Written by TV

HBO – The Comeback

In some ways, HBO has never been away, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s on a bit of a roll at the moment.
At the weekend, HBO started its massive new mini-series, The Pacific, coming from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which acts as a sequel of sorts to Band of Brothers. This time, a similar style of story telling is employed in the Pacific theatre of operations. In the UK, this will start at Easter on Sky Movies. Sadly, as most of us don’t subscribe to Sky Movies (fewer, for example, than Sky Sports), that won’t be where I for one watch it. I’m surprised that Sky’s done this, but then despite what it’s said in the past Sky One has wandered away from a quality channel and more towards a combination of Living and Five as I’ve argued before.
The channel has a decent range of network US offerings, supplemented by gameshows and reality shows, with a very occasional drama here and there. I’m not sure what’s happened to the previously announced Strike Force, but recent reports suggest that the channel is looking for at least one drama to run for 13 episodes.
I suppose that’s what makes it all the more curious that something like The Pacific has been placed on Sky Movies.
I suppose I should give Sky One some kind of credit for making Pineapple Dance Studios. Although I’m not sure what credit, and they’re making a star out of Louis. Or at least Harry Hill (continuing with ITV and not Sky) is anyway. As for A League of Their Own… Well the less said the better… You just can’t get enough James Corden can you?
(Incidentally, Sky One’s website won’t display TV listings in Chrome. Clever move guys.)
But back to HBO. They also have forthcoming new series of True Blood, Big Love and especially Treme. Then there are comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Eastbound and Down, Bored to Death, Entourage, How To Make It In America and the forthcoming Funny Or Die Presents (OK – Hung is a comedy too).
Now some of those probably aren’t familiar. Bored to Death was a well received comedy from last year, but I’m not aware of any UK network showing it. Of course, we now know that the BBC is barely allowed to buy any imported television, so which network is picking this up in the UK?
I’ll let UK channels off buying How To Make It In America, since it’s only just really started airing. But Treme? Come on!
Treme, is the new series from David Simon – creator of The Wire, which is one of the best series ever made in many people’s eyes. So surely everyone is dying to get their hands on Treme?
I may have missed the report, but considering it starts in just a few weeks on HBO, I’m amazed that it’s not getting enormous coverage. Could it be because, you know, worthy and all that, but these dramas are slightly difficult?
Remember that after FX, Channel 4 got their hands on Generation Kill and it went out pretty late at night. Let’s face it – these programmes are great, but they don’t get great ratings. Most people will see them in boxset form, when someone else says that – yes a series set in the aftermath of Katrina New Orleans doesn’t sound like a great deal of fun but it’s really worth persevering with.
That’s why it makes me angry that people who know little to nothing about the TV industry make unjustified complaints about who can buy what. Chances of ITV buying Treme? 0. Maybe C4/More4 will pick it up. But otherwise, unless the BBC is allowed to (perhaps by letting Sci Fi take up the slack on Heroes or something), then it’ll only go to a satellite channel that won’t be free to air on Freeview. And therefore most people will have to go the boxset route.
There is, of course, the “other” route. But we don’t like to talk about it…