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Tag: HBO (14-26 of 226)

Why I was wrong about 'The Comeback'

As a TV critic, I often feel that good shows don’t have a big effect on me. Obviously, the great ones do. But I also find that the ones that I initially dislike are also the ones that I end up thinking about the most, long after they’re over, wondering why they touched a nerve for me in the first place. How can something that inspires such a strong opinion possibly be all that bad?

I thought about that question a lot while watching the new episodes of The Comeback.

When it first premiered in 2005, I didn’t love The Comeback, which was co-created by Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and Lisa Kudrow. The show follows Valerie Cherish (Kudrow), a D-list actress who’s clawing her way back into the spotlight with a reality TV show and a new role on a terrible sitcom called Room and Bored. The show was hard to watch from the start. Shot in a brightly lit, fake-documentary style, like something you’d see on Lifetime, it felt like an all-too-easy joke about how shallow reality TV stars could be, and that punchline already felt dated at a time when reality TV had already reached its apex. Valerie was so desperate to be famous, she was willing to humiliate herself again and again on camera, whether that meant drunk-dialing Room and Bored’s douchebag showrunner, Paulie G (Lance Barber), or vomiting on set while dressed as a cupcake. Her catchphrase on Room and Bored“I don’t want to see that!”was exactly what viewers like me felt about watching Kudrow play this role. It was a little uncomfortable to see the beloved star of Friends acting like a desperate has-been. READ FULL STORY

HBO sets return date for 'Girls,' 'Looking'

HBO has set a premiere date for the return of Girls and Looking, as well as the debut of new series Togetherness from the Duplass brothers.

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'Game of Thrones' fans swarm actors in Spain

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is used to being famous. But not he’s not used to this.

The dashing Game of Thrones star was sitting for an interview in a Seville hotel bar a few weeks ago. Behind him, gaggles of young women took pictures through the window until a server closed the drapes. He had only landed in Spain a few days before, but fans quickly figured out his hotel and mobbed him there more than once. Thrones typically shoots in Northern Ireland and Croatia; this year, the series added Spain for scenes set in the show’s fictional country of Dorne.

“[Fans have] become more intense in Belfast for the first time too, but it’s nothing like Spain,” says Coster-Waldau, who emphasized that while he appreciates the attention, he’s unaccustomed to getting quite so much of it. “They’re really sweet, but some are like, ‘I’ve been looking for you for two days!‘” READ FULL STORY

Watch the trailer for 'The Comeback' season 2

You’ve been patiently awaiting footage from the hotly anticipated second season of The Comeback, and now it’s here: HBO has released the first official extended trailer for the cancelled cult favorite’s return engagement.

The second season of The Comeback finds Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow, also a co-creator) cast in an HBO dramedy about, well, Valerie Cherish. Her old nemesis Paulie G. has written a show about his experience working with Valerie on the 2005 sitcom Room & Bored (the show-within-the-show on the original Comeback), and now Valerie finds herself playing herself in the most challenging role she’s ever taken.

Watch the trailer for season two below, and read EW‘s exclusive report about the return of The Comeback here. READ FULL STORY

'Sonic Highways' premiere react: Foo Fighters dig into musical roots for impressive documentary

Recording an album is tough, but after 20 years of producing music, the most difficult aspect may be keeping the process fresh. The Foo Fighters took that concept to a new level while creating their latest album, due out in November–they toured the United States, recording each song in a different city, hoping that the music scene of the area would influence the track.

But Dave Grohl didn’t just want to record Sonic Highways–he decided to document the experience, interviewing figures important to each city’s musical history for a documentary series that shares the album’s name. In turn, those interviews shaped the album, as Grohl fashioned his lyrics out of the words of his documentary subjects.

So Sonic Highways attempts to be three different things–a history of music in America, the story of what inspired the Foo Fighters, particularly Dave Grohl, and a behind-the-scenes look at the music production process. Having to serve so many masters unfortunately detracts from the ultimate impact of each story thread, but the show’s ambition and actual construction are fascinating enough for anyone interested in American music, Foo Fighters fan or not, that Sonic Highways is still a unique and enjoyable look into the country’s defining musical history.

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Watch Frances McDormand in the trailer for 'Olive Kitteridge'

In the new trailer for HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge, Frances McDormand doles out blunt dialogue as the titular character. READ FULL STORY

'Newsroom' trailer depicts Boston bombing, more legal trouble for ACN

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HBO has only teased the third season of The Newsroom in brief glimpses, offering little actual footage so far. But those wondering about the future of Will McAvoy and his team at News Night need wait no longer, as HBO has debuted the first real look at the show’s final season.

