Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pilot Review: Barry

Barry (HBO)
Premiered March 25 at 10:30pm

Since leaving “Saturday Night Live,” Bill Hader has demonstrated that he’s surprisingly capable of dramatic performances, infusing them with just the right amount of comedy. It’s no surprise, therefore, that he would be the perfect pick to star in an HBO series about a hitman finding himself through acting after moving to Los Angeles. Hader has a wonderful energy for this part, and I’m excited to see what he does with it. Watching him spring into action when he saw that someone else had taken out his mark was intense, and he’ll make a fascinating protagonist. The supporting cast is particularly terrific too, starting with Stephen Root, from the likes of “Office Space,” “True Blood,” and, most recently, “Get Out,” as the eccentric Fuches, who chose to have Barry fly into Ontario rather than LAX for no apparent reason other than extra discretion. Henry Winkler is one mean and unforgiving director, and he’ll gel interestingly with Barry. It took me a minute, but I was thrilled to recognize D’Arcy Carden, best known for playing Janet on “The Good Place,” as Natalie, and we I don’t think we’ll be seeing Glenn Fleshler from “Boardwalk Empire,” “Waco,” and “Billions” again given the events of this episode. Sarah Goldberg seems like a wonderful lead actress as well. This pilot met my expectations for what it would be, and I have faith that it will continue to be involving thanks to co-creator Alec Berg, who plays a big part in this show’s lead-in, “Silicon Valley.”

How will it work as a series? We don’t yet know what Fuches’ role will be going forward since he’s not based in Los Angeles, and the fact that Barry took out the people who hired him means that there’s no one coming after him aside from the police. I think the focus will be much more on his acting and the beginning of him being social, and I’m looking forward to that.
How long will it last? The reviews look to be pretty good, and the fact that Berg is already involved in one of HBO’s critically-acclaimed comedies suggests that this one will be around exactly as long as Berg and Hader want it to be. I haven’t seen much in the way of ratings data, but I think this one will be sticking around no matter how it performs.

Pilot grade: B+

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