11
Dec
08

HBO – Historical Bullshit’s On

Okay… I feel like I throw up disclaimers quite a bit, but let me do just one. Let me preface this by saying I enjoy HBO. I really do. I think The Wire was criminally underrated. They do great things for stand ups. I’m really psyched about the Game of Thrones series finally getting made.

Buuuuut…

For some reason I can’t force myself to get into Deadwood or Rome. For Deadwood I tried for two seasons. For Rome I tried for half a season. I find that these shows are AMAZINGLY well produced. They’re really accurate, I’m sure. I bet that’s how they really dressed and how they really spoke…. but is that enough to make it worthwhile?

I find these shows really cool to look at and to just kind of … marvel at the production of it, but I find that they very rarely have anything cool going on in the story that pulls me in. In Rome, if you know even a little history (and I’m not exactly a history buff), you pretty much know where it’s headed. Perhaps you wanna stick around for the spectacle of it. I never find myself diving for the next DVD to watch the next one.

I know considerably less about the history of Deadwood, but I have the same problem with getting into it. The language of the show is really cool at first, but it gets more and more indecipherable as the show continues. The actual story in Deadwood goes absolutely nowhere as well, and that’s coming from a fan of The Wire. At least in that show each season has a beginning, middle, and end. Deadwood just kinda meanders. So-and-so buys a horse from this old dude. This guy starts working for so-and-so. At any given point there are several plotlines running at once, and none of them really carry any tension with them.

The thing is, all these criticisms could be pointed at The Wire as well, but for some reason I find The Wire really compelling by comparison. It’s still really slowly paced and you still really need to be paying attention at all times, but it knows how to pay off at the right time and when to rob you of the payoff that you want. The Wire also has the same emphasis on accuracy, but there’s a really good original story in there as well.

Like I said, if you’re a fan of the era for any of these, the spectacle alone will take you for the ride. Huge historical nerds are going to really like seeing the naked slave boy because OMG THE SLAVE BOYS WERE ACTUALLY NAKED. HBO snobs like to say that the shows are too sophisticated and intelligent for mainstream audiences. I think that historical accuracy alone is not enough to bring in viewers.

The Wire still absolutely rules though.

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