Back in August, back when I had a functionality in me that left me able to write decent blog posts, and not just Twitter posts, I wrote a little piece called I Want My HBO, where I thought of a service called HBOnline where non-cable subscribers could get HBO content on their computer. It turns out, they had something in the works, but it’s nowhere close to what I’m looking for … yet.
HBO GO is what they’re calling it, and while I’ll admit that’s a catchier name, it also sounds like something you’d order at a sushi bar. Ehchbeeyogo?
But the real problem in their service as spelled out by their website at the moment is that you must be still attatched and suckling at the cable tv industry’s teat in order to get into HBO GO. This could change with the announcement that they’re going to make about the service tomorrow, (NYM via NYT) but I’m not holding my breath. I still don’t trust the telecoms not to have lifelong deals with HBO that are punishable by death if voided. If HBO thinks this kind of measure will stem the tide of piracy against them (see this wonderful essay from Astra Taylor from the new edition of literary journal The Baffler for more on piracy, and if you enjoy it, subscribe, damn it) they’re mistaken.*
HBO’s content, by and large, smashes the competition in the face with a brick. They used to be aware of this, you know:
So you lost The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under, and that show where the ladies loved their shoes and hated men; HBO, you’ve still got a lot to offer and a lot to get your superiority complex back about. True Blood is great fun, and it doesn’t even feel like a guilty pleasure anymore. Even though I hate on him, Bill Maher is one of the last frank and honest people on American television. The pretty funny Bored To Death is your weaker comedy show, because 1) you have the genius that is Larry David’s ever evolving Curb Your Enthusiasm, and 2) Eastbound & Down is just so amazingly fucked in the head I’m not sure what to classify it as. I know people that swear by Big Love, and you’ve got another David Simon masterpiece on deck, Treme. For once, it’s been proven that it can be a good thing to have the market cornered on old white guys, albeit geniuses who make you piss yourself in laughter or want to get piss drunk from thinking on how shitty the country can get. And I’m not even going to discuss the stuff that works for you that I just don’t think deserves it (Entourage, Hung, In Treatment, and Real Sports). But then again, you can’t be too great: you gave Joe Buck his own show. Also, you do reality tv right: by making documentaries.
Why did I just make a laundry list of reasons to fellate HBO execs for free on the side of the road? To remind them that they know how to do things differently, and to say, HEY, STOP MAKING THOSE WHO CAN’T STAND THE CABLE TV SERVICES HAVE TO PIRATE YOUR G.D. CONTENT!
*I can’t find the new Bill Maher comedy special from this past weekend at any online stomping grounds, so they’re getting better.