Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies stand-up show has inspired a new series.
It's no secret there is something in the water at HBO, with the American network continuing to hit the zeitgeist bullseye over and over again.
However, there has been little new material coming our way from the cable giant of late; the last being the critically panned but guiltily pleasurable The Newsroom, the second season of which has just started airing in Australia.
So it raises the question: what will be the next pop culture phenomenon to hit our screens (and then shortly after be lampooned on Community)?
The last big thing coming our way from HBO was the critically panned but guiltily pleasurable The Newsroom.
First, a short disclaimer. Nothing is sacred in the world of television bids and pipeline shenanigans. Deals are made and retracted faster than an Aaron Sorkin-penned sparring match, and certainties are non-existent. Months of development were cast aside when HBO passed on the Darren Aronofsky-directed WWII drama Hobgoblin, and even when word leaked of their supposed six-season adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantasy saga American Gods, the author swiftly denied anything had been approved.
But the following are pretty sure bets.
Actor Matthew McConaughey to team up with Woody Harrelson. Photo: Reuters
Written on spec (industry-speak for "for sale") by former literature academic Nic Pizzolatto, the buzz for this ambitious series moved mountains when it was first shopped around earlier last year. Having off-screen pals Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson attached to star certainly helps, and HBO pounced quickly, securing the rights amid a fierce bidding war.
With a multiple-layered narrative, the show bounces across interweaving time frames, tracking the plight of two detectives hunting a serial killer in Louisiana over seventeen years, but only eight episodes of television.
HBO last mined the detective genre with the excellent The Wire, though early accounts pit this as more experimental in nature. It is brave storytelling - Pizzolatto has compared it structurally to a two-man play – and deliberately high-concept. The format was devised as an ongoing anthology, with each subsequent season to focus on new characters, a new setting and a new crime.
Chris O'Dowd, right, with Tom Bennett in Family Tree.
Jane Eyre director Cary Fukunaga will direct the entire first season, while Pizzolatto has bypassed a writer's team and penned every word of the season himself.
In an HBO nutshell: The rural angst of Deadwood meets The Wire.
When we will see it? Production for the series' first season wrapped in late June, with an air date slotted for 2014. A morsel of a teaser trailer was released last month.
HBO cottoned on to this one early, snapping up the rights to adapt Tom Perrotta's 2011 novel before it was released publicly.
The book drops us into a small suburban town three years post-Rapture, after the evaporation of millions across the globe. It charts the lives of those who remain. Perrotta acknowledged the book alone would only sustain a fraction of a television show, and so has joined with Lost co-creator Damien Lindelof, a man who knows something about serialising a morality tale, to flesh out the story with new characters and plotlines.
Other high-profile names have since been attached, including director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and actors Liv Tyler, Justin Theroux and Christopher Eccleston.
In an HBO nutshell: The small-town relativism of Big Love meets the existentialism of Six Feet Under.
When we will see it? While pre-production stretched out considerably, the show was officially greenlit for a pilot in February, currently shooting in the town of Hastings, New York. Pending its success and a series pick-up, an air date next year seems likely.
While the series is still officially untitled, this half-hour dramedy following the lives of a trio of thirty-something gay men in San Francisco (New York has run its course) is based on Michael Lannan's eight-minute short film Lorimer. Lannan will write the script under the supervision of former Brothers and Sisters showrunner (swanky term for executive producer) David Marshall Grant. Early press releases and studio announcements are spruiking it as an exploration of the complexities of contemporary gay life.
Casting was announced in May, and features Jonathan Groff - who some may remember as Glee nemesis Jesse, who had a penchant for belting out show-tune versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Highway to Hell – as well as Aussie Murray Bartlett, of Neighbours fame.
In an HBO nutshell: Many pundits have been touting it, perhaps reductively, as a gay Girls, but it will surely be more complementary than copycat.
When we will see it? The project has moved past the pilot stage and been handed an eight-episode series order. Filming is scheduled for spring this year in San Francisco, with a tentative 2014 air date.
It was only a matter of time before someone decided to tackle the comic gold mine that is the high-tech world of Silicon Valley. Still untitled at this point, the project is the brainchild of the trio behind '90s animated comedy King Of The Hill, and stars a mixture of established and stand-up American comics as hackers, engineers and software developers.
While few specifics are known, the show has been long trumpeting its ironic premise that "the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success".
In an HBO nutshell: The affluence (minus the lazy work ethic) of Entourage meets the irreverence of Funny or Die.
When we will see it? Filming for a pilot took place in Palo Alto in March this year, with the show since given a full-series order. However, no further filming or air dates have been publicised.
On the near horizon
Christopher Guest's single-camera mockumentary about a thirty-year-old slacker (Chris O'Dowd) retracing his family lineage debuted to positive reviews but soft ratings a few months ago, not enough to ensure an express broadcast in Australia. Here's hoping it makes its way to our shores eventually.
On the telemovie front, HBO regular Larry David co-writes and stars as a marketing exec who resigns just before his company makes it big on a billion-dollar idea, and 10 years later must come face-to-face with his old boss. The revenge comedy also stars Jon Hamm, Bill Hader and Kate Hudson, and will premiere next month.
Gangly comic Stephen Merchant - co-creator of The Office and Extras – goes Gervais-less as a Brit trying to tackle the dating scene in Los Angeles. The show, which is loosely based on Merchant's stand-up show of the same name, debuts in late September. A hilarious teaser was released last month.