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If you’ve ever watched a heavyweight fight where the champ roars out of the corner and proceeds to go bat-shit crazy on the stunned opponent in a vicious display of brutality masquerading as making a point — well, then, you know a little about the first episode of the fifth season of HBO’s Veep.
There are so many brilliant comedies on television these days — real, laugh-out-loud comedies, not just wonderful little dramedies with droll humor to offset the bleakness — that it’s getting ever more difficult to crown a king/queen. Part of that is that comedy, whether you hate the saying or not, really is subjective and prone to your personal sense of what’s funny or not. Dramas tend to be more agreed-upon among the masses, while comedies are like favorite bands/artists.
Air date: Apr 24, 2016
But in a year when Louie won’t air — and along with HBO stablemate Silicon Valley, those are arguably Veep‘s biggest competitors — a lot of hilarious comedies will be duking it out over the course of 2016. In addition to Silicon Valley, which premieres on Sunday alongside Veep (and is exceptional), you’ve got broadcast stalwarts like Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Blackish (and Modern Family); Amazon’s Catastrophe, which has already made an incredible impression in its second season; the streamer’s Red Oaks to follow sometime later this year; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which just launched its second season on Netflix (Aziz Ansari’s Master of None won’t air a second season on that platform until 2017); FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer and the yet-to-air third season of You’re the Worst; plus the upcoming second season of Casual on Hulu, and whatever other freshman surprises lurk out there heretofore unknown.
It’s crazy competitive.
Beyond that, season 5 of Veep marks the inaugural year when creator and legendarily funny person Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In the Loop) is billed as a consultant and the show soldiers on without him. Add to that the fact that, even with comedies, 5 years old is long in the tooth in these days of Peak TV, and you’ve got issues.
Unless you don’t. At all. And not even for a second.
Veep‘s first episode this season is a whirlwind of genius — hilarious, angry, spot-on, searing, relentless — that ends up being a wonderfully exhausting throwdown to every other comedy out there. Veep is saying that its got both hands on the crown, and despite masterful turns by both Catastrophe and Silicon Valley, it plans on keeping them both firmly on the crown.
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Timothy Simons, Kevin Dunn, Matt Walsh, Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Reid Scott, Sam Richardson
Created by: Armando Iannucci
Showrunner: David Mandel
Airs: Sundays, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (HBO)
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