So this week, there’s a lot of potential topics to blog about. Obviously, there’s the rugby league finals series, but I doubt many readers follow the action. I also eschew from proclaiming how great the Melbourne Storm are. There’s also another a couple of Connelly books to review, which formed my reading list together with China Rich girlfriend. Three books in less than a month. However, today I’d like to talk about this gem of a series that has won two Emmy’s, received near-universal acclaim, and has killer story lines. I’m talking about Barry, of course.
In a nutshell, Barry tackles a professional hitman who soon discovers that acting is his ‘calling’. Set in present day LA, the show is a dark comedy with an original premise. People say Moonlight is unique because it intersects racism and homophobia. In terms of TV series, Barry’s plot is in unchartered territory. A hitman who stumbles on an acting class, deciding to be a thespian? Get outta here!
Shades of Mike
Bill Hader, who is both star and executive producer, reminded me of Michael C. Hall in Dexter. They both have licenses to kill, juggle two conflicting jobs, and even look alike. When I first saw Barry, the resemblance was clear. The opening scene saw Hader in latex gloves after he carried out a hit. While Hader is the sun in the Barry system, the show wouldn’t click without the work of his satellites. Henry Winkler is also uproarious as Gene, the class teacher with the strong personality who reminds me a bit of Frances McDormand. There’s Sarah Goldberg, who portrays Sally, Barry’s love interest. Theirs is a complicated relationship. Of course, Barry’s old friends from his hitman days won’t leave him alone, occasioning both laughs and cringing. While reminiscent of Dexter with the body count and guns, the show’s black comedy likewise harks shades of Burn after Reading. The first season showed how Barry creates humour out of errors and chuckles out of pain.
I’ve seen a bit of Barry so far: five eps out of season 1’s eight. It is a delightful watch, and each viewing is all of thirty minutes. That duration makes for punchy, undemanding cha cha. Ironically, Barry’s ineptitude in his acting class entertains audiences. HBO is the mastermind behind this success story. You can count on them to produce some of the best TV. I was tossing up between period drama Westworld and this one. After seeing both pilots, I stuck with Bar. Anyhow, Emmy wins don’t lie. Bill Hader just won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a comedy, and was as surprised as anybody upon accepting the award. Even Winkler finally got his first Emmy after his sterling work on the programme.
The road forward
After seeing the gore and frenzy of Walking Dead, or the endless battles in Game of a Thrones, the time is right for a fun filled sea change. Most series tail off after a great season or two. Remember Wayward Pines? Heroes, anybody? The road is lined with TV relics that failed to find an audience after a season or two. We’ll see if Barry can maintain this momentum.
My rating: 4.8/5