First photo of HBO's the Leftovers 2014

HBO shows in 2014 & the 10's – Review & preview

With quality television competition on the rise in 2014, HBO needs to make sure it keeps doing what it has been doing for the last decade or so – continue producing solid and innovative tv shows. In this preview & review article of the best HBO shows of 2014 and of the 10’s in general, it seems that HBO is doing just that. With the new HBO tv shows in 2014 it is going beyond the detective series genre in True Detective, and is finally giving the gay community a respectful place on American television in the comedy drama Looking. In terms of new original series, a lot more promising than 2013.

HBO in preview – upcoming new HBO tv shows in 2014

In this section you can find the upcoming new HBO series of 2014. As soon as they are released they will get a review in the section below. True Detective has already been released. It can be found in the review section below. 

Looking (2014)

Created by Michael Lannan

New Gay-themed tv show from HBO up for release in January 2014

Despite the hype surrounding True Detective, this is actually the new 2014 HBO series I am looking forward to the most. It is scheduled for release on 19th January 2014. Looking is set in the sexually open-minded Bay Area in San Francisco, and revolves around the friendship of three men who are in distinctly different points in their life. It is a very contemporary series, like HBO’s Girls, in the sense that it deals with the search for human connection, intimacy, and happiness in a postmodern world characterized by an excess of possibilities. And indeed, the three men are not only bound by friendship, but also by their fight for equal rights for gay men and women. It is being described by HBO as a comedy drama. My interest was mainly caught because director Andrew Haigh (famous for the British romantic drama film Weekend, 2011) is involved as an executive producer.



The Leftovers (2014)

Created by Daman Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

First photo of HBO's the Leftovers 2014

Admittedly, I was never been a huge fan of the cult series Lost. But for those who came obsessive followers, I have got great news. The creators of Lost, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, have been given the go-ahead to make a 10 episodes follow-up to Lost, and it will be about what happens after the Rapture occurs, and will focus on the ones that did not make the cut. Some big Hollywood names are already connected to the project, like Liv Tyler, so for Lost fans there is reason to believe they have found their best tv show of 2014.  The release date is currently set to ‘the Summer of 2014′. Here is the new teaser of The Leftovers.

The Leftovers Season 1: Tease (HBO)

Silicon Valley (2014)

Created by Mike Judge

A new HBO comedy series up for release in March

As is spread all over the internet, this new HBO series is supposed to become the new Entourage. But where Entourage, the Mark Wahlberg inspired comedy series, was focused on Hollywood, Silicon Valley will be introducing us to the world and culture of start-ups. It is said to be a dark comedy series, and I am curious about how it will unfold, as Mike Judge (best known for Office Space, 1999 and King of The Hill) does have an interesting take on  humor. This new HBO show will be released on the 6th of April 2014.

Silicon Valley Season 1: Trailer (HBO)

Another short HBO comedy series announced is Doll & Em created by HBO’s The Newsroom’s Emily Mortimer. This six episode show will be on the air the 19th of March.


HBO in Review – Best HBO shows of 2014 so far

Here you can find the best HBO series of 2014, arranged by quality.


True detective (2014)

Created by Nic Pizzolatto

The most highly anticipated HBO show of 2014 - True Detective

Sunday the 12th of January 2014 HBO premiered the much anticipated police series True Detective. In line with current trends, most notably like Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s House of Cards, True Detective brings cinema to television by casting Matthew Mcconaughey and Woody Harrelson to star as its main characters. It is not just casting-wise that the show is different from conventional television. Especially in terms of cinematography and pace I have not quite seen anything like it. Unlike other other detective series, instead of quick close-up’s of facial expressions or quickly spoken clever lines, the camera remains steady, but continuously assigns focus to emphasize where to look at, with often a lot of the screen out of focus. Next to that is filled with arty shots that seem to have no function whatsoever, besides expressing the dark but beautiful mysticism of Lousiana. This has a lot to do with the fact that the series is, unlike other series, directed by only one filmmaker, giving him (Cary Fukunaga) a chance to make True Detective transform television series to television d’auteur with a series bearing the touch of an individual filmmaker’s vision. Because of that the show reminds me more of independent drama films like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), and in comparison to other television series it feels a bit like a mix of Sundance’s Rectify (2013 -) and BBC’s psychological crime series Luther. Others were also quick to link it to one of the best HBO series The Wire, but I believe Forbes makes a more interesting plea by comparing it to the nineties police series Homicide: Life on the Streets.

Story-wise, the show seems to want to transcend the detective series genre by simply using the case of a serial killer as a means to sketch the troubled relationship of two detectives that used to be partners, The complexity of both characters, especially Mcconaughey’s, also goes beyond anything we have ever seen in detective shows, almost up to the point of it potentially becoming a problem, as it completely overshadows the case they are working on. From the first episode it can be gathered that True Detective is not thriving on the spectacle of sex and violence, as is the case with many other of the recent hit series, but will be carried by strong dialogue and ambiance. Interesting here is that the writer of the show Nic Pizzolatto was part of the team to make an US version of the Danish series The Killing, but disappointed with the result decided to write a screenplay for a more sincere series. I can imagine that it might be quite a challenge for fans of conventional crime series to appreciate this, but those who love slow-paced interpersonal drama shows with lots of character development are in for a treat.

