Now that we've wrapped Deadwood, what is a hooplehead to do? Why, cover every. single. fucking. HBO drama series since the very fucking beginning, of course. This is the first installment of "Phase II" of the podcast in which we tackle the premieres of all HBO dramas chronologically. ... First on our list is Philip Marlowe, Private Eye (1983) which stars Cy Tolliver himself, Powers Boothe, as the titular hardboiled detective. Marlowe and his "Girl Friday" protect a mob snitch in Raymond Chandler's The Pencil. (11:15-1:05:50) ... Then we discuss the ridiculous "prison as summer camp" Maximum Security (1984) in which hardened criminals share their emotional problems and footrace for stereos with absolutely no supervision. Jean Smart plays reckless psychiatrist Dr. Alison Brody. (1:05:51-2:24:37) ... Also, we discuss a few projects in development at the network, including the Vince Gilligan penned mini-series "Raven" about the Jonestown massacre, and Alan Ball's new blended family drama featuring Holly Hunter. (0-11:14) | Recorded November 20, 2016. Released November 20, 2016.

The HoopleCast HBO Project continues by discussing two episodes of the horror anthology Tales from the Crypt (1989). In "The Man Who Was Death" William Sadler is a real Frank Underwood-slash-super villain, getting sadistic thrills by electrocuting his city's undesirables, until the easily predictable tries-too-hard-to-be-ironic "twist" ending. "Creep Course" finds a curious bookworm thrown into Jeffrey Jones's Egyptian tomb wherein she fucks a mummy to freedom and earns herself an A+ grade. Upstairs, Anthony Michael Hall transitions from nerd to jock then bleeds from the ass and mouth. (11:23-1:09:35) ... Then things get really horrific as we go all after school special with Lifestories: Families in Crisis (1992). "The Secret Life of Mary Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic" stars Calista Flockhart as a teenager on the "scarf and barf" diet, and "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story" features the future husband of Jennifer Garner (Ben Affleck, not Noel from Felicity) going all aggro when he overindulges in the steroids. Grace Zabriskie from Twin Peaks co-stars as Affleck's mother. (1:09:36-2:20:21) ... All these episodes are terrible, but some are less terrible than others. ... Also, Westworld's blockbuster ratings, two space operas in the HBO pipeline (Glare, and Isaac Asimov's Foundation series), and Big Little Lies. (0-11:22) | Recorded December 11, 2016. Released December 18, 2016.

Come see us, little boys, as we scrape the very bottom of the HBO programming barrel. Hotel Room (1993) is David Lynch at his most pretentious--a terrifying thought. In "Tricks" Harry Dean Stanton may have a split personality, and may intend to kill a prostitute, but who the fuck can say for certain as this is nearly impenetrable garbage. "Getting Rid of Robert" features Deborah Unger, Mariska Hargitay, and Scott Bakula's wife as chatty gal pals, debating the merits of the titular Robert. "Blackout" is a slow, tedious march toward oblivion as Crispin Glover and Alicia Witt sit in the dark, ignoring their (probably delicious) Chinese food, until they're mercifully engulfed by the sun. (6:22-1:12:09) Meanwhile, HBO's first attempt at sci-fi is the anthology series Perversions of Science (1997), a show so bad it killed the CableACE Awards. Like Keith Carradine in "Dream of Doom" we feel trapped in a never-ending nightmare. William Shatner directs "Boxed In," and if you ever meet him at a convention be sure to ask him about the time Kevin Pollak got his dick stuck in a sexbot, because, yeah, that happened. (1:12:10-2:03:44) ... Also, a quick preview of the upcoming Amy Adams vehicle Sharp Objects, and Room 104, a comedic version of Hotel Room by the Duplass brothers. (0-6:21) | Recorded January 29, 2017. Released January 31, 2017.

It's a new era for HBO as the premium cable network launches its first successful dramatic series, the relentlessly grim Oz (1997), which ran for an impressive fifty-six episodes. Our guest Steven brings a fan's enthusiasm to the discussion of "The Routine," which introduces us to the prisoners and administrators of Emerald City--before Jon Seda and his penis (yes, Mel, rewind the tape, because you missed it) suffocate the episode. (8:33-1:10:30) The first installment of From the Earth to the Moon (1998) is a far more optimistic, albeit slightly dull, palate cleasner. The Soviets have launched the first man into outer space, igniting the race to land a man on the moon. "Can We Do This?," the premiere of this twelve-part mini-series, concerns the Mercury and Gemini (not pronounced how you'd think) programs. There's a lot of white guys in shirts and ties looking at screens and dials. It's not as exciting as that one astronaut movie (title TBD) Carol loves. (1:10:31-2:21:03) ... Also, the trailer for the Oprah Winfrey vehicle The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. (0-8:32) | Recorded February 19, 2017. Released February 28, 2017.

The Sopranos (1999) is considered by many to be the pinnacle of HBO programming, but do the hoopleheads share that opinion, or are they wistful for the salad days of Maximum Security and Hotel Room? Are you kookalamanza? Vaffanculo, you pazzo stunad! New Jersey native Carol is the M.V.P. of this episode, bringing all the geography facts and riveting personal history. (10:39-1:29:13) Then, things become altogether depressing on The Corner (2000), a precursor to The Wire, which takes place at the intersection of West Fayette and North Monroe Street in Baltimore, Maryland. Charles S. Dutton introduces us to Gary, Fran, and DeAndre, family members whose lives are tragically destroyed by drug addiction. (1:29:14-2:29:50) ... Also, updates on the Deadwood movie, True Detective season three, Curb Your Enthusiasm's return, and which Big Little Lies mom is Matt A? (He took a Buzzfeed quiz to find out.) (0-10:38) | Recorded April 23, 2017. Released April 30, 2017.

Dane of The Proud Jacuzzi Crew is our guest for this Powers Boothe Memorial Podcast. Six Feet Under (2001 - 2005) is Alan Ball's dramedy about the insufferable Fisher clan. Nate, the scruffy eldest son, has flown home to Los Angeles for Christmas, but holiday plans are thwarted when the family patriarch runs afoul of a city bus. (It's ironic, because they own a funeral home, but now they're the client, get it?) (16:17-1:34:35) In the opening installment of Band of Brothers (2001), "Curahee," everyone's favorite of the six Friends plays the uncompromising drill instructor of Easy Company. Things he does not like: staying hydrated on long runs, prophylactics, contraband peaches, spaghetti dinners, reading maps, fences--hey, is that Michael Fassbender? (1:34:36-3:21:00) ... Also, Game of Thrones spin-offs, Fahrenheit 451, Lovecraft Country, and The New Pope. (0-16:16) | Recorded May 28, 2017. Released May 31, 2017.

Re-up your podcast stash with another supply of HoopleCast, featuring Will of SpartaCast fame ALIVE! ALIVE! ALIVE!. Will is here to defend The Wire (2002), the series about Baltimore's drug war, which is often cited by critics as the greatest fucking thing mere mortals have ever had the privilege of viewing. Based on the pilot, do the hoopleheads agree? Let's put it this way, if we're not intimidated by the rabid, frothing fans of David Lynch, do you think we care about you hoppers? Take your shot. (11:46-1:36:47) Then, at long last, Carnivāle (2003). A warning: if I, your humble host, sound completely manic during this recording, it's because #1 I truncated too much silence while editing, and #2 I might just be a tad enthusiastic to discuss this most wonderful and magical of period dramas. (1:36:48-3:28:40) ... Also, True Detective, Watchmen, Room 104, and The Deuce. (0-11:45) | Recorded July 9, 2017. Released July 16, 2017.

