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HBO unveils ridiculously complicated schedule for In Treatment

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 1st 2007 1:04PM

Gabriel ByrneHBO is in a bit of a slump right now. They've lost one of the most popular series of all time (The Sopranos), endured through a painful David Milch pet-project when he could have been working on those rumored Deadwood movies (John From Cincinnati), put up with a lackluster fourth season from a comedy stalwart (Entourage), and are currently testing the waters with the thoroughly boring Tell Me You Love Me and the "not quite as good as it use to be" Curb Your Enthusiasm. You'd think they'd want to make things simple in an effort to bring back the viewers. Or not.

I mentioned In Treatment way back in September of last year and HBO has finally put the Mark Walhberg produced show on its schedule. I was thrilled about this show when I first read about it... until I realized that I'd have to give up my life if I want to stick with it.

Read on only if you want to be royally confused.

In Treatment stars Gabriel Byrne as a therapist and the show focuses on his sessions with his patients. Sounds like a simple premise that should be ripe with equal amounts of drama and humor. It probably is... but do you really want to devote yourself to a show that'll have new episodes five nights a week for nine weeks?

That's right. You heard me. 45 episodes rolled out over the course of 2+ months. This show has turned into a scheduling nightmare.

When it premieres after the New Year on Monday, January 28th at 9:30, the first episode will feature Byrne's session with his first patient. On Tuesday the 29th, the first episode featuring session number one for patient number two will air. See where I'm going with this? The pattern will follow for the rest of the week for a total of five patients (Byrne is actually "number five" and sees his own therapist in the Friday installments) and then repeat itself for the next eight weeks, with each day of the week corresponding to a new episode for that day's patient.

In true HBO fashion, there will be late-night episode repeats, second airings on HBO2, and weekend marathons for those that feel like catching up all at once. The real question is will viewers be willing to devote that much time to a show? Additionally, how much connection will there be between each patient? Can I simply watch all nine episodes of Patient Wednesday or will I also need to watch Patient Monday to get the full story?

It's a unique and ambitious idea, but I think I need to go into therapy just trying to understand why HBO feels that now is the right time to air this potentially doomed show.

[via Variety]

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as it was stated in comment 16, you can just stick with one patient, but if they do it exactly the same as in Israel, some patients (won't spoil who, for that, skip to the end) do have a bit of a connection, but the rest don't. although the psychologist does refer to most of them on his own treatment. but it doesn't really spoil the experience if you don't watch them all.

and if you want the heads up about the relationships between patient - read on, if not, stop right now.

patient 1 and patient 2 do have some connection after a couple of weeks.

November 02 2007 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As an Israeli who watched the original version of the show, I can only say one thing- It is worth it. Of course you will have to miss some episodes, but for that purpose you have Tivo or your HBO on demand.

Of course you can watch only one patient's treatment, and it will be nice and good, but watching everything will reveal a lot more about the psychologist itself, and the very special relations his patients does/doesn't have.

Yes, It's a very hard show to watch, but as I stated earlier- It is worth every minute.

November 02 2007 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm just annoyed it's taken this long for someone to mention 'Flight of the Conchords', undoubtedly the best new show on HBO of the past 5-ish years.

November 02 2007 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Isn't this like HBO trying to have its own "Huff" - which I thought was decent in the 1st season but eventually became tired in the 2nd season.

Jonathan, it's "used to," not "use to."

November 01 2007 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Will "True Blood" air around the same time as "In Treatment"?

Also Showtime have two very decent shows, "Dexter" and "Weeds," but in my opion that's it.

November 01 2007 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SHO is the new HBO.

So, is this new show a half-hour or an hour? If it;s an hour, then that's simply too damn much.

November 01 2007 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In Treatment is an adaptation of an Israeli show in the same name, it aired in Israel in basically the same format that HBO is going for, like described above (45 eps, it's weird).
I was able to catch it by recording (VCR, no Tivo over here...) and watching in mini-marathons later.

I have to say, in the Israeli version i don't recall the show being so humorous, it's mainly dramatic, it's more like Dr. Melfi (the Sopranos) talking to her therapist about Tony, but with more patients.

I can't wait to see how this show would turn out.

November 01 2007 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's a clever idea and I might give the first week a test run. If anything, though, this sounds just like an extension (not by design) of Tell Me You Love Me which I think it terrible but the lady seems to dig it.

It's hard to look at HBO in the same light now that Showtime has such clever-without-too-much-gimmick shows like Weeds, Dexter, and Californication. I'm beginning to think it's time to end my HBO subscription but I say that once every month and have yet to do so. I still like Inside the NFL, CYE, and HBO On Demand movies.

November 01 2007 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I know bad mouthing HBO seems to be the 'in' thing to do at the moment, but fortunately for them some people can still think for themselves.

HBO is once again trying something a bit different, and someone actually doesn't understand a relatively simple (and clever) idea, and people agree like sheep.

If a new idea scares you, just still to your run of the mill, safe boring shows. For the rest of us who'd like to see something a little different and get these many episodes so quickly, this really is a treat.

I'm surprised HBO would take such a risk, but I'm glad they are.

Oh and also "Tell me you love me" is actually pretty excellent when you get into it. And while I'll agree "Curb" isn't quite as good as it once was, "Entourage" is still extremely entertaining.

November 01 2007 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with previous comment in regards to Skin-e-max. Cinemax is toast too (package deal on my cable)

Bring "John From Cincinnati" for Season 2!"

Get in the Game-HBO... stop trying to compete with the broadcast networks.

'John From Cincinnati' subscribers placed a full page ad in Variety Magazine yesterday. HBO announces this?

HBO, Time Warner Inc., and Mr. Nelson's recent programming decisions puzzle me. They seemingly choose to end the era of "It's not TV it's HBO!" cancels all original programming to jump aboard "reality tv" plus additional sex series, now therapy sessions 5 nights a week?

I will be canceling my subscription immediately!

November 01 2007 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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