How HBO Max shows and movies helped HBO get their Mojo Emmys back

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Fugged about the last 15 years and all about the faded glory of “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” – HBO has taken over its mojo.

And, with the addition of its content-rich streaming service, HBO Max – who contributed to “Hacks” and “The Flight Attendant” – he again dominates the comedy / drama space as in the days of “The Larry Sanders Show” and “In Treatment”. (The latter’s reboot on HBO Max drew a 2021 Emmy nod to star Uzo Aduba – an added bonus.)

The 2021 Emmys – which took place on Sunday, September 19 (8 p.m. EST), at LA Live – reinforce it: HBO leads with 130 Emmy nominations, marking the network’s return as preferred destination for prestigious, critically acclaimed and provocative productions.

Although having an application at $ 10 per month with fantastic shows and blockbuster releases has been monumental, the main ingredient in this comeback is the cast.

The network has never lost its hand in recruiting top talent, even after Netflix raised its head and its deep pockets to sign Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, Barack and Michelle Obama, the creators of “Game of Thrones. “David Benioff and others with big bucks. , long-term production agreements.

HBO’s constellation of stars has been abundant in its recent and ongoing successes. We’ve had Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern as headstrong women whose conflicting views come together over two seasons in “Big Little Lies” and Kidman (again) and Hugh Grant as a married couple in a murder mystery with a surprising twist (“The Defeat”).

Kate Winslet as Mare in “Mare of Easttown” on HBO.

Best Actress-nominated Philadelphia suburban detective Kate Winslet, investigating the murder of a young girl, drove “Mare of Easttown” to dramatic heights (and 16 Emmy names), while Kaley Cuoco was funny, sad and emotional – often in the same scene – in the three-time nominee, “The Flight Attendant”.

Zendaya set the tone for teenage angst in “Euphoria,” while Courtney B. Vance, the late Michael K. Williams, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors took a tour of a well-designed sci-fi and drama fantasy world. too real in “Lovecraft Country.”

In “Hacks,” Jean Smart showed why she is a legend in the making as a clever and cynical Joan Rivers-type stand-up comedian who meets her match in her young alter-ego (newcomer Hannah Einbinder). Both ladies scored nods for their performances. And how memorable were Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”), Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”) and the combination of Ruth Wilson and Lin Manuel-Miranda in “His Dark Materials”? It’s a long and impressive list for both HBO and HBO Max.

Photo showing Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman in disguise at a party in a scene from "The Undo."
Hugh Grant has been nominated for a 2021 Emmy for HBO’s “The Undoing”. Shocked by critics, Nicole Kidman was not.
PA

It’s true that “it all starts with writing”, and big, famous actors couldn’t shine without stellar and captivating scripts like Misha Green (“Lovecraft Country”); Brad Ingelsby (“Easttown Mare”); and Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky (“Hacks”). Coupled with lush, eye-catching cinematography and quirky storylines (“The Flight Attendant”, “Euphoria”), this has been a recipe for hearing and validating home viewers and the TV industry dog. -eat-dog.

What HBO / HBO Max has done well is reach out to the generational divide (teen dramas “Euphoria”, “I May Destroy You”) and provide viewers of all ages and demographics with a resonant programming that caters to a variety of audiences – and, in this all-important digital age – spur online discussions, viral jokes (“the succession” has its own twitter meme with more than 123,000 subscribers) and moments not to be missed. These include the accent of Mare (Winslet, born in Great Britain) in Pennsylvania and the nude scene in “Mare of Easttown”, the steamy sex scenes in “The White Lotus” and daring reality shows like “FBoy Island”.

Photo showing Zendaya as Rue Bennett in "Euphoria."
Zendaya as Rue Bennett, a recovering drug addict in “Euphoria”.

There were hiccups; HBO, for some reason, canceled “Lovecraft Country” after just one season, despite the multi-hyphenated series making waves to mix a rockin mix of historical drama, fiction, fantasy and horror into one. consistent arc, led by the pedigree of producers JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele. Its opening episode drew 10 million viewers when all said and done – the biggest premiere in HBO Max history, according to the network.

And, he trapped 18 nominations and two first Emmy wins for Vance (exceptional guest actor in a drama series) and for the exceptional sound editing. In the temperamental world of television, that wasn’t enough to win the series another season – a move that outraged its fans, who desperately wanted more.

Photo showing Michael K. Williams, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Major all covered in blood in a scene from "Lovecraft Country."
Michael K. Williams, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors in “Lovecraft Country”.
PA

Unfortunately, this type of programming change happens too often (see ‘Manifesto’ going from NBC to Netflix or ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ picked up by NBC after being deleted by Fox) but, in the future, I don’t think that it will impact HBO’s victory lap after waking up from its slumber to reclaim its long-sleep status as a buzz-worthy network – and fully meet the challenge of pushing aside its cable and streaming rivals by owning part of the crowded programming landscape.



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