HBO was killing with it with hits such as The Hitchhiker and First and Ten which were both well rated multi-season programs. Cinemax was also getting traction with Max Headroom and their pilot series of comedy shows, but since HBO and Cinemax had the same owners it was all still in the family and not really competing with one another. On the other hand rival pay cable network Showtime just seemed like they could not match HBO in terms of programming. HBO had the better movies and now HBO had the better original programming as well.
Lets talk about the humor on Hard Knocks… or lack there of. This show is almost shockingly unfunny… so unfunny it has to be on purpose. The setups are obvious, the punchlines are obvious, the characters are completely one note and you never laugh. It would not surprise me to find out that Hard Knocks was a rejected NBC series that Showtime just picked up. If(?) I were cynical I would argue that the series was a satire on network sitcoms and therefore had this distinct lack of humor as an effort to take to task their network brethren… but no this is just a terrible sitcom… or is it?
Bill Maher is a know-nothing twit who strains to act in most of the things he has been in, from Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death to Max Headroom, but I bet he hates that Hard Knocks really exposed the mans’ lack of timing or humor or charisma.
Tommy Hinkley I have always liked, but man, here he is literally just playing the dumb muscle character and not even really doing it well.
James Vallely as Silky, a former con who is conscripted to work for the duo, is the single worst aspect of the series by far. He is beyond annoying and sucks the air out of every single scene he is pushed into. Since Vallely is not an actor by trade (he is a producer) I almost want to give him a pass but I can’t. Silky is almost anti-comedy.
There are other cast members, but they don’t matter as they don’t do anything in the series. As to guests the only real notable people that showed up were the always awesome Peter Jason, Taylor Negron and of course, Maher had to get Timothy Leary to appear, since Maher has to announce what a fake rebel he is at every turn.