American premium TV is going through a rich vein of form over the last few years, with the rise in quality of HBO forcing its competitors to pull their socks up. The question is though, has that meant the HBO is at risk of being beaten at its own game?
While AMC has three incredible series on its books in the shape of Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Walking Dead, but with the Breaking Bad coming to an end later this year and The Walking Dead seemingly constantly in a state of flux, the question rises as to whether they will be able to keep up the quality over the coming couple of years.
The real competition to HBO though comes in the shape of Showtime. Over the last couple of years, the channel has started making some fantastic programming and enticing more and more big names onto their roster, all making them a bigger threat to HBO.
In the shape of Homeland, they have the most talked about show on American TV, a show that collects awards like a nuclear powered magnet. That Homeland went toe to toe with HBO’s finest and pulled of a flawless victory is a real triumph.
The channel’s not just a one trick pony, with Dexter, House Of Lies, Californication and the American remake of Shameless all proving great successes for the channel.
Game Of Thrones is exactly the type of show that HBO has become known for. Massive production values, a cast full of quality and more profanity and sex than you can shake a rather rude stick at. It’s also done the natty thing of creating a cultural phenomenon, becoming a show that’s as often talked about as any out there.
With the series showing no signs of slowing down, with a huge amount to material to work with, HBO’s got itself a winner. A rather expensive winner, but a winner nonetheless.
HBO has another major card that it’s beginning to wield with great prejudice ever since it got it just over a year ago. Lena Dunham.
The 26 year old writer, actress and director is the brains behind the channel’s multi award winning comedy Girls and has on more than one occasion been compared to a young Woody Allen. After the first series of Girls proved to be some fantastic, it’s hard to not see the similarities between the two comedic personalities.
HBO will also be hoping that the show continues its massive upward trajectory and snares in the same viewers that crowded around the channel for Sex And The City. If Girls can achieve even half the zeitgeist that show received, then HBO will be smiling.
With True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and Veep also building up the channel’s schedules, it’s an incredibly strong line up from the channel.
We’ve not even mentioned the solo TV movies that the channel has become famous for over the years. Game Change dominated the Golden Globes and the Emmys this year, The Girl is giving the theatrically released Hitchcock a run for its money and over the last few years they’ve subjugated the TV movie categories at the Emmys.
It’s a major feather in the channel’s cap, and one that its competitors simply cannot fight against.
HBO may still be the king of the giant productions, with its TV movies unsurpassed on American screens in terms of production values and their series having massive ambitions and budgets, but Showtime risen so quickly over the past five years that it’s set to give HBO a right good scrap over in the future and give TV fans a battle worth watching.
It doesn’t matter which channel comes out on top, because we all win if they’re trying to one up themselves.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith