A fantastic collage of interview excerpts with people from Mississippi – the poorest and most conservative state of the USA. Money quote: “We’d rather go broke than give up our moral beliefs!”
Posts Tagged ‘HBO’
It is not a bad time for fans of high-quality drama series. The bleak times are definitely over. Breaking Bad is in the middle of its fourth season, which is getting more interesting and exciting each episode. Entourage is almost at the end of its very succesful 8-season run. And although that show has lost some of its power and freshness, the finale is so far offering fun and satisfying closure. And with Boardwalk Empire‘s second season just a few weeks away, a new season of The Walking Dead (for those of you who were not dissapointed after the first two episodes) about to start, a new batch of Mad Men episodes airing somewhere early next year and the second season of Game of Thrones being shot right as we speak, times are good. (And no, I am not including lame Mad Men rip-offs like The Playboy Club and Pan Am on this list)
Amidst all this wealth AMC is giving us even more. A new show called “Hell On Wheels” is premiering on November 6th. Another big-budget historical drama series like Boardwalk Empire. But instead of the Prohibition era it’s set right at the start of Reconstruction. It’s a Western, centered around the construction of the transnational railroad. You could call it AMC’s version of Deadwood, but by the look of the trailer it’s a much larger production and in this series there seems to be a dark religious theme:
In the last few months I have been suffering from a serious case of t.v. series-withdrawal. The final season of Entourage doesn’t premiere until June, Breaking Bad’s next season starts this Fall, same for Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead, and we have to wait until next year (!) for another season of Mad Men. So what’s a boy to do? Watching the new show The Borgias, which starts tonight on Showtime, is definitely a good option. It’s very promising: a story about the infamous 15th century Italian family of noblemen (crime family), which is already being called “The Sopranos in the Renaissance”, starring Jeremy Irons in the leading role. Could be pretty good. The series I’m really anticipating though is HBO’s Game Of Thrones, starting on April 19.
Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – often referred to as “the American Tolkien” – HBO is betting that fans of The Lord of the Rings will come to this for a sprawling, interwoven tale of feuding families, swords, sex, carnage, beasts, frayed loyalties, deception, intrigue and the pursuit of power.
As well they should. Game of Thrones has all the elements (many described above) that lure viewers to shows like The Sopranos, et al. That it’s a fantasy series shouldn’t scare anyone away, because – like Lord of the Rings – there’s a real allure to costume-dramas that pair dense mythology with all of the crowd-pleasing elements of war, honor, pride, lust, power and, yes, even humor. Thrones has all of those in spades and supports them with exceptional storytelling, strong writing, superb acting and some stunning visual effects.
Writers and executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will certainly have their hands full dealing with die-hard fans on what they got right or wrong (or left out or put in that may have not been in the books), but they have the backing of Martin, who worked closely with the duo, and that should count for a lot. Perhaps more important to those people who haven’t read the books or heard much about this series, Benioff and Weiss kick things off immediately – with action, blood-shed and eeriness. Director Tim Van Patten creates a beautiful, haunting, visual template of vast expanses (Northern Ireland, Malta), white snow and dark shadows while also allowing the visual effects to pack a wallop.
That kind of start to the 10-part series was essential because Game of Thrones is a complicated story with numerous characters and a dense, interwoven back-story. Though it demands attention, Thrones never once bogs down. It’s the kind of drama where, when the first episode ends, you wish the nine others were immediately available. And that validates HBO’s notion that television is the perfect medium for a fantasy series done right. Getting Martin’s Thrones, the gold-standard, could end up landing HBO its next franchise.
HBO has released a 11-minute long featurette/making-of, which you can watch here.
Yeah that’s right. All the boozy sad white guys are together in this little piece of film. Hipsters, enjoy!
Slattery and the National’s Matt Berninger star as secret service agents, protecting the President, played by Kristen Schaal (“Flight of the Conchords”, “The Daily Show”). And speaking of the National, they’ve got shows coming up on four different continents, including performances of their multi-media opus The Long Count in Amsterdam. We’ve got their tour dates listed out below.
The National are busy touring the world. After (brilliant) performances in the Netherlands, they’ll return here on June 1 and 2 for their multimedia opus The Long Count in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, on July 12 for an open-air acoustic concert in the dunes of Bloemendaal, and on July 13 in Tilburg’s 013.
There has been a whole lot of buzz about the new AMC show The Walking Dead, starting months before the airing of the first episode. The new zombie comic book adaptation by director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) got popular culture nerds more hyped up than Eric Cartman waiting for a Nintendo Wii. Nerdcore has spent countless posts on it and has in-length reviews of the first two episodes, as do Salon, NYTimes, IGN and The New York Post. The reviewer of the NYT explains why women love vampires and men like zombies in horror flicks, which is proven by Linda Stasi of the New York Post: “The zombies are truly scary and disgusting. The survivors are terrific characters, and the gore is enough for any lunatic to love. But no amount of love is going to make a flesh-rotting zombie as sexy as a blood-thirsty vampire.”
So, the buzz has been big, but does the new AMC show live up to the hype? The answer to that question is ambiguous. After having watched the first episode I’m both enthousiastic and a bit sceptical of what’s to come. Let’s start with the good stuff. First of all, the idea is great, a quality drama series in a classic zombie setting. All the other necessary elements are there as well: good actors, great production value, realistic make-up and costumes, lots of suspense, but also quality drama. The feel of the series can be described as Night of the Living Dead (or the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead) meets 28 Days Later, meets classic Western. The list of similar post-apocalyptic fish-out-of-the-water plots also includes Cloverfield, Children of Men and maybe even The Road. But those are all feature films and this is a tv series. Which is great, because that means we get multiple seasons of one hour episodes in which we can get to know the characters and gradually see the zombie apocalypse unfold. Sometimes, the show makes you feel you’re watching a film adaptation of the videogame Fallout 3. It has the same subtle Western influences.
Now, for the “BUT”. The show is good, but it’s not as mindblowing as other AMC or HBO series of the last decade. If you were thinking: hey it’s AMC, this is gonna be a show of Mad Men proportions, you’re wrong. It does not reach the same dramatic height of that show, and is even further removed from the quality of The Sopranos, The Wire or Lost. There’s an obvious reason for that: it’s a zombie show! There are some dramatic storylines in it, but it can never reach the grandeur of the modern Greek tragedy The Sopranos or the meticulously crafted historic drama of Mad Men, for the simple reason that it’s about zombies and not about real-as-life New Jersey mobsters or Madison Avenue admen. It also doesn’t have a brilliant lead actor like Steve Buscemi (who singlehandedly carries Boardwalk Empire). A good comparison is the great show Entourage. A very fun and entertaining show, in which the visuals, suspense and general coolness of the characters are just as important as the storyline and character development. A big reservation for me is the dialogue, which at sometimes is spot on and at other moments is downright corny. Another one is the plot, which in the first episode was more than decent and gives enough opportunity for interesting developments, but was also a bit cliche. There were no premises or twists we haven’t seen in other zombie stories. The writers will have to come up with some good surprises to keep the audience happy. But mostly it’s just a very fun show to watch and the horror suspense is as good as in any popular full-length horror movie.
Watch the 5 minute long trailer here.
A new series by HBO, premieres on September 19 in the US:
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Steve Buscemi. Looks great!
Dozens of pickup lines from Mad Men.