Thursday, December 4, 2008

HBO Has a Winner on its Hands in Entourage

HBO has really had a run of great TV shows that have not only helped their subscription levels, these shows have captured the imagination of the TV watching world even beyond the HBO audience. Such shows as The Sopranos and Sex and the City have captured such a wide appeal that they have enjoyed success in syndication on cable stations, even though it required some editing for language and some content to make them more accessible to the wider audience. It was worth it because the tradition of blockbuster shows has continued to the next generation. And the next generation will almost certainly include a little show called Entourage.

Entourage is the next in that long line of big hits following after the blow out success of The Sopranos. And just as The Sopranos took us into a completely new and fascinating world of organized crime, Entourage takes us into Hollywood in a way that is new and refreshing and that creates the atmosphere of "you are there" that is genuinely exciting for audiences.

The "entourage" that gives the show its name are the group of friends and associates of the lead character, Vincent Chase who has come to Hollywood from New York to seek his fame and fortune. Joining Vincent are his two best friends who came with him from New York, Turtle and Eric, Vince's half brother Johnnie Drama and Vince's high powered agent Ari Gold who add a lot of fun and energy to every scene he is part of. The mix of personalities and the chemistry of this small band of friends and associates is one of the big reasons for the success of the show. Their bond not only holds the show together, it holds Vincent together as he pushes on with his Hollywood career.

One of the reasons Entourage had a great shot at being a hit from the beginning is that the executive producer is the accomplished Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg and much of the reality of the show comes from Wahlberg's own experiences seeking success in Tinsel Town. The daily trials and tribulations as well as the adventures and victories that the character Vincent has in his quest to make it in Hollywood has a ring of authenticity to it that reflects that Wahlberg himself has walked these paths and knows whereof he speaks. Because Vincent must deal with the creative and business side of the movie business, that authenticity is a real value to a show like Entourage. It is no small thing that Mark Wahlberg brings his successful Hollywood experience to the show because he knows how hard it was at the beginning and what it took to get where he is today.

But Entourage also treats its viewers to the exotic and exciting side of Hollywood life through the eyes of Vincent and his friends. Just as the viewers expect, there are lots of Hollywood parties that Vince and his friends throw themselves into. That is one of the fun aspects of Entourage as we are taken to every kind of party from a beer bash at Vincent's home to the high society Hollywood parties and wild orgies at the Playboy Mansion with Hef and all of the bunnies. The guys in the audience love the parties and the girls love the guys in Entourage. That’s a winning formula. The success of Entourage has attested to how much viewers enjoy living the Hollywood lifestyle vicariously through this diverse group of characters.

Through all excitement, the ups and downs, the victories and the heartbreaks of Vince's career in Hollywood as we see it each week on Entourage, he keeps his head and stays true to himself. Much of the reason for that is the bond of his forefends who serve as his family in good times and bad. And that is the moral of the story of Entourage and one of the many reasons people come back to it so often. That and it is an awful lot of fun.

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