I had the opportunity last night to watch the first two episodes of HBO's new series, Bored to Death, which debuts on Sept. 20, and had a red-carpet premiere screening Thursday night in Manhattan. I didn't try to lobby all sorts of questions at the celebs who attended, although I did take a brief moment to pull out my Flip cam for a snapshot of the stars — Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson — when they posed with author/screenwriter Jonathan Ames and HBO execs. You can see a full assortment of official red-carpet and party photos via Wire Image.
Schwartzman plays a fictional version of Ames as a Brooklyn novelist and sometime-magazine writer who, reeling from getting dumped by his girlfriend (Olivia Thirlby), decides to post an ad on Craigslist posing as a private investigator. He's read tons of detective stories, so how hard could it be, right?
When he's not haphazardly tracking down missing persons or stalking a guy to find out if he's cheating on his ex (played by Kristen Wiig in episode two), the fictional Ames is hanging out with his cartoonist friend, Ray (Galifianakis) or bringing pot and providing moral support (?) to his magazine editor, George (Danson). Is it a noir comedy? Do dead men still wear plaid? Not in Brooklyn! Is it a dramedy, then? The real-life Ames, who wrote the initial short story that sold HBO on the project and followed up by writing the screenplays for Bored to Death, said that this series is true to his lifelong association with Brooklyn. As someone who lives in Brooklyn, but for far less time than Ames, I can attest to that. The borough, with all of its brownstone beauty, demographic mashups and quirks, shines through here. There's even a scene of Jonathan and Ray getting kicked out of their coffee shop hang because of a stroller brigade. I saw one early review compare Ames and his depiction of New York City to that of Woody Allen. Here, though, the neurosis is a bit more subtle. And that's a good thing. The acting performances are all great. Plus, as Ames said in introducing the screening, this series will show people not only how funny Galifianakis is, but also how good of an actor he is in the quieter moments. Patton Oswalt, Parker Posey, Jenny Slate and Oliver Platt all are due to appear in future episodes. HBO entertainment chief Sue Naegle told the screening audience last night that "this was the happiest set we visited" in the past year. It shows.
Hey, lookie here! It's a new extended trailer. Watch:
And more! Here is a full-length background "making of" video: