HBO starts the new year strong with two shows
The new year is upon us and for many people, this month marks the start of new diets, different routines, and an overarching feeling of change. For HBO, 2014 means just one thing: a new year in television.
Sunday, Jan. 12 was a big night for the network, which launched the freshman series True Detective and premiered the third season of Girls. Viewer numbers were up for both premieres, with True Detective securing a whopping 2.3 million viewers and Girls receiving a high of 1.1 million viewers. True Detective’s impessive numbers make it HBO’s biggest premiere since Boardwalk Empire’s debut in 2010.
True Detective is a thrilling new crime drama told as an anthology. The cast features a brilliant panel of actors including Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, and Kevin Dunn, to name a few. The show was created and written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga. This season tells the story of two Louisiana detectives as they hunt down a sadistic serial killer.
The first episode is only the beginning of what is sure to be a gem of television. The show features outstanding acting by McConaughey and Harrelson. McConaughey shines as eccentric but brilliant cop Rust Cohle, and Harrelson plays his by-the-book partner Martin Hart.
The episode moves quickly as the action shifts between 1995 and 2012. The two characters recount the past as viewers see the action played out by their younger selves. The actors’ visual transformations are incredbile as scenes shift from past to present. The sight of McConaughey in his first scene as young Rust Cohle is especially impressive. Details such as these contribute to a cohesion that makes the episode run like clockwork.
The setting is equally engaging, creating an unmistakable sense of place for the action to unfold. Sweeping views of Louisiana landscape, intriguing southern dialects, and small-town politics aid in establishing the incredibly appealing setting.
Unlike the endless vortex of crime shows that flood the majority of today’s television networks, True Detective offers something unique. As expected from HBO, the writing is flawless, character development substantial, and action engaging.
Pizzolatto and Fukunaga clearly share the same artistic vision. It is their unparalleled collaboration that endows this new series with cinematic scope.
True Detective airs at 9 p.m. on Sundays on HBO.
HBO is no stranger to comedy, having won countless awards for its sitcoms. Jan. 12 was a big night for fans of Girls, with HBO featuring the back-to-back release of two new episodes.
The quirky series is written, produced, and directed by the brilliant Lena Dunham, who is also the star of the show. The story centers around the lives of four friends as they struggle to find their place in this seemingly impossible world of ours. Heralded as a Sex and the City for the new generation, Girls features dry and somewhat dark humor, raw sex scenes, and comedic accounts of the life struggles familiar to post-graduates.
The first episode focuses on the romance between Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The connection between these two characters feels more substantial this season compared to past ones. Their raw, surprisingly realistic relationship sheds some light on the familiar dark comedy of the series. This episode also features the return of Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and her struggles in rehab. The episode clips along at a satisfying pace for a great launch into the third season.
The second episode is centered on Hannah’s journey to bring Jessa home from rehab. The episode is largely focused on Hannah, Adam, and Shoshana (Zosia Mamet) and their somewhat dysfunctional road trip. This episode moves a bit more slowly than the first, but still includes much of Girls’ signature comedy.
Girls airs at 10 p.m. on Sundays on HBO.