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Spring 2012 Preview and Predictions: HBO

5 Jan

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Spring note:  It’s a lot harder to analyze midseason shows as there’s no collective marketing campaigns going on at one time, as many of the shows start dates are spread (or are even unannounced for some)  Still, we’ll take partially educated guesses.  Also, they’re a lot less likely to get partial pick ups, so maybe that trade off will make it easier)

HBO will get its own edition this season.  HBO debuted only one show in the fall, but has five coming out at different points over the spring, one drama, and four comedies, two which are co-produced with foreign networks.

Luck – 1/29


Big guns are on board for this show.  It’s created by HBO regular David Milch, who was behind the three season Deadwood, and co-created one season failure John from Cincinnati.  He also co-created NYPD Blue almost twenty years ago.  Michael Mann directed the first episode.  Luck is about the niche world of horse racing and stars Dustin Hoffman as degenerate gambler Chester“Ace” Bernstein.  Dennis Farina, Nick Nolte, Jill Hennessey and Michael Gambon also star.

Verdict:  Renewal – I really hope it’s good.  I haven’t watched all of Deadwood, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen, and while a show about such a strange insular world sounds risky it also sounds interesting.

Life’s Too Short

Life’s Too Short is a show written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and created by the two of them and famous dwarf actor Warwick Davis, star of Willow and Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi.  The show is a mockumentary, following an exaggerated version of Warwick Davis playing himself, as a dwarf who acts and runs a talent agency for small people.  Merchant and Gervais also appear as themselves.  A camera crew follows Davis around, promising classic Gervais and Merchant awkward comedy.

Verdict:  Renewal – cheating!  It’s a co-production with the BBC, where it aired this fall and it’s already been renewed for a second season airing in 2013.

Girls – sometime in April

I have an extremely limited amount of information about this series at my disposal.  Girls will be executively produced by Judd Apatow and is created by 25 year old Lena Durham who apparently made minor waves with film Tiny Furniture in 2010.  It’s about four girls in their twenties, and I read it billed, on one site, as the anti-Sex and the City.  Not in the constantly talking about sex way, as there’ll be lots of that.  More in the, instead of eating at fancy restaurants and buying expensive purses, they’ll be near broke.

Verdict: 12-  Honestly, I have no fucking clue.  HBO shows are far more likely to get second seasons than broadcast shows, but something’s got to get cancelled.

Angry Boys – 1/1

Co-produced by HBO and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Angry Boys is another mockumentary series, this time created by mockumentary veteran Australian Chris Lillies who has produced two mockumentary series before this one.  Lillies himself plays most of the important characters, including an American rapper (is blackface cool by now?), a champion surfer, a guard at a juvenile prison, and a Japanese mother.

Verdict:  Renewal – another cheat!  This was released in Australia nearly a year ago and is very popular there.  I can’t find anything about renewal, but unless they don’t want to continue or it’s a lot more expensive to film than it seems to be, international popularity may keep it afloat regardless of how it does in the US of A.

Veep – unscheduled

To refill their comedy stock after the comedy mass execution of ’11, HBO is throwing out a few options this spring.  In Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss plays the Vice President of the US and it turns out the job isn’t quite as glamorous as it sounds.  Louis-Dreyfuss struggles with the day to day monotony of a post without much power.  Tony Hale (Buster of Arrested Development) and Anna Chlumsky (the titular girl in My Girl) co-star.

Verdict:  Renewal – Louis-Dreyfuss is talented enough and HBO will probably give her a better vehicle here than The New Adventures of Old Christine.  Plus, HBO needs the comedies.