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    The Wire

    The Wire

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    HBO (ended 2008)
    In chronicling a multi-generational family business dealing illegal drugs and the efforts of the Baltimore police to curb their trade, this series draws parallels between these organizations and the men and women on either side of the battle.

    The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of Criminal Justice and Police Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, in writing about the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, can also be used to illuminate some of the central premises of the show:

    "There is precious little difference between those people who society designates as respectable and law abiding and those people society castigates as hoodlums and thugs. The world of corporate finance and corporate capital is as criminogenic and probably more criminogenic than any poverty-wracked slum neighborhood. The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life."

    Tim Goodman, the television critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, summed the show up perfectly when he wrote: "This show is precisely the reason you pay for HBO."

    In New York's Newsday, Diane Werts says: "Most TV crime series aspire to John Grisham's level. 'The Wire' aspires to Dostoevsky's."

    Season Themes

    Season One centers around a family of drug dealers and the innerworkings of their empire. It also follows the detectives who are trying to catch the high members of the empire. Season Two steps away from the drug trade (while still mentioning characters from the previous season) to a case of dead prostitutes which turns into a look at the corruption surrounding the Port. Season Three investigates politics and finishes the main stories that were left open in season one. Season Four focuses on four middle school students and their journeys through the public school system and continues to address the politics of an inner-city and the issues of an election. Season Five is rumored to be about the media's role in Baltimore. Season Five will be the show's final season.

    Theme Music

    In the Season One opening credits, the Blind Boys of Alabama did Tom Waits's "Way Down in the Hole". The Season Two opening credits feature Waits's version of the song. According to creator David Simon, "It was our way of saying: This is the same show (song) but this year, the tale itself (singer, tonality) will be different." The Neville Brothers's version of the song opens Season Three. The theme which plays over the end credits was composed by the show's music supervisor, Blake Leyh.

    International Airings

    Australia -- Monday at 12:00 p.m. on Ch.9. Currently airing Season 3. New Zealand -- Wednesday at 11:40 p.m. on TV2, beginning December 15, 2004.

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  • 2
    True Blood

    True Blood

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    HBO (ended 2014)
    Vampires not only exist, but the entire world knows about them. Since a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many people remain apprehensive about vampires living amongst them in Louisiana. In the southern town of Bon Temps, a local barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) understands what it's like to be an outcast. Cursed with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires. She is especially intrigued by Bill Compton(Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test. Other town residents include Sookie's best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley), her slow-witted older brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and her shape-shifting boss Sam (Sam Trammell). Six Feet Under's creator Alan Ball created this sexy horror show based on the novels by Charlaine Harris.moreless
  • 3
    Sex and the City

    Sex and the City

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    HBO (ended 2004)
    Carrie Bradshaw writes a column about sex and relationships in New York city. With three of her closest friends: Samantha Jones, who owns her own PR firm and is more interested in exciting "one-nighters" than long-term relationships; Miranda Hobbes, a cynical lawyer who prioritizes her career over her erratic lovelife, and Charlotte York, an art gallery curator who is a bit prudish when it comes to sex, but hasn't yet lost her faith in finding true love. Based on the bestselling book by Candace Bushnell, "Sex and the City" revolves around the lives of four young professional women in search of the perfect relationship...and orgasm!moreless
  • 4
    Cathouse: The Series

    Cathouse: The Series

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    HBO
    Stemming from the success of HBO's highest rated adult documentaries, "Cathouse" and "Cathouse 2: Back in the Saddle" comes an all new adult series which gives fans a fresh and fast-paced look at the familiar and new girls who work at the Ranch, as well as some of the johns who visit. The series sheds light not only on the numerous joys and challenges of working at a legal brothel, but on the therapeutic benefits that customers take with them after a stint at the Ranch.moreless
  • 5
    Six Feet Under

    Six Feet Under

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    HBO (ended 2005)
    When death is your business, what is your life? For the Fisher family, the world outside of their family-owned funeral home continues to be at least as challenging as--and far less predictable than--the one inside.Oscar(R)-winning screenwriter Alan Ball's breakout series that takes a darkly comic look at members of a dysfunctional L.A. family that run a funeral business.moreless
  • 6
    The Sopranos

    The Sopranos

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    HBO (ended 2007)
    Meet Tony Soprano: your average, middle-aged businessman. Tony's got a dutiful wife. A not-so-dutiful son. A daughter named Meadow. An uncle who's losing his marbles. A hot-headed nephew. A not-too-secret mistress. And a shrink to tell all his secrets, except the one she already knows: Tony's a mob boss whose troubles are wrapped up in his two families. These days, it's getting tougher and tougher to make a killing in the killing business. Just because you're 'made' doesn't mean you've got it made.moreless
  • 7
    Entourage

    Entourage

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    HBO (ended 2011)
    Vince Chase is a sexy young actor whose career is on the rise. To share the fun of his ride to the top of Hollywood and keep him grounded, Vince looks to Eric, Drama and Turtle, his childhood buddies from Queens. Together, they'll navigate the highs and lows of Hollywood's fast lane, where the stakes are higher, and the money and temptations greater, than ever before. But that certainly will not stop them from having fun the whole way through.

