People love HBO original series.
I barely watch any T.V., I really don’t have the time; but for these shows, I make the time.
And why? Why are people so drawn to these programs? So many people might say that it’s because on HBO, you can see things you can’t see on network TV. They are more outrageous. They push the envelope. They’re edgy.
Well, sure, those things are true. But the appeal for me is something different; nothing fascinates me so much as the human condition. I love to see humanity is its raw form; what I mean by that is this; I love that HBO shows human emotion so authentically. They are not afraid to show what some people might do in their private moments, to reveal what people might really think, and to reveal when they don’t know what to think. I love that they create characters that we love and admire deeply, though they are flawed, to different degrees, of course.
Think of “The Sopranos,” of course. It is on everyone’s mind as the final episodes debut. But we don’t just love it because we see crazy mob life and the violence, each wondering how true it is to real mob life; we love seeing those quiet reflective moments of the characters. We love seeing them struggling with their enigmas, we love noticing about them personality traits they themselves are oblivious to. We love seeing their troubled relationships, and their bonding amongst each other.
“Sex and the City” captured a tremendous audience, and not just of women. Perhaps that show aided in men’s ability to see women as equals; maybe it helped men to see women as competent, intelligent, successful and sexual beings. The way girlfriends talk among each other – men have been dying for ages to know what goes on there. And I loved that “Sex and the City” got a good grasp on it. But, there was more to it, wasn’t there?
My personal favorite remains “Six Feet Under.” The show was deeply spiritual, and I wonder how many fans truly understood that as I did. It showed how people can struggle with finding meaning in their lives and dealing with finding love and understanding, and most of all, purpose. I saw an underlying theme in that program, a demonstration of real spirituality and humanity. And the makers found the perfect setting for such a theme. I have to confess, as grounded in reality as I am, I am still in love with Nate Fisher. That is how brilliantly created that show was; Nate became an actual human being to me and a part of my life. So did the rest of his family. I just GOT those people.
“Big Love” has potential. Of course we see people hypnotized by their religious views, but there’s something else going on there too. We see people having made a conscience choice of lifestyle, but having to hide out like criminals. So what if they’ve decided to be in a different style of family unit from the norm? I’m on their side. They should have that freedom.
Perhaps that’s what it is about HBO; maybe that’s what they figured out. Perhaps their programming is a way to make us all more tolerant of each other. Maybe we’ll look at these fictional lives and in turn be better equipped to look more closely and honestly at our own. Maybe we’ll learn a thing or two about love, about the human state of being flawed, and about the human spirit. Those things, fellow audience, are real.