If you are getting excited about a new tv show that will be coming your way in 2015, I am afraid I have to disappoint you. It is scheduled for several seasons, but is it meant to be an anthology series (like the horror series American Horror Story), meaning that every season will be with different characters and about a different topic.

True Detective Season 1: Trailer #4 – Changes (HBO)

Original best HBO series of the 10’s top 5 – of the decade

So what are the best HBO series from 2013 to 2010, this decade? Here we are also only dealing with scripted series that have had their premiere in the 10’s. So no, here you will not find Carnivale, The Sopranos or Curb Your Enthusiasm etc. It is mainly meant for people who do not want to watch everything, but feel that they should at least watch one or two shows to know what is going on in contemporary television, and want to watch the very best HBO show out there.

5. The Newsroom (2012, -)

4. Game of Thrones (2011, -)

3. Boardwalk Empire (2010, -)

2. Girls, Lena Dunham (2012, -)

1. True Detective (2014, -)

What do you think are the recent best HBO shows?

For the best of the earlier shows from the Home Box Office, check out our HBO & The Start of Quality US Drama TV in the 90?s & 00?s

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3 thoughts on “HBO shows in 2014 & the 10's – Review & preview”

  1. Thought I would respond with my recap of what, in my opinion, is not even a close race for the number one show to check out in the 10’s.

    In the opinion of thousands, perhaps millions, True Detective is one of the most unique and engaging shows in recent memory. Also, to think you 4 other recent series from HBO above True Detective, including Newsroom (almost a full point out of ten lower than True Detective on IMDB ratings, cancelled after three seasons), Girls (which has two full points out of ten less than True Detective on IMDB ratings), is kind of odd, but I respect your opinion and recommendations.

    With respect to my opinion on the Top Five HBO shows to check out this year, I believe three of your top five are in your top five for their intriguing settings that tend to captivate audiences rather than story lines, their story lines may be superb in their own right, but are enhanced by other factors other than a damn good story & performance, and these fantastical settings often overshadow some areas where the story line or acting is not as strong, or does not need to be as strong, as it could potentially be, while the writing and unique storytelling, captivating and unrelenting, is the core of True Detective. Shows like Boardwalk Empire and Girls are time specific to the prohibition era and the 20s in general, which often already has an aura of intrigue around it. Game of Thrones is a fantastical visual retelling of George Martin’s novel series. In the scope of a deep intriguing story and the quality of acting, however, I find that original is always better, and not always do you have to be transplanted to a different place or time for these series to pull off incredible performances and a thoroughly engaging plot, and True Detective is a perfect example of a series that covers many years worth of intriguing story lines without truly displacing the viewer to a time period or setting that they are not personally familiar with.

    And while I will maintain that I get more excited than I should for all new Game of Thrones episodes, whose viewings are starting to get ritualistic, and thoroughly enjoyed my weekly Prohibition Rebel on Boardwalk Empire, which are the only two series I find on your top five list that can even contend with True Detective, when all is said and done True Detective – Season 1, will go down as some of the most gripping and uniquely told stories in Television, and if I had to organize that top five, it would read,

    1. True Detective
    2. Game of Thrones
    3. Boardwalk Empire
    4. Newsroom
    5. Girls

    1. Thanks for your reply Scott! I was postponing my update until the season 1 finale of True Detective, which I have literally just finished watching. And I could not agree with you more, True Detective outclasses any other recent HBO show out there. The way it organizes its storytelling framework, adding layers to the detective genre never seen before, is spectacular. And then it goes on to transcend the genre completely. In all honesty, I did not care one bit about the case, but I was hooked to its atmosphere, interpersonal character developments, and its existential pessimism. Very clever and insightful show. Also thought they wrapped it up nicely – their story is told, and now there is room for a completely new story.

      Thanks for your top 5 of recent hbo series of 2010-2014 as well. I understand where you are coming from, but for me personally season 1 (season 3 is becoming disappointingly sit-commy and artificial) of girls was a game changer. It brought mumblecore’s naturalism to television, and made it popular, inspiring other television series to follow suit. Of course, Game of Thrones is a more impressive production, but like you I was (probably too) excited for each viewing, but after season 1 it actually never lived up to my expectations. Yet with every upcoming episode I was inexplicably expecting the best, but now have been disappointed too many times. With regard to The Newsroom. I feel it is a hugely enjoyable show, but I am appalled that a show dealing with such intelligent material, can lack so much subtlety in its dramatic play.

      Any thought on Looking (2014)?

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