What defines comedy? Outside of traditional network sitcoms such as ABC’s current smash hit Abbott Elementary, premium cable and streaming services long toyed with the boundaries of what makes a comedy. For example, HBO’s Barry‘s status as a dark comedy (we’re talking pitch black) still works as its sense of humor works for many. FX’s Atlanta‘s third season seeks a more surrealist comedy slant. Hulu’s The Great takes an absurdist approach to his vaguely biographical tale of Catherine the Great. So, with the advent of two recent HBO Max series — Hacks and The Flight Attendant — we look at what makes a comedy series work. When can it stray from traditional laughs to discuss deeper, more emotionally resonant topics? And when does that dramatic turn go too far?
As always, we close with the Flash Forward to the media we’re most anticipating in the upcoming week.
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