HBO unveils ridiculously complicated schedule for In Treatment
HBO 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.