Having commissioned the pilot episode of The Brink – a half-hour dark political comedy – last year, HBO has now ordered the show to series, with Tim Robbins and Jack Black heading the cast.
The show centres around the main players caught in a geo-political crisis. Tim Robbins plays the US Secretary of State, Walter Hollander, who has little patience for war-mongers, while Jack Black plays Alex Coppins – a Foreign Service Officer dealing with the crisis in the field. A third main role – that of a Navy fighter pilot – has yet to be cast, although the wider cast list includes Aasif Mandvi and Meera Syal. The pilot was written by brothers Roberto and Kim Benabib – Roberto having previously worked on Ally McBeal and Weeds. Both will also serve as executive producers, alongside stars Black and Robbins, Jerry Weintraub (Behind The Candelabra) and Jay Roach (The Austin Powers franchise, The Campaign), who also directed the pilot.
While Jay Roach comes to the project under his two-year deal at HBO, having previously achieved Emmy glory for the network with TV movies Game Change and Recount, it is perhaps the presence of Robbins and Black that is the most exciting aspect of this production. Marking their seventh on-screen collaboration, the two have previously worked together on Dead Man Walking, Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny, High Fidelity, Bob Roberts, Cradle Will Rock and Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.
Though they are now internationally recognizable for their film work, both actors got their screen-start in TV. The Academy Award winning Tim Robbins first appeared in Buck Rogers In The 25th Century in 1979, before popping up in St Elsewhere, The Love Boat and Moonlighting. Most recently, he has featured on The Simpsons, Portlandia, and the Funny Or Die spoof mini-series The Spoils Of Babylon, that premiered on IFC in January 2014.
The Golden Globe nominated Jack Black first appeared on the Lee Majors TV show The Fall Guy in 1981, before featuring on shows such as Northern Exposure, The X Files, Picket Fences and Mr Show. He also continues to combine TV and cinema roles, starring in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, while guest-starring on shows such as Community, Drunk History and The Office.
The pedigree of this newly-commissioned series cannot be overstated, and HBO are surely hoping their new show will help to bolster their comedy slate, which currently includes multiple award-winners Girls and Veep. With a broadcast date yet to be set, however, it may be some time before TV audiences finally get to cast their eye over The Brink.