I have heard the term peak TV in the last few years. Here it is defined by Urban Dictionary: The time period (roughly 2014-2018) during which society has devoted the maximum possible amount of resources to the production of original television programming.
I feel this definition is not entirely accurate. I do believe there are tons of shows being produced. Streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc along with the many premium networks have been pumping out new “quality” shows during this time. However, I don’t feel the caliber of these new shows are at the same level as the shows of the era just before this “peak” one began.
Shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Deadwood, Mad Men, etc. were incredible shows that have not been matched in terms of brilliance, originality, and excitement. Many of the supposedly great new shows are in my opinion for the most part crap or just whatever. Consider the glut of Marvel shows that feel like midday soap operas with a superhero twist. These banal shows are getting almost perfect scores from review go-to sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
Why is this happening? Has the world gone mad with a virus that makes people mediocre? To me, it feels like these review sites have been corrupted by some kind of monetary influence that has lowered the purity of these ratings. Like gold coins that have had all the gold replaced with some other shiny but not very valuable metal: they can’t be trusted.
So this is the beginning of the Primo rating system for TV. Quite simply, if we say we like it, it’s actually good. And by good we mean, it will be entertaining, interesting, visceral and/or otherwise fantastic. You might even not look at your phone while you are watching our recommendations. Are you stoned with nothing to do: watch our selections.
The Review: Mr Inbetween
The first show I am reviewing is, in my opinion, the best of 2018. Season 1 of Mr Inbetween is six, twenty-six-minute episodes about the life of a chill-as-fuck yet hair-trigger aggressive/savage hitman/money collector. If that sounds contradictory, it’s because you haven’t seen it yet. The series was written entirely by the actor in the starring role. His only other filmed achievement was a movie about the same character made back in the early 2000s. Since that movie came out, he almost became famous with a bunch of almost big breaks but none of them panned out and he faded into obscurity until most recently he was scraping out a living in a little town as a pizza delivery man.
Then, all of sudden this down-and-out dude with nothing to lose is handed a starring role and auteur status from FX: a no-joke, always-entertaining network. What came next was pure quality: there is no fat; no cute unfunny jokes, no fancy panoramic shots that put you to sleep. The story is perfect: everything makes sense even when it seems too crazy to be possible. The acting style/vibe is so fresh and completely magnetic.
Not convinced? Here’s a taste: our protagonist is out for a stroll with his 7 or 8-year-old daughter. She has an ice cream cone. A couple of dudes knock into our man’s daughter and the ice cream falls on the pavement. Mr Inbetween looks at the dudes and smiles his signature uber-wide congenial grin. One of the dudes looks at him and says “What?” Mr Inbetween says, “Aren’t you going to apologize?” The dude says, “No” and then walks off with his buddy. Later when our main man is able to park his child somewhere, he circles back finds the men and beats the shit out of them. It’s kind of like porn for people who hate assholes (who doesn’t) but it’s also just the start of what Mr Inbetween gets up to in heavier and gnarlier situations as the show progresses.
The fact that this show is also funny without every being hammy is another reason why it’s so good. Many shows like this attempt to be funny and violent but usually end up completely blowing it either by neutering the violence and making it seem staged or completely devolving the story into slapstick. Barry… is a good example of a show that fails at being good for that reason. But I digress.
Mr Inbetween is excellent. I give it 10 billion stars. Stream it, download it, whatever it; it’s sick.