Enlightened is TV’s best show right now—and it needs more viewers. Written by Mike White (School of Rock and Freaks and Geeks, among others) and starring Laura Dern (also the show's co-creator, Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, and Timm Sharp (aka Marshall from Undeclared), the show has also seen an impressive line-up of guest directors, including Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), Phil Morrison (Junebug), James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords), and Todd Haynes (I'm Not There). The show's range is astonishing – it depicts its main character as cringeworthily oblivious, yet also lets her deliver monologues which are unusually sincere for a comedy; some of its characters are ridiculous and absurd, while others are capable of deep melancholy. Mike White talks to Interview Magazine about creating Enlightened before its premiere; a year later, he talks to Indiewire about why people have such a hard time sympathizing with Amy.
Luck was a David Milch-created show on HBO last year. It was cancelled after one season. Some of you might have dug it. If so, you might also dig Out of Luck: "The following blog is the writer’s depiction of an imagined racetrack-based story, an ongoing saga, which includes some of the characters depicted in the ill-fated Luck series." It's written by John Perrotta who was a writer/producer/story editor on the show.
"Girls" is a bit of a hit. Although it lost out to "Modern Family" at the Emmy Awards, it continues to receive significant attention as the 2nd season gets underway. [more inside]
'I'm a White Girl': Why 'Girls' Won't Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem-an article from The Atlantic with several interesting links on the larger issue of including (or not) black characters into American television.
Lena Dunham shows her art-world roots in her 2009 web-series: Season 1 at Index Magazine, Season 2 at delusionaldowntowndivas.com. Meanwhile Season 2 of Dunham's HBO series "Girls" arrives Sunday night, expect online fireworks.
In Treatment was an HBO series that ran three seasons from 2008 through 2010. Adapated - often word-for-word - from the Israeli drama BeTipul, it depicted the weekly sessions of a psychologist (Emmy-nominated Gabriel Byrne) with his patients (including Debra Winger, Emmy-nominated Hope Davis, and, in her first American role, Mia Wasikowska) and with his own therapist (Emmy-winning Dianne Wiest). The filming of the series placed extraordinary demands on Byrne - which are well described in this interview with showrunner Warren Leight. (h/t: MCMikeNamara) You can watch its entire first episode here. (possible spoilers throughout)
Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012 - In which the creator of The Thick Of It argues that the BBC should be more aggressive, fight back against critics in the press and goverment, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
Bringing VICE to HBO: To win over the cable network, the Vice team assembled a “best of” reel that included stories on North Korean labor camps, Liberia and the gun markets of Pakistan and later produced a pilot that included stories about Afghan suicide bombers and underground heroin clinics. [more inside]
"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it."
'The Hubris and Despair of War Journalism: What Martha Gellhorn teaches us about the morality of contemporary war reportage.' [more inside]
"The world of entertainment still, all too often, values women only as objects of beauty to be placed on screen and ogled. [...] [T]he world is full of other women who have profound, intelligent, often hilarious things to say, and Dunham is very quietly making a space for those voices on TV, in a way that’s revolutionary both in terms of the show’s gender politics and in terms of its presentation. - AVClub critic TodVanDerWerff on "how [the HBO show] Girls challenges the masculine expectations of 'good TV.'" [more inside]
HBO is now selling a life-size replica of the throne from “Game of Thrones,” its epic fantasy adapted from George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” novels. [HBO-blue] The replica is made not from molten steel but from hand-finished, hand-painted fiberglass and fireproof resin, weighs 350 pounds and measures 7 feet, 2 inches tall; 5 feet 11 inches deep; and 5 feet 5 inches wide. HBO, which also offers artifacts and memorabilia inspired by its other original series, said in a news release about the throne that “calling it impressive is an understatement” but offered no advice on how to sit in a seat constructed from so many sharp and pointed instruments. [Via: NYTimes.com]
"First of all, we almost had no battle at all. For budgetary reasons we came very, very close to having all the action take place off-screen, the way plays have handled battle scenes for a few thousand years." - How the epic battle at the heart of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Blackwater, written by George R. R. Martin and directed by Neil Marshall, came to be. Mentor relationships in Game of Thrones (and Mad Men). The National's Lannister song. And, perhaps sriking closest of all to the central themes of the show, Jezebel plays Game of Thrones: Marry, Fuck, Kill.
Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, Challenges. HBO’s multi-part research documentary The Weight of the Nation examines obesity in America in four parts, marshaling leading doctors, epidemiologists, economists, researchers, and community leaders to understand and explain the individual costs and public solutions to a multi-faceted social and individual problem. The documentary both explores large picture statistics, while giving voice “to those that often too seek to be invisible: members of the nearly 70 percent of Americans currently diagnosed as overweight or obese. (AV Club Review)” [more inside]
Anti-piracy measures have made life difficult for those who actually pay for content, games, music, etc. DirecTV has blocked HBO (apparently at their request) over HDMI by use of HDCP. Suddenly, subscribers with older HD sets are not able to watch HBO and soon other premium channels. The solution? Use component cables or get a new TV.
With Season 2 of Game of Thrones to begin on Sunday, it's important to review the various life and parenting lessons we've learned from the show.
HBO Documentary: Child of Rage: (1989) "Story of Beth, a six-year-old child who had faced the loss of a mother, physical abuse, and sexual abuse all before the age of 19 months. Both Beth and her younger brother Jonathan were put up for adoption. They were adopted by a minister and his wife. This unsuspecting couple quickly learned that something was extremely wrong with Beth. This terrifying and disturbing documentary traces Beth as she goes through therapy in Colorado. The video explains that Beth suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder. [Via]."
A comparison of Sarah Palin's media appearances versus Julianne Moore's reenactment of them in the movie Game Change.
Grantland held a March Madness-type bracket this past week to determine the greatest character from HBO's 2002-2008 series "The Wire". The idea came from a conversation between Grantland's Editor-in-Chief, Bill Simmons, and President Obama. Voting took place via Grantland's Facebook page. Spoilers from the results and TV show are within. [more inside]
The company that creates digital effects for Boardwalk Empire has put together the before and after shots from Season Two.
HBO's Game of Thrones was a huge hit (with some controversy and rebuttals of same), securing a second season only two days after its debut. Filming of said season finished on December 11th and now the production crew is pulling all the pieces together for the April 2012 start of season 2. A few details have officially and unofficially come out, details after the jump: [more inside]
After the success of No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese has turned his documentary eye toward another 60s musician. On October 5 and 6, George Harrison: Living In The Material World will run on HBO in two parts. The film has already played some film festivals and gotten great reviews. [more inside]
The A.V. Club's T.V. Club has begun to reexamine Six Feet Under. The show, widely considered one of the finest television series of all time, turned 10 years old a little over a week ago. So far, the first three episodes have been reviewed.
What to watch when you've finished running through The Wire, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly on Netflix.
Why should you be watching HBO's Game of Thrones? In two words: Peter Dinklage. At 41 and expecting his first child, actor Peter Dinklage may finally be coming into his own. Though his breakout role in the indie movie Station Agent might not have made it onto your Netflix queue, Dinklage is winning accolades for his performance as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. [more inside]
The premise of HBO's hour-long special "Talking Funny" [Part 2, 3, 4] is simple: invite four top-ranked comedians — Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Louis C.K. — turn on the cameras, and let them talk shop for an hour. There are laughs, of course, but the most interesting parts focus on the technical craft of getting those laughs. Michael Bierut didn't tune in looking for lessons for designers, but he found seven. [more inside]
HBO's Game of Thrones, "Narnia populated by super-hard bastards", has been a ratings and critical success and has already been picked up for a second season. HBO have a secret weapon in bringing George R. R. Martin's fantasy epic to screen: An awesome title sequence that doubles as a painless infodump.
HBO has a free 15 minute preview up for their adaptation of George R. R. Martin's fantasy series A Game of thrones. The folks over at Westeros.org have seen rough copies of the first six episodes and report on them. In general, reviews are very positive so far. Previously on the Blue. Via this thread at hipinion. Bonus: Next Media Animation briefs you on the subject. All links contain minor-to-major spoilers.
The A.V. Club sits down with W. Earle Brown -- Deadwood's Dan Dority -- in a fascinating and far-ranging interview about his experiences on the show, and what could have been.
Life Magazine: The Real Boardwalk Empire: Nucky Johnson's Old Atlantic City [more inside]
"The TV Wheel was a television experiment created by and starring Joel Hodgson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame. Cable network HBO ordered a pilot, but ultimately passed on picking up the show. The pilot episode eventually aired once on Comedy Central as a special presentation following the last new episode of MST3K to be broadcast on that network."*
The pilot, bookended by introduction segments, is right through this door: [more inside]
The pilot, bookended by introduction segments, is right through this door: [more inside]
Summer's here, which means a new season of everyone's favorite slashfic-friendly show, True Blood. But this season doesn't only bring us Louisianan vampires, it also includes a very special message from Snoop Dogg, who proves that he's no slouch at imagining new erotic developments for the characters.
