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HBO Sunday Nights: Does the new lineup have potential? - Cinema Shelf
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HBO Sunday Nights: Does the new lineup have potential?

HBO Sunday Nights (9-11 pm)



For the past few years I have enjoyed HBO’s lineup on Sunday nights. Usually filled with some type of hour-long drama/action and then some type of 30 minute comedy. The summer of 2015 (so far) has delivered probably some of the more entertaining content HBO has provided in the summer months in recent years.

The shows include: “True Detective” (season 2), “Ballers”, and “The Brink”

I will provide a general overview of the three shows and how much potential I think they have. I will not spoil any major plot points so far, and it’d be really tough to do so anyway considering at this point we’ve only seen 2 episodes.


“True Detective” (Season 2)

The first season of True Detective was definitely my favorite single season of any HBO show in the history of HBO shows. The second season seems like it attempts to offer that same slow burn feeling, but with possibly more people impacted by the outcome of the situation than the first season.

I’ve heard many people already say that Netflix would be better suited to take on the show, and I disagree. I understand the awesomeness of being able to binge a show and find out the climax pretty quickly. But the week to week watching provides an intense amount of suspense, at least for me. I appreciate TV in appropriate doses, and I believe it was Voltaire that said “Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders a man happy.”

So far, the characters are interesting, and the actors are great. I can feel the tension being built, and I feel confused at times. Confusion is often misunderstood with shows like this, but often times it works to the advantage of the viewer. We should not attempt to spend the ENTIRE hour the show is on trying to figure out what is happening or what is going on or what the solution to the mystery is (I’m looking at you, people who talk the WHOLE HOUR). Instead we should sit back and let the creative people that made the show blow our minds.

Let this show do its job and create a crazy world with crazy things, be entertained. Even if you end up watching it on HBOgo once the whole season is out, don’t watch the whole season in 1 day. I promise it takes away some of the intensity.

Overall, I’d recommend this show (obviously), and I’d say this season has potential to re-launch several careers of the actors who’re in the show.


“Ballers” (season 1)

“Ballers”, the new Entourage, the new bro-show, the new show about how awesome it is to be filthy rich, and the show that’ll make you want to be an NFL player (or agent).

This is obviously an over simplification of the show, but I believe it is how most perceive it. This show is all of those things, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little more as well. This show is funnier than “Entourage” (for now), has a little more heart, and isn’t as freaking INSANE as Entourage got to be (at least not yet).

The Rock plays a former NFL player who is currently pursuing a career in financial advising/possibly being an agent. There are several scenes that really show some of the backstory to the Rock’s character, and kind of point to what the show’s overall theme is going to be, at least I think.

There are scenes of the Rock taking what I assume to be pain pills, as many former NFL players do to cope with the years of damage playing in the NFL has caused their bodies. Finding a way to cope with pain is tough, both physically and mentally. And some of the moments the Rock’s character has gives insight into how the character is managing those years of mental and physical stress. And that is what I mean by having something deeper than “Entourage” or other bro-shows. (mental stress coming from the pressure to provide for everyone in your life like many NFL players deal with).

Overall, I love this show. It has great actors that seem like they’re just having fun. I am looking forward to this show most every week now, and I mean, it’s hard not to find this show fun.


“The Brink” (season 1)

This is an interesting show, mostly because I wouldn’t have expected Jack Black and Tim Robbins to be in something like this.

It’s clever, in the way that “VEEP” is, and it has some recognizable actors like most HBO shows tend to have. Jack Black actually gives a solid performance so far, as does Tim Robbins.

There are 3 separate story lines that all play parallel to one another. One deals with fighter pilots who accidentally take different pills than they thought they were taking in the middle of an airstrike mission. The second deals with Tim Robbins trying to get the airstrike called off, and the third deals with Jack Black being taken prisoner in the middle east.

All 3 plots are well managed, and seem to be perfectly intertwined. At times I feel like the show is longer than 30 minutes, and I am amazed at how they can fit so much into one episode without it feeling overcrowded.

I honestly believe this show is the best HBO is offering right now (through 2 episodes), but I would not be surprised if it falls being True Detective once the action picks up.

Overall, I am most excited about watching this series. I am glad that Jack Black is back to being funny, and I am always happy to see Tim Robbins do something different. He is a very solid actor that doesn’t get enough credit. I’d recommend this one as well because it serves as great comedy week to week, and great plot in the overall story arc.



HBO Sunday nights this summer are going to be pretty solid, hopefully we get 2 great new series in “Ballers” and “The Brink”.




“True Detective” (season 2) airs Sunday nights at 9 pm on HBO

“Ballers” airs at 10 pm on HBO 

“The Brink” airs at 10:30 pm on HBO

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