HBO Gives ‘Enlightened’ New Life But Cancels ‘Hung,’ ‘Bored to Death’ and ‘How to Make it in America’

Happy Holidays fans of Enlightened, HBO has given you a gift by renewing the first-year series with its second season. As for fans of Bored to Death, Hung, and How to Make it in America, I’m afraid you were given a lump of coal in your stockings. HBO cancelled all three series after Hung and Bored to Death failed to reach a wider audience after three seasons. How to Make it in America had just two seasons, same result. Still as beloved as these shows were by their most avid fans, HBO has to make hard decisions too.

With marginal ratings, HBO will move forward and beef up their network with six new shows including Dustin Hoffman’s horseracing drama, Luck featuring Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, Gary Stevens, and Tom Payne, Aaron Sorkin’s untitled series starring Olivia Munn, Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short, Veep, Girls, and Angry Boys.

Thomas Jane seemed to revel in the role of a male prostitute in Hung and featured a regular home for fan favorite actors such as Lennie James, Jane Adams, Rebecca Creskoff, and Anne Heche. Bored to Death gave us the unlikely team-up of Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis. Danson’s moonlighting at CSI and his recurring role Curb should keep him plenty busy but there were some bright moments in the three-season run.

Enlightened earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series and Laura Dern received on for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical.

Others that already knew their fates include: Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Treme (Yay!). Larry David will determine again, whether Curb Your Enthusiasm will continue on but for now, the future is uncertain.

Exclusive: Hung Season 3 Finale Preview Clip

Hey, Hung fans. We’ve got a new exclusive preview clip from the Hung Season 3 finale.

The fallout from Tanya’s (Jane Adams) relationship with Charlie (Lennie James) is about to effect Ray (Thomas Jane) and Tanya’s wellness business in a major way.

In this clip, we see Tanya and Ray arguing because the Wellness Center has gone under. It seems that posting bail for a fellow pimp wasn’t such a good business idea after all – even if that pimp was a mentor. Unfortunately, it looks like Tanya is about to learn another harsh lesson in the pimp game. I guess it’s true what they say: pimp’n ain’t easy.

[Photo by Lacey Terrell/HBO]

Hung Season 3 Episode 9 Rundown: And, the Truth Shall Set You Free

It was bound to happen.

In “A Monkey Named Simian” Or “Frances Is Not a Fan”, Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) and Tanya Skagle (Jane Adams) saw their house-of-cards Wellness center collapse.

For three seasons, Hung fans have wondered what would happen when Jessica (Anne Heche) finally learned the truth about Ray’s illicit activities. Thanks to Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) and a foolish move by Ray in Episode 3.8, Jessica discovered the truth.

In “I Sandee”, Lenore took Jessica to the Wellness center. Lenore hoped that she would either ruin Tanya and Ray’s business by exposing Ray’s whoring to his wife, or that she would win back Jason (Stephen Amell). Now, it looks like Lenore has had both of her wishes fulfilled. Jessica was already suspicious of Ray and Tanya’s friendship when she discovered that Tanya ran the Wellness center. Then when Ray punched Jason during her “private consultation”, she realized the truth. Mr. Drecker is a male prostitute. Now that the secret is out, Ray may try to “give up the life” in order to win back Jessica. Also, Jason will be more reluctant to work with Tanya after Ray punched the young upstart.

Surprisingly, we didn’t see the kind of explosion we would have expected from Jessica. Instead, Jessica seems resigned in knowing the truth about her ex-husband. Perhaps she finally has the closure she so desperately yearned for in her relationship to Ray or perhaps this is the calm before the storm. Instead of asking Ray any questions, Jessica simply asked for a dance at Mike’s (Gregg Henry) wedding. There was definitely a sense of finality about it.

With only one more episode left in Season 3, we’ll have to see what Jessica decides to do next. One would hope that she makes a definitive move to establish independence from Ray or any other man. Also, one has to wonder what will become of the Wellness center since Tanya put all of her money in Charlie (Lennie James) – who decided to abandon her. On a tangent note, Tanya made a great mother figure to Charlie’s children. Although Charlie bailed, we have to wonder if he’ll return so that he can make a life with Tanya. Obviously one pimp marrying another won’t be a rosy situation, but it should make for some great comedic moments.

The Hung Season 4 Finale airs on Dec 4, 2011.

‘Hung’ Star Thomas Jane Directs New Staged Reading

On Nov 12, Hung star Thomas Jane will join Damian Maffei in presenting two new staged readings at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. This will be a free engagement, however only 99 seats are available.

The Steve Allen Theater
4773 Hollywood Blvd.,
Hollywood, CA 90027

Kaitlin Doubleday (Hung, CSI, Brothers and Sisters) and newcomer Karina Elias will also be on stage at this debut reading.

