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Early Look: “Tell Me You Love Me”

Since the end of The Sopranos, HBO hasn’t had much success with their new programming. Several of their currently running shows have been going through dips in the ratings, while most of their new shows have either failed to catch on (Flight of the Conchords) or have been out-right canceled after poor seasons (ratings wise) and a rather subdued reaction from critics and fans alike (John from Cincinnati). Tell Me You Love Me could be just the show that brings HBO back to where their slogan–it’s not TV it’s HBO–rings true once again.

Tell Me You Love Me is a new series from HBO which takes a look at three couples attending therapy sessions over their various problems with sex, commitment and intimacy. The three couples are Dave and Katie (in their 40s, seemingly happy to the outside world, but they are no longer having sex), Carolyn and Palek (in their 30s and struggling with the pressures and pitfalls that go along with trying to make a baby) and Jamie and Hugo (20 somethings engaged to get married, but unsure of their ability to commit themselves to each other).

There’s a fourth couple: the therapist (Dr. May Foster) and her husband.

From the clips HBO graciously passed along to me, you can certainly see the beginnings of something truly special. It’s a powerfully emotional series in many regards, that very effectively relays the emotions of realistic characters as they make their way through the troubles and pains of their daily lives.

One of the strongest aspects of the show is it’s characters. All wonderfully acted and appropriately cast, the characters feel real. Their emotions and problem situations could easily be something that any real-life couple is going through. That the focus is on three different age-groups, all with varying issues, also allows for an increased ability to reach out to different parts of the viewing public. There’s something there that couples in similar situations can relate to. Whether you’re about to settle down and are confronted with the fears and uncertainty that marriage brings to the table, or have been “coasting” along in your marriage for far too long and are stuck in neutral, or worse yet, heading in reverse, Tell Me You Love Me is a series that touches on all of that.

Much has been made of the shows very graphic and raw scenes of sex, but I’d like to reserve final judgment on that aspect until I’ve seen more of the series. All I’ll say is that there is a lot of it, and it is very graphic.

Tell Me You Love Me hits you hard with its emotion, oftentimes making you stop and think…compare yourself to the characters that are on screen. It’s a series worthy of your attention, lacking in little, though making up for any shortcomings in its realistic portrayal of personal matters.

Tell Me You Love Me premieres this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new series, so please feel free to post and share your comments below.

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