Summer is winding down friends and autumn is nigh. That means two things around here. The summer series are replaced by the fall ones and HBO ramps up programming to keep viewer’s eyes off the new shows the broadcast channels launch. So, we here at HBOWatch hope you are excited for what is on the horizon. A Fall 2013 Preview clip should appear in the next couple of weeks to get us in the mood so be on the lookout for it. So, with that here we go with What’s On: HBO Schedule for September 2013.
Theatrical Movies: As always we start off with the programming that was the mainstay of HBO’s programming in the early days. HBO has contractual agreements with a number of studios that allows it to be the first-run destination for movies on the TV dial. HBO has lined up some exciting and/or humorous pictures for September that will debut Saturday nights. The four films premiering are ARGO, PARENTAL GUIDANCE, HITCHCOCK and THIS IS 40.
The first debut is a big one. It is only the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture and for Best Adapted Screenplay – ARGO. It is a historical thriller adapted from U. S. Central Intelligence Agency operative Tony Mendez’s The Master of Disguise and Joshuah Bearman’s Wired article “The Great Escape.” Under the guise of a Hollywood location-scouting trip, a federal agent (Ben Affleck) tries to free a group of Americans who are stranded in Tehran during the 1980 hostage crisis in Iran. The fake movie they are hiding behind is called Argo. The movie is directed, co-produced and starring Ben Affleck and features Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Though the movie was criticized as not being historically accurate it still proves to be a gripping story and a nice “get” for HBO. Its premiere date is 09.07.
The following Saturday (09.14) offers a relationship comedy. No, it is not a romance but a funny look at the family dynamic called PARENTAL GUIDANCE. It features the whole brood as grandparents, played by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler (I’ve always liked the both of them), watches the kids while the parents (Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott) are away on business. Though I have not seen it I suspect that the children, three in all, have a tough go of relating to the old folks and probably don’t handle their discipline very well, nor do the grandparents handle the disrespectful brats very well. This PG-rated romp might be entertaining to some family units out there but not for those who just watched ARGO the week before.
HITCHCOCK premieres on 09.21 and if you saw the HBO FILM: THE GIRL with Toby Jones you might want to see Anthony Hopkins take on the famed director Alfred Hitchcock. The movie is not really about the director’s career as it is more about his relationship with his wife Alma Reville. The year is 1959 and Mr. H. is making Psycho and his wife, played by Helen Mirren, is by his side. Scarlett Johansson plays his Vivien Leigh. The movie is said to match the macabre sense of humor of Hitchcock and Hopkins changes his visage to look more like Mr. H. but, are those elements enough to make this an interesting movie? The suspense is killing me but, will have to wait until mid-September for the answers. Lastly, those interested will have to wait until 09.28 for THIS IS 40. This movie is from the mind of Judd Apatow and stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.Oh, and yes, this is the same couple from Knocked Up. In this one they play the couple in crises when they hit the dreaded age of 40. The actors play Pete & Debbie and their life is falling apart; what with bratty kids (maybe they need Crystal & Midler to come over) failing jobs and birthdays making them miserable. Somehow I bet they will turn it all around. And when they do Apatow and company can bring them back for “This is 50”, “This is 60”, etc. Ok, maybe not. If you fear
hitting 40 then maybe this is for you and if you are past that age then you know it was no big deal and can skip it. You know where you stand.
And we stand at the point where I offer up a trailer from one of the upcoming flicks. You would think that ARGO would be a good choice as it is an Oscar winner but because of that it is on the mind of movie watchers already so, instead, I will present a clip from HITCHCOCK as my choice.
You can bet that I’ll watch that movie and ARGO as well. As for August’s lineup, as of this posting I have seen Tolstoy’s story come to stylized life and Award winning Ang Lee’s beautiful work but I am waiting for LES MIZ to debut. Three out of four movies in a month is good for me. How about you?
Originals: We got quite a bit happening in the original programming this coming month. On the dramatic bent we have a season of one show ending and another just beginning and on the comedic side we have a series premiere and the return of a favorite. Let’s start with the continuing Season Two of THE NEWSROOM. September has the two final episodes of the season debuting on 09.08 and 09.15. Here is a quick look at the episodes that air at 9:00pm:
Episode #18: Election Night, Part I In the wake of Leona’s refusal to accept the resignations of three top ACN talents, “News Night” goes forward with its 2012 election-night coverage, featuring Will in the unlikely role of director of morale. Sloan is perturbed that her book was auctioned off with a forged signature, while Mac tasks Neal to fix a faulty Wikipedia page. Mindful that Charlie wants a screwup-free evening, Jim weighs the cons of retracting a call he made too soon. The team deliberates whether to hold off on a story that might influence a tight Senate race. (Written by Aaron Sorkin; directed by Jason Ensler.) Airdates on HBO are 09.08, 09.10, 09.11, 09.12, 09.13 & 09.14.
