Over the next few weeks, HBO Max will be going into overdrive as it readies us all to return to the world of ice and fire.
House Of The Dragon, the long-awaited and hugely expensive Game Of Thrones prequel, is on the horizon. The new series is still a ways out, dropping on August 21, but chatter about the show will undoubtedly dominate social media in the weeks before and after it airs, particularly because the show’s sure to have a massive marketing campaign. The budget for a single season was reported to be a mind-boggling $150 million, meaning, they want to ensure the series does well.
I’m definitely excited about House of The Dragon; but I’m even more excited by the second season of another HBO Max original, the details of which spread on the sly earlier in the week.
Under the radar...
The show, Industry, is going to be the definition of a sleeper hit. It didn’t get much of a push before its TV debut. In fact, the few lines that were written about it piggybacked on the fact that Girls creator Lena Dunham had directed the pilot.
And, although the handsome young cast has plenty of TV credits between them, none are big names. Its showrunners, Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, are former junior bankers, and, while they have lived the life they are writing about, they were fresh in the business going into that first season. The show back then didn’t have much pedigree.
But, everybody who watched the first season quickly fell in love with the show, and clearly, word of mouth was strong enough to earn it a second season. The latest season is set to premiere on August 1, 21 days before House Of The Dragon roars into town.
The show follows a group of young graduates who are all competing for a limited set of permanent positions at Pierpoint & Co, a prestigious investment bank in the heart of the city of London.
Desperate to win the job, the young pretenders push themselves to absolute extremes to win the approval of clients and their superiors at Pierpoint & Co, constantly crossing the line as they do so.
Scored with a pulsating soundtrack by DJ Nathan Micay, the show has a heady, dizzying feel to it. And it had me hooked from minute one.
Don't do the math...
Industry makes no effort to humanize the banking industry, or try and explain any of the complex financial transactions its young pretenders are making. Season one was entirely focused on what the job and the promise of the job did to the characters.
A lot of the last season was focused on Myha'la Herrold's Harper Stern, who makes her way onto the graduate scheme, and is absolutely determined to stay there, regardless of who or what stands in her way.
The show throws Stern curveball after curveball: Stern has to find her own voice, deal with how she is treated by her bosses, and find some way of working with her colleagues while also getting what she wants. Every decision feels like agony and it's fascinating to watch it play out.
The other members of the young cast, Harry Lawtey's firebrand Robert, Marisa Abela's manipulative Yasmin and David Jonsson's uptight Gus, all deliver outstanding performances, each complementing the other superbly. And they're all back for season two.
What can you expect from season two?
Season one covered a lot of ground: there was tragedy, excess, horrible moral dilemmas and a lot of partying, but it only got as far as deciding the fate of the graduates.
Now, some of the graduates (we won't say which because you'll just have to watch it) have made the grade. What will they do with the job? Will they try and be better than the ones who've gone before them? Or just enjoy the same tidal wave of excess in a world where the money involved is so vast it basically means nothing?
While watching the first season, you really felt like you were learning at the same time as the characters. This isn't The Big Short, watching smart people tell you how to manipulate a financial system drunk on its own success; these are naive, scared, cocky and surprisingly ruthless pretenders. You watch them make mistakes, go too far, do horrendous things to each other, but the connection between viewer and these characters stays strong.
I hope season two pushes them just as hard as in the first, so the show's audience will only get larger. It deserves to be as big as Succession, and House Of The Dragon.
Industry starts on HBO Max and BBC iPlayer on August 1. All episodes will be available on the day of release.