HBO is famous for its wide variety of original programming: violent fantasy-set intrigue (Game of Thrones), tech-skewering comedy (Silicon Valley), period gangster drama (Boardwalk Empire), quasi-apocalyptic pseudo-religious melodrama (The Leftovers). It can be argued that if not for HBO, shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead or Orange is the New Black wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
While the enormously popular Game of Thrones gets most of the attention when it comes to the network’s current line-up of originals, shows like Girls and Getting On co-exist alongside the inhabitants of Westeros. Now, a new series will be paired with Girls starting in January, courtesy of Mark and Jay Duplass (Jeff, Who Lives At Home).
Togetherness follows the relationships of two different married couples – Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey; Steve Zissis and Amanda Peet – in their late 30’s who all live together. You can watch the first teaser trailer above and read the official synopsis below:
Written, directed and executive produced by Jay and Mark Duplass (‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’, ‘Cyrus’), ‘Togetherness’ is a comedic look at four middle-aged people reconciling their dreams with their current personal and professional lives in Los Angeles.
Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) are a married couple in their mid-late 30s struggling to adapt their relationship to the pressures of parenthood. Brett’s best friend is Alex (Steve Zissis), an overweight, out-of-work actor debating if he still has a shot at being successful. Alex connects with Michelle’s sister, Tina (Amanda Peet), a free spirit grappling with being single and getting older. Each adult fights to sustain his or her own passion without skirting responsibility. As the two couples find themselves living under one roof, ‘Togetherness’ explores the significance behind every day moments.
The eight-episode first season will premiere in 2015.
Togetherness will air after Girls and a series focusing on relatively deflated married couples seems like an interesting companion piece to the show about hipsters in their 20’s. While there have been no shortage of programs following middle-class couples struggling to keep their identities while married, Togetherness resembles one bygone series in particular: ABC’s thirtysomething, which aired from 1987-1991 and featured a network-friendly version of this type of early-middle-age angst.
While comic book properties are getting some inspired treatment on television these days, the lives of “normal” people haven’t been reflected too accurately on the major networks (have they ever?), making offerings like HBO’s bittersweet free-form comedy Family Tree or Amazon’s family drama Transparent feel like unique attempts to explore the lives of average people. The Duplass brothers usually bring a low-key bite to their projects, and the brief look offered here promises some cringe-worthy moments to come.
The Duplass brothers have focused on their acting gigs lately – Mark can be seen in FX’s The League and Jay in the Amazon Studios original series Transparent – but given the freedom offered to creatives by HBO, the chance to have the brothers behind the camera makes Togetherness something to look forward to.
Togetherness will air Sundays @ 9:30pm on HBO starting January 11, 2014.