Below is a montage of scenes from the first modern reality show, 1973's An American Family, and their counterparts in HBO's original movie Cinema Verite, which premiered on Saturday. Watching Diane Lane's and Tim Robbins' performances next to the people they're portraying (Pat and Bill Loud), the differences are obvious — the fictional spin on the Louds is infinitely more melodramatic. Peaceful discussions get injected with hostility and hysteria, scenes stretch on to belabor points and simple goodbyes become heavy-handed symbols...
This weekend, HBO offers up a comedy special (Talking Funny), a new movie about an historic TV phenom (Cinema Verite) and the return of a distinguished drama series (Treme). All are worth a look. It's actually an HBO grand slam if you count Game of Thrones, the triumphant adult fantasy series that was renewed for a second season shortly after the first episode aired. (HBO has a tradition of doing this, but rarely in recent years has the network's enthusiasm been so well deserved.)
In Thrones' eventful second chapter (Sunday, 9/8c), you begin to sense the series' range, as many characters begin disparate journeys through the sprawling land of Westeros: dutiful Ned Stark heads out with...
The most illuminating part of HBO's original movie Cinema Verite (airing Saturday at 9/8c) comes at its very end. We get to see a clip of the real Loud family, whose participation on the first modern reality show, 1973's An American Family, is central to the film. Verite transitions from the fictional portrayal of the Louds to footage from their actual appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, which was part of their self-orchestrated, damage-control tour following the mass criticism they received from viewers as a result of the show. During the segment, they voice their disdain for having their lives edited and their personalities categorized to suit plotlines. In response, Cavett snorts, "Anybody who's in show business would have to call you naïve to think that you could think that you could appear on television and not have it selected, edited..."
If anyone had a right to complain about editing, surely it was this family of guinea pigs. What's amazing about this is that some 38 years later, we're still having this conversation as a culture...
Supernatural (Friday, 9/8c, The CW)
Winchesters, meet Colt! As in: the real Samuel Colt, whose infamous demon-destroying gun has loomed large throughout Supernatural's mythology. This week, Dean gets to play cowboy — Sam is less thrilled — when Castiel sends the brothers back in time to the Wild West to get some guidance from the proverbial horse's mouth. Speaking of weapons, over on Fox's Fringe in the same time period, an apocalyptic scenario is triggered when Walternate revs up the doomsday device "over there," in hopes of rocking our (and specifically Peter's) world.
HBO will premiere its latest TV movie, Cinema Verite, on April 23, the network announced Thursday.
Starring Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini, the film follows the precursor of reality TV back — PBS' 12-part documentary, An American Family. The 1973 series documented a...