Hollywood stars shine in new wave of HBO shows premiering this summer

Star season for series fans

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 June, 2015, 6:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 June, 2015, 6:13am

While 2015 has seen the end of long-running US hit series such as Mad Men, Parks and Recreation and Two and a Half Men, a host of new television shows premiering this summer on HBO will vie to, if not replace them, at least keep viewers glued to the box.

Most, if not all, of these new series are capitalising on the ongoing trend of movie stars dabbling in small-screen acting. And judging by the proliferation of these productions, the formula seems to be working.

Kicking off June 22 is HBO's latest original series Ballers, which sees Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson playing a football player-turned-sports agent following his retirement.

Although nominally a comedy, the show appears ready to delve into the more serious side of football. Trailers show characters struggling to deal with the unsavoury elements of money, drugs and career-ending injuries, all while trying to maintain their passion for "football, God and family".

If Ballers sounds like a sports version of Entourage, it's because both are produced by Steven Levinson and Mark Wahlberg.

Also premiering on HBO on June 22 is The Brink, a political comedy starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. When a coup d'état takes place in Pakistan, US government officials decide to send Alex Talbot, a lowly Foreign Service officer (Black) to conduct on-the-ground surveillance. Turmoil and comedy ensue.

While filmgoers will be familiar with Black's brand of humour, Robbins may surprise a few with his role as a scandalous and irresponsible secretary of state.

Jay Roach, director of Austin Powers and Meet the Fockers, is the executive producer.

Technically not a premiere, the new season of HBO's True Detective has stars such as Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams taking over from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

These characters will develop a completely different storyline in this crime thriller, which takes place in California. According to initial reports, a corrupt police detective (Farrell) and a California highway patrol officer (Kitsch) will partner up with a county sheriff detective (McAdams) to investigate a murder linked with satanic cults. Vaughn plays a career criminal who finds himself being the main suspect in the case.

Much like Season 1, True Detective's sophomore season is expected to focus on character development and to explore the dark side of human nature.

Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris and James Marsden will take leading roles in Westworld. The premiere date of the new series, which has veterans Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams as executive producers, is to be confirmed.

This science fiction thriller is based on a 1973 film of the same name and centres on an adult-themed amusement park populated with androids.

It has been billed as "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin", and boasts an all-star cast.