Tue. Sep 29th, 2020

HBO Fall 2020 Programming brings ‘Lovecraft Country,’ ‘Coastal Elites,’ new seasons of ‘His Dark Materials,’ ‘Room 104’

HBO has released its 2020 fall programming schedule and with most theatrical releases on hold for foreseeable future, TV is where it’s at. Or, as the saying goes, ‘It’s not TV, it’s HBO.’

The fall will bring new seasons of His Dark Materials, starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy, and the anthology series Room 104 (which began on July 24) along with brand new shows like the Jay Roach-directed Coastal Elites featuring Sarah Paulson, Dan Levy, Bette Midler, Issa Rae, Kaitlyn Dever and written by Paul Rudnick; Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country from J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele; the documentary Transhood, about the lives of four young people and their families as they navigate growing up transgender in Kansas City and the 2020 Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony featuring Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T-Rex.

HBO stalwarts like the Emmy-winning Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and the 27th season of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will be coming up through the fall and winter.

From the Oscar winner of George Clooney and Grant Heslov we’ll have the political dramatic thriller The Art of the Political Murder about the 1998 murder of Guatemalan human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi, which stunned a country ravaged by decades of political violence and based on Francisco Goldman’s book of the same name.

The Undoing, a limited series which swapped places with the Mark Ruffalo-starrer I Know This Much Is True and moved from spring to the fall, features Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a couple dealing with a violent death and the ramifications from it. It’s led by David E. Kelley and directed by Susanne Bier.

Academy Award nominee Jude Law returns to HBO after his highly successful turn as the titular role in The New Pope with The Third Day, about a man who is drawn to a mysterious Island off the British coast where he encounters a group of islanders set on preserving their traditions at any cost. The 6-episode limited series also stars Academy Award nominee Naomie Harris as a strong-willed outsider who comes to the island seeking answers, but whose arrival precipitates a fractious battle to decide its fate.

There will also be the Cinemax series Warrior, set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 19th century and based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, back for a second season. 

ROOM 104 (Anthology Series)

  • Synopsis: Set in a single room of a typical American chain motel, this anthology series tells different stories of the assorted characters who pass through it. From creators and executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass, episodes range from comedy to drama to horror.
  • S4 Cast: Mark Duplass, Hari Nef, Logan Miller, Jillian Bell, Jon Bass, Dave Bautista, Melissa Fumero, Vivian Bang, Finn Roberts, Adam Shapiro, Breeda Wool, Kevin Nealon, Erinn Hayes, Ron Funches, Sadie Stanley, Shannon Purser, Kendra Carelli, Benjamin Papac, Alison Jaye, Tim Granaderos, Oliva Crocicchia, Harvey Guillen, Gary Cole, Linda Lavin, Jennifer Kim, Kevin McKidd, Desean Terry, Suzanne Nichols, Leonardo Nam, Lily Gladstone, Jordyn Lucas, Natasha Perez, Jake Green, Ntare Mwine, Rebecca Hazlewood, and Susan Park.
  • S4 Credits: Created by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass; executive producers, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Sydney Fleischmann, Mel Eslyn and Tyler Romary; co-executive producer, Julian Wass. Season four directors include: Mark Duplass, Karan Soni, Ross Partridge, Jenée LaMarque, Mel Eslyn, Lauren Budd, Natalie Morales, Patrick Brice, Julian Wass and Sydney Fleischmann. Season four writers include: Mark Duplass, Jenée LaMarque, Lauren Parks, Mel Eslyn, Lauren Budd, Bryan Poyser, and Julian Wass.
  • Status: The fourth and final season debuted July 24; Series finale airs October 9.

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY (Drama Series)

  • Synopsis: From showrunner and executive producer Misha Green and ased on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, this series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he journeys with his childhood friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip from Chicago across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams). Their search-and-rescue turns into a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and monstrous creatures that could be ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback.
  • Cast: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, Abbey Lee. Jada Harris, Wunmi Mosaku, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Recurring guests include Courtney B. Vance, Jamie Chung, Jamie Neumann, Jordan Patrick Smith, and Tony Goldwyn.
  • Credits: executive produced by Misha Green, J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange, Daniel Sackheim and David Knoller (executive producer on Episode 1); based on the novel by Matt Ruff. Produced by afemme, Inc., Bad Robot Productions and Monkeypaw Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
  • Status: Debuts August 16; Finale airs October 18

WE ARE WHO WE ARE (Drama Series)

  • Synopsis: Academy Award-nominated Luca Guadagnino brings his unique cinematic style to television for the first time with this eight-episode series. A story about two American kids who live on a U.S. military base in Italy, the series explores friendship, first-love, and identity, and immerses the audience in all the messy exhilaration and anguish of being a teenager – a story which could happen anywhere in the world, but in this case, happens in this little slice of America in Italy. The series was an official selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight.
  • Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Jack Dylan Grazer, Alice Braga, Jordan Kristine Seamón, Kid Cudi, Faith Alabi, Spence Moore II, Francesca Scorsese, Ben Taylor, Corey Knight, Tom Mercier and Sebastiano Pigazzi.
  • Credits: An HBO-Sky co-production; showrunner, executive producer, writer, director Luca Guadagnino; executive produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment and Mario Gianani for Wildside, both Fremantle companies, with Small Forward, alongside Guadagnino, Elena Recchia, Nick Hall, Sean Conway, and Francesco Melzi d’Eril; Paolo Giordano and Francesca Manieri write alongside Guadagnino. International Distributor: Fremantle.
  • Status: Debuts September 14.

THE THIRD DAY (Limited Series)

  • Synopsis: Told over the first three episodes, “Summer” stars Jude Law as Sam, a man who is drawn to a mysterious Island off the British coast where he encounters a group of islanders set on preserving their traditions at any cost. “Winter” unfolds over the latter three episodes and stars Naomie Harris as Helen, a strong-willed outsider who comes to the island seeking answers, but whose arrival precipitates a fractious battle to decide its fate.
  • Cast: Jude Law, Naomie Harris, Katherine Waterston, Emily Watson and Paddy Considine.
  • Credits: THE THIRD DAY is a co-production between Sky and HBO. It is the first original drama to be produced by Sky’s new production house, Sky Studios, in conjunction with Plan B Entertainment, the world-renowned immersive theatre company Punchdrunk and Dennis Kelly (“Utopia,” “Pulling”). Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly executive produce.
  • Status: Debuts September 14.

COASTAL ELITES (Special)

  • Synopsis: Produced entirely under quarantine, this brand-new special, features an all-star cast playing characters from New York to Los Angeles coping with politics and the pandemic. The special tells stories of breaking down and breaking through that are funny, searing, poignant and now.
  • Cast: Stars Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson and Issa Rae.
  • Credits: Written by Paul Rudnick; Directed by Jay Roach; Executive producers, Paul Rudnick, Jay Roach, Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez, Scott Chaloff and Michelle Graham.
  • Status: Debuts September 2020.

THE UNDOING (Limited Drama Series)

  • Synopsis: The six-part limited series stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser who are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and her family.
  • Cast: Stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Edgar Ramirez, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Matilda De Angelis, Lily Rabe, Noma Dumezweni, Noah Jupe, Sofie Gråbøl and Donald Sutherland.
  • Credits: Directed by Susanne Bier; created and written for television by David E. Kelley, who also serves as showrunner; executive produced by Susanne Bier, David E. Kelley through David E. Kelley Productions, Nicole Kidman and Per Saari through Blossom Films, Bruna Papandrea through Made Up Stories, Stephen Garrett and Celia Costas; based on the novel “You Should Have Known,” by Jean Hanff Korelitz.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

HIS DARK MATERIALS (Drama Series)

  • S2 Synopsis: Lord Asriel has opened a bridge to a new world, and, distraught over the death of her best friend, Lyra follows Asriel into the unknown. In a strange and mysterious abandoned city she meets Will, a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.
  • Cast: Series regulars include Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy, Clarke Peters, James Cosmo, Anne-Marie Duff, Will Keen and Ariyon Bakare. Voice cast includes Helen McCrory, David Suchet, Cristela Alonzo, Kit Connor, Brian Fisher and Joe Tandberg.
  • Credits: HIS DARK MATERIALS is produced by Bad Wolf in association with New Line Cinema for BBC One and HBO. Executive producing the series are Jane Tranter, Dan McCulloch, Joel Collins and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf; Philip Pullman, Jack Thorne, Tom Hooper; Deborah Forte, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema; and Ben Irving and Piers Wenger for the BBC.
  • Status: Season 2 debuts this fall.

INDUSTRY (Drama Series)

  • Synopsis: From first-time creators Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, the series follows a group of young graduates competing for a limited number of permanent positions at a leading international investment bank in London. Industry gives an insider’s view of the blackbox of ‘high finance’ through the eyes of an outsider – Harper Stern, a talented young woman from upstate New York. Fueled by ambition, youth, romance and drugs, INDUSTRY examines issues of gender, race, class, and privilege in the workplace as five impressionable young minds begin to forge their identities within the pressure cooker environment and sensory blitz of Pierpoint & Co’s trading floor, where meritocracy is promised but hierarchy is king.
  • Cast: Myha’la Herrold, Marisa Abela, Harry Lawtey, David Jonsson, Nabhaan Rizwan, Conor MacNeill, Freya Mavor, Will Tudor And Ken Leung.
  • Credits: Created and executive produced by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay; Executive produced by Jane Tranter, Lachlan MacKinnon, Ryan Rasmussen, David Davis and by Ben Irving for BBC; Co-Executive produced by Ed Lilly; Produced by Lee Thomas. Produced for HBO / BBC by Bad Wolf.  Writers: Konrad Kay, Mickey Down, Sam H. Freeman, Kate Verghese. Directors: Lena Dunham, Ed Lilly, Tinge Krishnan, Mary Nighy
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

THE PERFECT WEAPON (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: Based on a best-selling book by New York Times national security correspondent David E. Sanger, The Perfect Weapon explores the rise of cyber conflict as the primary way nations now compete with and sabotage one another.  As fear mounts about how potential cyberattacks will affect 2020 elections in the U.S., the film features interviews with top military, intelligence and political officials and includes on-the-ground reporting from the frontlines of the cyber wars.
  • Credits: directed by John Maggio; executive producers, John Maggio, Josh Tyrangiel and David E. Sanger.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

AMERICAN UTOPIA (Special)

  • Synopsis: HBO will present the filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” directed by Academy Award winning director Spike Lee. DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA is a unifying musical celebration that inspires audiences to connect to each other and to the global community. This one-of-a-kind, dynamic film gives audiences around the world access to Byrne’s electrifying Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences during its run from October 2019 to February 2020 at Broadway’s Hudson Theater.
  • Credits: Participant, River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment are executive producing and financing the project, with Participant as lead; Produced by David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies; Executive produced by RadicalMedia. David Byrne and Spike Lee serve as producers. Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde, and Diane Weyermann executive produce; along with Warner Music Group’s Len Blavatnik, David Bither, Charlie Cohen, and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad and Christa Zofcin Workman of River Road; and RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson and Patrick Catullo, who produced the Broadway production, also serve as executive producers.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME (Special)

  • Synopsis: Based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ #1 New York Times bestseller and originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater, the special will combine elements of that production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and will be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes. Forbes, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson are also executive producers. Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams is producing. It will also incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.
  • Credits: Directed by Kamilah Forbes who also serves as executive producer; executive produced by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson; produced by Roger Ross Williams. Williams’ production company ONE STORY UP produces.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON (Unscripted Comedy Series)

  • Synopsis: This first-person documentary series is hosted by an anxious New Yorker who attempts to give everyday advice while dealing with his own personal issues. Acting as both cameraman and narrator, John covertly documents the lives of fellow New Yorkers in a comic odyssey of self-discovery, inevitably making the audience comfortable with the awkward contradictions of modern life.
  • Cast: John Wilson
  • Credits: Executive Producer/Writer/Director/Narrator John Wilson; executive producer, Nathan Fielder; executive producer, Clark Reinking.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

THE ART OF POLITICAL MURDER (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: Based on Francisco Goldman’s book of the same name and executive produced by Oscar winner George Clooney and Grant Heslov, this film tells the story of the 1998 murder of Guatemalan human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi, which stunned a country ravaged by decades of political violence. Just two days after presenting a damning report blaming the atrocities of the civil war on the Guatemalan military, Bishop Gerardi was found dead in his home. Fearing a cover-up, the church assembles a team of young investigators to take on the case. They begin to unearth a web of conspiracy and murder, entangling the upper echelons of the government. Directed by Paul Taylor and produced by Teddy Leifer.
  • Credits: Directed by Paul Taylor and produced by Teddy Leifer.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

SIEMPRE, LUIS (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: First-time filmmaker John James’ film is an inspiring portrait of Luis A. Miranda Jr., a Puerto Rican migrant who helped shape New York politics for over three decades.  When Luis A. Miranda Jr. left Puerto Rico for New York City in the 1970s, he had big dreams, but little did he know how far he’d go. Over the course of a year, Luis Miranda’s devotion to family and country propel him forward. Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, he helps plan relief efforts and manages the logistics behind bringing his son Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning production of Hamilton to the island.  With humor and heart, SIEMPRE, LUIS tells the story of a proud American.
  • Credits: Directed by John James
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

THE SOUL OF AMERICA (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: An exploration of the themes and stories from American history highlighted in Jon Meacham’s 2017 best-selling book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.” Directed by Katie Davison; produced by Kunhardt Films.
  • Credits: Directed by Katie Davison, produced by Kunhardt Films.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

TRANSHOOD (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: Filmed over the course of five years in Kansas City, this film is an inspiring chronicle of the lives of four young people and their families as they navigate growing up transgender in America’s heartland. The documentary offers a long range understanding of four transgender youth (aged 4, 7, 12, and 15 at the start of filming) as they redefine “coming of age” and share personal realities of how gender expression is reshaping their American families. Directed by Sharon Liese.
  • Credits: Directed by Sharon Liese
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

