Homecoming is Julia Roberts acting on television and it’s terrific. The story is based on a podcast, which is cool, and it is a 10-episode show available on Amazon Prime Video.
Julia Roberts is a great actor. I forget sometimes, because I don’t generally follow her work (and shame on me for that), but man-oh-man she takes this well-written and well-developed story and straight crushes it with her performance.
The episodes are all about 30 minutes so it’s an easy binge for a winter weekend.
I’m a notorious chicken when it comes to scary shows or movies. Like, it’s embarrassing. I was half-worried that this would be too much for me based on some of the cuts in the trailer. I know. I’m embarrassed just typing that.
It’s a really well-crafted show with plenty of easter eggs for fans of classic horror which all went over my head. Still, it’s cool that they’re there. My wife and daughter got a two-episode head start on me but I caught up quickly enough and this turned out to be a great family watch for us.
And then they made and released a terrific Winter Solstice episode. This reminded me very much of a Hellboy one-shot where Mignola would learn about some crazy, cool, unknown myth and he would weave a quick story that put Hellboy in the mix.
Barry is an HBO series that recently finished its 8-episode 1st season. It’s great.
Barry is a dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he reluctantly travels to Los Angeles to execute a hit on an aspiring actor. Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class and ends up finding an accepting community in a group of eager hopefuls within the LA theater scene. He wants to start a new life as an actor, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away —can he find a way to balance both worlds?
I’m predisposed to liking Bill Hader and Henry Winkler, but this show is excellent otherwise. Stephen Root is great as Hader’s handler. Anthony Carrigan is hysterical as a deeply, deeply weird Chechen mobster. Paula Newsome does a ton of heavy lifting as a detective who keeps getting close to uncovering Barry’s secret.
It is also a really violent show, fyi. Barry’s a hitman and he kills a lot of people and none of the killing is “cool”. This isn’t John Wick. The killing in Barry carries a real weight that builds over the course of the season.
Another thing I enjoyed was the exploration of entry-level acting in LA. Here’s a good video of series co-creators Alec Berg and Bill Hader talking about that: