In Treatment: HBO

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After watching a few episodes of HBO’s new drama series "In Treatment," you have to wonder if the pay-cable giant has recently changed its way of doing things. Is it now using its programming as an instrument of torture designed to drive away as many viewers as possible? (San Jose Mercury-News)

But if you were a fan of [Tell Me You Love Me], or if you are currently riveted by the messy life stories unspooling on A&E’s Intervention (or its freaky VH1 cousin Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew), this show’s emotional cliffhangers could have you glued to the peephole. (San Diego Tribune)

Sometimes, however, a series is just a series. “In Treatment” is not a sign of network post-traumatic stress disorder but of HBO’s inner resilience. This show is smart and rigorous, with a concentration that bores deep without growing dull. Particularly after the lackluster performance of “Tell Me You Love Me,” it is commendable that HBO chose a show that is entirely wrapped around the practice of psychotherapy; the camera rarely leaves Paul’s office, and when it does, it is to record his sessions in Gina’s office. (NY Times)

It isn’t high literature nor even perhaps high television, but "In Treatment" does have a welcome, and occasionally riveting, pulpy streak, perhaps inevitable with its promise of peeks behind doors that usually remain closed. Wednesday’s child is full of woe, but that goes for Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s, too. (Washington Post)

That said, I watched all seven weeks that HBO sent me (that’s 35 episodes, people), one after the other, as fast as I could clear the room of my young children. I stayed up past midnight, grew hollow-eyed and pale, missed meals and refused to answer my cellphone or check my e-mail just so I could squeeze in another episode. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was fun. (LA Times)

A daily 30-minute session is a big commitment for viewers. But I can’t wait to make a nightly appointment with "In Treatment." (Salt Lake Tribune)

It’s boring. It’s fraudulent rather than Freudian. At least the pain in "Tell Me You Love Me" seemed honest. "In Treatment" takes the gravitas out of actors being emotionally naked and replaces it with the empty sheen of actors trying desperately to will drama from artificial angst. At its worst, "In Treatment" feels like an "Oprah" show without the commercials. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Unfortunately, even at its sporadic best, In Treatment comes across as no more than an actor’s exercise, one likely to be best remembered for providing future acting students with a large supply of two-character scenes for class projects. (USA Today)

That said, the first episode of this show will probably make you roll your eyes and beg the gods for mercy. Don’t give up, though, because "In Treatment" is sharp and unique and worth the effort. And in this impoverished TV era, well, let’s just say you have the time. (Salon.com)

The show, like therapy itself, takes some work and is often unpleasant. It also has some rewards. The acting is impeccable – believable and riveting at every turn – and the writing is clean, swift and muscular. Overall, the show is a deep look at being human. (Sacramento Bee)

Check out a preview clip of In Treatment below.

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