    Adrian Grenier ("The Devil Wears Prada", "Drive Me Crazy") stars as Vince, an actor on the verge of stardom. Kevin Connolly ("Antwone Fisher," "John Q") plays Eric, Vince's closest confidant who's learning the rules of the business as he tries to help Vince make the right choices and keep his goals aimed high. Kevin Dillon ("The Doors," "Platoon") plays Vince's half-brother Johnny Drama, whose own acting aspirations have been eclipsed by Vince's success, but that doesn't stop Johnny from constantly looking for work and going to auditions. Jerry Ferrara ("Grounded for Life," "Leap of Faith") plays Turtle, the least experienced of the group who is always up for a good time. Jeremy Piven ("Old School," "The Larry Sanders Show") plays Ari, Vince's aggressive, high-powered agent, who clashes with Eric over his client's decisions.

    Theme Song:

    "Superhero" by Jane's Addictionmoreless
  • 8
    Band of Brothers

    Band of Brothers

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    HBO (ended 2001)
    Band of Brothers is a 10-part miniseries executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO.

    The miniseries follows Easy Company, an army unit during World War II, from their initial training at Camp Toccoa to the conclusion of the war. The series is based on the book written by the late Stephen E Ambrose. Tom Hanks approached Steven Spielberg, who just finished production of Saving Private Ryan. Together they approached HBO with their idea. The station was willing to spend a industry record sum of $120m to realize the project.
    The series won 6 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special - Day of Days, Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie - Carentan, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special - Day of Days, Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special and Outstanding Miniseries.moreless
  • 9
    Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Curb Your Enthusiasm

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    HBO
    Each half-hour episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm features verit?-style footage of David (playing himself) at home, at work and around town, as he gets into predicaments with fictional and real-life personalities. With cast regulars Jeff Garlin (as manager Jeff Greene) and Cheryl Hines (as wife Cheryl), the series features appearances by guest celebrities playing themselves or character roles. Candid, unsparing and self-deprecating, Curb Your Enthusiasm brings the off-kilter comic vision of Larry David--co-creator and co-executive producer of one of the most lauded comedy series in TV history, Seinfeld--to HBO. The series blurs the lines between reality and fiction, as David (playing himself) and a cast of real and fictional characters are followed around Los Angeles by a ubiquitous camera that chronicles the private, often banal world of a (relatively) public man. Having evolved from the 1999 HBO special Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, this series proves how seemingly trivial details of one's day-to-day life--a trip to the movies, a phone call, a visit from some trick-or-treaters--can precipitate a "Murphy's Law" chain of misfortune to hilarious effect. Like George Costanza in Seinfeld, the protagonist of Curb Your Enthusiasm has a knack for getting himself into uncomfortable situations that end up alienating him from peers and acquaintances. To keep the narrative fresh and spontaneous, Curb Your Enthusiasm is shot without a script; the cast is given scene outlines and often improvise lines as they go. The result is an unpredictable format that's unlike anything else on TV. In Germany the show is known as Lass es, Larry! ("Stop it, Larry!")
    In French the show is known as Larry et son nombril ("Larry and his Belly Button"), though in Quebec the show is known as Cache ta joie ("Hide Your Joy")
    In Portuguese the show is known as A Louca Vida de Larry ("Larry's Crazy Life")
    In Norway it is known is Ingen grunn til begeistring
    In Sweden it is known as Simma lugnt, Larry!
    In Finland it is known as J?it? hattuunmoreless
  • 10
    Rome

    Rome

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    HBO (ended 2007)
    "Rome" is the saga of two ordinary Roman soldiers and their families. An intimate drama of love and betrayal, masters and slaves, and husbands and wives, it chronicles epic times that saw the fall of a republic and the creation of an empire. The series begins in 52 BC, as Gaius Julius Caesar has completed his masterful conquest of Gaul after eight years of war, and is preparing to return to Rome. He heads home with thousands of loyal battle-hardened men, huge amounts of loot in gold and slaves, and a populist agenda for radical social change. Terrified, the aristocracy threatens to prosecute Caesar for war crimes as soon as he sets foot in Rome. Caesar's old friend and mentor, Pompey Magnus, attempts to foment mutiny in order to maintain the balance of power. Two of Caesar's soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, thwart Pompey's plan and in the process, win the eternal gratitude of Caesar and the Julian clan, affording the two plebian officers an intimate view of the ruling class. The fates of Pullo and Vorenus become entwined with those of Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra and the boy Octavian, a strange and awkward child who, by political guile and bloody force, will become the first emperor of Rome.

