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5 Reasons to Watch HBO 
24th-Apr-2010 12:28 am
TV-Fringe | Charlie :D

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. Gladiator, Troy, Alexander, 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.
24th-Apr-2010 05:54 am (UTC)
Wow. I don't even know what to say about how gorgeous this is. I love HBO so much and almost all of the shows that have been on it. You are just so right about the reasons to watch it. Also, the opening sequences are important these days because most shows don't even have them anymore and HBO's shows continue to make them pieces of art.
24th-Apr-2010 06:19 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! *dramatic turn by pretty actor towards camera* = most title sequences if there even is one (like you said), or some really bad motion graphics.
24th-Apr-2010 05:58 am (UTC)
BRILLIANT! This was fantastic. Wonderful reasons and beautiful treatment of the screencaps. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Rome is one of my all-time favourite shows, I recently became obsessed with True Blood, and I'm planning on starting Deadwood very soon.
24th-Apr-2010 06:23 am (UTC)
Another thing about HBO is that their fans are so damn loyal to their shows. You don't just love HBO shows, you follow them fiercely. Ugh, there just aren't enough words for the greatness that is Rome. I really really hope they can make a movie.
24th-Apr-2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Absolutely GORGEOUS picspam of some of my all-time favorite television shows. I really love the way you put this together and the themes/reasons you used to link the shows together. Love it!
24th-Apr-2010 06:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! HBO really puts a huge dent in my favorite shows of all time.
24th-Apr-2010 06:15 am (UTC)
THIS IS AMAZING! And I totally agree. The sad part is I missed alot of these shows because I didn't have HBO at the time, but boy I can't picture being without it now. And you're so right about being compelled to watch the shows even if they're not what you're into. I certainly didn't want to watch a miniseries about the war in Iraq, but Generation Kill is just so much more than that. I fell IN LOVE with that show and the characters.

I also love True Blood, Big Love, Entourage, and InTreatment (I believe season 1 was better because they changed the whole format in season 2 turning me off a bit). Amazing job on this! I loved it :)
24th-Apr-2010 06:41 am (UTC)
I missed alot of the shows too but I'm finding means here and there to catch up on some. I'm currently finishing up The Wire and Deadwood. And I would probably avoid a mini-series about such a current even war, if it was on any channel but HBO. GK is my favorite of all the war mini-series. Great characters and I just loved some of the great dialogue i the show. So funny.

Big Love is on my list to check out next. I watched the first episode and was so intrigued. I watched a bit of In Treatment too--really liked it. Too bad about the format. Six Feet Under had an amazing first season, but they also changed the format a bit in later seasons which turned me off, but it was still worth the watch. Entourage looks like such a guys show but I've heard so many good things I really should check it out.

Thanks for the lovely comment too :)
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24th-Apr-2010 06:46 am (UTC)
You're so right! I mean watching network television repeat themselves over and over again, you'd think there just weren't any more stories to tell. But HBO proves that statement wrong. They continue to have new fresh ideas all the time. I love 'em. And your list is my list--except for Big Love, I've only seen the first episode, but I'm so eager to see more.
24th-Apr-2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Ugh, this is brilliant and gorgeous and it makes me miss The Wire and Deadwood so much. Excellent job!
24th-Apr-2010 06:49 am (UTC)
Thank you. Yea, I'm in the 4th season of The Wire and I'm wondering how I ever watched any tv show before I watched this one.
24th-Apr-2010 06:34 am (UTC)
This is a really fabulous and gorgeous picspam. I can tell you put a lot of work into it and every word you speak is true. I've missed a few of HBO's shows, but there is always DVDs and Blurays to catch up.

A couple of my current favorites though are the mini series Generation Kill and the series True Blood. I also like Hung.
24th-Apr-2010 06:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much--it did take alot of time so I really appreciate your comment :) I've missed most of the HBO shows, but like you said, thank god for DVD's.

I watched GK a couple months ago and LOVED it. And True Blood is doing great, I can't WAIT for the next season. I lost my cable after I had only seen a few episodes of Hung. Is it still chugging along? Getting better through the season (not that it was ever bad--I love Thomas Jane)?
24th-Apr-2010 07:05 am (UTC)
I am in love with this, basically. ♥__________&hearts It's so gorgeous, and I love your commentary/reasons. And the way the images are laid out, I just adore that.

