Hanging out for better telly
the Home Box Office network’s list of smash hits just goes on and on, and they are known for quality as well as fresh, edgy content.
It’s just a shame that even pay- TV subscribers have to wait so long to see these shows in Australia, to say nothing of free- to- air viewers who often don’t get to see them at all. But that’s what the internet’s for, I guess.
One of HBO’S top series returns to Austar’s Showcase channel tonight, with the premiere of season three of Hung.
Hung is the story of divorced teacher and coach Ray Drecker ( Thomas Jane) who found a novel way to make a little money after hitting rock bottom.
Despite everything else in his life going to hell, Ray still has one thing going in his favour: he is, well, rather well endowed.
So, with the help of his unlikely pimp Tanya ( Jane Adams), he starts a new career as a male prostitute with a rather impressive selling point.
All the while, Ray must hide his unorthodox career from his ex- wife and kids as well as the predatory Lenore ( Rebecca Creskoff), who is bitter at being dumped as Ray’s pimp/ manager and wants revenge.
This all sounds rather sordid and I LOVE HBO. I really do. If there was some way I could subscribe to it directly in this country and watch everything they produce as it went to air in the US, I would happily pay for it.
True Blood, Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Entourage, In Treatment, dirty and the series does have its raunchy moments, but beneath the sexy exterior is a surprisingly thoughtful and insightful human story about family bonds, dealing with loss, personal identity and friendship.
The ‘‘ well- hung male prostitute’’ conceit is just a tempting lure to get your attention and draw you in.
And this is the magic of what HBO does: even if you just come for the sex and violence, you’ll end up staying when you get hooked on the characters and human story.
The secret to this is good writing. Fantastic writing. The sort of writing that makes you forget the superficial gloss of a show because you’re so busy gazing into its deep, inner workings.
That sort of writing, sadly, is almost totally absent from commercial and free- to- air offerings at present.
Networks such as HBO, Starz and Showtime demonstrate again and again that not only is there a market for this sort of quality television, people are begging for it.
The lengths people will go to just to watch these shows illegally is proof of that.
Yet that demand continues to go ignored.