What are you watching on the pay channels?
I'm sorry, I'm littering the forum with my nonstop replies. I've been doing a lot of backups and archives the last couple days, okay? Stop judging me.
What's everybody watching on HBO and Showtime and stuff these days? Anything I should be watching? I pay for all this junk and I watch like 4 shows, and I COULD catch up on something with HBO Go if I wanted to.
Besides Game of Thrones, there are two half hour comedies that I like a lot on HBO:
Veep is a comedy that focuses on the first female vice-president's antics, along with her small group of senior staff. It kind of reminds me of The West Wing, except take all the eloquent back-and-forth that Sorkin crafts and replace it with the most creative filthy one-liner insults you can think up. It's got some good political stuff that's grounded in reality (to an extent, it's still a comedy) and a surprising amount of humanity to it. For example, this season the VP was the driving force behind some military action, and some injuries happened as a result. Her dealing with the guilt of this is an on-going subplot. Not in a cheesy stupid way, but it comes up. Sometimes comedically. Mostly this show has some of the best slams I've ever heard on TV, from one character to another. I laugh almost more at this than I do at my other comedy of choice, Parks and Recreation.
Family Tree is a show that just started, and I'm super duper digging it so far. It's created by Christopher Guest, so it's like his mockumentary films in that it's got a lot of dry, subtle humor, a lot of improv, characters talking directly to camera, and a few doses of very wacky people. It's the story of a guy in England whose aunt dies and leaves him a bunch of junk. But hidden in the junk is a picture that he believes to be his great grandfather. He goes off to a genealogy expert to get some more information, finds out some things he didn't expect about his relative, and his quest to learn more about his heritage is the jumping off point for the show. Which is totally believable and interesting. So far it's been very funny without being terribly ridiculous, and actually genuinely intriguing. Having done some genealogy on my own with a very similar catalyst in my research, I know that you can end up in some very weird places, meet some weird people, and find out some weird unexpected things. It's kind of nice to see a series that is completely open-ended and character-driven, yet still interesting.
So you should watch these so I can keep getting episodes please.
After arguing about my formerly $195 a month Comcast bill multiple times with Comcast Customer Service, they finally knocked $30 off my bill for the next year of service AND gave me all of the premium channels. I already had HBO, but now I also have Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax. That being said, I've only had the new ones for about 2 weeks, so I haven't really looked into their regular programming yet (but I already download and watch Dexter).
But on HBO, right now I only watch Game of Thrones and Veep, which I agree are both awesome. I DVR'd Family Tree but haven't watched it yet. At different times of the year, HBO is also good for Boardwalk Empire; and also for Treme, which is a show I enjoy but wouldn't recommend to very many people. Even I get exhausted from the staggering amount of New Orleans music I'm subjected to in each episode. WE GET IT, YOU LIKE HORNS. IT'S STILL NOT THE GREATEST MUSIC EVER CREATED. It has sort of a pompous, entitled approach to their love of New Orleans. So much so that it becomes frustrating. That being said, cajun food is delicious.
The Newsroom is coming back soon, and I ended up liking the first season much more than I had anticipated I would. It's kind of smarmy and preachy, but it does tackle some good stuff and makes valid points about politics, at times.
HBO is also really good for their documentaries. They are rarely ever advertised, you just kind of have to look for them on your own as to when they'll be on. I just saw an HBO Original Documentary on how we caught Bin Laden, called Manhunt, and it was great. It was like a more detailed version of Zero Dark Thirty, without all the Hollywood sensationalism.
I've seen every episode of Girls, which just ended a month or so ago. I can't say I *enjoy* it... Most (wait, all?) of the characters are terrible people. But I certainly watched it. And I'll probably watch season 3.
True Blood has become a waste of time, I stopped watching a couple episodes into the last season, but that's coming back soon.
If you're into Bill Maher, his show can be entertaining some times. The panel is usually more interesting than his monologue, interview, and "New Rules" segments. They get a nice discussion going sometimes, but then they usually change the subject too early so Bill can preach about the things he cares about more. As bad as the right wing guys are, Maher is almost equally as annoying on his slant to the left. Don't want to start a political debate here, but both sides of politics are terrible when they are so heavily slanted. I just wanted to comment on the quality of his HBO show, which is decent but occasionally annoying.
Oh yeah, documentaries! Good one.
I keep hearing I should watch Dexter, but I've tried the first two episodes a couple of times and nothing about it intrigues me. (Should I press on?) Same with Treme. I got to the end of two or three episodes, and I was like well, okay, I don't care for these people and I certainly don't care for the overabundance of this particular music. So that's usually not a sign a show is for me. Intriguing premise, I guess.
I've been meaning to try Girls. Not sure I'll like it. Young women having young women problems in NYC, come to the bible belt and try to have your fun urban life.
[Kylee Wall] "Young women having young women problems in NYC, come to the bible belt and try to have your fun urban life."
There was an episode last season where two of the girls go to the country (or it might have been upstate New York or Delaware or something? Somewhere non urban) and it was one of the worst episodes of the season. I think vapid, neurotic behavior only works when surrounded by a vapid, neurotic environment. But I guess that was the point of the episode, now, wasn't it?
I watch no premium channels. I don't want the extra expense, already have more free programming available than I have time to watch, and I can wait until they come out on DVD.
We watch most of what has been mentioned already.
Just a few quick thoughts while something is rendering:
Game of Thrones
Every episode is like a feature film - just beautifully made show. The opening credits are one of the few such sequences I actually watch every episode - it is like the Star Wars crawl, it is part of the experience. If you have not watched Game of Thrones yet, turn off your turn off your Media 100, put down your VX-2000 and add it to your queue today. Not into fantasy genre? Did I mention there is gratuitous violence and nudity? That should attract just about anyone :)
A couple of the seasons have been just ok. Most recent one was an improvement. Previous season featuring my pal Edward James Olmos was also a good one. The sub-plot featuring Dexter and his sister is kinda weird, but since the two actors are married in real life but playing siblings on tv it gets weirder.
As others have pointed out, it is like Zero Dark Thirty the tv series, with obvious 24 dynamics since it is from the same producers. Some of the sub plots are a bit contrived, but great acting from the whole cast. For an even creepier look at how sleeper agents could be plotting against us rent Sleeper Cell, a short lived series from Showtime (and BBC?).
I love the fact that this is filmed in and around NY, rather than Vancouver as most non-HBO networks would probably do. Some episodes are a bit disjointed, but the whole primary story of Nucky Thompson is engaging. Kind of mad they offed a few major characters, but that's organized crime for ya!
Ok, render done. More later.
[Mike Cohen] "Did I mention there is gratuitous violence and nudity? "
I actually like that the majority of the talky exposition tends to happen during the gratuitous sex scenes. It's also a pretty equal show in terms of people being empowered and degraded in this fashion, which is a nice change!
I can't believe I left out probably my favorite new show on any TV channel right now, HBO's Vice.
It's a documentary show from the cult magazine/website of the same name, where basically they send reporters to dangerous or interesting places all over the world, and cover news stories that we don't usually cover here in America. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I'm a white suburban male who doesn't get out much. I get most culture through media. But if you want a fast, super entertaining, VERY eye opening look at the rest of the world, I would cancel all your plans and watch every episode they've aired so far (they just aired ep 7). You should probably also check out their web content too, it's all good stuff. These reporters get right in the middle of things. Tons upon tons of amazing footage. Not to sound vulgar, but it's news with BALLS.
Here's what they've covered so far on the HBO show, and I don't see how you couldn't be intrigued by something in this list (I'll just copy from wikipedia to save my lazy typing fingers):
Episode 1: Political assasinations in the Phillipines, Taliban-supported child suicide bombers in Afghanistan.
Episode 2: Desperate defectors flee North Korea, Kashmirs line of control, the worlds most dangerous border.
Episode 3: Armed preparedness in New Mexico Schools, teachers with weapons, radioactive waste in Iraq creating birth defects.
Episode 4: Desperate bachelors in China, extreme reactions to the economic crisis in Europe.
Episode 5: Mormon Lost Boys, the fat farms of Mauritania, Mumbai slumscraper.
Episode 6: China's Ghost Towns, Egypt on the Brink.
Episode 7: The lack of proper legislation on tobacco use in Indonesia, obscure and illegal methods on curing Heroin addiction.
It's on Friday nights at 10 pm. I know we all have active social lives, but that's why we have DVRs and Saturday afternoons.