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HBO to adapt Oscar-nominated 2002 film 'In America' into series

The 2002 film In America earned writer-director Jim Sheridan an Oscar nomination for his script, which he co-wrote with his daughters Naomi Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan. The film was inspired by Sheridan’s own family. Now Sheridan will now be able to pull even more from his own experiences, as the film will be turned into a series at HBO.

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Aaron Sorkin: I didn't know how 'The Newsroom' was going to end

The lights are about to dim on the HBO’s The Newsroom. The drama, created by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and focusing on fictional cable news channel ACN, begins its final season on Nov. 9, and will wrap up its story in a tight six episodes. “It was because of my schedule,” Sorkin says of the shortened season. “But, as it turned out, six was the right number. I don’t know what we would have done with a seventh episode.”

So what’s in these final hours? EW talked to Sorkin about weddings, power plays, and Twitter scandals.

EW: Will there be a time jump when the show premieres?
AARON SORKIN: We’re ahead about five months. However, once the season starts each episode begins right after the last one ended so there are no time jumps during the season. It’s a very compressed season. Once again, we’re telling one story throughout the whole season, there are stories that come off like branches, but there’s one story that we begin in the first episode and goes to the end.

Can you tease the main story?
Well, without giving too much away, it’s something that we’ve been talking about for the last 2 years: government and journalism. A lot of people feel like the current administration has been really tough on reporters and whistleblowers. I realize I’m not making it sound exciting but it involves one of our characters in a lot of jeopardy. Our people have a story that was given to them by a government whistleblower and the Justice Department wants the name of their source and they won’t give it up. So we see how far they’re willing to go for that.

Will the fallout from Jerry (Hamish Linklater) and Genoa play in?
It does a little bit. But the bigger thing that comes along is that we meet Reese’s father’s children by his next wife so we meet his half-brother and his half-sister is Kat Dennings. And they own a 45-percent share of the controlling stock in the company and that begins a story rolling of a hostile takeover of AWN.

Will (Jeff Daniels) proposed to Mac (Emily Mortimer) in the finale. Are they still engaged?
Again without giving too much away, I knew going into this season that they’re gonna have to get married. There’s gonna have to be a wedding. How do you do a wedding that we haven’t seen before on TV? And I think we came up with a way.

Is Maggie back on stable ground?
When we meet Maggie at the beginning of the season, she sort of has the eye of the tiger. She is trying to shed every rotten thing that’s happened to her in the last few years and toughen up and breathe new life into herself. She really completes that part of her character arc this season.

Is Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) still dating Hallie (Grace Gummer)?
Yeah Jim is still dating Hallie, but there’s tension in that relationship. Hallie is actually now working for ACN Digital at the beginning of the season. And mirroring something that happened at MSNBC a while back when someone tweeted a quip that was offensive to Republicans. It was a big deal—MSNBC had to apologize. They had to fire the producer who sent the tweet and everything. So something very similar happens to Hallie. She in the middle of the night, really tired, tweets something from ACN’s account, sort of immediately realizes what she’s done, deletes it but it’s too late. That begins a story that lasts the whole season, too.

How do you feel about this last season? Excited? Sad?
I’m really excited. I do feel it’s a really solid season. I think we’re wrapping up a lot of stories in a nice way. I miss everybody already but I’m in the editing room every day with the show so for me I don’t have postpartum depression yet. But that will come, I promise. On the other side of the wall from the editing room is our stage, so I can hear them pulling apart our set and throwing it in dumpsters, so that’s hard.

Did the show end how you thought it would? Did things evolve?
For most of the time, I didn’t know how the show was going to end. I would have small images of what I wanted to see. But the closer I got to the end of the season in terms of writing, the more I was able to see the end of the season finale. Once we got there, it happened more easily than I thought it was going to.

On 'The Comeback' season 2, what new show has Valerie been cast in?

You’ve waited nine years, so what’s a few more weeks? HBO’s critically acclaimed but tragically canceled 2005 comedy The Comeback is upon us—a new eight-episode second season debuts Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. With plenty of buzz circulating about the return of Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King’s cult favorite, EW can now reveal everything headed your way in The Comeback’s second coming. (Well, mostly—check out this week’s Fall TV Preview for the full scoop from our set visit.)

Set in 2014, season two finds desperate actress Valerie Cherish (Kudrow) cast in Seeing Red, a single-camera HBO dramedy written by her old nemesis Paulie G., the writer who all but terrorized her on the set of their 2005 sitcom Room & Bored. Fresh from his second stint in rehab, Paulie has written a dark HBO comedy loosely based on his behind the scenes struggles with drugs while working with Valerie on Bored.