Great job :)
24th-Apr-2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you so so much :)
24th-Apr-2010 07:58 am (UTC)
I love this. So much. I'm a huge HBO series (mini or not). There is something so amazingly unique and different about their shows that make them worth watching.
24th-Apr-2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
You are so right. They just don't repeat themselves so I know when I check out another HBO show--it won't be like any of their others. Anyway, thank you for the comment I'm glad you enjoyed the picspam :D
24th-Apr-2010 08:01 am (UTC)
I think Six Feet Under is my favorite show (after Lost, lol).
And all these character, I have so much love for all of them.
I still haven't watched Carnivale tho, shame on me!

The opening sequences are amazing, when I rewatch these shows/episodes I always have to watch the opening sequence :)

24th-Apr-2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
I love HBO fans enthusiasm. I think in one of the early drafts of the descriptions I did have a part that said, HBO fans don't just watch their shows--they LOVE them and they are fiercely loyal to them. You all have proven me right, I should of kept that in :D I'm so glad you liked the picspam. I think the first season of Six Feet Under was one of the best first seasons I've ever seen. Carnivale is great--they sort of border on supernatural with their stories so its a very interesting watch.

THANK you SO much for you comment. I really appreciate it.
24th-Apr-2010 08:55 am (UTC)
Oh I agree, thank you so much for doing this. I really love HBO, some of my favourite shows were broadcast on there: The Wire and Deadwood. I'm watching Treme, finding it hard to get into but I'll stick with it :) I should probably watch more HBO shows since I loved those two so much. Which ones would you recommend? I'm going to recommend Angels in America to you since I don't see it here, it's brilliant :) I really like their tagline 'it's not TV, it's HBO'. So true - they don't seem to care about audience numbers and instead are dedicated to quality TV, which frankly makes me happy because I really respect TV as a medium and I don't think it gets enough credit, it's often overshadowed by cinema when some of the best content is on TV.
Thanks again for sharing!
24th-Apr-2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Well Treme was created by the same guy who did The Wire. So I'm expecting another slow build show. I've only watched the first episode but I'm also giving it time to win my heart. It took a season of The Wire to make me look back and realize the greatness I had just watched. It was one of those, "What the hell did I just watch--" in utter astonishment of how different their storytelling was, and I just didn't want to stop watching the series.

Oh man suggestions suggestions. I'll always swear by Rome. It was only suppose to be one season but it was doing so well and the season was just amazing--so they gave it a second season. It's a more gritty Rome than anything that movies have done, kinda like how Deadwood was the grittier western. Of all the war mini-series, Generation Kill is my favorite. Such a good cast and really funny. Six Feet Under is really really easy to get into. Alot happens in the first episode and you just really fall in love with the storytelling and the characters. Unfortunately I think they sort of lost their great formula in later seasons so that turned me off a bit. But it never seemed to deter other people and I still find fans that swear by that series. And I'm sure you've heard the True Blood craze going around--I liked season one, but I LOVED season two. Haha, I could keep going but I think those are my recommendations for the moment ;)

Angels in America--ugh that's always been on my list to watch. Yea, I knew I'd miss something in this list of shows. HBO's website doesn't even feature everything they've done which was sorta frustrating.

Just the other day I had a post in my LJ about how TV is surpassing movies in quality nowadays. With HBO and shows like Mad Men--really penetrating main stream audiences and raising the standard for TV, they are telling more unique and interesting stories.

And thanks for commenting!
24th-Apr-2010 08:58 am (UTC)
HBO is simply amazing and makes a wonderful job with their shows. <333

I can't be more in love with it! And probably I'm gonna catch the shows I missed. ♥ Why doesn't Italy have HBO? ç______ç

24th-Apr-2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much :D

Oh man, good luck with that--ugh HBO should be EVERYWHERE. I hope you can find more of their shows.
24th-Apr-2010 09:03 am (UTC)
Spectacular post! Well, that's why its not tv, it's HBO and I think it truly lives up to its name. :)
24th-Apr-2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Best tagline ever.
24th-Apr-2010 09:36 am (UTC)
I want to give Treme a try, is it good?
24th-Apr-2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
I've only watched the first episode so I can't give it a glowing recommendation yet. But knowing the creator of the show (he also did HBO's The Wire), I think it will be something special. From the first episode, it had alot culture and just great music you wanted to move to. And the cast is spectacular! HBO has alot of slow build in their shows--they don't just slam you in the face with drama for the sake of it, so you just watch their shows and before you know it, you're hooked. I say give it a try--I'm certainly sticking with it.
(Deleted comment)
24th-Apr-2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
"It never fails to deliver."

Truer words were never spoken.
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