Nothing says "perfect match" like a programming block that starts out with brooding, time-jumping detective and then switches to cynical silver-spoon-fed girls in Brooklyn. That'll be the odd pairing at the heart of HBO's Sunday nights come January, as the network has announced premiere dates for its new drama True Detective and returning delayed-coming-of-age dramedy Girls.
True Detective, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson and looks totally radical, will make its debut on January 12 at 9pm. The two actors play a pair of detectives cracking a cold case in Louisiana, with the action bouncing back and forth between the present day, where the case has been reopened with new evidence, and 17 years ago, when the murder occurred. I am so in on this show that my name may as well be listed in the credits. As an aside, I should also note that True Detective isn't open-ended, and will eventually change locations and cases should it be renewed for additional seasons.
Following True Detective at 10pm on January 12 is Girls Season 3, which opens with back-to-back new episodes. The show is about a bunch of brats in New York. (Sorry, I do not like it.) But in the interest of being fair, Girls follows the exploits of Hannah Horvath, an idealistic dreamer and talented writer whose expectations of the world don't always mesh with the reality of the awkward situations she finds (and puts) herself in. Along with her three friends, Hannah explores sex, success, and self-identification in the greatest city in the world. There, you happy now? Now can I say it's a self-absorbed exercise in back-patting? Boom! Girls slam!
Debuting one week later, on January 19 at 10:30pm, will be new series Looking, a half-hour dramedy (I assume) about three friends in the gay scene in San Francisco. It stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett. Is it just a gay Girls? Maybe. But as former TV.com contributor Richard Lawson says:
I think you guys are forgetting that Gay Girls already exists and it is called Teen Wolf— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) October 16, 2013
Though this looks like a mismatched block, it might be HBO's best option. All three of these programs topple over to the artsy-indie side of things and don't necessarily have the blockbuster potential of Game of Thrones and True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. HBO's winter season is all about building up cred within specific circles rather than paying the bills. And because HBO is a subscription service, it isn't bothered by the idea of experimenting for a season while everyone waits for Game of Thrones to return.