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But showrunners Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan pushed into much darker, more mysterious territory, creating a weekly half-hour equivalent to the sorts of existential head-scratchers that Antonioni and Bergman were making in the 1960s, equally intriguing as character drama, erotica/pornography, and psychological horror. *The article originally misidentified Scott Alexander. The finale is one of the greatest single episodes in the history of television: endlessly rewatchable and fascinating. No live-action TV series was as comfortable with deadpan discomfort, stoner ellipses, startling moments of surrealism, and beauty for its own sake (the magic-hour shots of Atlanta streets were enchanting). K.’s mini-series looked and sounded like a taboo-busting 1970s Norman Lear sitcom but channeled the contained, corrosive despair of a postwar stage drama, depicting a bar full of mostly embittered and delusional Brooklynites with compassion and an eye for eccentric detail. There was nothing else like it, and the devastating finale pretty much ruined Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” for all of time. Search Party (TBS) Co-produced by Michael Showalter, Sarah-Violet Bliss, and Charles Rogers (among others) this was one of the year’s biggest surprises.
Today, we’re looking at the best TV shows and episodes.And their differences in outlook were elegantly and movingly explored in an episode about police brutality.This was a painful episode about how, or whether, to teach one’s children about life’s harsh truths—one that managed, as though by magic, to avoid letting the laughs get swallowed entirely by sorrow.The end of each year provides critics the opportunity to construct (or, depending on their temperament, the burden of constructing) a list of their ten favorite shows—such a list is usually carefully constructed, with elements in some semblance of balance between network and cable, between comedy and drama.This midyear list is every bit as scattered as a year-end list is effortful; with five superlative individual episodes, eight series, and one documentary, it’s not meant to be definitive.
The sheer variety of subjects, modes, and styles was dazzling, and it wasn’t just premium cable and streaming services that delivered wild innovation and pitch-perfect classicism; the networks stepped up, too.