TV 2014: New Shows and Old

Girls season 1 (2012)

“I don’t want to freak you out, but I think I might be the voice of my generation… or at least a voice… of a generation.”

I loved this. Most comedy shows look sloppy, like Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, The Thick of It, I assume as part of the improv/spontaneity/rewrite routine of ensemble comedy, but I love them anyway because of the actors, the characters, the writing. But this show has all those things plus a strong visual style.

I know Lena Dunham from Tiny Furniture. Best friend Marnie is Allison Williams, daughter of NBC News anchor/30 Rock guest-star Brian. British friend Jemima Kirke was also in Tiny Furniture, and her hyperactive virgin cousin Zosia Mamet is daughter of David. Lena’s boyfriend Adam Driver is the bass-voiced guy who says “outer… spaaace” in Inside Llewyn Davis. Marnie’s now-ex-boyfriend is Christopher Abbot of Martha Marcy May Marlene, Lena’s boss/Abbot’s best friend Ray is Alex Karpovsky, also also of Tiny Furniture and Inside Llewyn Davis.

Derek season 1 (2013)

The episodes follow a formula: Story setup, negativity and unappealing behavior, suspicion that the whole thing is exploitative of the aged residents who barely get any lines, gradual story resolution featuring Derek-provoked awkwardness, then beautifully compassionate Derek comments that leave me extremely happy and wanting to watch more episodes. Sometimes it’s too Derek-glorifying, like Gervais is compensating for his infamous The Office character by playing the most inspirationally compassionate character he could dream up, and the ending’s a total tearjerker but I think it’s setting up Derek’s dad for season 2. Regulars: Derek, Hannah, handyman Dougie (Karl Pilkington), gross hanger-on Kevin and volunteer Vicky.

Peep Show season 1 (2003)

The longest-running show by Mitchell & Webb (of two other self-titled shows, plus Bruiser and the new Ambassadors). Never seen these guys before, but I like ’em. Mark/Mitchell is the guy with the steady job and Jeremy/Webb is the outgoing slacker roommate. The show’s gimmick is a first-person camera, swapping frequently between the two guys plus other people they meet, accompanied by voiceover of their thoughts, all quite well done.

Mitchell:

Webb:

Olivia Colman of Look Around You and Hot Fuzz (“Accidents happen all the time. What makes you think it was MUR-DUR?”)

30 Rock seasons 6 & 7 (2012-2013)

Still a good show, even if it stopped being a great show. Tina settles down with Cyclops and adopts babies. The show is cancelled, Baldwin becomes CEO of GE and appoints Kenneth president of the network.

We missed Tina Fey’s new Muppets sequel. Tracy Morgan did a voice in the Boxtrolls, was reportedly in a critical car crash this summer. Jane Krakowsi has a star-(and Adam Sandler)-studded sci-fi video-game comedy out next year. Jack McBrayer (from Macon, not Stone Mountain) is in They Came Together (and hopefully Wreck-It Ralph 2). Scott Adsit’s on some of the Adult Swim shows I’ve been missing and voices the inflatable robot in Big Hero 6. Judah Friedlander played Toby in American Splendor, appears in lots of horror sequels. Alec Baldwin’s upcoming films are still confidential or unconfirmed (there’s still hope that Boss Baby will fall through). Toofer’s got the lead in a drug-addict drama, Cerie appeared in horror Nurse 3D, Grizz has a show called Common Sense Police, Dot Com is in a romantic comedy about food in NYC which Katy will definitely watch on netflix someday, Lutz is a writer on Seth Meyers’s talk show, Jonathan does voices for two current cartoons, and Dr. Leo Spaceman is on Suburgatory and Archer.

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