Monday, April 17, 2006

HBO

now i kno Post is dedicated to the Patron saint of TV


HBO, a station that set standards in TV production. Breaking the rules, inventing some along the way and leaves a trail of highly memorable characters. The difference that sets apart programmes produced by HBO is ORIGINALITY!!!!!! Not to mention full nudity, gay themes, graphic fight scenes, violence, morbid sense of humor…and all this is in one show!

Cast aside form the other networks where common plots have been over played. Enough of medical drama’s and legal drama’s and Paranormal … Away from Cops and Robbers and School scenarios…lets just get down to raw drama in a NEW AND DIFFERENT situation and work with it till you squeeze every last drop out of it. Enter HBO with a whole array of never seen before drama!

Again unlike the other Networks where a season runs between 20-24 episodes, HBO’s are usually fewer episodes ranging to as little as 8 in OZ to as many as 18 in Sopranos. At the end of each brief season you are left pleasurably exhausted, for each episode is packed with so much detail and intensity more than a Smallville Season especially the first 2.

Some may argue that they are usually slow, taking too long too peak. But the thing is HBO doesn’t fight for ratings its priority is the Story and the Plot. So they have all the time they need, and that’s why you will notice episodes running up to an hour. It's quality that counts…and hence in most cases they are always screaming “EMMY NOMINATION!” or “GOLDEN GLOBES”

There are many programmes I won't mention e.g Sex and the City or Curb your Enthusiasm that I'm trying to appreciate...or the newer drama centred along a polygamous man with 3 wives in Big Love...but these are my all time favourites in HBO:


OZ.




The first ever hour long drama. Oh, if you have watched OZ I need not go further into details. Graphic, Raw, Intense with splashes of humor. Never before was there a Prison Drama like this and there will never be one. Not even Prison Break could come close.

Every episode was narrated by Augustus Hill…. Each character’s crime was flash backed…the criminals were divided up in groups: Irish, Blacks, Muslims, Italians, Fags, Aryan Brotherhood...

From Gen Pop, Emerald City, The Hole, Solitary, J Unit for arrested cops…we loved each and every character. From the likes of Beecher, Alvarez, Karim, Poet, Schillinger, McManus, Warden Glen, the cute Spanish Doctor, Busmalis, O’ Reilly brothers, Sister Pete….

Surprisingly a season was only 8episodes except for season 3 that had 13…but even with less than 70 episodes we knew each character by detail. That’s the beauty of OZ! So much attention was given to characters, their history and background. Storylines were packed with suspense and graphic violence that was a first in TV.

Memorable moments. Adebisi’s head cap that seem to be stuck on by glue. Adebisi screwing Chebeda’s son, the Italian Mob boss-ouch! O’reilly orchestrating the death of
Dr Nathan’s husband. O’Reilly and Adebisi putting glass in Chebeda’s food that eventually killed him. Luke Perry’s (90210) character, a reverend, being buried alive. The cop who’s Achilles Heel was sliced! The undercover cop (Lt. Daniels in "Wire") who got hooked onto drugs and killed an inmate to maintain cover.

Notably some actors from this series went on to WIRE, SOPRANOS and LOST and are doing pretty well for this HBO first!

SOPRANOS:



OH you cannot fail to love the totally morally irreprehensible Tony Soprano. Story line evolves around his family and his loyal wife who in season 4 up and leaves his treacherous, murderous, adulterous self. He is totally involved in the mafia-takes over business from his weaker uncle behind his back. Now this show doesn’t sterotype the mafia. It portrays the little details that we take for granted that these are real people trying to get by the best way they know how. They are not necessarily brutal or gangster as a weakness but as a survival technique.

It starts with the memorable “Duck” dream that begins his psychotic breakdown and his therapy sessions with Dr Melfi. (And you wonder why no one sued “Analyze this” that has the same storyline)

In the beginning it was a bit slow and took some patience following it up. But when it picked it was worth every rented DVD! Excellent characters were brought in including his crazy sister…and her involvement with Tony’s friend. His whacky mom who passed on in season 2 (also in real life.) She was something alright. Joe Pantoliano was wonderful in season 3 and so was his death. We can’t forget his hit men, his consigilieri’s.

The infidelities, him having that affair with the Mercedes Sales Girl, and the one legged Russian. His kids. His nephew and his girlfriend. (Did u realize she is now acting in “Joey”?)


Six Feet Under.



Only HBO could get away with a dysfunctional Fischer family that happens to run a pretty successful funeral parlour. Very original. Where the B Story of each episode revolves around the death of someone. Such that we are shown how someone died, the years the lived, and the process of preparing the body and the funeral procedure. A memorable death includes one where some sicko was jerkin off watching porn whilst biting on a lemon wedge and hanging himself of a belt and accidentally killed himself.


There is an almost psychotic mother who is so uptight and rigid and who had had an affair. The Dad, who gets killed in a graphic car accident in the beginning of the show, he usually appears in a ghost form to each member of the family. Nate, the irresponsible son dating the highly intelligent Brenda. Brenda is extremely complicated and a sex-addict. Her brother, an artist, who loves her so much to a suicidal/homicidal state…who is also dating Nate’s Sister. David, Nate’s closeted Gay brother, who runs the business with a tight fist, totally anal retentive, dating a black cop. And there is their little sister who does drugs sleeps around. Last but not least is Federico who started of as an apprentice in the morgue but slowly wants to be part of their family and eventually even becomes a paartner in the company.


Great show! Sense of humor is sharp and witty. Storylines flow gently and beautifully, a masterpiece.


Wire:



Now there is the SHIELD and then there is the WIRE. There is a great shag and there is making love. That’s the difference. Shield is great, fierce and quick to the point! However, the WIRE can actually be greater because it takes its time. The story evolves, grows, intensifies with every minute…there is no ending to this joyous ride…surely something this good can never end…so you keep watching and watching. From the cops to the Barksdale family, to the middlemen in the street…the aim is to build the story and the characters such that when you reach climax-boy oh boy it was worth the ride and the wait!

The whole concept of “the wire” involves placing wire taps into nearby Phone booths and listening for evidence that was in season 1. Whilst in season 3 it was placing wires on disposable mobile phones. It is a whole cat and mouse chase, good vs. bad, trying to destroy the drug trade. Actually it’s not so much about the cops as it is about the Drug trade and the politics entangled behind it all, corruption and bribery....

Season 1 and 3 were the greatest! Season 2 was a bit slow.

Memorable scenes: The killing of STRINGER BELL in season 3…I have never seen something so intense like that on TV. RAW INTENSITY! So fresh in style…a scene in season one was comprised of the word “fuck” uttered like over 50 times in different intonation that each enunciation told the details of the crime scene. The act lasted like 2-3 minutes a true classic moment of WIRE.

YUMMY doesn’t even begin to describe!

ROME:



A newer addition to HBO. No need for History classes when the story is so vividly told. The series is almost intoxicating like good wine. Centered around Julius Caesar, Pompae, Marc Anthony and the like of Kinky Atia…AS well ass two loyal brave Soldiers Vorenus and Pullo. Again HBO cannot go wrong on this! Great Cas
t. Great writing!


Entourage:



Already two seasons down, this show is totaly hot. Revolving around a fictional celebrity Vince Chase and his loser brother, Johnny. Best friend who is also his manager, Eric and their their other friend Turtle. Of noteable mention is the their Agent Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven who is outstanding.

Loosely based on the real life of Mark Wahlberg who has a similar entourage and also a real life Agent called Ari who's real life clients appear in the show as Guest Stars. If you like the insides of hollywood this is a show for you. Witty! Interesting and will keep you glued to your seat! It's beauty is in its simplicity in telling of the story.

11 comments:

bankelele said...

My fave is the Soprano's though IMHO they should have ended it after Season 1.

And with Oz, you can't believe soem of teh stuff HBO put out on that show.

akiey5 said...

Oz & Sopranos my longtime favourites. Infact I remember a time I would watch Oz & try to figure out the subsequent plots. Good attempt but the writers & directors proved pretty gifted.

I couldn't agree more with you on...The difference that sets apart programmes produced by HBO is ORIGINALITY!

Seen too many spinoffs of original ideas on other channels it gets too predictable. HBO should be as necessary in every household as having bathwater!

The Wire...big fan the first 2 seasons until life took a hold of me. Great actors, casting, intenses suspense & ofcourse genius production!...may I add +ve choice of locations and headline quality drama.

Nakeel said...

I miss the OZ and the Wire some serious stuff these guys give out and originality uuuuuh just the best..

Kabinti said...

totally lived and breathed the sopranos for a while. I love OZ too and the Wire keeps you on edge sana. Y lie hongera to HBO for incredible, addictive shows

maitha said...

great review as always . however two great shows are missing and its all my fault - 1 Deadwood and 2.Carnivale , though they ditched the later with no credible reason it was probably the best telling of a good versus evil narrative .

another good thing you forgot to mention is that all the series have an end in sight not like the other stations where we are treated to an excess of 8+ seasons which dilute the story lines

my all time fav -SFU (reads like a page off my life )and the WIRE .
worst or they should have done better - The Comeback( had a lady from Friends or some other forgetable sitcom that I cant remember) and Curb

i know you want to cast Big Love in the same bin with Curb but trust me it will grow on you . infact it deserves its own post.......

Movie Buff said...

I LOVED 6 feet under.... I did not follow it like I should have but it was good..... oh so good!.... creepy good.......

universally speaking said...

The Wire is easily one of the best TV shows I've ever watched. Trouble is that once you fall behind on a couple of episodes, you're dead in the water in following the story. Which is why DVDs are my new best friend...

nick said...

@bankelele:oh boy the stuff was sure a first on national tv...but i know the a lib that has oz season 1-3 if u wanna watch
@Akiey: i love the openenin theme of soprano's "woke up this mornin...."
Wire rocks!
@Naks:mnze ebu alos try gettin the other programmes have mentioned
@Kabinit:trust me get the other progs as well.
@Patron:yup all ya fault kwanza and u had promised last year what cut? Dont get me started on curb. the first disk u gave me i thot it was behind the scenes kumbe its the progi
@movie buff:creepy goodi is exactly what it is. it is so eerie in a good way.
@universal one"i'm tellin u aint no joy like having a whole series on dvd watchin it back to back...and then if u dont hear anythin pause and unleash subtitles...lets not go into special features

acolyte said...

A well compiled list!There is little I can add or take away from it!

Medusa said...

My name is Medusa, and I'm addicted to HBO..
First off the SOPRANOS..my friends and I actually have/had a watching club..we'd all picked out names/characters from the show..yours truly was Carmella ofcourse..he he.And don't you know, I discovered I have the VERY SAME bedspread the sopranos have on theirs..fantastic! Since I gave up tv at mine..I go over to a buddy's to bum Sunday nights..Man, I hear that opening track..and I'm a slave to the tube..wooii!

Curb your enthusiasm is friggin hilarious..Loove love Larry David, that improv stuff too funny

Six feet under was just genious- I still can't believe its gone..waaaahh

Oz, and the Wire..damn, damn, damn. The oz kinda scared me though..I'm a softie like that..The Wire had me by my er...it just had me!

Rome's pretty good too..it's really grown on me..as has Deadwood.
Big love just fascinates the hell out me..lol..Its morbid and crazy..sad even, yet I can't stop..

okay- enuff!

msaniixl said...

love for curb your enthusiasm...

the wire and sopranos a close second...