“Television is becoming a collage – there are so many channels that you move through them making a collage yourself. In that sense, everyone sees something a bit different.”
– David Hockney
There was a time when working for television was labelled a “demotion,” a professional death sentence for movie stars whose careers were on an irreparable descent.
Today, we have Meryl Streep joining HBO‘s Big Little Lies, Idris Elba returning to BBC One as DCI John Luther, and Henry Cavill beginning work on Netflix‘s fantasy series The Witcher.
There was a time when it was thought for a show to succeed it needed to start every September, end every April/May, and run at least 20 episodes per season.
Today, fans wait over 18 months for an eight-episode season of Game of Thrones, and remain loyal to BBC One’s Sherlock – even after a two-year break between seasons.
There was a time when television meant “The Big Three,” HBO went off-air at 11 pm, and “water cooler” moments before the VCR could be a very select club at the office.
Today, cable and streaming have turned “The Big Three” into “The Big 333;” with the DVR, on-demand, and binge-watching making any time a great time to talk television.
Yes, it can be said that “The Platinum Age of Television” comes with a price: as more shows saturate the pop culture landscape, the more difficult it is for individual shows to stand out. When choosing our top selections, it felt like we were trying to find ten needles in a pile of needles – and nearly as painful when you see later in the countdown what didn’t make the cut.
But Bleeding Cool prefers an embarrassment of programming riches to our television cupboards being bare; so here’s a look at the ten shows we feel best represented a medium ripe with possibilities in 2018 – as well as a few words on why the series was so deserving.
#9 Barry (HBO)
What if the thing you were really good at was killing you inside? What if the thing you loved was actually something you were really terrible at? Bill Hader’s Barry is a hitman trying to get out of the business by becoming an actor – and that makes him in a sense totally relatable: we all feel this about our jobs and lives sometimes. Hopefully, most of us aren’t actually murdering people for money, though…
Hader more than lives up to the hype around his performance, and the Emmy nominations the show has earned are more than well-deserved. The supporting cast is fantastic, and includes The Good Place‘s D’Arcy Carden as another member of Barry’s acting class. It’s a short season of only eight episodes – but it’s all killer, no filler. The series also offers some really wry looks at both the Hollywood and acting cultures, giving it some satirical heft.
Then there’s that “thing” that happens at the end of the season that sets-up some very “interesting” possibilities for the second season…
– Andy Wilson
Barry is a dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he reluctantly travels to Los Angeles to execute a hit on an aspiring actor. Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class and ends up finding an accepting community in a group of eager hopefuls within the LA theater scene. He wants to start a new life as an actor, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away —can he find a way to balance both worlds?
The eight-episode series also stars Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan and Henry Winkler.