High Maintenance started out in 2012 as a humane, intimate web series about a Brooklyn weed dealer, created by husband and wife team Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair as a weekend hobby. It’s still a humane, intimate series about a Brooklyn weed dealer, but now it’s the most recent addition to HBO’s lineup.
HBO ordered six new episodes of the thoughtful drug comedy, and will make all 19 previous episodes available through HBO, HBO Now, and HBO Go. Last year, Vimeo acquired High Maintenance as its first original series, but YouTube’s artsier competitor was no match for HBO.
Vimeo seems pretty jazzed for losing its first foray into original content. “The pickup by HBO is incredible validation for the show as well as the global creative community developing and releasing innovative programming directly on Vimeo. The barriers between online and traditional distribution continue to erode,” CEO Kerry Trainor wrote in an official statement.
Moving from webseries to TV is getting more common, with shows like Broad City, Drunk History, and Children’s Hospital starting out on the internet and then getting picked up by cable. It’s now a viable potential career arc for new filmmakers. But moving from webseries to premium cable is still rare— High Maintenance is joining Showtime’s Web Therapy as the second show to make that jump.
If there’s ever been a web series ready to go for HBO, it’s High Maintenance. The series of vignette-style low-simmering character studies has aesthetic and location overlap with Girls and Bored to Death, but an original perspective that’s less about lampooning pretensions than it is about highlighting how absurd it is to be alive in the city.
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