Remember the halcyon days of Home Box Office? No, not when they were rerunning Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on what felt like a constant loop, but when their original programming was the best thing on television. When it seemed like we were living in a new golden age, and anybody stuck with Showtime felt like a real asshole.
Oh how times have changed. HBO wants to get back into the cultural zeitgeist in a big way, and they’re gambling on a couple of new kids to get it done for them. New kids like The Wire creator David Simon, Sopranos executive producer Terence Winter and maverick film nerd Martin Scorsese.
David Simon, whose Generation Kill miniseries, about the Iraq War, debuts shortly, will be bringing the network Treme. That’s a long-discussed show about New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; initial reports said it would be based around the lives of musicians. That’s going to pilot, and will be shot in the impossibly sweaty Crescent City.
Meanwhile, Winter is the showrunner on Boardwalk Express, a period drama set among the burgeoning mob in Atlantic City in the 1920s. Scorsese is joining him as an executive producer, as is Mark Wahlberg. I imagine that this will be a fairly easy sell, and assuming Winter doesn’t totally fuck up the pilot, we’ll be seeing this sucker on HBO’s schedule in the future.
HBO’s also got some comedies up their sleeves. They’ve commited to a season of Eastbound and Down, a series from the guys behind Foot Fist Way, and they ordered a pilot for The Washingtonienne, based on the novel of the same name by the blogger who ran the site of the same name, where she detailed her slutty sexcapades among the Washington elite. Tits and taxes – what a winning combo! If only K Street had thought of that.
Meanwhile, In Treatment, the show for people with absolutely nothing to do all week but watch HBO and Tell Me You Love Me, the show for people who want to jerk off to something more highbrow than The Ghost in the Teeny Bikini (which I watched this weekend. There was singing in it), have both been renewed. Who knows – maybe we’re a year away from HBO regaining its television dominance.