“Valerie agrees to play it even though she’s probably playing the worst version of herself, because she thinks it will take her to the next level,” says co-creator King. “The closer Valerie gets to this heat, the more her life starts to fall apart.” Producer Dan Bucatinsky describes the season in a question: “What happens when a woman who is really interested in continuing to have cameras on her also winds up in one of the most challenging acting roles of her career?”

The nine years since the original Comeback have certainly changed Valerie—she’s less obliging and perhaps more out of touch than ever, even if she doesn’t realize it. “She has a vlog. She knows what tweeting is because she’s watched Housewives, and she’s pretty proud of her unimpressive number of followers. But she still doesn’t know what anything means,” laughs Kudrow. Val will encounter plenty of Hollywood faces familiar to 2014 viewers, but her world isn’t exactly star-studded—expect the likes of Lisa Vanderpump, Andy Cohen, and RuPaul among those who cross her path this year.

And what about the rest of the cast? 2014 will see big changes for everyone in Valerie’s life: ingénue Juna (Malin Akerman) is now a major film star; Chris (Kellan Lutz) is an action hero; publicist Billy (Bucatinsky) has moved up to the B-minus list, and he’s clashing with hairstylist Mickey (Robert Michael Morris) for the closest spot in Valerie’s inner circle; husband Mark (Damian Young) is feeling the strain of another decade of marriage; and producer Jane (Laura Silverman) is feeling the burn of a less accommodating Valerie. (Sorry, spider-eyes!)

As always, the real drive behind the new season isn’t just about putting Valerie into one tortured situation after another; The Comeback strives to reflect real trends in television. “What’s happening in television right now are dramedies being listed as comedies but maybe they’re not funny, movie stars doing limited series, behind the scenes footage for social media and web content… there’s a lot of the real thing within our fantasy, because that’s what we did last time,” says King. “It’s yet again an evolution in television, but it’s also an evolution in Valerie.”

When the series returns, viewers will be completely caught up on everything that’s been going on in Valerie’s life since we last left her in 2005, reeling from a Jay Leno appearance and surprised to find her reality show has been renewed for a second season (which is arguably Valerie’s greatest loss of all).

“What you’re going to see in the first episode is where Valerie’s been for nine years and how desperate she’s been, and what actually happened to her after The Comeback,” teases King. “If you like reality TV and you like Valerie, the opening is kind of like crack cocaine. Like Comeback crack.”

Pick up Entertainment Weekly‘s Fall TV Preview issue, on stands now.

Frances McDormand goes quiet in a trailer for HBO's 'Olive Kitteridge'

The teaser for HBO’s upcoming miniseries Olive Kitteridge only allows for a glimpse of Frances McDormand’s take on the title character in the adaptation of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. But it’s certainly a tantalizing one, giving audiences a sense of how director Lisa Cholodenko interpreted Strout’s fictional setting of Crosby, Maine. And it’s all set to a haunting cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic” by Martha Wainwright, who is in the series.

Strout’s novel consists of 13 interconnected short stories. However, the miniseries consists of just four parts. But that’s actually not a huge drawback, given the critical response so far. Though the series will not run on HBO until November, it premiered recently at the Venice Film Festival to acclaim, especially for McDormand in a role that The Hollywood Reporter‘s review claimed was one of the “most complex and memorable of her career.” HitFix’s review called the miniseries a “a perfect storm of talent, fine storytelling and beautiful direction, executed with consummate professionalism by a top notch craft and tech team.”

The movie also stars Richard Jenkins as Olive’s husband Henry, Zoe Kazan, John Gallagher Jr., and Bill Murray.

Showtime hints that online-only subscriptions may be on the way

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Ever since HBO Go launched in 2010, bringing streamable premium programming to its cable subscribers, the network has been hounded by one question in particular: Will they ever uncouple HBO Go from a cable subscription? While the network has long held out against making this beautiful ideal a reality, one of its competitors might beat it to the punch.

According to Forbes, CBS COO Joseph Ianniello teased the possibility of an online-only subscription to the network’s premium channel Showtime. While the executive wouldn’t say any such plan was being developed or tested, he took a moment during his talk at New York’s Nomura Digital Media Conference to note that nothing about its contracts with cable/satellite providers preclude such a service.

While cord-cutters might be elated to know that executives are thinking of them, it still might be some time before the platonic ideal of streaming TV becomes a reality. As Forbes notes, while demand for such services are there, they don’t benefit cable providers—a group of companies that’s likely to act swiftly to defend its interests.

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