In 2006, gas developers offered Josh Fox a hundred thousand dollars for the rights to seek natural gas below his land via the process of hydrolic fractioning. Curious as to what this entailed, he checked out what had happened in places where it had been practiced before. It caused him to make the documentary Gasland. He's been talking it up since then here and there. [more inside]
David Milch, creator of Deadwood, John From Cincinnati, and NYPD Blue reads from Luck, his Michael Mann-directed upcoming show for HBO. Following the reading there's a Q&A. (mp3)
The New Orleans blogosphere and twitterverse have been abuzz about HBO's Treme, which premieres tonight. Today's edition of the local paper features an open letter to New Orleanians from director David Simon. [more inside]
Nathan Avon "Bodie" Barksdale is a real life Baltimore gangster upon whom the character from "The Wire" was based. Now, Nathan Barksdale has a chance to tell his side of the story in this upcoming documentary. [more inside]
Merry Christmas From Juniper Creek's Prophet and sister-wives. Video and free album from the cast of HBO's Big Love.
Non-linear storytelling taken to a new level, HBO's Imagine website features film and audio clips combined with press clippings in a 3D space which you can navigate at your will. It also includes some "cube scenes" which play from multiple angles at once, revealing hidden events which require you to view the scene from all angles to get all the details. [warning - Flash-to-the-gills design] [more inside]
September 9, 2005 - Flight of the Conchords performed six songs and chatted with the audience as part of HBO's One Night Stand, not quite two years before the TV series would air. The show is online for your viewing pleasure (29 minute MySpace video, also available as a youtube playlist of 6 videos). [more inside]
The Alzheimer's Project. HBO is streaming online a four-part documentary on Alzheimer's Disease. The Memory Loss Tapes focuses on the experience of people who have the disease themselves, Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? tells the stories of children whose grandparents have the disease, Momentum in Science looks at the state of research into the disease and advances in treatment, and Caregivers follows the sacrifices and joys of those who care for people with Alzheimer's. [more inside]
Bill Moyers Journal, April 17, 2009 From crime beat reporter for the BALTIMORE SUN to award-winning screenwriter of HBO's critically-acclaimed The Wire, David Simon talks with Bill Moyers about inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today. Sorry for the one link post.
This weekend marks the U.S. premiere of the new HBO film Grey Gardens (starring Drew Barrymore as Little Edie and Jessica Lange as Big Edie) -- promo [video | 02:01] || 'Inside Grey Garden' [video | 03:33]. The film is based on the 1975 documentary filmed by the Maysles brothers, depicting the "true story of Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie, the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis....[who] live[d] in a world of their own behind the towering privets that surround[ed] their decaying 28-room East Hampton mansion known as 'Grey Gardens.'" [more inside]
"So I found out yesterday that the soundstage for "The Wire" still existed. I wasted no time in visiting it and was there almost less than 24 hours [sic]. It's one of my favorite TV shows ever and I had to see this before everyone ruined it. The building is also scheduled for demolition and they are going to build a super market on it." NOTE: LINK CONTAINS SPOILERS [more inside]
The first episode of the new season of Flight of the Conchords is available to watch free online (US only, sorry). "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo," their first season was chock full of hilarious moments and musical interludes, including some drawn from their live performances. Previously on Metafilter.
No "Preacher" for you. Many of you did not think a "Preacher" miniseries would end well. Would fans prefer to be disappointed by the aborted attempt at an adaptation than disappointed at its not meeting viewers' expectations?
About twenty years ago, HBO aired The Mondo Beyondo Show, a sort-of send-up of avant-garde performance shows like Alive From Off Center and Night Flight. Hosted by Bette Midler (as the character Mondo Beyondo), it showcased artists that covered the broad spectrum between performance art, dance, and absurdist comedy. Strap on your Eighties Goggles; here's the meat of the show: Bill Irwin | La La La Human Steps | The Kipper Kids | Yes/No People | Paul Zaloom | David Cale | and the Divine Miss M as Eudora P. Quickly [more inside]
Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are back on HBO with a new comedy, with Cross playing himself and Odenkirk directing. The pilot's being filmed in May in Los Angeles, and apparently they'll be needing "150 audiencers" (and here's Cracked's Five of the Funniest Mr. Show sketches to masterfully pad out the post).
If you had HBO in the 80's, you saw this every night at 8pm. HBO put together a brief behind-the-scenes featurette showing everything from the construction of the models to the composition of the music.