Monday, June 20, 2011

Morning Mail - 6.20.11 (HBO vs. Showtime)

Dexter Morgan: I love Halloween. The one time of year when everyone wears a mask... not just me. People think it's fun to pretend you're a monster. Me, I spend my life pretending I'm not. Brother, friend, boyfriend - All part of my costume collection. Some people might call me a fraud. Let's see if it will fit. I prefer to think of myself as a master of disguise.
(Source: Dexter)

Showtime is better than HBO. It just is. I’ll put it to you like this; one time me and my friend were talking about Penelope Cruz’s best movies and she said, Volver. And I replied, it’s actually, Non Ti Muovere. She had this screwed up look on her face and I said, well I know why you said Volver, it’s the one movie she’s done that had the most critical acclaim and you probably were able to see that movie around the time of the Academy Awards. But, Non Ti Muovere, meaning, Don’t Move was her best movie. Her acting was superb, the plot was out of this world and the writing was much better. But you know what the point was? She had never seen it, so she went with the more popular movie.

Now, here’s something worth noting, these are the five reasons why people think HBO is better than Showtime, or at least these are five observations about those people:

1) They don’t have Showtime – This is usually why people don’t think Showtime is nice. But that’s like those people who never listened to a “down south” rapper and they kept calling Lil’ Wayne trash. Listen to me right now, most people still wrote him off when he dropped Tha Carter II, they never listened to an album, they were like, “down south rap is trash.” Then he had one hot verse on Touch It or Not and people went back and actually listened to his music and they were like, “Oh shit, this dude is nice. He gonna challenge Jay one day.”

2) They are mainstream heads – Most HBO shows appeal to mainstream America, and people sleep on the fact that HBO has a bigger budget than Showtime. They can’t see that though. The Marketing budget at HBO is probably bigger than the GDP of most small countries, but nobody sees that.

3) They like what everyone else likes – If everyone is tweeting about True Blood, then naturally you don’t want to be left out, so you take a look yourself. I did myself and I was like, “has anybody noticed how much this show sucks ass?” The plot is predictable, it’s homoerotica at it’s best, the acting sucks, the hands down worst southern accents I’ve ever heard in my life, trust me on that, man let me stop because I know some people like True Blood like Twilight.

4) They don’t pay attention to detail – If you pay close attention to detail, you will be able to watch a show and see the script. Do you know why Entourage is such a good show? Has nothing to do with the writing or quality of the show. It’s because everybody wants to live that life. But pay close attention to the plot of Entourage and you can pretty much predict the entire season from the time you get to Episode 3. And not for nothing, but in the last two seasons the story has just been blah. Meanwhile, you can’t name a bad season of Dexter, you just can’t. Every show on HBO has a season or two that you’re just like, man… this was wack.

5) Hype Williams fans – You know Hype Williams is a great music video director, but you know what makes Hype Williams so great. His appreciation for the visuals. Think about it, Belly was a dumb as shit, but because some shit was glowing in the dark and on fire, people loved the shit out of it. You know why? Because they like fire and explosions, and if it’s got a lot of it, you can cover up a plot with it. It’s called, Bells and Whistles.

I did a quick search and man I found some shows that used to come on Showtime and/or still do and I was like, those shows are GREAT, HBO has some good shows, not trying to say they suck, but the quality is not GREAT. Check this out:

Red Shoe Diaries – Can you imagine what a sleepover would have been like in your youth if cats didn’t have this show?
Big Brother After Dark – Because you always was like, I bet they be f*cking when the cameras not on. Well they turned them back on.
The L Word – Mad men I know wanted to bang Shane one time, mention this show to anyone and they will immediately have to bow down.
Nurse Jackie – This is a crazy ass show that only works because it’s great writing.
Californication – Hands down the best show on premium television, if you don’t watch, start now.
Weeds – Might be the third best show on premium television.
Shameless – This was a very good show, great acting in its first year and great writing, check it out. Very realistic representation of an alcoholic in urban America.
DEXTER – Bitches love Dexter.
The AVN Awards – Shut all the way up.
Dead Like Me – Great.
The Tudors – Great.
Secret Diary – Great. If you’re not watching this show, then you’re missing out.
Queer as Folk – Need I say it again?

