Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Use Your HBO Account For Something Other Than Game Of Thrones

With the new season of Game of Thrones going in full force, it’s likely that you or a close friend has put down the $15 a month necessary for HBO just to keep up with the latest happenings in Westeros. But while you’re investing that hard-earned cash, why not check out some of the underloved gems in the channel’s deep catalog?


This unique dramedy follows Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) as she returns to work a changed woman. After a stay in a new-age rehab facility following a mental breakdown, she vows to change the world from the inside of corporate America. Featuring a strong ensemble cast including Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, Jason Manzoukas and Mike White, this is a wholly unique take on the “workplace comedy” genre. It bounces between moments of genuine introspection, oddball humor and Amy’s nonstop earnestness. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after just two short seasons, though it still manages a satisfying conclusion. It’s certainly not for everyone, but definitely worth a try.

Bored To Death

Featuring Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zack Galifanakis, it’s shocking that this boldly unique comedy never found an audience. Schwartzman stars as a struggling writer who starts up a private detective agency on the side, solving crimes mostly through persistence and sheer dumb luck. It’s energetic and hilarious, twisting noire tropes on their head into an R-rated comedy of errors. How this didn’t become a cult icon akin to Flight of the Conchords, we’ll never know.


HBO isn’t just about high-quality scripted programming. For the past few years, they’ve become one of the entertainment world’s biggest supporters of documentary filmmaking. Their collection runs deep, with feature length coverage on a wide variety of topics. Get a new perspective on the NSA leaks with Citizenfour, which follows Edward Snowden as he revealed evidence of mass privacy invasions. Gain unprecedented empathy for working class Americans through Paycheck to Paycheck, the story of a single mom struggling to keep her head afloat in the modern economy. See deeper into the infamous West Memphis murder case in the Paradise Lost trilogy. No matter what interests you, there’s likely something in the catalog to keep you invested and informed.


If you just can’t wait until next Sunday for more period drama deep with character-based intrigue and bloody action, pick up this short-lived 2005 drama series. This realistic take on the birth of the Roman Empire was ahead of its time — a spiritual precursor to shows like SpartacusVikings and even Game of Thrones. You may know the names of Roman history from your high school history class, but you’ve never visualized the empire like this.

Follow Chris Berg on Twitter, @Mushroomer25

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Chris Berg

Chris Berg