There has never been a better time to be an assassin. On television, I mean. I don’t know enough about the real-life assassin game to make a claim about the gig one way or the other. I assume it’s fine. It seems like a fairly recession-proof job, I guess. But again, that’s not why we’re here. I swear. If you are a real-life assassin, do not read this paragraph and think I’m snooping around in your business. I am not. I would never. That’s the last thing I want to do. You can ask anyone. No business-snooping going on over here, no sir or ma’am. Not even a little. Please don’t kill me.
No, all we’re doing here is praising two of the best new shows of 2018 so far, Barry and Killing Eve, both of which are about fictional assassins. The shows are both fun and fascinating and dark as midnight on a farm and they somehow have everything and nothing in common, which makes them a perfect compliment to each other. We’ll get to that, though. First, some facts.
Barry is a new HBO series created by Bill Hader and Alec Berg (Silicon Valley) that stars Hader as a catastrophically depressed hitman named, you guessed it, Barry, who travels to Los Angeles for a job and gets bitten by the acting bug. Barry doesn’t particularly enjoy killing people but he is very, very good at it. This provides a nice counterbalance to his acting, which he very, very much enjoys but is not particularly good at. It’s a whole thing. He has a sleazeball handler (Stephen Root, killing it as always) and a sleazeball acting coach (Henry Winkler, also killing it as always) and a troubled relationship with the Chechen mob, including a guy named Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan), who is relentlessly upbeat and goofy and loves gadgets, kind of like if you crossed Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation with Bronson Pinchot’s character from Beverly Hills Cop. He’s the best.