm ET/PT) on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max. It follows Mays’ life both on and off the field over five decades as he navigated the American sports landscape and the country’s ever-evolving cultural backdrop, all while helping to define what it means to be one of America’s first Black sports superstars. He left an indelible mark in New York City and San Francisco, building a love affair with both cities’ fans. The film features new interviews with Mays, his godson Barry Bonds, and son Michael Mays. Additional interviews include Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal, alongside the late baseball legend Vin Scully, Hall of Fame Broadcasters Jon Miller and Bob Costas, and Mays’ biographer John Shea.
Next up is a return to the gridiron in the way only HBO & NFL Films can do it. HARD KNOCKS: IN SEASON: THE ARIZONA CARDINALS take us to the field right in the middle of in-season action. The series will debut on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 09, with new episodes each Wednesday through the end of the Cardinals’ season, debuting on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max. The series will join the Cardinals after the completion of their ninth regular season game (vs. Seattle) but will sit silent over the team’s bye week in early December. Fear not, basketball is covered by HBO Sports as well. A documentary with a one-word title says it all – SHAQ. It is a four-part documentary series from director Robert Alexander and Peter Berg’s Film 45 detailing the life and career of NBA Hall of Famer and multi-hyphenate Shaquille O’Neal, debuting WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT), with new episodes on subsequent Wednesdays on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max. The film series chronicles Shaq’s ascent to superstardom, as a dominant force who won four NBA championships, league MVP honors, and changed the game. It also encompasses his life off the court, from his upbringing in a military family to his deepest personal relationships and prosperous broadcasting and business careers. One more icon of a different sort to go, he covers it all. Another installment of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is presented TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22. Topics included this past session included an updated report about violence against referees and also the rising craze for pickleball. A 4Q installment of BACK ON THE RECORD WITH BOB COSTAS debuts FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 (11:00pm-12:00am ET/PT).
Other Movies & Shows: Sheesh, did we miss anything? Well, I’m sure we did but a few more titles we can put out there for you. Seek out the ones that interest you in November. The new season of DC TITANS drops on 11.03; the third season of ALL RISE arrives on 11.09 and more foodie shows out there, alas, like MAGNOLIA TABLE WITH JOANNA GAINES, and FOR THE LOVE OF KITCHENS. In movies all I can say is I hope you love Star Trek because ten movies beginning with 1979’s STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE to 2002’s STAR TREK: NEMESIS are uploading. Hell, I would have thought Paramount+ would have hoarded all of those. How about WHAT’S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU DOING IN A PLACE LIKE THIS? from 1992, TIME FREAK from 2018 or !THREE AMIGOS! from 1986? Yeah, just tell me to stop. The best thing to do is wait until TUESDAY NOVEMBER 01 when most of the movie line-up uploads and scan the listing on HBO Max’ Just Added page. This time around I single out THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS.
Next Month’s Tease: Cecily von Ziegesar wrote twelve novels featuring characters that eventually got cinematic adaptations. If you know this author, you know the HBO Max content that stems from her work.
Last month’s answer – A sports question was asked last time. If you didn’t know, you do now. “The Say Hey Kid” was the nickname of baseball great Willie Mays. Don’t miss the documentary about him this month.
Final Clip: Okay, okay, I think it is pushing it all way too early for me but here is the Teaser that you’re looking for. Remember though, it is only a 31-second tease. I ‘triple dog dare ya’ not to get a lump in your throat!
Enjoy HBO and HBO Watch!