Sunday, January 19, 2014


Back in the late 80s, comedian Doug Ferrari had a great riff about cable TV.
"You know HBO stands for? 'Hey! BEASTMASTER's on!'"
And we've come full circle, which is why I have broken up with Home Box Office after several years.
It's been a good run. They blazed a trail for what I consider the Platinum Age of Television with THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE, DEADWOOD, et al. Their documentary series has been stellar as well as their original films, recent examples being TEMPLE GRANDIN and BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. Much of the rest of their programming has touched the stars also. The book DIFFICULT MEN by Brett Martin delves into how this network took command early and how it has lost its footing.
The sad truth is that the well is running dry and this sort of pay service is going the way of the dinosaur. Recent shows have been blah at best, though HBO can still trot out a classic like GAMES OF THRONES or BOARDWALK EMPIRE every now and then, but there are other platforms out there to find the shows you want to see. This is true in the case of the critically lauded TRUE DETECTIVE. As far as GIRLS, a show I admired in its first season, well...that appears to have been a momentary fling. Season Two gave me the hives. And if I have to see Lena Dunham's bare arms one more freaking time, I'm going take a permanent Sharpie to that goddamn Alice in Wonderland tattoo of hers. Get some sleeves, sister.
But their movie choices they've made available are laughable at best. They seem to have purchased Blockbuster's back catalog before that pterodactyl croaked in the tar pit. The greatest hits of the 80s and 90s? Hardly. Never mind BEASTMASTER. How about BEETHOVEN, that irascible St Bernard laugh riot? Oh, what a lovable lug!
Their platforming is archaic and desperately need of a revamp. One channel blurs into another with no distinction except Latino and Children's. It's laziness. It's just filling air time like every other cable channel except it costs extra. And adding an app offering the same crap ain't exactly moving forward, only sideways.
So as HBO goes the way of the dodo, as do I in the opposite direction, slowly evolving as I attempt to wean myself off the cable teat.

 We wish HBO well in its future endeavors.

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