Monday, April 21, 2008

HBO under fire

In The L.A. Times, Mary McNamara evaluates the state of pioneering cable channel, HBO.
David Milch's "John From Cincinnati" wasn't just irritating and bewildering, it was also seen as an inferior replacement for his cultishly adored "Deadwood" (and, for some, the even more abruptly discontinued "Carnivale"). Final seasons of "The Sopranos" and, on a smaller scale, "The Wire" naturally evoked doomsday predictions of a Downward Spiral. Never mind that "Big Love," though ruptured this season by the writers strike, is both a critical and ratings hit or that people still love "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Never mind that "John Adams" has done well, especially considering that it's a historical drama composed, mostly, of men in waistcoats talking politics. HBO is perceived as being in full-blown midlife crisis, with the recent decision to replace Carolyn Strauss with Sue Naegle as chief of entertainment as its attempt at marriage counseling (the inexplicably low numbers for "In Treatment" notwithstanding).

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