*LOOK UP!* HoopleCast makes its triumphant return, discussing an odd pair of HBO programs. First, the Soderbergh and Clooney produced K Street (2003), which trails real life political operatives James Carville and Mary Matalin as they interact with actual statesmen (Howard Dean) and fictional characters (Christoper Walken wannabe Francisco Dupré). We don't know why this is a thing, but we are completionists/masochists, so.... (7:58-44:38) *LOOK UP!* Then, the always angelic Claire of Calavicci FashionCast and The Defenders Podcast shepherds us through the richly textured Angels in America (2003), adapted from Tony Kushner's award-winning play. *PREPARE THE WAY!* Rabbis, prophets, sex-starved pill popping housewives, imaginary travel agents, closeted Mormons, butch nurses with bad accents, Al Pacino, the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, and others, are farshtopt into this geschwollen, yet verklempt drama about New York City at the height of the AIDS crisis. *GLORY TO!* (44:39-2:56:05) ... Also, True Detective (yet again) and The Mighty Eighth. (0-7:57) | Recorded Doomsday 2017. Released October 5, 2017.

The hoopleheads return to the camp for what is likely a final reconnoiter as they revisit the premiere of the series what done brought em to this here place to begin it: Deadwood (2004). It's a thrill being back in The Black Hills with our dear friends, many of whom are looking younger and less deceased than last we met: Tim Driscoll, Ned Mason, the family of the fivehead, that horse thief who gave us our signature sign-off... For a far more exhaustive discussion of this brilliant hour of television, go back and listen to our original podcast, recorded 987 days prior when Matt, Mel, and Carol didn't know a sluice from a rocker box. But first, in a surprise installment of Readers Theatre, Russell briefs us on camp business, including an alarm of fire and the suicide of Prospect Marquette by arsenic. (18:58-1:27:53) ... Then, we travel even further back in time to Rome (2005). Someone has purloined Julius Caesar's battle standard in Gaul, and reluctant bros Vorenus and Pullo of the 13th Legion are tasked with its recovery. Along their mission they encounter snot-nosed Kid Exposition, who helpfully explains Roman politics to Host Matt, whose attention wandered during the scene in which the white guys in robes were talking. (So, all the scenes.) This episode of the podcast is sponsored by 23andme. Send them your spit in a tube, and unlock the secrets of your DNA. You might be a secret Ubian! (1:27:54-2:35:22) ... Also, Aviation: And People Who Are Good At It, Game of Thrones, I Know This Much Is True, Who Fears Death, Room 104, The Deuce, and Utopia. (0-18:57) | Recorded October 22, 2017. Released Nov 5, 2017.

This episode we're deep in the heart of Utah for Big Love (2006), a well-written/produced/acted drama about plural marriage that some of the hoopleheads find deeply troubling due to the current state of the world. After we discuss "Sopranos in Mormon-town" we dig into America's fucked up laws regarding marriage and consent, and--gosh darn it all to heck--we have questions for you, New Hampshire. (6:25-1:14:33) ... In the premiere of Five Days (2007), a missing woman and her missing kids spark a stonking amount of questions, like: Is everyone in England a sexual predator? How do English people pronounce the letter "F?" Are they comfortable being filmed 24/7? Where even is this? (They claim London, but we're not convinced.) (1:14:34-2:12:06) ... Also, the "choose your perspective" app Mosaic, and forthcoming mini-series Chernobyl. (0-6:24) | Recorded November 19, 2017. Released November 26, 2017.

David Milch's follow-up to Deadwood, John From Cincinnati (2007), is the metaphysical surfer drama Chris Carter wishes he created. A weirdo calling himself "John" (is he autistic? an angel? Dougie Jones from Twin Peaks: The Return?) disrupts the lives of the deeply unlikable Yost family, led by matriarch Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay, yelling) and patriarch Mitch (Bruce Greenwood, floating). The series aspires to find grace through both the sport of surfing and encounters with the divine, but the pilot is messy, loud, and, frankly, a bit dull. But, worth it just to hear Carol say "donkey show." (12:01-1:14:47) ... Softcore porn meets indy film-making in Tell Me You Love Me (2007). If you've ever wanted to see Penny from Lost give Ben from Parks and Rec a handjob, you're in luck. (Also, who are you?) It may be the least sexy show about sex ever made, but it did give me the visual of grizzled crew members operating prosthetic penile contraptions, which is pretty hilarious. (1:14:48-2:23:16) ... Also, the Deadwood film, Here and Now, and Watchmen. (0-12:00) | Recorded January 21, 2018. Released February 5, 2018.

