+ Recommended – TV-MA, Drama, Comedy

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Bill Hader’s knack for dry, comedic performances is showcased in HBO’s new show. Hader plays Barry: a hitman turned actor, navigating the Hollywood theatre scene. Along the way, Barry confronts minor-to-major complications when he can’t escape the crimes of his past. Henry Winkler (Gene Cousineau) and Paula Newsome (Janice Moss) provide excellent supporting performances and add another layer of comedy to the show.

Barry balances multiple different plotlines and interweaves them seamlessly. For example: Barry as the hitman, Barry as the actor, and even Barry as Barry; each of the different versions of Barry feel like a completely different show. Yet, somehow they blend together perfectly. The show is especially powerful when the storylines finally intersect and audiences are exposed to a level of tension I didn’t think was possible with a show like this.

Theatre

Still of Bill Hader in Barry

While Hader’s Barry is the main character, the show successfully resembles a mild, ensemble structure . Henry Winkler’s struggling acting coach, Gene Cousineau, provides a subtle, comedic foundation for a few good laughs while Sarah Goldberg gives the audience a character to roll their eyes at with her portrayal Sally Reed. All of these ensemble characters feel complete and fleshed-out. Their interactions and dialogue are crafted with the intention to make you care, and it works.

Action scenes are handled well, not too explosive but tense enough to put you on the edge at times. Hopefully, the writers take it a step further next season and something tells me that they will; I just hope we don’t lose what the show is truly about. Something to note before you watch, though: Barry doesn’t dwell on action scenes. They are what they are, and nothing more. What I mean is that you shouldn’t expect non-stop action when you sit down to watch the show.

Hitman

Still from Barry

Overall, Barry delivers on everything it sets-up. It’s a quick watch: eight episodes at roughly 30 minutes each; a quick summer binge that’s well above-average. Acting class helps actors develop a deep understanding of the characters they play and it’s clear that the cast and crew didn’t need to attend a class from Gene Cousineau to create and understand Barry.

Watch this show as soon as possible and let us know what you think of Barry in the comments!

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