Episode #19: Election Night, Part II As Election Night 2012 winds down, Will and Charlie await a decision from Reese that may affect their future at ACN, and that of the entire senior staff. Sloan learns the identity of the anonymous winning bidder for her book; Don discusses a countersuit against Dantana with Rebecca; Neal turns to Hallie for help giving Mac a parting gift; Jim tries to make peace with Lisa, encouraging Maggie to do the same; Will has a revelation while Charlie is sharing his. (Written by Aaron Sorkin; directed by Alan Poul.) Airdates on HBO are 09.15, 09.17, 09.18, 09.19, 09.20 & 09.21.
Next up is the return of a dramatic favorite that will take over Aaron’s Sorkin’s place on Sunday nights. BOARDWALK EMPIRE airs at 9:00pm. Picture the following – Atlantic City, February 1924: After barely surviving an overthrow by gangster Gyp Rossetti, Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is laying low at the end of the Boardwalk. But the calm will be short-lived, as he faces new challenges, including a clash with the mayor, a battle with his brother and the irresistible lure of lucrative – and perilous – opportunities in Florida. The fourth season includes the talents of Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Jack Huston, Stephen Graham, Michael Stuhlbarg, Vincent Piazza, Paul Sparks, Michael Kenneth Williams, Gretchen Mol, Anthony Laciura, Jeffrey Wright and Ron Livingston. Four episodes air in September.
Episode #37: New York Sour Following his battle with Gyp Rosetti, Nucky makes a peace offering to Joe Masseria (Ivo Nandi) while working the odds with Arnold Rothstein. While Chalky is busy running the Onyx Club on the Boardwalk the impulsive Dunn Purnsley (Erik LaRay Harvey) clashes with a booking agent. Fresh-faced Federal Agent Warren Knox arrives in Atlantic City to learn the ropes from Agent Sawicki (Joseph Aniska). Gillian seeks custody of her grandson, Tommy (Brady Noon), while trying to find a “good” man to keep the Artemis Club afloat. Eli’s college-age son, Willie (Ben Rosenfield), turns to Nucky for career advice. Al Capone enlists his brothers, Frank and Ralph, to help him expand his business in the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Richard Harrow returns to his violent ways. Airdates on HBO are on 09.8, 09.10, 09.11, 09.13 & 09.14.
Episode #38: Resignation Now working as a “delivery man” for Dean O’Banion (Arron Shiver), Van Alden is ordered to keep tabs on Al Capone, joining the ascendant mobster to help keep Cicero voters “informed” at a political rally. Dr. Valentin Narcisse arrives in Atlantic City, clashing with Chalky and Nucky over the loss of an employee. In Washington, Agent Knox aligns himself with J. Edgar Hoover (Eric Ladin), acting director of the Bureau of Investigation. Harrow fails to finish a job in Milwaukee, while Eddie demands a promotion after 11 years of service. With a business opportunity on the horizon, Nucky departs for Florida. Airdates on HBO are 09.15, 09.17, 9.18, 09.20 and 09.21.
Episode #39: Acres of Diamonds Nucky has reservations about investing in a Tampa land deal engineered by transplanted bootlegger Bill McCoy (Pearce Bunting). While there, he meets speakeasy owner Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette). Valentin Narcisse books a sexy jazz singer, Daughter Maitland (Margot Bingham), to perform at the Onyx, and gauges Dunn Purnsley’s allegiance to Chalky. Willie, Eli’s son, turns to Mickey Doyle and his bootleg warehouse to elevate his social standing at college. Gillian agrees to pose as Roy Phillips’ wife to impress a possible partner. Harrow tries to bury his past, though not before taking care of some unfinished business with Emma (Katherine Waterston). Airdates on HBO are 09.22, 09.24, 09.25, 09.27 & 09.28.
Episode #40: All In Nucky gets to know Arnold Rothstein over a card game, and sizes up an unexpected partner for his Tampa land deal. A newly promoted Eddie Kessler gets detoured after making a train-station delivery. When one of their collectors is incapacitated, Al and Frank Capone decide to finish his route, enlisting a reluctant Van Alden to tag along. Agent Knox fills Hoover in on the Thompson operation, vowing to exploit Nucky’s weakest link. Chalky is intrigued by Daughter Maitland’s presence. Dunn Purnsley goes to Harlem, and is courted by Valentin Narcisse. Willie and his college roommate, Clayton (Owen Campbell), carry a practical joke too far. Airdates on HBO are 09.29 and into October.
