HBO’s documentary series includes Ganja Queen and Hard Times at Douglas High

All summer long, HBO is debuting a new documentary film every Monday. This Monday, for example, HBO debuted Ganja Queen, the story of Schapelle Corby, an Australian woman who’s in a prison in Indonesia until 2024 for marijuana found in her luggage that she says doesn’t belong to her. The film was directed by Janine Hosking, and it airs throughout this month. (Its trailer–which is compelling by itself–is below.)

Last Monday’s debut was noteworthy for its subject matter, and because it was directed by Alan and Susan Raymond, the people essentially responsible for the world’s first reality TV show. They produced An American Family in the early 1970s, a narrative, episodic documentary that directly inspired The Real World 20 years later, and that gave way to Survivor, and so forth.

The Raymonds’ new film is called Hard Times at Douglas High, and like their Oscar-winning 1993 film I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School, it follows students and teachers at a school, in this case, Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High over one year. HBO says the new documentary “provides a context for the national debate over the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, focusing on the brutal inequalities of American minority education.”

It repeats Wednesday night and airs throughout July, and will also be released on DVD next week.

Here are the trailers for the two films:

HBO Documentaries: Documentary Films Series, Hard Times at Douglas High, and Ganja Queen [HBO]

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.