If I get a television show, which is a dream of mine, but I need to move my ass to California and work on my script writing instead of bullshitting around on the East Coast beating my meat to soft porn called the Fortune 500, um… yeah, it will be on Showtime.

And I’ve just won the award for longest run-on sentence in a Comedy/Drama series on the Internet.



redlady821 said...

You forgot the United States of Tara. I love that show. Crazy chick with schizophrenia and how she interacts with her husband and kids. Check it out sometime. It's on Showtime "of course".

Dr. J said...


I thought about that show, but I haven't really given it a quality watch which would contradict one of my earlier points.

Anonymous said...

Dr. J, You are such a nerd.

Anonymous said...

Your right True Blood SUCKS!!!! Man the acting in that show is Horrible!

Sai said...

"DEXTER – Bitches love Dexter."

I died. Dexter is the truth.

TheMostInterestingManInTheWorld said...

Here's the thing. Everything you've said is subjective and based on taste.

I could tell you all about the many intriguing nuances of a show like "The Wire." All the little details that made the show awesome. How they'd drop a hint about something in season 2 that they'd never touch again till season 5. The relationship between the characters and the city of baltimore. I could also talk about how the show, to a certain degree, is a treatise on change in urban environments. But doing that wouldn't matter because it's all subjective.

This is why we have awards. We have the more mainstream awards - like the Emmy's, and then we have lesser known but highly valued awards like the Peabody Awards. On almost all fronts, HBO kicks showtime's a**.

The last point to make is these the producers and writers of these shows come up with the ideas first, then pitch them to the varying networks. The networks big wigs read the shows then decide whether or not they want to pay for the pilot. My point in saying all of this is - the differences in shows that you're talking about has very little to do with the network they're aired on. It boils down to the writers.

The dudes who created Madmen offered it to HBO first. HBO declined and it eventually found a home on AMC - and saved that network. Either way, Madmen would have been Madmen regardless of the network it aired on. It actually might have been better on a premium channel since they wouldn't have had to edit out the nudity and cursing.

But good post though...

Dr. J said...

@Most -
Well my point and my whole point around this discussion is that the writing is better on Showtime, nothing to do with the producers.

As to the other point about awards, there's so much that goes into that. You can't always put so much into awards because it's politics as usual.

Tunde said...

besides true blood (which is a good show) hbo also has boardwalk empire, game of thrones and the wire (yea i know it's not on the air anymore but c'mon... its the mf'ing wire).

Dr. J said...

Wire got away with being a great show but nobody kne why. It wasn't the writing it was because, like the sopranos, the actors thought it was real. lmao. tell me i'm lying!

Streetz said...

LOL Dr Jay is reaching right now in comments.

The final tally on HBO vs Showtime on Twitter was a lot to a little in favor of HBO.

I mean... Fraggle Rock. FRAGGLE ROCK! Wrap Showtime up.

Next youll say Showtime Boxing > HBO.


Way to defend a point though I admire it!

max said...

I don't watch tv so I really shouldn't be commenting but I had to weigh in just to disagree with Most a little bit.

Yes writing does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to quality tv but let's not forget that the networks do have influence on the direction a show goes. They have at least influence if not full-on control over talent and they can kill storylines or characters if they think it will jeopardize their revenue.

So yeah to a certain extent Mad Men is Mad Men no matter what channel it airs on, but to a certain other extent, the degree to which a network is willing to push boundaries is the degree to which its shows can flourish.

But we don't have Showtime in Canada so I can't really weigh in on the crux of this discussion.

SaneN85 said...

I'm mad that I missed this conversation, but I'll just say that I cosign Most's comment.

Beyond that, most people who watch True Blood will readily admit that it serves as an addictive guilty pleasure.

You are most definitely reaching with that comment on The Wire. If you can name even one show that even touches The Wire in writing from Showtime in the last decade, I will concede.