Barry is the antihero 2018 needs. The exploration of this character is something so different from what you typically get in this genre, and so refreshing, that it’s difficult to put into such a short post just how well crafted this show is. Unlike Dexter, a cartoonish monster that must blend into society to avoid detection, or Walter White, a goober who over time develops into the hardened criminal he desires to be, Barry is a fairly normal guy that happens to be really goddamn good at killing people, but this quality does not define him. He is depressed, bored, guilt ridden, and sad, like you would expect a war vet roped into this lifestyle to be. The only things he truly yearns for is love, acceptance, and normalcy, which he believes he can achieve through his acting class. Unlike a traditional antihero’s journey, we are taken on a ride of his ability to process emotion and find his fitting version of reality. The course of the season arc allows him to process this inner conflict, PTSD, and the overall damage to his mental health. And unlike previously mentioned shows, we don’t love Barry because he’s a badass killing machine, in fact most action sequences are shot with such a cold detachment that you know this is just muscle memory for him, and while directors like Hiro Murai (best in television) and Alec Berg can of course handle the technicalities of big action moments, the show glorifies none of it, and the subtleties present an air of chilling reality. Where the show shines, though, is in its tone, where it toes a constant balance of severity and comedy. The complexity in which the police and mob figures are presented, for example, simultaneously provide laughter and build horrible tension, often at the same time. The show also refuses to look down on its characters, life and death scenes of torture are cut beside monologues and auditions, and often the latter is given the more significant emotional weight, not to poke fun at the process of acting, but to honestly explore different people’s perspectives and values. The 10 episode season functions as a perfectly bookended story, but with a second season already coming, I suggest you get caught up.