TV Reviews: Barry, Silicon Valley, The Terror

By | March 26, 2018

Three series premiered at the same time last night, two of them brand-new. And although you never can judge a series by its pilot alone, I already feel “The Terror” and “Barry” are worthy of watching for a full season…

The Terror…An 1845 British expedition through the arctic, as two naval vessels attempt to find a navigable route through, but–of course–things go terrrrrrribly awry. This is made for a certain type of person, and you already know who you are. I felt riveted by this period horror, and its all-encompassing mood of dread–the creaks of the ship, the howl of the wind, the groans of the ice, and this is all before a big portion of the ship begins to lose their minds. Is the voyage haunted? Are there sea monsters lurking beneath the ice? If not, then what wild animals are stalking them out on the ice? Well, you can bet your life Alabama Liberal will be finding out, supernatural elements or not. If you’ve ever wondered “Why don’t they make more period-horror like ‘Crimson Peak’ or ‘The Wolfman?'” Then this is for you. Grade: A-

Silicon Valley…You might wonder if HBO are the ones that leaked the Facebook/Cainbridge Analytica scandal to drive up views of “Silicon Valley.” There’s arguably never been a better time to parody the inner-workings of the actual Silicon Valley, and the series seems poised to take on the shady corporate dealings. In the premiere alone, we saw Gavin Belson–the phony “world changer” who’s really a cutthroat capitalist in commune’s clothing–hire 65 people for the sole reason of depriving his competitor of them, and twitchy rising mogul Richard Hendricks responded in kind by wiping the smug smile off an inane pizza-app CEO’s face. Although I’ll miss T.J. Miller’s missing Ehrlich Bachmann, and it’s beyond time to get rid of his one-note rival Jian-Yang–the show seems ready to tackle the friction between what Silicon Valley says (“changing the world,” “bringing the world together”) vs. their actual business practices that mostly revolve around exploiting user data and monopolies. Grade: B+

Barry…What if the thing you’re good at is killing you, but you’re terrible at the thing you love? In this case, the thing Bill Hader’s title character is good at is contract murder, but the thing that seems to be snapping him back to life is acting. While on a job in L.A., Hader’s depressed Midwestern hitman stumbles into an acting class (and the community-atmosphere of aspiring actors) while surveilling a target, and catches “the acting bug.” A handful of genuine laugh-out-loud moments won’t be nearly as big a draw as Hader’s soulful, nuanced character work. The ending scene in a diner in which Hader claims to be an actor is perfect. Grade: A

3 thoughts on “TV Reviews: Barry, Silicon Valley, The Terror

  1. Nancy

    Thanks for reviewing these shows. I missed all of them but will ON DEMAND them now that I have read your reviews. You really should write for a magazine. I would buy one if they reviewed like you do instead of the same ole garbage that they give you.

  2. susan

    I will have to look at these. Thanks for the heads up on each one.

  3. April

    May have to check out Barry. Love a certain thing not good at it.
    Hate a certain job….good at it. Sounds like my life.

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