Another new show? It's like television is some sort of show-making industry or something! With so much new stuff on the tube, you can't watch everything. That's why we're here, to help you decide which new shows are worth your precious time. Today's subject is HBO's Veep, and we've already seen the first episode. Which brings us to the question of the day: Should you watch?
What's the show, and when can I watch it?
Veep premieres Sunday, April 22 at 10pm on HBO. You can also watch the first episode online the day after it airs, even if you don't have HBO—we'll have it available here on TV.com.
Who's in it?
The main draw here is Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), who's making her TV comeback. But Veep boasts a surprisingly great ensemble cast. Anna Chlumsky—yep, THE girl from the 1991 film My Girl—is all grown up; Reid Scott (My Boys) has cut his hair and is looking appropriately untrustworthy for his part; longtime improv genius Matt Walsh is finally getting a chance to shine in a regular role; and Tony Hale (Arrested Development's Buster) is back in a role that's perfect for him. Newcomer Timothy Simons will be all over the place soon.
Who created the show?
You may not know the name, but you should. Armando Iannucci is the Brit behind Veep, and political humor is familiar territory for him. He created the BBC series The Thick of It, a British political comedy series that Veep is loosely based on. He also wrote the film In the Loop, which was a spin-off of The Thick of It.
What's it all about?
JLD plays Vice President Selina Meyer, a former Senator who's not quite equipped for the job of second in command. She's surrounded by her Chief of Staff (Chlumsky), press secretary (Walsh), and bodyguard/gofer (Hale), none of whom exhibit any sense of political savvy. It's a scathing look at the political machine, and it's full of awkward moments, ladder-climbing, and passing the buck.
Who is this show for?
Fans of smart, silly comedies (Arrested Development comes to mind) will appreciate Veep's complete approach to comedy where subtle meets overt. Veep may be political, but it isn't politically correct.
What are the good parts?
The performances are outstanding. Louis-Dreyfus is in top form, but it's the supporting cast that caught my eye. Who knew Chlumsky could be so funny? Scott also steals a lot of scenes as a slimy youngster backstabbing his way up the food chain. Despite its government-based subject matter, there's a lot of relatable humor because the show functions as a workplace comedy. One key—and hilarious—plot point involves passing around a condolence card for signatures, something anyone who has worked in an office has been a part of. Veep's ability to ground such a mysterious work environment is what makes it work so well.
What's not-so-good about it?
Veep doesn't hold your hand at all and jumps right into things, throwing characters at you without any set-up. It'll take a re-watch just to figure out who half the characters are and where they fit into the political hierarchy, so if you're not a patient TV watcher who's willing to focus, you might want to pass.
So what's the final verdict?
Veep in 2012! This is one of HBO's better original comedies, and even after one episode it looks like it's already in full stride. The flawed characters are fantastic, the pacing is fast, and the subject matter is a comedy goldmine. This is one of those comedies that's funnier the second time around. I've already set up the season pass on my DVR.
You got a sample?
Indeed I do!
Will you take our advice and check out Veep?