BABY GOD (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: This film is a shocking examination of the work of a Las Vegas fertility specialist, the late Dr. Quincy Fortier, who assisted hundreds of couples struggling with difficulty conceiving and the many women he guided to pregnancy through the use of his own sperm without their knowledge or consent. The documentary follows several of his offspring as they grapple with new information about their origins, the scope of Fortier’s misdeeds, and the impact his genes have on how they view their own identities. Directed by Hannah Olson and executive produced by Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
  • Credits: Directed by Hannah Olson and executive produced by Academy Award nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

CRAZY, NOT INSANE (Documentary)

  • Synopsis: Why do we kill? Why do some of us kill, and others resist the temptation? What makes a serial killer? Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a psychiatrist who’s worked with numerous serial killers, including Ted Bundy, has been looking to answer these questions for decades. Her controversial work with “multiples,” patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder, led her to develop a unified field theory of what makes a killer. Her research videotapes – which are shown here for the first time – show eerie transformations in violent individuals as they move from character to character. This film is directed and produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney (HBO’s “The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley,” “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”).
  • Credits: Directed and produced by Alex Gibney.
  • Status: Debuts this fall.

THE 2020 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY (Special)

  • Synopsis: The two-hour exclusive special spotlights some of the most memorable names in music for the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Cast: The inductees for 2020 are Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T-Rex. The Ahmet Ertegun Award honorees are Jon Landau and Irving Azoff.
  • Status: Debuts November 7.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL (Sports Series)

  • Synopsis: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL goes beyond wins and losses and statistical comparisons with an inside look at the modern world of sports, highlighted by unique and in-depth profiles on athletes and trailblazing newsmakers, timely investigative pieces and impactful global issues that shape and transform the athletic landscape.  The monthly series has captured a total of 34 Emmy® Awards and has been a 19-time winner of the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism.
  • Cast: Bryant Gumbel, Mary Carillo, Bernie Goldberg, Andrea Kremer, Jon Frankel, Soledad O’Brien & David Scott
  • Credits: Executive Producers: Peter Nelson and Joe Perskie.
  • Status: Season 26 began January 28. The series celebrated its 25th anniversary season this past April.

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER (Series)

  • Synopsis: The only weekly news-oriented comedy series to be presented on Sunday night, this series takes a satirical look at news, politics and current events. Taped in New York a few hours before it debuts, the Emmy®-winning show features Oliver’s topical commentary on the previous week’s events, as well as addressing broader issues.
  • Cast: John Oliver hosts.
  • S6 Credits: Executive producers, John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Liz Stanton, Jon Thoday and James Taylor; director, Paul Pennolino. Writers, John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Daniel O’Brien, Owen Parsons, Charlie Redd, Joanna Rothkopf, Chrissy Shackelford, Ben Silva, Seena Vali, Mark Kramer, Johnathan Appel and Liz Hynes.
  • Status: Show is currently in its seventh season.

REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER (Series)

  • Synopsis: This weekly live show is devoted to news and comedy, allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues. Editions debut Fridays at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
  • Cast: Bill Maher hosts.
  • S18 Credits: The executive producers of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER are Bill Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Billy Martin; co-executive producer, Chris Kelly; producer, Matt Wood; associate producers, Chelsea Braun, Miles Leicher, Joaquin Torres; director, Paul Casey.
  • Status: Show is currently in its 18th season.

AXIOS (Documentary Series)

  • Synopsis: The bi-weekly series Axios continues with insightful and news making interviews with top leaders and decision makers from a range of sectors including politics, public health, and business. Directed and produced by Emmy® winners Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz, the program features Axios’ signature “Smart Brevity” analysis, exclusive documentary-style reporting and in-depth conversations on the topics and trends shaping America.
  • Credits: Directed and produced by Emmy® winner Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz.
  • Status: The show is currently in its third season.

CINEMAX ORIGINALS

Cinemax originals are also available on demand and via MaxGo.com.

WARRIOR ( Drama Series)

  • Synopsis: Based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, this drama series is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrated from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances. After proving his worth as a fighter, Ah Sahm becomes a hatchet man for the Hop Wei, one of Chinatown’s most powerful Tongs (Chinese organized crime family).
  • S2 Cast Regulars: Andrew Koji,Kieran Bew, Celine Buckens, Olivia Cheng, Dianne Doan, Dean Jagger, Langley Kirkwood, Hoon Lee, Christian McKay, Dustin Nguyen (also directing episode 6 of S2), Joe Taslim, Chen Tang, Jason Tobin, Miranda Raison, Joanna Vanderham, Tom Weston-Jones and Perry Yung.
  • S2 Credits: WARRIOR is produced for Cinemax by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment; created and executive produced by Jonathan Tropper. Justin Lin and Andrew Schneider executive produce on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment. Shannon Lee executive produces for Bruce Lee Entertainment. Executive produced by Brad Kane and Richard Sharkey. Co-executive produced by Kenneth Lin, Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard.
  • Status: The second season debuts this fall.
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