In a streaming world gone mad with content, HBO is still gonna HBO, and to that end, the golden network has released a trailer hyping its entire 2021 slate of original series, including the Oscar Isaac–Jessica Chastain drama Scenes from a Marriage.
If there’s one word I associate with HBO, it’s “quality.” Even when its shows aren’t for me — Game of Thrones, Succession, Westworld — it’s clear they’re for everyone else. But lately, I’ve been on a real HBO/HBO Max kick thanks to The Investigation, Beartown and The Head, all of which are quite good. Of course, those are all fairly low-profile series hailing from overseas, but when you combine them with the top-drawer shows like upcoming fantasy series The Nevers, they create a powerful punch that few can match.
I mean, yes, I probably watch more shows on Netflix, but that streamer is taking way more at-bats than HBO, which has a much higher average at the plate, so to speak. Like Netflix, HBO has to be all things to all people these days, and the network continues to do a great job catering to a wide range of audiences.
You can tell executives are excited about Scenes from a Marriage as well as the crime series Mare of Easttown, which stars Kate Winslet as a detective. The official trailer for Mare looked quite promising, and it’s also great to see Isaac and Chastain back together again following A Most Violent Year, but what both of these shows have in common is Movie Stars front-and-center. I can’t wait to sink into both of these shows, but I’m already sensing a personal wariness with regards to The Nevers, though I suspect it’s just the stink of Joss Whedon, whose TV work has never been up my alley.
I have a mixed track record with Enlightened creator Mike White, but I must admit I’m looking forward to his latest adventure, The White Lotus, which takes place at a tropical resort in Hawaii — just the kind of vacation I could use right now. Speaking of clear blue waters, HBO will also unfurl the documentary series 100 Foot Wave, which captures the beauty and danger of surfing.
I mentioned earlier that Succession isn’t really my cup of tea, but it looks like Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is coming after his father (Brian Cox) with everything he’s got in Season 3. Meanwhile, Uzo Aduba takes over as the primary therapist on HBO‘s revival of In Treatment, and we’ll see what happens with Issa (Issa Rae) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) when Insecure comes to a close with its fifth and final season.
Meanwhile, the HBO series that I really can’t wait to return is Curb Your Enthusiasm, if only because the pandemic and all its quirks have surely given Larry David reams of fresh material to work with, given how social rules have completely changed over the past 12 months.
The network began airing its controversial Woody Allen–Mia Farrow documentary series this past Sunday, but it also has a Tina Turner documentary on the horizon that looks great, and there’s so much more coming as well, including new seasons of Betty, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Hard Knocks, How To with John Wilson, Los Espookys, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and We’re Here. And don’t worry, funny guys John Oliver and Bill Maher will be back, too!
That’s an embarrassment of riches right there, but one show that was sadly absent from the sizzle reel was Bill Hader‘s Barry, which is expected to start shooting this spring. I’d love to see it debut this fall/winter, but if it has to be early 2022 then so be it. I’m just glad it’s happening at all. Anyway, watch the trailer for HBO‘s 2021 slate below, and tell me this subscription isn’t worth every penny.