I like HBO programming for many reasons. The production value is unparalleled, the acting is Emmy-worthy, and the stories are fascinating. But for all the variation in HBO’s programming, there is one subtle consistency that only longtime viewers of the network are starting to pick up on: the actors and actresses.
When I settled in to watch HBO’s new Sunday-night lineup last weekend, I couldn’t help notice that the guy who plays Teague Dixon in “True Detective” season two is the same person who played Dan Dority in “Deadwood.” Or that the actor who plays Zeke Tilson in “The Brink” is also Nick Sabotka from “The Wire.”
In fact, HBO has a stable of actors it uses to fill tertiary roles in many of its programs.
Zack Grossbart recently put together an epic infographic showing exactly which actors have appeared in which HBO shows. It’s called the HBO recycling program, and it illustrates the relationship between actors and actresses and the HBO shows on which they have appeared.
Let’s take a closer look at the “HBO Recycling Program” below:
You may know him as the baby-faced, sharp-tongued Littlefinger from “Game of Thrones.”
But Littlefinger was honing his skills as a politician well before he ever set foot in Westeros as the morally conflicted mayor of Baltimore in “The Wire.”
You might know her as Carmela Soprano, the complicit wife of New Jersey-mafia kingpin Tony Soprano.
But before Carmela surrounded herself with criminals, she was protecting society from them as Officer Diane Whittlesey in “Oz.”
Michael K. Williams
You might know him as Omar, the endearing gangster who robs drug dealers for a living in “The Wire.”
But he also played an endearing gangster in another HBO crime drama, “Boardwalk Empire,” although in finer threads.
HBO must love Paul Ben-Victor, because the actor has been featured in four different programs. He has played Alan Grey, the head of Warner Brothers studio, who gave Vinnie Chase his big break with “Aquaman” on “Entourage.”
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But he also plays Vondas in “The Wire.”
Palaka from “John from Cincinnati.”
And he even showed up for an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
You might remember him as the fifth wheel in Vince’s entourage.
Or as disgraced police officer turned lawyer Thomas “Herc” Hauk on “The Wire.”
Or maybe even as Al Capone’s brother Ray in “Boardwalk Empire.”
You probably know him as Sol Star, a resident of Deadwood, South Dakota.
But he also plays the brother of Kenny Power’s in “Eastbound & Down.”
You may know him by his actual name, which he uses whenever he pops into an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to antagonize Larry David.
Or you might know him as eccentric pot-smoking millionaire George Christopher on “Bored to Death.”
You might know her as Joanie Stubbs, the hostess of the Bella Union in Deadwood.
But she also plays Janette Desautel, a chef struggling to keep her business alive after Hurricane Katrina in “Treme.”
Hyatt played Brianna Barksdale, sister of the West Baltimore drug lord Avon Barksdale in “The Wire.”
She recently turned up in season two of “True Detective” as a recurring character named Katherine Davis.
Buscemi played Atlantic City Prohibition-era crime lord Enoch Thompson for all five seasons of “Boardwalk Empire.”
But before that he was a modern-day mobster on “The Sopranos,” playing the cousin of Tony Soprano, Tony Blundetto.
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