TV News

HBO Cancels Eastbound & Down But Has New Comedies from Mike Judge and Stephen Merchant on the Way

Kenny Powers has one comeback left in him.  But just one.

HBO announced today that upcoming fourth season of Eastbound & Down, which details the misadventures of Danny McBride’s foul-mouthed former Major League Baseball player character Kenny Powers, will be the show’s last.  According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the show is scheduled to resume production on its fourth season in North Carolina tomorrow.

The news comes as something of a surprise simply because anyone who wasn’t paying close attention might not have even known there was even going to be a fourth season.  In the lead up to the third season, Danny McBride (who in addition to starring also created the show and serves as a producer) claimed on multiple occasions, most notably at Paleyfest in 2012, that the third season was to be the show’s last.  As it turns out, HBO renewed the show for an 8-episode fourth (and now final) season, which is scheduled to begin Sunday, September 29th.  McBride fans can take solace in the corresponding news that his animated series Chozen, in which he will voice a gay, white rapper freshly out of prison, was picked up by FX today.

Hopefully, the final season of Eastbound & Down will give us one more confrontation between Kenny Powers and Will Ferrel’s truly despicable but undeniably funny BMW car dealer Ashley Schaffer.  Actually, come to think of it, most of the characters on that show are despicable.  If I’m honest, it’s a humor that definitely wore a bit thin for me as the show progressed.  However, there are still laughs to be had.

Here is an example below from the first season (be warned: curse words await you):

HBO also has several new shows on the horizon:

  • Hello Ladies – Stephen Merchant, otherwise known as the impossibly tall guy who hilariously towers over writing/producing partner Ricky Gervais, stars as an overly confident Englishmen who attempts to woo women in Los Angeles only to fail horribly.  Merchant previously co-created the UK Office, Extras, and Life’s Too Short, the latter two of which he also co-starred in.  For a change, this is a Merchant project which Gervais appears to have nothing do do with.  The 8-episode first season is scheduled to start in September.
  • Getting On – This is a remake of the Jo Brandt-starring original UK comedy of the same name, about a women’s geriatric wing at a hospital and focuses on the nurses, doctors, and administrators.  The remake comes from the guys who created Big Love, and will star recognizeable people like Laurie Metcalfe (Roseanne), Alex Borstein (Family Guy, Mad TV), and Niecy Nash (Reno 911).  HBO has given the show 6 episodes, with no word on an expected air date.
  • Untitled Mike Judge Show – Think less Beavis & Butthead and more Office Space, and that’s the version of Mike Judge to expect.  The show is said to be set in modern Silicon Valley and focus on people who really can’t handle success. A lot of the cast members are people whose faces you’ve seen multiple places without ever catching a name. For example, T.J. Miller had a hilarious recurring role on Happy Endings, but I never knew his name.  Kumail Nanjiani slayed me with each of his appearances on the Adult Swim 60 Minutes parody show Newsreaders.  No word yet on number of episodes or when it will air.
  • Untitled Dramedy From Jonathan Groff About 3 Gay Guys in San FranciscoGlee/Spring Awakenings star Jonathan Groff will star alongside Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Barltett.  Could this be Girls but simply called Gay Guys?  Time will tell. After gay character featuring shows like The New Normal, Happy Endings, and Go On were canceled last month, this show can’t get here soon enough for the community desperate for more gay and lesbian representation on television. HBO gave the show an 8-episode order and a 2014 premiere is expected.

Plus, Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) fans should check out Family Tree, which Guest created and is currently airing its first season on HBO.  Set in the UK, it follows Chris O’Dowd as a guy who discovers his family may actually be descended from royalty only to discover with each subsequent episode just how twisted his family tree actually is.  O’Dowd and Michael McKean (playing his father, speaking with a rather impressive British accent) are great straight men alongside the quirky individuals O’Dowd encounters.  My personal favorite is Nina Conti as O’Dowd’s sister who is so emotionally repressed she expresses herself mostly through ventriloquism, meaning she constantly has a stuffed monkey doll on her right hand through which she shares typically off-color commentary.  BTW, you read that last sentence correctly – one of the main characters on this show has a stuffed monkey she talks through all the time.

Sad to see Kenny Powers go?  Any of the above shows catch your fancy?  Just can’t get into Family Tree?  Let us know in the comments.

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