HBO.com

Web sites for television series have to walk a narrow path in the kind of content they can offer. The sites have to give enough basic information to tempt Netizens to turn on the TV to watch the show, and at the same time include enough innovative content to get regular TV viewers interested in crossing over to using the Web site.

Web sites for television series have to walk a narrow path in the kind of content they can offer. The sites have to give enough basic information to tempt Netizens to turn on the TV to watch the show, and at the same time include enough innovative content to get regular TV viewers interested in crossing over to using the Web site.

HBO.com achieves this duality by providing easily searchable scheduling information to help Netizens know when to tune out the computer and tune in the television, while at the same time providing interactive nuggets to draw in fans of shows like “Sex in the City” and “Arli$$.”

The Web pages on the site dedicated to HBO’s individual shows all manage to go beyond the typical press release-on-the-Internet format.

With the return of “Sex in the City” this month, the site gets an upgrade, featuring an online group therapy session after the show is re-aired on Wednesday nights so fans can dissect the minutiae on bulletin boards with other Netizens. For fashion mavens, there’s also a slide show where users can find out which designers created the sleek styles worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall.

The Web site for the other recently returned show, “Arli$$,” isn’t as extensive, but nonetheless it goes beyond the typical fare by offering video clips from this year’s shows and a promise of exclusive interviews to come with jocks and former jocks Carl Lewis, Marshall Faulk and Ernie Banks, all of whom will be making guest appearances on the show.

Most impressive is the schedule, which is searchable by time zone and can be expanded to weekly or monthly format. Netizens interested only in certain kinds of shows can search from a wide range of genres: comedy, drama, martial arts, etc. Because HBO cycles through different seasons on its shows, the “Returning Champs” feature on the schedule is useful to find out when, for instance, original shows for “The Sopranos” will reappear.

Site has message boards for other shows, including “The Chris Rock Show,” “Oz” and specials and minis. But for starters, this is a site that both surfing Netizens and HBO couch potatoes will find worthy.

HBO.com

Production: 1100 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036. Reviewed with a 56K modem and at broadband speed on June 6, 2000.

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