As the Streaming Wars descend upon us, it’s important not to lose track of the pay cable giants that have been delivering quality programming for years, like HBO. Disney Plus and Apple TV+ and all these other ‘pluses’ are hogging all the headlines, but it’s HBO itself that is poised for a major year in 2020, when the fate of the network will become much more clear.
HBO has a ton of new shows and limited series coming next year, including the Stephen King adaptation The Outsider, a new Perry Mason series starring Matthew Rhys, and the horror drama Lovecraft Country from power producers Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams. To that end, the network has released a preview of what lies in store for subscribers, who will have more viewing options than ever next year.
Veep creator Armando Iannucci will premiere a new sci-fi comedy titled Avenue 5 starring Hugh Laurie, Josh Gad, Himesh Patel and Silicon Valley‘s Zach Woods. Elsewhere, HBO landed two of the biggest names in television for its comedic thriller Run, which pairs Unbelievable star Merritt Wever and Fleabag sensation Phoebe Waller-Bridge with Domhnall Gleeson from the Star Wars franchise.
The network is also trotting out A-list names for a handful of miniseries, including Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in The Undoing; I Know This Much Is True, which stars Mark Ruffalo as twin brothers; and The Third Day, which stars Jude Law and Naomie Harris, and hails from Utopia creator Dennis Kelly. HBO is also plotting an adaptation of Philip Roth‘s The Plot Against America starring John Turturro and Winona Ryder, as well as The New Pope, a continuation of Law’s series The Young Pope, which adds John Malkovich to the fold.
2020 also brings a new season of Larry David‘s Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Hugh Jackman movie Bad Education, which HBO acquired out of TIFF. And finally, the network will introduce new series Industry and Betty, as well as the limited series January 22nd. This, on the heels of recent launches for the big-budget fantasy series His Dark Materials and the limited series Mrs. Fletcher starring Kathryn Hahn. There’s also a chance we could see Adam McKay‘s Lakers series next year, but that depends on whether HBO picks it up to series.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that long ago that I found myself watching Showtime more than HBO. Ballers and Insecure and Silicon Valley had run out of steam for me, and I was never a Game of Thrones guy, nor could I get into The Deuce or Succession or Westworld. At the beginning of 2019, the only scripted HBO shows I felt connected to and never missed an episode of were Barry and True Detective. I found myself gravitating towards Showtime’s gritty trio of Homeland, Ray Donovan and City on a Hill. But in recent months, HBO has really upped its game with Watchmen, Euphoria and The Righteous Gemstones, not to mention the return of Hard Knocks and the documentary Diego Maradona. HBO also has two movies in my current Top 20 list — the gripping documentary I Love You, Now Die, and the A24-produced drama Share, which the network acquired out of Sundance.
The bottom line is that my HBO subscription has been worth every penny, and it looks like I’m going to get my money’s worth next year, too. So let the Streaming Wars rage on as they will. No matter who winds up on top, be it Netflix, Apple or Amazon, it doesn’t look like my old friend HBO is going anywhere anytime soon. And as for HBO Max, well, bringing in Michael Mann to direct Tokyo Vice is certainly one way to get me interested. For more on that Ansel Elgort-led crime series, click here, and take a look at HBO’s 2020 slate below.