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TCA Winter 2014: HBO

It's the Television Critics Association Winter 2014, where all the major networks come and present their new and existing shows, what to expect from them and also an update on how the network is doing, ratings wise. It's a two week event, this year's edition having started yesterday and will end on Jan 23. 

HBO was one of the network channels that presented it's new work to a panel of TCA members- TV journalists. 

Here's what was revealed during the HBO event

True Detective
Actors Matthew McConaughey (L-R), Michelle Monaghan and Woody Harrelson talk about HBO's "True Detective" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
HBO's new anthology/mini-series, True Detective, stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as detectives working on a 17- year search for a serial killer. The Killing writer, Nic Pizzolato wrote the series and it's directed by Cary Fukunaga. The series consists of eight episodes. 

McConaughey and Harrelson were both at the TCA panel for True Detective where they spoke about their roles and also their chemistry on the show. Said McConaughey: "Part of why we're friends is we get on each other's frequency and one-up each other... It can go into the ether and then some. But this was something different. This is the first time we've worked together where there's real opposition. Our relationship isn't built on opposition; we work on how [our characters are often] affirmative and how they agree. This was not about us coming together."

Our favourite TV critic, THR's Tim Goodman was live blogging and tweeting during the panel and this is what he said about True Detective: 
"I loved True Detective. Saw the first four episodes and I'm all in, even if the next four go south. The series spans a 17 year span of the detectives played by McConaughey and Harrelson and the transformation of them on screen is phenomenal."


Creator, executive producer and actor Lena Dunham (L-R) and actors Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet and Allison Williams talk about HBO's "Girls" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

So the big news. Girls got renewed for a fourth season and this was before the third season has even premiered. If that's not a vote of confidence, I don't know what is. As we have blogged before, we are totally looking forward to the new season, which debuts on Sunday. 

Anyway at their TCA panel, the Girls stars Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams and the executive producer, Judd Apatow were rather testy. Our sister website, The Wrap's Tim Molloy dared to ask why there was a need for nudity on the show, especially when it comes to Lena, who plays Hanna Horvath and created the show. Lena responded to him and said: "Nudity is a realistic part of being alive." How diplomatic. But then she counted with: "I totally get it if you’re not into me, that’s your problem." Fun times. However, Apatow was pissed with the question and said it was "sexist, offensive and misogynistic."

Besides the drama, they spoke about the show and the issues it faces, especially when it comes to the racial diversity, or rather, the lack of in the cast. ""I've learned so much about intersectionality and the way feminism has served women of colour. We need to talk about diversifying the world of television." There wasn't much said about the other actresses, except that Jessa is a bit sexually damaged and since Charlie (Christopher Abbot) has left the show, Marnie's storyline had to be reworked. 

We are looking forward to the new season and we can't wait to see Orange Is the New Black's Danielle Brooks' arch on the show. 

Silicon Valley

Creator, executive producer, director and writer Mike Judge and executive producer, director, writer Alec Berg talk about HBO's "Silicon Valley" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Just before the holidays, we blogged about the plans to make a TV series about Twitter, based on Nick Bolton's book, Hatching Twitter about the popular social network's beginnings. We see now that HBO has a new comedy series about Silicon Valley. This gives me a massive Entourage and Smash feel. Let's see how the nerds over at San Francisco will take this comedy. 

The comedy is set in Silicon Valley, hence the name, where ego's sometimes clash with success and money. It will be an inside look into the world of Silicon Valley and will be about four friends and their lives in SV. The show takes a comic look at the tech community. The cast includes Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, Christopher Evan Welch, and Amanda Crew.

Creator, Mike Judge told the reporters at the show's TCA panel that extensive research was done- from watching TED Talks, reading interviews they had given to various magazines and websites. Plus  Judge comes from that world. He was an engineer in SV in the 80s. The big players, the little guys and the start ups will be represented on the show. 

Tim Goodman: "I've always applauded HBO for investing in all of these precious comedies nobody else would air -- so many have been favorites. But #SiliconValley has the potential for a much broader appeal... One of the running themes of #SiliconValley is how people in tech (especially the rich ones) talk about how they're making the world so that it can shroud the fact it's all super capitalism.."

Will you tune in? 

HBO's Looking is a gay themed series created and written by Michael Lannan executive produced by Andrew Haigh and starring Glee's Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Raul Castillo. 

Set in San Francisco's Bay Area, Lanna said that while making the series, he asked himself what is the most contemporary way to show gay characters on TV today. So all the news worthy things that involve gay people, like the question of marriage, feature on the show. To get into character, the stars of the show frequented the bars their characters go to. 

Tim Goodman: "Shot in San Francisco - essential -- Looking is like a postcard to the city. Also, there's a lot of beards. Literal beards, not figurative beards."

The Normal Heart

Director, executive producer Ryan Murphy (L-R), co-executive producer and actor Mark Ruffalo and actress Julia Roberts talk; Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch about HBO's "The Normal Heart" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Starring Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch; Ryan Murphy's film about Larry Kramer's play about the AIDS crisis in New York City and the battle to find a cure. 

Revelations by the cast include Julia admitting that she'd turned down the role of Dr. Emma Brookner, twice; Matt lost 18KGs and that expanding the play into a film meant that nearly 45% of it was new material. Mark has actually met Kramer before and he revealed that he spent hours begging him to tell him what they went through. 

It's unreal that production was shutdown so the actors can undergo the necessary changes to their bodies. Can't wait to see this TV movie. 

The Leftovers

Tim Goodman: "I watched The Leftovers last night - HBO screened it in the evening -- and feel pretty strongly that it'll take a number of episodes to get a real handle on it. The show is complicated, it's weird - 140 million people vanish into thin air and how those left behind deal with it. But in that weirdness, you can't just use an hour to get at the gist..."

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