Must See TV Apps

It’s tough to get away with not paying for cable when all you really want to do is lounge in front of the TV and watch the season finale of “True Blood.” But things are changing: some new TV network apps give you free reign to watch what you want when you want to — although you may have to log in with the dreaded cable provider.

A bevy of new (and recently updated) iPad apps let you focus in on your personal must-see TV. Here’s a rundown of what’s available:

» TNT has the newest app which, according to electronista, provides access to all its movies and shows, and integrates social media like Twitter and Facebook.

» In July, HBO updated its HBO GO app. If you have HBO service, you can now stream over 1,400 shows pretty much anywhere. AppSafari thinks HBO “knocked it out of the park” with the app.

» With the 2012 election frenzy just getting underway, the CNN app is a must-have for any political junkie. PC Magazine loved the vast amount of streaming content and social integration, but was frustrated by the app’s slowness and few sporadic bugs.

» Wait — there’s more. ABC, Time Warner, NBC, ESPN, and PBS all have iPad apps that are worth checking out.

For even more, check out Trove’s Television and Mobile Apps channels.

TV: From Bon Temps to Amish Country

First, it was a family living in a funeral parlor. Then, a troop of supernatural creatures running amok in Louisiana. And now? An ex-con, adept in the martial arts, posing as a murdered sheriff in Amish country. What do these things have in common?

All three are television series created by the acclaimed screenwriter Alan Ball.

The writer and producer of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood” is raising eyebrows with his latest project: a move to Cinemax to executive produce a new series called “Banshee.”

A tight lid is being kept on the show’s details. The LA Times obtained an exclusive report that reveals only the following: “Banshee” will premiere on Cinemax as part of the network’s push towards original programming. It will be set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish Country. It will be darkly comic in tone and feature an “ex-con posing as a murdered sheriff, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests.”

Oh, and there won’t be any faeries, vampires, or otherworldly inhabitants. The residents of “Banshee” are one hundred percent human — which doesn’t make them any less flawed, or moral, than their non-human counterparts, if “Six Feet Under” is any indication.

Will you tune in to see what the macabre screenwriter has to offer? Is the third time the charm?

Be sure to follow Trove’s HBO, True Blood, and Television channels to keep up with the latest in Ball’s unpredictable celluloid journey.

Image by Getty

TV: The New ‘Must See TV’ Is Sunday Night on HBO

Let’s face facts: It’s August. Network executives are most likely sunning themselves on yachts under cloudless Caribbean skies, sipping gin-and-tonics, their only concern what Hamptons property to buy next.

What aren’t they doing? Thinking about what’s on TV right now. And that’s why – to be frank – the current lineup is a parched wasteland, the only tumbleweed a lonely “Jersey Shore” in Italy, dragging Snooki’s wilted poof through the dust.

Luckily, there’s one exception to the rule:

Sunday nights on HBO.

The cable network’s Sunday night lineup has become a staple of popular culture in and of itself, as individual shows cycle through their seasons at different times. And the dead zone of August is no exception.

So what does this haven of original programming look like? Glad you asked.

» “Boardwalk Empire,” currently airing repeats of its debut season in anticipation of next season’s premiere, chronicles the origins of crime in Atlantic City during the Prohibition Era. Called “the most purely — and impurely — enjoyable storytelling HBO has delivered in ages, like a movie that you never want to end” and “the best new show on television” by critics, it’s hard to think of a reason not to tune in.

» “True Blood” – the fourth season about the residents of fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, adds even more sizzle to its already scalding Cajun mix by introducing a slew of supernatural creatures (were-panthers, necromantic witches) to keep the vampires company. “True Blood” has been called “graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny,” and “an irresistible mixture of pungent political satire, observant pop sociology and lurid drive-in thrills.” Also, the vampires are sexy.

» “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” now in its eighth season, follows “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David as he blunders his way through conventional social situations, offending friends and enemies alike. Critics call the current season “as twisted, and twistedly funny, as ever” and “a strange world indeed, where the rules and the rituals are both fragile and yet brash. It’s like Jane Austen doing vaudeville.” Pretty-pretty-pretty good.

» “Entourage” – the eighth and final season chronicling the trials and tribulations of A-list movie star Vincent Chase and his childhood friends from Queens as they attempt to navigate the unfamiliar landscape of LA is “unmatched as a portrait of the entertainment industry.” “’Entourage’ is clarifying a moral message — drugs will kill you, terrible behavior is terrible, and real friends are forever. It feels like a reassuring final season.”

Gangsters, vampires, neurotics, and movie stars – what else could you possibly ask for on a Sunday night? The curtain rises at 8 p.m. eastern.

To follow the line-up, check out Trove’s HBO, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Entourage channels.

All photos from HBO.

TV: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Divides and Conquers

Like anchovies, Singspiel opera, and Celine Dion, opinions about Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tend to split cleanly into two categories: pro and con. And the new season, which premieres this Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern on HBO, promises to deliver much more of what people have come to love — and hate — about the divisive show.

Season eight opens with an episode called “The Divorce,” and although fans may infer which characters are involved, AOL’s Kim Potts warns, “don’t assume you know whose divorce that refers to.” From that point on, the season wends its way through what audiences have come to expect from Larry David: outrageous comedy, awkward neuroses, and a steady stream of high-profile guest stars.

Critic Roger Friedman sums up his sneak peek at the new season as follows: “Larry David has imperiled Jewish-Arab relations, satirized the entire mosque-near-Ground Zero saga, and rehabilitates the reputation of retired Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner… Basically, ‘Curb’ returns on Sunday night kicking ass.”

If you’re not familiar with the show that “goes beyond offensive into outrageous,” there’s no need to start from the beginning of the series. “Even if you never watched a minute of the previous seven seasons, you can tune in and get some laughs,” says David Hinckley, “Guilty and otherwise.”

Also premiering this week on TV:

» “Killer Shots”: A new National Geographic program that documents wildlife photographer Andy Casagrande as he swims with sharks, prowls with lions, and leaps out of helicopters to film polar bears, all in the pursuit of snapping the “killer shot.” Premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

» “Dance Moms”: Lifetime presents a new reality show that follows “children’s early steps on the road to stardom, and their doting mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance and bow.” Premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Check out Trove’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Television channels for more.

Photo via Getty Images