The new HBO series "Hung" premiered last night, and while the premise of the show makes it intriguing enough alone (the main character becomes a male escort to solve his financial woes), as a Detroiter, the real anticipation was in finding out how much the city would be used in the plot.
At least in this respect, it did not disappoint. The pilot was shot entirely in Detroit, Birmingham, Livonia, Clarkston and West Bloomfield Township, as was part of the rest of the season (the rest was filmed in L.A.).
The opening sequence (which you can watch here) is jam-packed with familiar Motor City signposts, from the first shot of a barge gliding over the Detroit River, to Thomas Jane as Ray Drecker walking through Hart Plaza, below the People Mover and in front of the Joe Louis fist, Lafayette Coney Island and the abandoned Packard plant.
"Everything's falling apart," Thomas-as-Drecker narrates over shots of a crane tearing down Tiger Stadium. "And it all starts right here in Detroit, the headwaters of a river of failure."
The camera cuts away to shots of more Detroit ruins, including Michigan Central Station, while Drecker continues. "Good thing my parents aren't around to watch the country go to shit."
The rest of the first episode is full of exciting moments of recognition -- Drecker pulling up in front of Motor City casino to make his first "work call" and his teenage son going to see a show at Harpo's, for example.