    (Source: HBO Press Release)moreless
  • 11
    Eastbound & Down

    Eastbound & Down

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    HBO (ended 2013)
    Created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, this half-hour comedy follows a former professional baseball player who returns to his hometown in the South to take a job as a substitute gym teacher.moreless
  • 12
    Extras

    Extras

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    BBC Two (ended 2007)
    Andy Millman has given up his day job to be an actor, but finds he just can't land the big parts. In fact he's never even had a speaking role, so spends much of his time hanging around on set with fellow extra and best friend Maggie Jacobs. Andy envies the A-list stars but never misses an opportunity to ingratiate himself with them, hoping it will lead to that first elusive line of dialogue.moreless
  • 13
    Deadwood

    Deadwood

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    HBO (ended 2006)
    In an age of plunder and greed, the richest gold strike in American History draws a throng of restless misfits to an outlaw settlement where everything - and everyone - has a price. Welcome to Deadwood...a hell of a place to make your fortune. From Executive Producer David Milch ("NYPD Blue") comes DEADWOOD, a new drama series that focuses on the birth of an American frontier town and the ruthless power struggle that exists in its lawless boundaries. The story begins two weeks after Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn, combining fictional and real-life characters and events in an epic morality tale. Located in the Black Hills Indian Cession, the "town" of Deadwood is an illegal settlement, a violent and uncivilized outpost that attracts a colorful array of characters looking to get rich - from outlaws and entrepreneurs to ex-soldiers and racketeers, Chinese laborers, prostitutes, city dudes and gunfighters.moreless
  • 14
    Flight of the Conchords

    Flight of the Conchords

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    HBO (ended 2009)
    New Zealand duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, AKA the folk/comedy-band Flight of the Conchords, star in this fictionalized look at their lives.
    Bret and Jemaine are trying to make it big in New York City, despite their inept manager Murray, and their sole fan/stalker Mel. Their other friends include Dave, who owns a pawn shop, and Eugene, their building's super.
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  • 15
    Generation Kill

    Generation Kill

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    HBO (Mini-Series 2008)
    Not for the faint-hearted, this seven-hour scripted mini-series spotlights Marines fighting in the Iraq war during the early onset of the conflict. This is an adaptation of Rolling Stone's contributing editor Evan Wright's book of the same name.moreless
  • 16
    In Treatment

    In Treatment

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    HBO (ended 2010)
    Paul, a psychotherapist played by Gabriel Byrne, is the picture of insightful perfection when dealing with his patients, but he becomes a raging ball of issues during his own therapy sessions. In Treatment is based on a successful Israeli television series and is produced by HBO, Closest to the Hole Productions and Leverage Management.moreless
  • 17
    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

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    BBC
    Alexander McCall Smith's popular detective series comes to the small screen courtesy of HBO and the BBC. Oscar winner AnthonyMinghella shepherds this project with a two-hour pilot shot in Botswana. Leading the cast is R&B singer/songwriter Jill Scott playing the role of Precious Ramotswe, a good-natured, intuitive mid-30's woman who took to heart the inspiring lessons of her deceased father. The series tells of her adventures as she puts up the first and only female detective agency in her native country of Botswana. The detective dramedy has been nominated in the 2009 Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding New Program of the Year. While the fate of the show still hangs in the balance, HBO has announced that the 1st season DVD is set to be released on September 8, 2009.moreless
  • 18
    Hung

    Hung

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    HBO (ended 2011)
    "It's hard to make an indecent living." Thomas Jane heads up the cast in this comedy as Ray Drecker, a middle-aged basketball coach and high school History teacher who figures out how to put his exceptional physical endowments to use and change his fortunes. Forced to find an alternative source of income after a series of unfavorable events, Ray takes on a whole new profession aided by his pimp and business partner, Tanya Skagle (Jane Adams). Joining Jane and Adams are Men in Trees' Anne Heche who plays Ray's ex-wife, Jessica and Eddie Jemison as Jessica's new husband, Dr. Ronnie Haxon. Rounding up the series cast are Charlie Saxton and Sianoa Smit-McPhee who play Jessica and Ray's twin children, Damon and Darby. Created by Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin, the series is filmed both in areas of Detroit, Michigan and Los Angeles, California.moreless
  • 19
    Bored to Death

    Bored to Death

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    HBO (ended 2011)
    "How he solves anything is a mystery." Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), a struggling Brooklyn writer with a drinking problem, tries to cope with his recent breakup with his girlfriend by reinventing his life. On a whim, Ames decides to emulate his idol novelists Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler by posing as a private detective and offering his services through an online ad. Soon enough, he takes on various cases of unwitting clients, satisfying some while failing others. The HBO original comedy is based on Jonathan Ames' short story of the same name, which is included in his book The Double Life is Twice as Good: Essays and Fiction and in McSweeney's Issue 24. The cable series also stars Ted Danson (Damages, Becker) as George Christopher, Jonathan's magazine editor, and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) as Ray Hueston, Jonathan's best friend.moreless
  • 20
    Tell Me You Love Me

    Tell Me You Love Me

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    HBO (ended 2007)
    This relationship drama brings viewers into the lives of three couples in committed relationships with intimacy problems. Jamie and Hugo are engaged and having doubts about fidelity, Carolyn and Palek are trying to have a baby, while Katie and David are parents who can't find time for sex. All three couples find themselves in therapy with a psychologist, Dr. May Foster. The show was created by Cynthia Mort; the pilot will be directed by Patricia Rozema, and will be executive produced by Gavin Polone and Vivian Cannon. Tell Me You Love Me is a production of Home Box Office (HBO) in association with Pariah Production.moreless
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