These have been decidedly difficult times for HBO. Once the reigning monarch of buzzworthy TV shows, the cable network is suffering through a creative slump in which just one of its shows – “True Blood” – has become a so-called water cooler show. Even “Big Love,” which was adored by critics and fans alike, has run off the rails this year. Hey, polygamists only stay endearing for so long.
But the folks at HBO aren’t the type to go away quietly. Remember, this is the network that spends 10 minutes between every show and movie it airs telling you just how AWESOME it is. And that’s why they’ve assembled arguably one of the coolest casts in recent series TV history for this show. Hoffman has made memorable TV appearance before on “The Simpsons” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but hasn’t been a TV series regular since 1966. Nolte hasn’t been on TV since 1976.
Also helping the project is the fact that it’s being produced by David Milch (“Deadwood”) and Michael Mann (“Miami Vice”). If you stuck a bunch of dudes in a room and asked them to assemble the perfect cast and producers for a new TV show, they’d be unlikely to find a better combination than the one HBO has pulled together. Best of all, the show is about GAMBLING. I mean, really. Wasn’t Nick Nolte born to play a degenerate gambler? The guy probably sleeps at OTBs already. It’s a no-brainer.
Combine this with David Chase’s new miniseries coming to the network, and suddenly HBO’s future looks extremely promising. The day could come, very soon, when HBO is again no longer just TV.