2014 is almost upon us, and as loyal viewers of things on screens, we must prepare in advance for all that must be watched in the coming year. HBO feels the same way, it seems; in the last day or two they’ve begun rolling out previews for anything and everything available on the network next year. First came Girls, which we saw last week. Now comes a fresh crop of premiering TV for us to devote our lives to and/or quickly grow bored of. And yes, I know that “it’s not TV. It’s HBO,” but were I to actually write using that descriptor, this whole thing would be impossible to read. So let us begin.
First to premiere (on January 12th) is True Detective. We’ve already seen a trailer for this one a few months ago, and this “Slow Boil” trailer is actually quicker and shorter than the original one. So no points there. But we’re given a few new tidbits that imply detectives Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have, in fact, done something not-so-good somewhere between the twin timelines of 1995 and 2012. Also, keep your eyes peeled for Michael Potts, who, to all who’ve ever burned through five season of The Wire in a single weekend, will be instantly recognizable as Brother Mouzone. Glance below to watch.
It may be one more cop show in a TV landscape that’s already choked to death with them, but True Detective seems like it’s defining itself more by its artistry than by its boys in blue chasing one more serial killer. You’ve got movie-quality actors, a movie quality director (Cary Fukunuga of Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre) and an anthology format lifted from American Horror Story. Every season after the first (presuming True Detective gets more seasons; we’ll probably find out fourteen seconds after the first episode airs) will feature different star-caliber actors solving a different horrific crime.
Looking may not have any nasty deer-antler murders, and no A-list actors (unless you count Scott Bakula), but it’s got one thing True Detective probably doesn’t: gay men, and lots of them. It’s essentially Girls with dudes, and in the least surprising move ever, HBO is premiering the show alongside the season 3 premiere of its flagship “women and their relationships in New York City that isn’t Sex and the City” comedy. Yet other than the novelty of seeing an all-gay-men TV show on a major network (Queer as Folk was what, fifteen years ago?) I’m not sure exactly what Looking is offering. Attractive, charming people; lots of sex; typical relationship drama; all can be seen within the newest, longest trailer, but what can’t be seen is a palpable reason to watch Looking. Girls has the bizarre and terrifying relationship between Hannah and Adam, and True Detective has a dead body with a proud set of antlers. Looking may be charming and beautifully written, but this trailer should really be doing its damnedest to sell all that.
That’s all the trailers for now, but HBO has just shoved another series into the pipeline. Entitled Moody Bitches, it originates from a place no sane thoughts can come from. Moody Bitches is a collaboration between Diablo Cody and Oprah Winfrey, and will be based off the autobiography of Dr. Julie Holland, “Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER” (Holland will also act as a co-executive producer). Both the book and series are described thusly:
“[Moody Bitches] exposes the truth about the drugs you’re taking, the sex you’re not having, the sleep you’re missing and what’s really making you crazy.”
Whilst Holland describes the series as: “Women are naturally emotional, empathic creatures. There is a growing trend for women to medicate away their naturally fluctuating emotions, but as a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist, I have learned; the further away we take ourselves from what is natural, the more problems we have. We should be outside, reveling in nature, following the rhythms of the moon and seasons, part of hunting/gathering clans. Instead, we’re inside with computers all day, sunlight deprived, cardio-starved, and socially isolated. We take antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to cope, but there is a better way. A return to what is natural for us as primates is a prescription for happiness and ease.”
Neither of these descriptions sound particularly comedic, and that second one sounds more than a little crazy. Maybe Moody Bitches will be a little bit Girls and a little bit Nurse Jackie, and feature a group of women taking the pharmacological industry by storm. Or maybe it’ll be about the women who have abandoned society and its antidepressants, forming a clan of hunter-gatherers and walking around on their knuckles. Personally, I think it might be a long-in-development prequel to True Detective, and that the poor fella with the deer antlers actually fell victim to a wayward tribe of drug-free she-apes.
HBO may not have clawed its way back to the Sopranos and Wire peak of the early aughts, but maybe one of these shows is the next stepping stone on the way to TV greatness.