Barry can be seen through HBO and HBO On-Demand.

Bill Hader is one of the most inventive comedic actors working today. From his excellent turn on SNL in the early 2000s to his love letter to non-fiction Documentary Now!, which was an anthology that parodied a different type of documentary filmmaking each episode. Hader has also provided voices for South Park and the most recent Pixar Films. It is safe to say his comedic range stretches pretty wide.

But in Barry, Hader teams up with Alec Berg for perhaps his best work yet. Following a hitman, Barry (Hader) who is tasked with taking out an L.A actor. Barry tails the actor only to fall in love with an acting class lead by Gene Cousineau, played excellently by Henry Winkler. Barry decides to try and leave the hitman job to pursue an acting career, but obviously it isn't that simple.

Though this premise has been touched on before in work such as George Clooney's film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, This HBO original show really takes a unique approach to every aspect of the show. First of all the comedic style can be absurd, dry, dark and blatant all in the space of one episode and none of these comedic beats feel out of place. Bill Hader's performance is almost emotionless, there isn't a single scene where the weight and implications of being a trained murderer are seen in Hader's face. Though this subtle reserved performance is a perfect fish out of water character while Barry is surrounded by emotional and needy L.A. Actors. Though one of the best performances in the show is from Stephen Root who plays Barry's mentor Fuches, who convincingly switches between intimidating and a sniffling idiot within moments of each other. It is a multi-layered performance that provides some fantastic comedic moments as well as never letting the audience know exactly where Fuches stands and whether he is just playing the people around him for his own gain.

Barry strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama. It would have been easy to just make a ridiculous comedy about a hitman wanting to be an actor. But though inherently a comedy, Hader and Berg take the premise incredibly seriously. There are real stakes in Barry, every action having a series of consequences. Berg comes from directing episodes of Silicon Valley so he knows how to create impactful endings for comedic shows. However so of the episodes are directed by Hiro Murai, who is known for directing Atlanta and the recent Childish Gambino video "This is America."  Murai is no stranger to comedic drama. In fact one of his directorial efforts in Barry, 'Chapter 6: Listen with your ear, react with your face', ends with an action sequence that would rival some of the best Breaking Bad cliff-hangers.

The action really helps sell Barry, though rarely known for dramatic performances, Hader fits right at home as a cold killer. All of the on-screen action is shot with beautiful intensity, often not letting you breathe between gunshots. The show doesn't give characters plot armour either, there is a really sense of danger for every single person on the show. From the first episode, the show kills off a comedic character without blinking an eye. From then on, tension is infused into every moment of the show, whether it be a shootout or a rendition of "Macbeth".

The show isn't perfect, some of the comedy doesn't land and one or two episodes are a little less interesting than the rest. But often the comedy comes from natural character dialogue and sometimes the funniest joke in an episode can be as subtle as a look from one character to another. The point is despite a minimal number of flaws, Barry is surprising, ambitious and creative, it is something TV comedy should strive to be. Though the idea has been touched upon, I'd struggle to think of a show that is anywhere close to the tone and scope of Barry. It simultaneously can tell a story of how desolate the LA acting scene can be as well as the whole series being a character study of someone coping with PTSD. The two worlds come colliding together but strangely, the actors are less affected by the collision than Barry himself. Perhaps commentary on the L.A. bubble and how self-absorbed people can ignore the truth around them. In this case not only is their acting class pretty inconsequential and their acting coach a moron, but there is literally a killer amongst them and it barely changes their routine.

This is the success of Barry, creating incredibly recognisable characters and a real set of stakes. Other serial comedies can often trade plot consequence for more comedy and jokes, but Barry lets the excellent comedy take a backseat to the story it is telling. Still consistently funny throughout, Barry doesn't let that get in the way of important or meaningful moments. In fact some scenes can be surprisingly harrowing for a comedy. It is definitely one of the best shows in a year of truly great television.