Two years after a (verbal) bomb dropped, “Succession” is back

HBO fans are used to long waits.
That’s the thing about networks that want quality; they take their time and get it right.
“Game of Thrones” once went 20 months between the end of one season and the start of another. “The Sopranos” had gaps of 16 months one year, 15 the next and 22 months before the final season.
But all of that was without a COVID shutdown. Now “Succession” (shown here) returns at 9 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 17, rerunning at 10 and 11:35 p.m.) … a full two years after the last season ended. Read more…

Emmys were fun — in a drearily monotonous way

The Emmy telecast had been on for 73 minutes Sunday, before an American won an award.
The entire first hour on ABC (yes, the American Broadcasting Company) was spent giving prizes to Canadians. “Schitt’s Creek” (shown here) swept all seven of the awards given on-air for comedies – best series, plus four acting awards and ones for directing and writing.
It was a remarkable – and monotonous – stretch for a pleasant little show that is usually ignored. Having finished its run on the obscure PopTV channel, “Schitt’s Creek” is now confined to the CW Seed streaming service. The Emmy voters had ignored it for years … then showered it with those seven on-air wins and two more (costumes and casting) before the telecast.
When all of that finally ended, it was time for the award for the best variety talk series … which went to John Oliver, an Englishman.
Eventually, the Emmys did find some Americans and revert to their traditional state … which involves HBO winning everything. That included Emmys for best: Read more…

In the midst of shutdown, five actors made at-home movie

For months, actors were simply in limbo.
“People used to say show-business was Depression-proof,” Bette Midler told the Television Critics Association recently. “In the Depression, the movies were the only things that survived.”
Not this time. During the COVID shutdown, writers kept writing and musicians kept recording, but actors mostly stayed at home and waited … except for five of them.
Those were the actors in “Coastal Elites” (shown here with Kaitlyn Dever ), which debuts at 8 and 11:20 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 12) on HBO, rerunning often. Working in social-distanced ways, they did monologues about distanced lives. Read more…

Post-‘Thrones’ HBO: More shows, more nights

LOS ANGELES – Imagine a baseball team shedding superstars.
Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle all retire … just as the manager is told to play more games with more people.That’s HBO now.
Gone are “Game of Thrones” (shown here) — with 32 Emmy nominations, a dozen more than any other show – plus “Veep” and “Big Little Lies.” The pilot has been shot for a “Thrones” prequel, progamming chief Casey Bloys told the Television Critics Association, but there have been no plans for a third “Lies” season.
This comes just after HBO got corporate instructions to have more shows on more nights. “The big challenge … was to make sure we weren’t just filling hours to fill hours,” Bloys said.
So far, that seems to be working. After averaging just over 100 hours of original shows in most seasons, HBO will finish this year with 150; next year, it may have 160. That means: Read more…