A year ago, watching the season finale of Game of Thrones with my wife, I watched Jon Snow knife his aunt/lover Daenerys, watch as a dragon flew Aunt Dani’s body to who knows where, watch a council of randos decide the future of the 7 (now 6) Kingdoms, and finally, in a case of Law & Order: King’s Landing Unit, see Jon Snow plead down regicide to exile.
Me: “Well that was nice, time to go to bed…”
Me: “Be sure and cancel HBO in the morning.”
In spite of the betrayal of my wife and millions of others at the hands of the Game of Thrones showrunners (she read the books, poor thing), she did not in fact, cancel HBO, in spite of my monthly requests for her to do so upon receiving the cable bill. So in the year since GoT went off the air, millions of HBO subscribers have wondered, “With Game of Thrones gone is HBO worth it?” My response to my wife right after GoT wrapped was clear.
So a year later, we still have HBO. I’ve watched a couple of the shows the network has tossed up just to justify the fact that we’re paying for even more TV in an age in which we’re inundated with content from streaming services and already have more to watch than we have actual free time to do the watching.
Years and Years
From the time I saw a trailer for this BBC/HBO limited series, I knew that the only reason this show existed was because of, who else, Trump.
The show tracks a dysfunctional family in the UK over a series of decades in the future; a future created by Trump engaging in a nuclear attack because, of course he would. The show can be summarized as, in the future everyone is gay and refugees are good, with a few Black Mirror-like touches thrown in.
Rating: Garbage Pail
Compared to Euphoria, Years and Years is good, wholesome family fun. One almost never finds a reason to use the word “degeneracy” in our degenerate times. When everything’s degenerate, nothing is, but this show, yeah is degenerate. So naturally it’s renewed for season 2. If you’ve always felt that what television lacks are gym scenes with 20 or so wagging penises, this is the show for you.
His Dark Materials
This fantasy show is based on series of books by Philip Pullman, which I admit, I don’t get. I saw the movie, The Golden Compass; found it boring, and watched this TV treatment, and also found it boring. Verdict? The show is true to the source material.
This is supposed to be a SF comedy. Well, I guess technically It’s sort of science fiction, but the comedy is thin, unless you think a crowd of stupid people yelling at each other is funny. The premise is that in the near future, a space cruise ship, through a series of unfortunate events, goes off course and is not able to return to earth for 6 years. Since the ship is filled with typical cruise ship passengers, every interaction between crew and passenger is both annoying and stupid. They even managed to stretch the Karen meme (I want to see the manager) for the entire season. Great cast, but they are totally wasted in this pay cable Love Boat in space.
Rating: Loud Screeching
Westworld (Season 3)
After the debacle of season 2, I had no intention on wasting any more time with Westworld. I should have learned my lesson many JJ Abrams shows ago, but then I saw some of the trailers for season 3 and thought to myself, “man that looks pretty good.”
So they sucked me back in.
Well fool me once, shame on you JJ Abrams, but fool me a couple of times…then I have to own this one. The first few episodes started off promising, as if the show was really going somewhere substantial, but the closer it got to a payoff, the quicker it degenerated into the typical JJ Abrams no-idea-where-this-is-going, so just have some good special effects. Ultimately, little of this made sense, just like season 2.
Rating: Cruelly Disappointing
If there was one saving grace from the past year of HBO shows, it would be The Outsider. Based on a Stephen King novel, this show starts in a small Georgia town as a local paragon of the community is accused of a brutal child murder only to have contradictory accounts showing he seemed to be in two places at once. Great story; great cast, and satisfying conclusion.
But still, it doesn’t justify paying for HBO for an entire year. So if it’s not obvious by now, this entire post is a passive aggressive plea to my wife to save us some money and cancel this darn thing. You don’t even watch HBO!