HBO has put a lot of stock in British-based comedy over the years, particularly in their partnership with The Office‘s Ricky Gervais, his writing partner Stephen Merchant and their brilliantly bizarre friend Karl Pilkington. There’s also the current series Veep, which although it is based entirely in American politics, is written wholly by Britons. Their latest comedy offering, Family Tree, which is paired with Veep in a Sunday comedy block, has its roots in Britain, but does reach out across the pond as well, reflecting the dual-citizenship sensibilities of its creator, Christopher Guest.
Fans of Guest (who created seminal works This Is Spinal Tap and Best in Show, and served as a big influence on Ricky Gervais in creating The Office‘s style) have been waiting for something new since 2006′s For Your Consideration, which was fun, though not his best effort. Family Tree, like his other work, takes on a mockumentary style (with varying success) and a minimalistic atmosphere, where most of the humor is found in subtle phrasing and background content, such as a poster at a theater in Hove for “Avatar: The Musical.” Hit the jump for more on Family Tree and why it’s definitely worth tuning in for.
HBO has released the first trailer for brilliant satirist Christopher Guest’s newest television venture, Family Tree. Family Tree stars Chris O’Dowd as a man who starts to track down his real family, and follows him on that crazy journey. The trailer gives a quick look into this journey, with O’Dowd’s character discovering his family’s military past, and eventually making it out to Los Angeles. O’Dowd was last seen in Judd Apatow’s This is 40, but also made big splashes stateside with Bridesmaids and his recurring appearances on Girls.
I’m glad that O’Dowd is getting the chance to lead his own comedy series, and with help from Guest mainstays like Michael McKean, Ed Begley Jr., and Fred Willard, Family Tree could be a really solid new HBO comedy. With a straight-to-series eight-episode pick-up for the first season, it looks like HBO is starting to hone in on creating a fantastic roster of innovative and hilarious comedy shows that could rival any of the big networks. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
The TCA’s got underway today (look for our extensive television coverage soon), and as part of the event, premiere dates for a few upcoming series were announced. First up, A&E confirmed that the Psycho prequel show Bates Motel will premiere on Monday, March 18th. The series, from Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse and Friday Night Lights’ Kerry Ehrin, serves as a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock classic and centers on the relationship between a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother (Vera Farmiga).
Additionally, HBO announced that the five-part WWI-era miniseries Parade’s End will debut on February 26th. The adaptation of Madox Ford’s novel series stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, and Adelaide Clemens and centers on an English aristocrat trying to adjust to the social upheaval around him. And finally, the much-anticipated new HBO comedy series from Christopher Guest, Family Tree, will premiere this coming spring. All in all, there’s plenty of exciting TV to look forward to in the coming year.
A few Christopher Guest regulars have joined the filmmaker’s upcoming HBO comedy series Family Tree. The documentary-style show stars Chris O’Dowd as a man who, after inheriting a mysterious box from a great aunt he never met and losing his job and his girlfriend, begins exploring his family heritage. THR reports that Fred Willard, Michael McKean, and Ed Begley Jr. have all signed on to appear on the series in recurring roles, with Don Lake set to guest star. Willard, McKean, and Begley have all appeared in Guest’s stellar “mockumentary” films This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration, so this bodes extremely well for Family Tree.
The show was picked up straight-to-series by HBO with an eight-episode first season order. Willard will play O’Dowd’s neighbor, McKean will play his father, and Begley is set as his Uncle Andy. Hopefully this means Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and Jane Lynch will pop up on Family Tree at some point as well.
Before Chris O’Dowd really started making a splash on the movie scene with Bridesmaids and Pirate Radio, I was already a fan of the funnyman from his work in the British TV series The IT Crowd (check it out on Netflix Instant). And with his rising star in Hollywood (he next appears in Judd Apatow’s This is Forty), we’re only going to see more of him on the big screen. But it also sounds like more TV is in store for O’Dowd and with a truly brilliant man of comedy. Apparently mockumentary and satire icon Christopher Guest (the behind films like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind) is working on a new improvised comedy series called Family Tree that would see O’Dowd as a man attempting to track down his real family.
Hit the jump for more.