Caitlin Rickard: HBO is in the know

We know I love to talk about my unwavering affections for all types of shows in every genre, but rarely can we turn our televisions to a channel and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that something good will be waiting.
Jul 2, 2014
Caitlin Rickard

We know I love to talk about my unwavering affections for all types of shows in every genre, but rarely can we turn our televisions to a channel and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that something good will be waiting.

To me, though, HBO is the answer to that problem.

I know not everyone has access to HBO, and I apologize, but those who do know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s funny, it’s bloody, it’s sexy, there’s something in every genre—albeit in the adult age range—and they aren’t just run-of-the-mill shows, either.

But I remember a few years ago when my opinion on this category drastically differed. 

I wasn’t a fan of HBO because, well Games of Thrones wasn’t on the air, or True Blood, or Girls, and I completely missed the eras of Sex and the City and The Sopranos.

To say the least I wasn’t into hits at the time like Deadwood, Six Feet Under or Big Love, though, looking back, it’s hard to argue the stamina, likeability and authenticity of each. And I’ve watched Big Love since it’s ending, Chloe Sevigny and Jeanne Tripplehorn? I didn’t know what I was missing.

During this era, two other shows on (seemingly) HBO’s rival channel, Showtime, had my attention: Weeds and Dexter. Both of which are now, sadly, DOA and gone for good.

Gone are the days of a likeable vigilante serial killer and a parent who sells drugs to keep the family afloat… oh, wait.

Let’s flash over to another network, AMC, who has kept it’s name on the rise with a show that, to viewers, moved Heaven and Earth. I won’t agree or disagree, Breaking Bad was great, and so is Mad Men, and I especially agree with The Walking Dead. 

To me, I’ll pick Weeds over Breaking Bad any day, but since all I’ve got left on the Showtime platform is Homeland, that channel has kind of fallen flat for me, which caused the change of sides. And don’t get me wrong, the channel still features favorites like House of Lies, Shameless, Nurse Jackie and Masters of Sex, but in comparison to counterparts over at HBO, it’s a no-go for me.

Of course, there are always the typical networks.

Fox is the comedy gurus, known for The Office, New Girl, Glee, American Idol and The Mindy Project; NBC is the Saturday Night Live lovers with 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live itself and The Voice; CBS remains in the middle-ground with seasoned favorites like The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds and NCIS and ABC loves it some Shona Rhimes, with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and everyone’s favorite show, Modern Family.

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love all of the above and more on each channel, but I can’t name them all or we’d be here all day.

I just need that HBO touch.

Clearly, in the past weeks I’ve expressed my love for all that is Game of Thrones. We need not go there, just know that is one reason for my HBO obsession.

Another is one, well two, that came long before GoT. 

One is True Blood, and I for one will say I have been #Truetotheend now that the show is ending this season. I could not be more distraught that my favorite sci-fi fantasy vampire tale is ending, especially since it’s a show that I’ve actually followed since its inception seven years ago. 

A show where vampires are “out of the coffin” and live amongst humans willingly with both sides knowing of their existence? Hilarious, dramatic, gory… need I say more? I’ll miss you Sookie Stackhouse, no matter which vampire (or possibly werewolf?) you choose to love.

Then there was Entourage, which I was a little late to the party to, but I arrived nonetheless. And what a party it was.

The show followed fictional movie star Vince Chase and his entourage, made up of his older brother, best friend, manager and agent. This show, no matter who you are, can make you fall in love with Hollywood. It also can teach us normal folk a thing or two about the prices and perks of fame and fortune.

Though it’s since ended (another depressing thought) it, like Sex and the City and The Sopranos, helped to put HBO on the map. Back when a show starring five male leads and not a single woman was a common thing, but we here in America are past that concept.

That brings us to Girls, which on the reverse side, stars four leading female roles, but in a completely different light.

This comedy portrays the lives, loves and experiences of four girls living in New York City navigating their way through their twenties. Its equally hilarious and heartbreaking and 100 percent human, because for once on a show, the situations and thoughts of the characters are actually relatable… mostly to girls, I would assume. Sorry, bros.

Not to mention the writer, director and star of the show wrote, directed and starred in it when she was 23 a.k.a. my age currently. Thanks for that wake up call.

I really wish I could go into these favorites of mine more.

Don’t forget others that I’ve so selfishly neglected, The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire, Silicon Valley, (the exceedingly hilarious) Ja’mie: Private School Girl, True Detective and Veep. Most of which are always nominated, raved and ranted about.

Now that I’ve listed for you the ample reasoning for watching HBO when it comes to shows, should we move on to it’s extensive list of groundbreaking original and syndicated movies?

Caitlin Rickard is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.


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