Friday, May 01, 2015

Sunday Roundup

With all the attention I'm giving to Game Of Thrones, let's not ignore all the other shows on Sunday.

For instance, Mad Men's almost over, and its endgame is getting clearer (as much as it can for this kind of show).  McCann is swallowing Sterling Cooper, so, good or bad, it's the end of an era.  And how was this earth-shattering development announced in the show's cryptic log line?: "Roger asks Joan for help with a clerical error."

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley seems to have a new player, obnoxious money man Russ Hanneman, as played by Chris Diamantopoulos, last seen essaying a very similar character in Episodes.  As much as I like this show, they don't demand too much of their actors.  Zach Woods as their timid business planner is virtually reprising his character from The Office.  Martin Starr's Gilfoyle could be a cousin to Roman, his character on Party Down.  Josh Brener's Big Head is pretty similar to his Googlish Lyle in The Internship.  And T. J. Miller as the shallow loudmouth is doing your basic T. J. Miller performance.  But I guess you can't have typecasting without casting to type.

Then there's Showtime's new Happyish, a half-hour comedy about a middle-aged ad man dealing with his life.  It's gotten bad reviews, but did it deserve them? Yes and no.  Some of the critics just seemed cranky to see a relatively privileged white guy complain.  I agree this is well-trod territory, but if well done, there's room for one more.

Happyish isn't bad, exactly, but it doesn't quite distinguish itself.  It's got a nice cast, with Steve Coogan (who replaced Philip Seymour Hoffman after Hoffman shot a pilot), Bradley Whitford and Kathryn Hahn, but not great lines or an imaginative plot.  But still worth watching for further developments.


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