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THC TeeVee: The Most Buzzed About Pot Programs

Mark Miller

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Back in the 20th century, whenever pot was the central plotline of a TV show, it was a “very special episode” in which the wonder weed was made to look worse than black tar heroin. But those archaic times are mostly behind us, and now, a positive portrayal of cannabis is the central theme for an ever-growing number of narrative TV shows popping up in various forms of media, from streaming to pay channels. 

Here, we break down some of the most buzzed about pot programs and check their present stage of dank development.

MTV—Mary + Jane

Pot Premise
Comedy depicting two hipster women in L.A. operating a medical marijuana delivery service.  Parodies hipster culture and L.A. trends as well.

Big Bud Names Attached
Snoop Dogg

Show creators Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont: “Snoop has been great about letting us make the show we want to make as the creators, and supporting our vision every step of the way. But when he has an idea or a suggestion we take heed. The man is undeniable—both as an entertainer and an expert in the field of marijuana (pun intended). Oh, and he also wrote us a fucking theme song. When you have Snoop Dogg write a song just for you, it’s pretty surreal. Which fits perfectly with our theme!”  

Stage of Dank Development
Debuted on September 5, Mary + Jane airs on MTV Monday nights, with fresh episodes running through November 14.

Weird Weed Facts
Kaplan/Elfont: “Since MTV didn’t want us to use actual strain names on the show for legal reasons, we had a lot of fun making up new strain names. There are too many to list, but maybe one day people will start naming strains after the ones in the show!”

Buzz
Kaplan/Elfont:  In addition, because the show is about weed, we wanted to include some trippy, surreal sequences in each episode—for instance, the “celebrity couple” being a skeleton and a raw turkey, or an entire episode where the women use weed lube and can hear their own vaginas, etc. So even if you’re not high, you might feel like you’re high when you’re watching the show.”

Netflix—Disjointed

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television Entertainment/Darren Michaels

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television Entertainment/Darren Michaels

Pot Premise
A workplace comedy centered around a long-time pot activist who now owns an L.A. dispensary as she deals with three budtenders, her stoner son and a security guard with issues.

Big Bud Names Attached
Oscar winner Kathy Bates is the star. It was Bates’ 2012 cameo as the ghost of Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men that helped inspire alpha producer Chuck Lorre to cast her to as the pot activist star. 

Stage of Dank Development
It’s been reported in the press that Netflix has ordered 20 episodes which subscribers will be able to stream.

Weird Weed Fact
As noted by the Hollywood Reporter, Disjointed started with a spec script written by Lorre and David Javerbaum, who has written for the Daily Show and whose Twitter account @TheTweetofGod was actually adapted into a book and later a play that starred Jim Parsons, who stars as super-geek Sheldon on Lorre’s sitcom smash The Big Bang Theory.

Buzz
HIGH TIMES previously reported on how back in 2011, pot-friendly Lorre allowed Two and a Half Men to set the stage for his head-first dive into this new show where cannabis is the central theme.  

Sony—Humboldt 

Pot Premise
Based on the 2013 novel by Emily Brady, Humboldt depicts generational cannabis cultivators attempting to survive in a post-legalization culture, in which their black-market way of life could be pushed aside by corporate cannabis.  

Big Bud Name Attached
Acclaimed actor John Malkovich is slated to star, with Emily Brady confirming, “Malkovich is in.”

Stage of Dank Development
When asked, Brady said, “Sony is in, but they’re still looking for a home (a channel to air the show) for it. That’s all I know at the moment.”

Weird Weed Fact
Even though Humboldt would be fictional, it’s based on the work of investigative journalist Emily Brady. She has reported globally from Latin America and Asia and actually spent a year embedded with real-life residents of Humboldt County in order to bring textures of verisimilitude to her narrative

Buzz
Once it makes it to the air, Humboldt could be a rare cannabis narrative—less satirical andama offering a relatively realistic glimpse of the Emerald Triangle grow scene.

Amazon—Budding Prospects 

Budding Prospects

Pot Premise
Budding Prospects is unique in that it’s a period piece. Set in 1983 San Francisco, three city boys move up north to the Emerald Triangle, where their dreams of a ganja Garden of Eden are shattered by the harsh realities of “The Summer Camp.”

Big Bud Names Attached
As noted by Deadline.com, Terry Zwigoff (Bad Santa, Crumb) will direct and lead actor Will Sasso (MadTV) will play “Gesh,” a character whose smarts run deeper than appears on the surface.   

Stage of Dank Development
Amazon Studios has green-lit the series. 

Weird Weed Fact
Budding Prospects is based on the T.C. Boyle novel of the same title originally published in 1984, at a time when pot’s profile in the drug culture was eclipsed by cocaine and shows like Miami Vice. Now pot programs populate the TV landscape and what was old becomes new again.  ,

Buzz
In the novel. the protagonist gives up on his dank dreams. Will that hold true for the TV adaptation?

HBO—High Maintenance 

Pot Premise
A New York City dank delivery man known only as “The Guy” (Ben Sinclair), with new characters in the form of The Guy’s customers appearing in each episode. High Maintenance is the product of star Sinclair and his wife Katja Blichfeld originally airing online on Vimeo since 2012.

Big Bud Names Attached
HBO, the Promethean pay channel, originally ordered six episodes, with the first airing on September 16 of this year.

Stage of Dank Development
On September 28, HBO renewed High Maintenance for a second season.

Weird Weed Fact
All episodes but one have been named for an unseen peripheral character mentioned by someone in the episode.

Buzz
For in-depth coverage of High Maintenance, including interviews with Sinclair and Blichefeld, see HIGH TIMES magazihigne January 2017 issue, on sale November 8!

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