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.