High Maintenance returns on January 19th, 11pm on HBO.
By Nico Setzer
High Maintenance’s second season on HBO is doing what made the original web series great in the first place: Experimenting. What’s different is now the writers can expand on certain characters and stories they probably couldn’t fully develop as short YouTube videos, and introduce new levels of emotion we haven’t seen before. With that said, I must admit High Maintenance still has some flaws, most notably not knowing how to format itself for television. The program has always been offbeat and niche, and before being transition to the small screen the show could have one episode be fifteen minutes and the next be four if they wanted. Now that they have to structure each story around a determined time frame the show struggles narratively from time to time.
It appears as though writers Sinclair and Blichfeld have mostly settled for an episodic format where they first introduce one small story and then proceed to tell the one of greater scale and then weave these together towards the end. For the most part this formula works and keeps the show on the rails, but to be honest, the best episode of the first was the one that completely forgot about the rules! The most boring episodes of this new season are those that stuck too closely to the half hour prision. That isn’t to say they should abandon the structure altogether, because it does keep the stories grounded in reality and allows them to plan character arcs for the future in an orderly manner, but what must improve in the future is finding the perfect balance between length and qurikiness.
Aside from that loss, High Maintenance continues to be that free-flowing, beautiful indie crusade through New York’s apartments that we fell in love while watching the web series. We’ve now got even a higher rate of reappearing faces, and there’s now this added self-referential comedy thrown in there that comments on the show’s independant vision under a corporate umbrella.