By Phil Brown, Reporter
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” 2015 marks the 10th year of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” FX’s black comedy sitcom about broke, selfish owners of a decrepit Philadelphia bar.
The series evolved from a camcorder-shot pilot to an award-winning cult favorite, acting as a younger, more cynical generation’s Seinfeld. The group’s – also known as “The Gang” — comedic chemistry has only improved in its 10 seasons, and supporting actors Olson and DeVito have become indispensable ingredients in the highly effective – and often volatile – mix that is “Always Sunny.”
If you’ve enjoyed “Always Sunny” in the past, you’ll be pleased to find that this 10th season seems to continue the trend established in the previous nine years to constantly improve, chase ambitious concepts and push the envelope comedically.
In the four episodes released so far, the first featured a bizarre airborne drinking contest, and the second and third unravelled Glenn Howerton’s Dennis’ psyche even further, pushing him from creepy to downright frightening.
The fourth, and most recent, is undoubtedly the highlight of the season so far.
“Charlie Work” features a virtuoso, manic performance from Charlie Day and a truly impressive feat of technical parody as the showrunners provide their take on True Detective’s famous tracking shot.
The episode follows Day’s Charlie as he wrangles the other members of The Gang and the city health inspector in an attempt to not only save the bar, but to swindle a food company out of 4 thousand steaks. The jokes in this episode are delivered in an incredibly effective way.
Taking advantage of the cyclical nature of Charlie’s preparations and scheming, the writers embed jokes at various stages in the plot and reveal them in ways that are incredibly satisfying.
It’s yet another ambitious, envelope-pushing concept and performance, and in a manner we’ve come to expect from Always Sunny, the crew nails it. The show somehow manages to improve with the passing years as its competitors in the sitcom genre seem to be increasingly short-lived. “
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” looks as sunny as ever in its old age, and with the 11th and 12th seasons on order, doesn’t look to be dying off any time soon.
Broadchurch Chris Chibnall’s moody murder mystery in the first season of “Broadchurch” was so successful as a self-contained tale of woe, it received an emphatically lukewarm American remake. It also guaranteed itself another season to line the coffers of ITV after becoming an obsession in Britain, winning universal praise from critics and the general public alike in 2013.
Chibnall, the writer who cut his television teeth on work for BBC on such shows as Doctor Who, weaves an intricate, intimate yet epic story of sorrow and anger in “Broadchurch,” where the residents of the titular village must come to terms with an unimaginable tragedy. Along with this emotional storytelling, however, Chibnall cleverly mixes elements of cop drama and a whodunit reminiscent of Agatha Christie.
The result is a deeply affecting and highly effective cop drama that transcends the genre so completely that calling it a “cop drama” at all seems like a misnomer. Yet its main characters are a policewoman and a policeman, portrayed by Olivia Colman and David Tennant, respectively, and concerns their professional reactions to the events that unfold.
The first season was so instantly iconic, and set such a formidable tone with its stark cinematography, otherworldly soundtrack and uniformly brilliant acting, that one is tempted to dismiss this second season out of hand.
How could it possibly attain to the heights reached by its predecessor? After all, in this humble reporter’s opinion, “Broadchurch’s” first season is a virtually perfect show. The sad truth is, that measured against the brilliant first season, “Broadchurch” season two as it stands so far, with half of the episodes aired in Britain, is just not on par with the first’s brilliance. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, and it shouldn’t really detract from the second season either.
I’ll keep the following as vague as possible, the show really is best viewed spoiler free, and the new season won’t be broadcast in America until March. “Broadchurch” season two moves beyond the initial setting that made the first so compelling. It transitions to a two-branched story composed of a courtroom drama dealing with the aftermath of the first tragedy and a retrospective investigation into the investigators’ own personal and professional demons.
At times, this split narrative stretches the edges of audience attention and suspense of disbelief, and it’s mainly in this regard that season two falls short of one’s brilliance. With their attention divided, and without an immediately relevant link between the two stories, it’s hard for the viewer to invest themselves as completely as they did in the first. But that’s not to say, by any means, that Broadchurch’s second season is a poor show.
On the contrary, I consider this season to be really excellent. It brings on more incredible actors and characters, and is still a well-written and beautifully shot work of art. The second season does, however, have the misfortune to follow perfection. And while it’s disappointing in a way that it couldn’t quite attain that, it’s not surprising, and shouldn’t discourage anyone who loved the first from watching