We know: Game of Thrones, Sucession or Watchmen are irreplaceable. The quality levels of the series trio far exceed any other proposal. For more than a decade, HBO has created such a robust version of television as for each of his productions to mark a historical milestone.
This despite having as opponents proposals such as Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, considered by much of the critics as the best of recent television. But in the case of HBO it is a phenomenon of innovation. The channel has not stopped producing original proposals of considerable quality, until it has managed to create a scene of deep interest. Year after year, the giant was the protagonist of all the awards that celebrated the best of television.
HBO: nothing until 2021
Undoubtedly, one of the most worrying consequences of the pandemic in show business was the considerable delay of all types of productions. HBO is no exception and its series catalog was seriously affected by delays in schedules and postponements in recordings. But even more worrying was the fact that 2020 marked the year that the channel had to deal with the idea of not having a famous series.
Coping with the pandemic
The year of the pandemic was the year that HBO premieres were low-key. The highlights of the channel’s offer resulted in some cases uncomfortable disappointments. The long-awaited Lovecraft Country received mixed reviews and The Undoing (which featured Nicole Kidman as its main claim to attention) sparked curiosity, but was not a mass phenomenon.
Even the elegant and powerful Perry Mason became a debate about the use of violence within a historical setting. On the other hand, the experiment of the horror genre Third Day became a catalog curiosity that did not quite convince the public. The long-awaited I May Destroy You had a broad impact on the discussion about gender and inclusion, but discrete audience numbers. Even the highly anticipated third season of Westworld was a disappointment that led to a debate on how the channel exploited its stories. The Plot Against America did not meet expectations and the second season of The Great Friend was a transition story that did not arouse special interest from critics or audiences.
With a similar panorama in tow, HBO He comes into the Winter TV Awards season with very little competition options. Will it be able to maneuver in the midst of a similar situation in the midst of a fierce struggle for tuning and leadership in customer service?
The silent battle
For now, Netflix seems to lead the market for series and original productions. This week, the channel released an ambitious premiere schedule in which it anticipated that it would have at least one new original film every week in 2021. This is a significant unprecedented effort, taking the platform to a new level of competition.
Last year was no different, and in its best moments Netflix had almost sixty monthly releases, which allowed him a varied catalog selection. And although it is clear that not all the productions are of sufficient quality for the competition, it is well known that several of them can win a prize. In fact, the platform leads the nominees for the Artios Awards of the Casting Society, a first notice of what we can expect from the first week of February, when the first nominations begin to be announced.
Looking for the next ‘Game of Thrones’
Nonetheless, HBO still has several strong chips to take on the streaming giant. To start, even in the midst of the debate about inclusion and representativeness, I May Destroy You is still considered the best series of the past year, or at least the most relevant in terms of the analysis of a painful and current topic.
Despite its low-key numbers, The Undoing is also one of the options that could face in the middle of the awards season. The performances of Donald Sutherland and Hugh Grant could bring some nominations to the channel. And while Nicole Kidman wasn’t the showpiece of the series, her sober performance as head of the cast lent an overall air of considerable elegance to the drama. As well there could be nominations for the impeccable direction of Susanne Bier, whose work was praised for maintaining tension throughout the series’ six chapters.
HBO: some good tries
The strongest piece in HBO’s structure for this year’s awards, however, appears to be the Perry Mason version, starring Matthew Rhys. With its dark, decadent and sinister air, the series captures the best of the character but also takes him to new places whose effectiveness surprised the audience.
Lastly, Lovecraft Country could overcome the prejudices of its pulp format and garner some nominations. The series was praised for using references and codes from horror movies to create a haunting interpretation of racism and discrimination. And while it fell short of the quality levels of Matt Ruff’s book, he did have the opportunity to dialogue correctly with all kinds of perceptions about reality, time and fear, in a brilliant way.
Will it be enough for HBO to retain its already recognized leadership? A few weeks away from the first gala the answer remains to be seen.
The article The dethroned king: HBO may lose its leadership now that it does not have a flagship series was published in Hypertext.