Back to Life Daisy Haggard’s downbeat gem took on a tough topic – a woman’s return to her home town after a stretch behind bars – and turned it into a meditation on grief, regret and the passing of time, though with enough gags to keep things zipping along. What we said: A few episodes into Back to Life, I felt like pushing it away in protest. “No, no!” I cried inwardly. “It’s too much! It’s too good!” Read the full review Barry In its second season, this black comedy about a hitman who catches the acting bug took its story into darker territory, with Barry’s attempts to extricate himself from his past life only dragging him further into oblivion. Things aren’t going to end well. What we said: Though it’s a comedy rather than a thriller, Barry replicates much of what made Breaking Bad irresistible. Read more Broad City After five virtually flawless sitcom seasons, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s … [Read more...] about Best TV of 2019 so far
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Right from the start, Alex Jones was always the paranoid, screaming conspiracy theory guy. Malik Dupree for Observer In the Sandy Hook deposition videos, Alex Jones looks like a broken man. His normal red-faced screaming self is very subdued as he’s being sued for bringing misery to the parents of murdered children at Sandy Hook. He claimed the massacre was a hoax. This lie, he created, is a lot bigger than, say, declaring Obama is a secret Muslim or Glenn Beck is a CIA operative. Jones perpetuated, to his army of loyal followers, that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a staged “false flag“ operation, the grieving parents were paid actors, and the children who were killed simply did not exist.You know, typical Alex Jones shit of sowing chaos in the world.Subscribe to Observer’s Politics NewsletterJones began his career in Austin, Texas, back in the ’90s, as a local cable access cult figure at ACATV (Austin Community Access Television). He built a … [Read more...] about The Alex Jones Origin Story: On Austin Public Access TV, His Act Was Never an Act
“Where am I? Who are you? And what’s going on?” Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) asks these questions in the first scene of the first episode of The Good Place because she wants genuine answers to them. She’s just arrived in an unfamiliar, albeit pleasantly pristine, office waiting room where she’s never been before, unaware that she’s (a) dead, and (b) in a carefully constructed version of what appears to be heaven. She’s understandably disoriented and needs some clarity about what’s happening to her. But the fact that Eleanor immediately inquires about about her state of being is also The Good Place’s way of announcing what sort of show it’s going to be. Specifically, it’s going to be the kind of show that thrives on raising questions, especially fundamental ones about the meaning of life. That’s pretty heavy stuff for a broadcast network comedy. But comedies that tackle heavy, philosophical matters — … [Read more...] about Why Are So Many TV Comedies Pondering the Meaning of Life?
Anyone who’s attempted to write an oral history knows they aren’t easy. Stitching together the threads of dozens — if not hundreds — of hours of interviews with multiple people into a cohesive narrative can drive anyone bonkers. So the fact that Taylor Jenkins Reid decided to use this format for her latest novel, Daisy Jones & the Six, which centers on a fictional 1970s rock band, may seem like a masochistic endeavor. “I wanted you to feel immersed in it, and not like you were reading fiction, but like you were there. For me, the best way to do that was to mimic what I would argue is the best medium for stories about rock, which is a rock documentary,” Reid explains. “I wanted it to feel like an episode of Behind the Music, as if you were hearing it from the people directly. That there was no filter. The conclusion I came to was that it had to be an oral history.” The urge to revisit the swirl of sex, drugs and Seventies … [Read more...] about How ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Offers a Positive Tale for Women in Music
Serious, dark, scary drama shows get a lot of credit for reflecting back important, unseen versions of ourselves. But comedies are how we know ourselves. You can learn as much about humanity going on a Superstore binge as you can by sitting down with this season of Westworld. (You may also have more fun!) They’re home to many of the most innovative, gutsy experiments on TV right now; we call Atlanta a comedy because it is, but also because the category has become so necessarily broad that it includes everything from Roseanne to Bojack Horseman to Nathan for You. In making a list such as this, there’s no way to start at the beginning of TV comedy and cover enough ground, so it only includes shows from the past 30 years. Even then, a list of this size exists in a weird place between exhaustive and utterly insufficient. But our aim here is to offer a survey of shows, in a wide range of styles, that feel representative of how American TV comedy (we’ll tackle the Brits in … [Read more...] about The 100 TV Comedies Everyone Should Watch