By Bizarre Hands is a one act play by award winning author Joe R. Lansdale. The play tells the tale of a preacher going door to door, finding a little girl and her mother on Halloween, and their realization that the preacher isn’t exactly who he claims to be. By Bizarre Hands will be directed by renowned novelist/filmmaker Terrill Lee Lankford and produced by Kasey Lansdale.

Suckerfish, the classic dark existential play by W.T. Underwood, will be presented under Thomas Jane’s direction and Kasey Lansdale’s production. Suckerfish tells the tale of Hank, a Member of Society who merely wishes to be rescued from the grips of a city street corner and the epic homeless man, police officer, and dwindling grip on reality that stand in his way.

Hung Season 3 Episode 6 Preview Clip: Money on the Floor

Now that the Lydia (Ana Ortiz) problem is behind them, Ray (Thomas Jane) and Tanya (Jane Adams) can focus on more pressing Hung issues – like rival pimp Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) and her man-whore Jason (Stephen Amell) .

In Episode 3.5, “We’re Golden,” we saw that Lenore was not to happy with Jason moonlighting with Tanya.

The clip above teases the idea brought up in the beginning of last week’s episode, where Sandee (Analeigh Tipton) and Jason consider teaming up with Tanya behind Lenore’s back. In the video, you see Tanya discussing the possibility with Ray.

Check it out and let us know your predictions on what will happen the next time Tanya and Lenore face off?

Exclusive: Hung Season 3 Episode 5 Preview Clip: ‘We’re Golden’ or ‘Crooks and the Big Beaver’

We’ve got an exclusive clip from the upcoming episode of Hung that may shed some light on last week’s cliffhanger.

At the end of Episode 3.4, Lydia (Ana Ortiz) flashed her cop siren on Ray (Thomas Jane) after Logan (Kaitlin Doubleday) wrote him a check.

In this clip, we see just what happens after last weeks arrest.

Hung airs Sundays at on HBO.

Hung Season 3 Episode 4 Review: Partying Like a Rockstar, Pimp Relations & Rambo’s Revenge

Whoever said, “You can have your cake and eat it to,” did not face the trials endowed on Mr. Drecker (Thomas Jane).

Hung’s “F**k me, Mr. Drecker; Let’s Not Go to Jail” episode started out on a high note for Ray. He was having sex in a convertible with Logan (Kaitlin Doubleday), a voluptuous former high school student. Logan’s old-enough-to-legally-drink, vivacious attitude gave the 43-year old prostitute a burst of renewed vigor. After facing Lenore’s (Rebecca Creskoff) upstart, younger ho Jason (Stephen Amell) for three episodes, Ray was happy to have a younger woman take interest in him. Ray even joined Logan at a carefree house party and got down on the dance floor to “Play that Funky Music White Boy.”

While Ray was riding high (it’s really hard not to make a sexual innuendo joke when talking about Hung), Tanya (Jane Adams) was back in her meltdown-mode comfort zone. Lydia, Ray’s Rambo client, is a real cop. Oh, no!

Once again, Tanya turns to her pimp mentor and love interest Charlie (Lennie James) for advice. In the words of Charlie, “Most cops f**k for free… keep her gruntled… so [what] if your ho gets a black eye or two.”

And, once again, Tanya did not listen. She is Ray’s pimp when she is trying to give an order and assert control, but when things go south she quickly states that she and Ray are “partners”.

Adams and James continue to have great chemistry in all of their scenes. The two actors do an excellent job of playing the role of mentor and recalcitrant mentee as well as potential lovers. Is Charlie ready to heed Beyoncé’s words and “Put a ring on it?” Probably not. In the diner scene, Charlie specifically stated that liking Tanya was on the bottom of the list of reasons why he is with her. So, don’t expect any official boyfriend/girlfriend label to be placed on these two. They enjoy each other’s company, but right now convenience and an ankle bracelet are dictating their relationship.

To close out the diner scene, Charlie brings in the homerun with his line, “Why do you come to me for advice like I’m some magical Yoda Negro.”

Lenore decided to screw over Jason and his fiancé. Instead of giving them the TV they wanted, Lenore took them to the backroom and offered them a broken down TV (it actually looked like an old cathode ray tube television). Jason then asked for a raise to $400. Lenore shut down that request too.

It was just the opening Tanya would eventually need to try to solve the Rambo problem.

Ray decided to have lunch with Lydia to break up in a public place. He stated that he was going away, but then decided to have sex with Lydia one last time. It must have been the Rambo’s dress. The two went at it in the restroom. Then, Lydia slapped him.

When Ray’s negotiation failed, Tanya stepped in. Needless to say, Lydia saw through Tanya’s smokescreen lies and demanded that Ray show up as a burglar. That is when Tanya went to Jason for help. Jason switches over to Tanya’s employment for a $200 bump up from Lenore’s rate. Unfortunately, Lydia recognized that Jason’s package didn’t have the same look as Ray’s. Perhaps, Tanya should have given Lydia some warning that she was sending a new ho.

Ray’s ex-wife Jessica (Anne Heche) decided to get her groove on in Episode 3.4. But, hearing Matt (Matt Walsh) sing to her during sex didn’t quite turn her. It actually turned her off as she told Matt very amicably to get off. Jessica decided to stop by Ray’s to have him finish the job Matt couldn’t. But, to her chagrin, Logan greeted her.

Now, it looks like Ray is on the outs with a few women besides his wife. Lydia decided to arrest him after Ray accepted a $600 check from Logan. Ray’s neighbor also spotted Ray and Logan having sex on the pier. We haven’t seen Ray’s neighbor since their falling out over Jewish versus Middle Eastern hummus so perhaps she’ll be returning to the main story.

Exclusive Clip: ‘Hung’ Season 3 Episode 4 Preview: ‘F**K Me, Mr. Drecker’ or ‘Let’s Not Go to Jail’

We’ve got an exclusive new clip from Hung Episode 3.4, “F**ck Me Mr. Drecker” or “Let’s Not Go to Jail”.

See clip below:

Season 3 began on a positive note for Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) and his partner/pimp Tanya Skagle (Jane Adams). The two started an off-shoot male prostitution business outside of the shadow of Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff). There were a few road blocks along the way – including opposition from an upstart, younger male whore named Jason (Stephen Amell) and a scuffle between Lenore and Tanya – but for the most part business has been good.

However, Episode 3.3 introduced the first major – non Lenore related – hurdle to Tanya and Ray’s business. Ray’s Rambo client, Lydia, doesn’t like to play dress up as a cop. Rambo is a cop. Episode 3.3 ended with Lydia walking into the diner, where Tanya and Charlie (Lennie James) were seated. Charlie had just pulled off his probation bracelet. Now, Tanya may be exposed to her police-officer client as a pimp who colludes with other pimps.

However, pimping collaborations and probation indifference are not the only things amiss in the Detroit male whoring business. Ray has broken his rule; he is sleeping with a new client who knows his real name. The client just happens to be Logan Lewis (Kaitlin Doubleday), a former student.

The clip above gives you a taste of what to expect in this Sunday’s episode of Hung.

You can catch Hung on Sundays at 10PM ET/PT exclusively on HBO.

Hung Season 3 Heats up New Rivals, New Business and New Sexcapades

Thomas Jane and Jane Adams’ return to Detroit is more uproarious than ever in Hung Season 3. Ray Drecker (Jane) and Tanya Skagle (Adams) make a small evolutionary step in the world of male prostitution that creates new awkward dynamics and keeps each episode as unforgettable as ever. Canadian actor Stephen Amell joins the cast as Jason, a new male prostitute to rival Ray. Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) shifts from Ray’s pimp shot caller to the jilted rival. Lennie James returns to the series as Charlie, Tanya’s mentor. Charlie and Tanya’s unorthodox pimp-in-arms relationship continues to bring about the additional laugh that makes Hung one of the top dark comedies of the Fall.

Last season ended with Tanya struggling to compete with Lenore. While Lenore brought in the lion’s share of clients, Tanya’s only commission was stolen from Lenore’s contacts. Season 3 kicks off with Tanya and Ray deciding to go off on their own by creating an “orgasmic living” wellness center. The two decide to go to a bank for a loan to setup a business. Within the first five minutes of the episode, the show goes off the rails with endless laughs. Once again, Ray learns that while being well endowed is great, it’s not the only thing that every woman in Detroit is looking for. Jason seems to be a fairly impressionable upstart so we’ll look to Ray to establish some form of amiable peace with his younger rival.

Unfortunately, Lenore isn’t happy about Tanya and Ray branching out on their own. Luckily, Jason falls very literally into her lap. She’s found a new man who carries the proverbial big stick. Now, it’s time for war. In the first three episodes, viewers will see Lenore stage a subvert attacks on Tanya’s happiness center. Lenore is out for money, clients and revenge. Unfortunately for Ray, his package is no longer the hottest thing on the block so he’ll need to fight to keep his clients. He also meets up with an attractive student from his past that could further mix up his personal life with his “professional” career.

Although Tanya has achieved a small modicum of success, she’s still prone to emotional outbursts and unpredictable antics. She still wants to have the title pimp, but can’t even negotiate more than a partnership with Ray. Viewers will get to see her throw down with Lenore, negotiate a cease-fire with Jason and reunite with her mentor Charlie.

hung

“You gonna hide me from your ho.” – Charlie to Tanya

While all the warring continues, there’s still a ton of humorous sexual encounters to see. The most notable is a woman Ray calls “Rambo” who likes to dress up like cop and chase down her prey before sex. We’ll have to see if Lenore tries to steal this client who plays just a little too rough for Ray.

Jessica (Anne Heche) has stayed the course as a single woman. However, Ronnie (Eddie Jemison) is still around, supporting Jessica financially. At the end of Season 2, Ronnie told Jessica that Mindy Saline (Amy Farrington) jerked him off while her husband Matt (Matt Walsh) was shopping. Both Matt and Mindy return in Season 3. We’ll see more of Matt when a hospital visit potentially turns into a job.

Not much happens with Ray’s children at the start of Season 3. Last season focused on Darby’s (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) weight issue and Damon’s (Charlie Saxton) questions of identity.

Hung continues its humorous tale on Oct. 2 on HBO. Creators Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin have done an excellent job in keeping the series fresh, without changing all the innate Hung qualities that make the show so fun to watch.

*Photos Courtesy of Lacey Terrell/HBO

Blu-ray Review – Hung: The Complete Second Season

hung season 2Whoever thought upscale prostitution solved problems never met Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane). Season 2 of HBO’s Hung is a delightful romp through several socially relevant issues that bring about thoughtful and uproarious laughs. Creators Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin continue to dig deep into the emotional layers of male prostitution and the women who hire men. While Ray struggles to work out the problems in his personal life, Tanya’s (Jane Adams) war for pimp supremacy against Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) takes some very strange and unpredictable turns. Lennie James joined the cast as Charlie, Tanya’s pimp professor. Unintentionally, Charlie pushes Tanya to a new level of unforeseen weird that is a joy to watch when you’re not wincing at Tanya’s bizarre choices. The Season 2 Blu-ray release collects all 10 episodes of the second season and features some delightful bonus material for more extended Hung drama.

In Season 2, Ray works towards becoming a better male prostitute, while trying to sort out his feelings towards his ex-wife Jessica (Anne Heche). Now that he’s overcome the hurdle of breaking into the paid sex arena, Ray must work towards landing bigger clients and maintain the ones he has. It sounds like an easy task, but Ray soon learns that being well endowed doesn’t mean that he can satisfy a woman’s emotional needs. He gets an unexpected lesson from his best friend Mike (Gregg Henry) that helps to shape his business.

Tanya continues to be a lynchpin in the Hung story. She’s the underdog you always root for, even though you know she’s destined to fail. Tanya continues to fight for respect from her co-pimp Lenore who still treats her like an unpaid intern. So, it becomes Tanya’s mission to land new clients and figure out a way to earn respect from Lenore. Early in the season, Tanya meets Charlie a professional pimp who takes her under his wing. Tanya soon realizes that one “ho” that you have feelings for does not make a business. James delivers a stellar performance as the new pimp in town. His serious approach to pimp education makes for endless laughs. Episode 3, “Mind Bullets or Bang Bang Bang Bang Motherfucker”, has one of the best scenes in to date where Charlie explains to Tanya how to take down a rival pimp or play mind games with her only whore. Tanya also develops a mentoring relationship with Ray’s son Damon (Charlie Saxton) that makes for a very uncomfortable scene in a poetry lounge.

Season 2 added in more social commentary. In Episode 7, “The Middle East is Complicated”, there’s a terrific scene where Ray learns a lesson on hummice. The writers approach Middle East and Jewish relations through a seemingly mundane topic of food and a clueless Ray who has to choose a side. Unfortunately, his “package” can’t save him from making a decision.

The Hung Season 2 Blu-ray release features additional deleted scenes. Typically, deleted scenes are those that lack humor, but these are actually worth watching. There are a few scenes that sadly were cut just to get the episode length down, but are still really funny. The release also includes a behind-the-scenes featurette with creators Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin.

Hung is one of the smarter comedies on TV. Although the premise is laughable, there are a lot of genuine issues that come up for all of the characters. This is one series that you can jump into at any time. So, if you want to just check out Season 2 without watching season 1 you can.

Hung Season 3 kicks off on Oct. 2 on HBO.

Hung: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]
Hung: The Complete Second Season

Starring: Thomas Jane, Jane Adams, Charlie Saxton
Creators: Colette Burson, Dmitry Lipkin
Studio: HBO Studios
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Rating:
8.5 / 10

*Photo courtesy of Lacey Terrell/HBO