SMALL SCREEN – Kyle Wells

HBO has a hot season ahead

This is going to be an HBO-centric column this month, just to warn you. I’ll get to a few other things below, but there are a number of exciting new shows starting up on our favourite home box office, and I thought you might care to know about them.

First up is Ballers, which I should only have to say one thing to sell you on: The Rock. That’s right, everyone’s favourite wrestler-turned-movie star is coming to the small screen, in this show about football agents. And if The Rock didn’t sell you, maybe the fact this show combines football and Peter Berg will. Berg, of course, is the man behind Friday Night Lights, and he is producing this show and directed the pilot. Touchdown.

Premiering the same night, June 21, is The Brink, with Tim Robbins, Jack Black and Pablo Schreiber.  This self-described dark comedy focuses on a geopolitical crisis and its effects on three men at different levels of the trouble. HBO does political comedy well, if Veep is any indication, and considering the cast and premise, this one has me intrigued.

And, of course, drumroll please, this very same date, June 21, marks the return of the much beloved True Detective, the premiere season of which  last year, starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, blew many a mind. Being an anthology, this season has an all-new story, all-new characters, and same dark tone, I assume. It has an interesting cast, with Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn, and I’m looking forward to seeing if the new season can match the first’s ambition.

Finally, tune in to HBO on July 11 for 7 Days in Hell. I don’t know much about it, there’s no trailer, but I can tell you it stars Andy Samberg and Kit Harington as pro tennis players, and also features Lena Dunham, Will Forte, Fred Armisen and Michael Sheen. That’s one hell of a cast.

OK, that’s it for HBO. But we’re not done yet:

Rectify, one of my personal favourites, starts its third season on July 9 on Sundance Channel. I’ll have to wait until it’s on Netflix, but that doesn’t usually take long. If you haven’t had a chance to see this tense and beautifully paced drama, I highly recommend you catch up on the first two seasons.

Key and Peele return to Comedy Central on July 8, which is good news for fans of one of the best sketch comedy shows on television (along with other Comedy Central treasure Amy Schumer).

And finally, The Spoils Before Dying, a six-part comedy mini-series starring Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Maya Rudolph and many more, premieres July 8 on IFC.

 

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