Hey, that’s not all. How about a dose of comedy to go with it? How about the return of EASTBOUND AND DOWN? Starring Danny McBride and executive produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, Jody Hill and Danny McBride, this comedic tour de force tells the story of a star pitcher Kenny Powers whose self-destructive behavior knocks him out of major league baseball, leaving him broke, delusional and desperate to regain his former glory. But, you knew that but, you might not know that it sneaks on the schedule at the end of the month with a Sunday, 09.29 debut at 10:00pm. That episode is listed as – Episode #22: Chapter 22. Bored with his dead-end job and suburban lifestyle, Kenny Powers – now married to April and a father of two – ponders a career move after partying with Guy Young, a onetime teammate and current host of a raucous TV talk show. Airdates on HBO are 09.29 & 09.30.
Accompanying McBride’s show the same weekend is the series premiere of Stephen Merchant’s HELLO LADIES. It is described thusly; a recent transplant from England, Stuart is a gawky, 6’ 7” web designer searching for excitement and romance in Los Angeles. Half as charming – and twice as desperate as he thinks he is, he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people, who won’t let him in. In his first lead role in a comedy series, Stephen Merchant (Emmy-winning writer-executive producer of “The Office” and HBO’s EXTRAS stars as Stuart which runs an eight-episode opening season. Other series regulars include Christine Woods as Jessica, an unsuccessful actress unsure of both her place in the world and her on-again, off-again romance with her agent; Nate Torrence as Wade, reluctantly re-entering the dating world after being dumped by the wife he still loves; and Kevin Weisman as Kives, who parlays his disability to great advantage in picking up women.
It all begins, naturally with Episode #1: Pilot English transplant Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) is a web designer who owns a house and has an attractive tenant named Jessica (Christine Woods), a struggling actress and aspiring web-series writer/director. After learning that Courtney (Sarah Wright), a pretty ingénue who is rehearsing with Jessica, is going to the opening of a posh nightclub, he manages to get on the guest list. (Written by Stephen Merchant & Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky; directed by Stephen Merchant.) Airs 09.29 at 10:30pm
Also on hand in September is another round with outspoken comedian/social commentator Bill Maher. He continues the 11th season of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, returning from hiatus with a new episodes starting on Friday, 09.13 at 10:00pm. True to its format the show features an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with special guests, and interviews with guests appearing live or via satellite. Airdates on HBO are Edition #293 on 09.13, 09.15, 09.17 and 09.18; Edition #294 on 09.20, 09.22, 09.24 and 09.25 and Edition #295 on 09.27 & 09.29.
Documentary: Two documentaries air in September. HBO wants to go light for a month, I guess, before the Fall Documentary Series starts in October. Premiering first is WYNTON MARSALIS: A YOUNGARTS MASTERCLASS: Three promising musicians hone their improvisational skills as they prepare for a live performace at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in this all-new YoungArts Masterclass special. It airs heavily on HBO Family but can be seen on HBO on Monday, 09.09 at 7:30pm. Other airdates are on 09.14, 09.17, 09.20 & 09.29. Also debuting is FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED: Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner paints an intimate portrait of his mother’s first cousin – poet, translator and professor Edwin Honig on his journey into the depths of Alzheimer’s disease. It is produced, directed and edited by Alan Berliner.This documentary debuts on Monday, 09.23 at 9:00pm. Other airdates are 09.26 & 09.29.
Sports: HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE CINCINNATI BENGALS concludes on 09.03.13. Other viewing dates are 09.04, 09.05, 09.06, 09.07, 09.08 & 09.09.The cinema verité series focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Cincinnati Bengals, who play in the ultracompetitive AFC North, prepare for the 2013 NFL season which starts up soon. The final episode airs at 10:00pm. HARD KNOCKS shows us a day-in-the-life of footballers but the equivalent for boxers is the 24/7 series which also returns in September. 24/7 BRADLEY/MARQUEZ debuts Saturday, 09.28 at 12:30The am. The first episode re-airs 09.29 & 09.30. This round is a two-episode, all-access that will follow world-class fighters Timothy Bradley Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez as they prepare for their compelling pay-per-view welterweight title fight on 10.12 in Las Vegas. One more series to return for another installment is REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL. The next edition debuts Tuesday 09.17 at 10:00pm. Edition #198 also airs 09.20, 09.22, 09.25, 28 & 09.30.
One of boxing’s biggest stars returns to the ring for his 2013 debut when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ, JR. VS. BRYAN VERA AND VANES MARTIROSYAN VS. DEMETRIUS ANDRADE is seen Saturday, 09.07 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from Staples Center in Los Angeles, exclusively on HBO. In a 12-round super middleweight clash, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) of Culiacan, Mexico meets Bryan Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) of Austin in a highly anticipated showdown. The opening bout of the evening features a pair of undefeated fighters and a vacant world title belt on the line as Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) of Glendale, Cal., squares off against Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) of Providence, R.I. in a junior middleweight fight scheduled for 12 rounds. The HBO Sports team will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Other Movies & Shows: One of the hardest sections of this monthly post is trying to figure out what other content on HBO might be of interest to viewers. It is a crap shoot so I’ll just throw out a few titles and you take it from there.
Ah, here is a mystery. THE SESSIONS, the movie about the sex surrogate played by Helen Hunt (Best Actress Supporting Role nominee for this role) who assists a polio afflicted man played by John Hawkes (Sol Star of DEADWOOD) in experiencing sex, airs in the wee hours. Why isn’t this one a Primetime Saturday Premiere? It airs three times on HBO at 12:40am on 09.03, 1:00am on 09.11 and at 3:40am on 09.30. That sucks. Other late night movies, though not as noted as the aforementioned include GARDEN PARTY, which is a drama about a young runaway in Hollywood and a pot dealing realtor whose lives interconnect on the mean streets; GI JANE with Demi Moore becoming a Navy Seal the hard way for Ridley Scott (isn’t GI an Army term?) and NATIONAL LAMPOON: DORM DAZE 2. Was there a # 1? Also on tap in September are repeats of shows like the HBO Sports Documentary BATTLE FOR TOBACCO ROAD: DUKE VS. CAROLINA, the HBO Documentary Film IN VOGUE: THE EDITOR’S EYE and the 2013 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Most who subscribe to HBO get more than just one channel so I always like to throw out a few choices from the other ones offered. HBO Latino: This channel offers up a few new titles. How about DIAS DE VINILO? It is an Argentinean rom-com. In this one four best buddies from childhood, who share a passion for music and women, find themselves facing mid-life crisis as one of them is about to get married. Don’t you hate that when that happens? Another debut is of the movie MIENTRAS DUERMES. It is a thriller, with a title meaning ‘sleep tight”, about a hotel concierge in Barcelona Spain who seeks to do harm to the tenants in his building for no good reason expect that he just wants to do it. One more, this is ELEFANTE BLANCO. Two socially committed priests work together to aid the impoverished of Buenos Aires amidst the violence and chaos. HBO Family: It touts two new movie premieres in September called FROM THE HIP and JACK THE BEAR. In the first one from 1987 an apprentice lawyer, played by Judd Nelson (remember him?) raises shenanigans in his firm. The second movie stars Danny DeVito as a gruff widow forced to raise the children alone. HBO Signature: Here are a few movies titles airing on the channel in September. It also carries the Helen Hunt movie THE SESSIONS as well as STIGMATA with Patricia Arquette, SPY GAME with Robert Redford & Brad Pitt and ONE TRUE THING with starring Meryl Streep & William Hurt. HBO Comedy: We are on a roll with movies so how about catching one on this channel. There is one called FOR A GOOD TIME CALL… which is about a prudish young lady and an outlandish wild child becoming roommates and starting a sex phone line to make money. HBOGO: New arrivals to the site include some movies you may not have heard about before. There is BEACH KINGS, CONFETTI, PAPARAZZI and ZELIG. In series let me mention ANGRY BOY by Chris Lilley and LITTLE BRITAIN USA. Cinemax: The sister site has Season Three of its action series STRIKE BACK and is promoting big movies like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, PITCH PERFECT & BATTLESHIP. I think you get the idea; while the kids are dealing with homework in the evenings you can explore what is playing on your favorite HBO channels. Doesn’t that sound fair?
Well, as you look back over this post you see just some of the faces that HBO has to offer in September. Enjoy. Oh, and let’s give HELLO LADIES a chance. Now, as always, I leave you with a tease and a clip.
Next Month’s Tease: We are off to Hobbiton!
Final Clip: I give you two for the price of one. Here are the trailers for ARGO & THE SESSIONS.