Well, HBO has been having a bit of a tumultuous journey for some time now. Sure, they will always have Game of Thrones to save the day, but what will happen when that ends? With a multitude of awards as well as favoring audience reception to boost— it is certainly no secret why HBO, for 40 or so years, has been the prime example of superior entertainment, especially during the current Golden Age of television.
However, as HBO continues its ascending climb to eternal glory, the network must also keep an eye out for other television networks hot on their trail. With several Netflix series and other premium cable networks churning out some good material, HBO must be hearing them breathing just around the corner.
HBO has been having some trouble as of late— with a slew of cancellations from Vinyl, Martin Scorsese’s drug induced mess, The Brink, Jack Black's (un)funny political satire, and Project Greenlight, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s second attempt at a reality filmmaking tv series.
HBO has also been having a bit of difficulty settling on a new series to give the go ahead to, such as David Fincher’s Videosyncrasy, about the music video world of the 1980’s and his remake of the British black comedy thriller Utopia, which I was particularly ecstatic for. 12 Years a Slave’s Steve McQueen’s erotic social clash series Codes of Conduct also never went beyond its pilot episode.
To make matters worse, Michael Lombardo, former HBO executive, hauled-*ss out of the network’s current state of misfortune a few months back, anointing Casey Bloys as the new HBO executive. This week, he and the power network’s current heads, came together to discuss HBO’s future as well as their confidence in it.
The End Is Near
Let’s get to brass tax, Bloys has confirmed that Game of Thrones will be ending with its eighth season in 2018, and to add insult to injury, there will be only 13 episodes in total. If this is burdensome news for us than you know it is beyond tragic for those at HBO. Not only is Game of Thrones awesome, but it is also the network’s central bread and butter. Bloys also went on to discuss the imminent probability of a spin off series (no surprise, there is just no way HBO is going to let this series die out).
However, in light of the damningly unfortunate news of Game of Thrones, Bloys was more than pleased to give us some updates on the network’s up-and-coming slate. One such series is Westworld, a show that I am both fascinated and attentive for, which will air on October 2. Questions regarding Westworld and Game of Thrones were not without its controversies, of course. With reporters berating the executives with questions regarding both series’ depictions of sexual violence towards women. Bloys was rightfully quick to defend all his showrunners’ integrities as well as the creative choices they have made. Of course, people are more than happy to question the depiction of sexual violence towards women on Game of Thrones, but no one thinks about asking why there is so much castration and torture amongst its male characters.
With Lena Dunham's Girls, a millennial tale of selfish love, having finished this year and Game of Thrones veering towards its last trip to Westeros, there is certainly a lot of room that needs to be filled up. Room that will be even more vacant after Damon Lindelof's undervalued masterpiece, The Leftovers, finishes its third and final season.
The announcement of two new comedy series starting on October 9, Insecure and Divorce, were also provided during the executive conference. Insecure, being defined as an African-American version of Girls (not sure if that’s a compliment or insult) and Sarah Jessica Parker’s second foray into HBO territory with Divorce, co-starring the criminally underrated Thomas Haden Church.
As well as two new untitled developing series— this November the great Jon Stewart will air an animated political parody— Jon Stewart tackling politics again with his unapologetically mordant talent on an unfiltered network— why did it this long? Also on the horizon is a new series by True Blood’s alum creator Alan Ball. Being described as a suburban family drama about a multi-racial household and the deep-rooted racism that they must exist in. The thought of Alan Ball tackling another suburban drama sounds like a no brainer (American Beauty is one of my favorite movies of all time).
We also got some updates on some present shows. The Night Of, everyone’s current obsession, has been greenlit for a second season, not sure if it will be the same story or an anthology series. Bloys also confirmed that True Detective season 3 is still a possibility, even after the scathing reviews of the second season, although the series’ creator, Nic Pizzolato, will likely take a backseat showrunner position with a room full of writers this time around.
The welcoming return of Larry David’s brilliant cult series Curb Your Enthusiasm (seriously, there’s a weird following for this show) will air next year, while HBO has given the go ahead for two television movies based on a previous series. David Milch’s continuation of the profanity-filled lawlessness in Deadwood, currently in the screenwriting phase, while the final chapter of HBO’s brave documentation of San Francisco gay life in Michael Lannan’s Looking will be premiering soon.
It requires no arduous effort to see why HBO is so confident— with a roster as promising and as noteworthy as these shows appear to be, as well as with the talent behind some of them— a provocative future is pretty much set in stone for the superior network.