1. They tell extraordinary stories
There is nothing procedural about HBO shows. There are no filler episodes and the stories & characters have the time to grow and develop in their series to create episodes that are intense, subtle, humorous, dramatic, gritty, profane, thrilling, poignant, realistic, and fantastical.
The crime drama is one of the most popular shows on television. And all the shows tell the story of one crime committed and solved in one episode. But not on HBO. For The Wire
one case creates an entire season of material, exploring the institutional failures and politics of fighting crime. And not a single episode is wasted in creating a believable yet dynamic and dramatic portrayl of crime, law, and justice. Eat that CSI
.2. They shoot on location or on amazing sets
They don't try and save money by using whatever they can find in LA and California, or try and write the show to fit a California scenery. They shoot on location creating the necessary ambiance, culture, and imagery to allow the actors and the audience to really experience what the show is trying to offer.
To create the soul and culture of New Orleans, HBO's new series Treme
is being shot in New Orleans--amongst some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For the portrayl of the gritty Baltimore drug scene, The Wire
was shot on location in Baltimore, Maryland. Though the days of the Roman Republic are long gone, for the series Rome
, the whole production worked and filmed in Rome, Italy. Carnivale
set-up an extensive set of carnival rides, sideshows, and tents in various desert locations to create the brilliant look of the show about a traveling carnival during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
shot in Botswana, South Africa. The Sopranos
shot in New Jersey.3. Interesting, brilliant, and quality casting & characters
HBO shows cast who is right for the character, story, and culture of the show. Hollywood can be all about the looks, celebrity, and the sellability/popularity of actors. And yet HBO transcends that superficiality to find fantastic unknowns and just brilliant actors to create believable, compelling characters and human beings. They have THE best ensemble casts on television. Period.
Michael C. Hall, now famous for his role in the show Dexter
, was discovered and cast for the pivotal role of David Fisher in HBO's Six Feet Under
. Presdient Obama said that the bold thief Omar is his favorite character on his favorite television show The Wire
. “That’s not an endorsement. He’s not my favorite person, but he’s a fascinating character,” Obama said, who noted that Omar, who is gay, is also “the toughest, baddest guy on the show.”4. They present fresh looks on tired genres
They get the location/period's sound, language, slang, music, tone, costumes, and art direction impeccably realized. Their shows' aesthetics are like nothing you've ever seen. HBO shows create the genre while reinventing it at the same time. Whether you've seen a million westerns--you haven't seen anything like Deadwood. And yet, if you hate
all Westerns, you can't help but find something palpable and fresh about Deadwood
, and all those epic period films COMBINED have got nothing on Rome
with its in depth look at politics and the real life of its people. How many Vampire stories have we seen? God, we've even seen sparkly vampires and yet none of the vampire stories have done it like True Blood
has. War time mini-series like Band of Brothers
take on WWII or the first assault on Baghdad in 2003 for Generation Kill
--both authentic stories based on two very different wars. The most common theme of death is explored through a family's loss and their experiences running a funeral home in Six Feet Under
.5. Best opening title sequences ever
Okay, maybe title sequences don't make or break a great show. But watching the concept, artistry, and stories put into these little +one minute trailers makes you realize that no detail is too small on HBO shows. HBO has made art out of their opening credits. They're all about giving you the exact theme and mood of that show--whether its a twisted and tainted story of the vampiric south in True Blood
, a man working as a male prostitute in Hung
slowly shedding off his clothes through the process of the sequence, or a story of a Polygamist and his three wives in Big Love
. HBO Shows
HBO pushes the limits, crosses all the lines, and creates universes unlike anything you've ever seen on TV.
(Angels in America -- Added after popular demand)It's not TV. It's HBO.Comments, questions, & discussion are LOVE!
Anyone catch Treme
yet? I've watched the first episode. A couple familiar faces I'm really excited about from other HBO shows (Kim Dickens from Deadwood
& Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters from The Wire
) and then you've got John Goodman, Steve Zahn, and Khandi Alexander. I'm really excited to see this cast in action. The music is fantastic and I look forward to the rest of the season.
Please DO NOT take any of these images for your own use for icons or posting elsewhere. I've spent hours upon hours searching, downloading, screencapping, and sifting through thousands of screencaps for over ten different shows to make this picpsam possible. I've also color corrected each image so please, leave the images be. I've credited ALL my sources below, including links to the person/community and the direct link to the entry or tag that will lead you to the entry of caps.Screencap Resources:Band of Brothers: noyo_caps - Parts Ep. 1-4 | tasteofblame - 5-10 | Opening credits screencapped by me from a youtube video.
Big Love: outgone - Opening Credits
Carnivale: raven_annabelle - Seasons 1 & 2
Deadwood: Season 1 | Season 3 + Opening Credits
Generation Kill: Entire mini-series
Hung: burgundy_shoes - Opening Titles (Join to download)
Rome: phoenixothon @ capaholic - Entire 1st Season
Flight of the Conchords: musguita @ suicidalchanges - Ep. 1
Six Feet Under: Opening Credits | Season 1 (Need to fix aspect ratio)
True Blood: extant - Season 1
The Wire: _jems_ - Ep. 1.06 & 1.07 | burgundy_shoes - 5.01 (Join to download)
-Various promo photos/posters/cast shots were found through google searches.
-I find most screencaps by searching the memories of dj_capslock. You must join to see what they have--but they have a fantastic archive of screencaps.
-If you have any questions about my resources, feel free to ask.