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Friday, January 18, 2013

Girls Returns to HBO Sunday Nights

Written by Jon Williams

On Sunday night, as the show was winning a couple of Golden Globes on ABC, the hit show Girls returned to HBO with its Season 2 premiere. The show centers on twenty-something Hannah Horvath and three friends as they feel their way through their extended college-to-real-life transitions in Brooklyn. Hannah is played by the series’ head writer, Lena Dunham, who based many of the show’s situations on her own real-life experiences after graduating from Ohio’s Oberlin College in 2008.

Dunham’s first break came when her film Tiny Furniture premiered at the 2010 South by Southwest Festival, where it won Best Narrative Feature. She parlayed this exposure into an opportunity to collaborate with Judd Apatow on the Girls pilot (Apatow is the show’s executive producer). It premiered on HBO on April 15, 2012, and immediately took off, sending Dunham’s star into the stratosphere. In October she signed a deal with Random House to publish her first book; in December she was named Time Magazine’s Coolest Person of the Year. The two Golden Globes she won for the show on Sunday were icing on the cake.

Now Girls is back as a staple of HBO’s formidable Sunday night lineup. Premiering along with it was the second season of Enlightened, a series starring Laura Dern as an executive go-getter determined to bring tranquility to her life after a breakdown. Like Girls, Enlightened was nominated for two Golden Globes in its first season, winning Best Comedy Actress for Dern. That was at the 2012 Golden Globes, however; the show was on break for over a year before returning this past weekend.

The next series with a firm premiere date for HBO is Game of Thrones, with the third season beginning on March 31. Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels, the show follows various members and associates of the powerful Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen families as they vie for control of the Seven Kingdoms while facing a nebulous but growing threat from the untamed North. As an avid fan, I can attest that this meager description doesn’t begin to do the show justice; it’s worth watching for its action and intrigue, as well as its well-written characters. Peter Dinklage won an Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in the show’s first season, and was nominated again for the second.

In April, Veep’s second season will premiere, once again starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer, who heads up a dysfunctional staff that helps her navigate her way through any number of political pitfalls. Dreyfus won an Emmy for the role in the first season, and the series was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. Then, June sees the return of The Newsroom, the Aaron Sorkin-created series that stars Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, host of a national news show committed to serious journalism in an industry increasingly concerned with money and ratings. Although it didn’t win any awards on Sunday, it was nominated for the Best Drama Series Golden Globe, and Daniels was nominated for Best Drama Actor.

Finally, at some point this summer, hit series True Blood will return for its sixth season. Beginning in 2008, the series has capitalized on the vampire craze that followed the Twilight phenomenon, dealing with vampires and a number of other supernatural creatures as they attempt to live side-by-side with humans in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. It’s based on Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampires novel series, the last volume of which will be published in May. Although it has only a handful of wins, the series has been nominated for a slew of Emmys and Golden Globes (as well as many other awards) throughout its long run.

Make sure you have previous seasons of these shows on your shelves for patrons who want to catch up for these series’ premieres, as well as for patrons who don’t have HBO and want to experience these shows for the first time.

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