HBO's obsession with psychiatry and sex continues with In Treatment (2008). Dr. Paul Weston's first patient of the week, Laura, confesses her erotic fixations, which is not a good for a man in the throes of a crumbling marriage and mid-life crisis. Paul's other patients include Sophie (a suicidal gymnast) and Alex (a fighter pilot who oopsy-daisy murdered sixteen Iraqi children); he'll kvetch about them all when he climbs onto an emotional seesaw with his own therapist, Gina. (24:05 - 1:18:49) ... Then, we return to a familiar groove for this podcast: American history. John Adams (2008) is a fabulous mini-series about our second president, a principled, intellectual heavyweight who is the only man in his country of Massachusetts to defend a company of English soldiers in the aftermath of The Boston "Massacre." We learn that John's successes are due in part to the wise counsel of his brilliant wife Abigail, and, lo, but are they not the cutest bippin' couple? (1:18:50 - 2:44:15) ... Also, The Many Saints of Newark, Westworld, and Here and Now. (0 - 24:04) | Recorded March 18, 2018. Released April 1, 2018.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (2008) is an adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's beloved novels. Jill Scott plays Mma Ramotswe, our lead heroine who starts a detective agency for the purpose of solving mysteries and aiding the people of her beloved Botswana. Aside from its warmth and humor, the series is also notable for its promotions of female empowerment and positive body images. I joked before that this entire HBO Project was a long con to get others to watch this delightful series with me, and I'm pleased we finally have. (0 - 1:43:09) ... At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the ugliest characteristics of American males are embodied by the U.S. marines of Generation Kill (2008). A Rolling Stone reporter arrives at camp Mathilda in Kuwait to chronicle the events during the first phase of the Iraq War (sponsored by Skittles and Pizza Hut). Prepare to get political, because, yeah, we have some things to say. (1:43:10 - 2:47:37) | Recorded April 8, 2018. Released April 29, 2018.

We're taking a short break from series premieres to review a few HBO original films. Iron Jawed Angels (2004) stars Hilary Swank and Frances O'Connor as suffragettes Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. (Molly Parker, Anjelica Huston, Vera Farmiga, Julia Ormond, and the warden from Shawshank are also in the mix.) It's 1912 and women are rocking all the boats, upsetting all the apple carts, and wearing all the hats in their endeavor to enfranchise women with the right to vote--well, white women, at least. It's a movie that dramatizes watershed moments in American history, but still finds screen time for some light bathtub masturbation. (14:05 - 1:51:50) ... Also, Succession, Westworld, Watchmen, Lovecraft Country, and that hypothetical Deadwood movie. (0 - 14:04) | Recorded June 3, 2018. Released June 26, 2018.

Jackie Kennedy's oddball relatives, Edith Ewing Bouvier ("Big Edie") and her staunch daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie"), live a true hoarder lifestyle in Grey Gardens (2009), HBO's dramatized version of the famous documentary from 1975. Little Edie never launched after being spurned by a Baldwin, and now finds herself trapped in a codependent relationship with her mother, plus, like, a bazillion cats. At least, the woman knows how to rock a cape. Summer with us in East Hampton* won't you, chickens? (13:05 - 1:51:08) ... Also, The Nevers, Game of Thrones prequels (news that was debunked immediately after our recording), and the AT&T merger. (0 - 13:04) (* a mean, nasty Republican town) | Recorded July 22, 2018. Released August 12, 2018.




 
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