HBO – the network of “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” and “Deadwood” and “Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire” and a lot of other big mostly male-centered dramatic ensembles – has two new shows coming up that decidedly kick that trend. Kick it right in the lady business. “Girls” and “Veep” are two new half-hour comedies coming to the premium cable network in April. And both are intriguing for their subject matter and the fact that they are unmistakably female-centered series. HBO really hasn’t had many of those since “Sex and the City” left the air in 2004. In fact the only one by my count before and since then has been “Enlightened” starring Laura Dern which debuted last year and will be back for its second season this year. (You can try to count “True Blood,” but let’s be honest – that show’s all about the pretty boy vampires.) Just call them HBrO.
It’s also interesting to note that rival premium channel Showtime has made a bit of a name for itself in recent years going the opposite route. They’ve created rich, complex shows centered around women. “Weeds,” “Nurse Jackie,” “United States of Tara,” “The Big C,” “Homeland” and, lest we forget, “The L Word.” So call it progress or call it wanting to recoup an ignored segment of the market share, HBO is hopping on the estrogen train.
Now, I’m intrigued by both shows. The first is “Girls,” debuting April 15. It’s from filmmaker Lena Dunham. It’s title is fairly self-explanatory. It follows four young 20something women as they navigate, more life fumbling through, life in New Your City. The trailer looks promising, but also makes me cringe like crazy. Because you couldn’t pay me to be 24 again either. Especially 24 like this.
My only qualms about this show are 1) the cringe factor – I’m not sure how much I want to relive the mistakes of youth played out for laughs and 2) Four women in New York City and no one has a friend of a different ethnicity? That’s a lotta white girls for the biggest melting pot in the United States of America.
The other show is “Veep,” debuting April 22. It stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the first female vice president. And Anna Chlumsky is also a series regular, so that answers the question of “What every happened to that girl from 'My Girl'?” From the trailer it looks pretty damn funny. I wasn’t really sold on the premise alone, but after watching the clips I’m setting my DVR.
Like a zanier “The West Wing,” but without the sneaking suspicion that President Bartlet did a crappy job raising Charlie Sheen.
Like their slogans says, it’s not TV, it’s ladies on HBO – finally.