Barry S3 review: Bill Hader's dark hitman comedy makes a welcome return

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Barry is a dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he reluctantly travels to Los Angeles to execute a hit on an aspiring actor. Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class and ends up finding an accepting community in a group of eager hopefuls within the LA theater scene. He wants to start a new life as an actor, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away —can he find a way to balance both worlds?
Barry is a dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a depressed, low-rent hitman. (Sky/HBO)

After an unwelcome two-year hiatus Bill Hader's dark hitman comedy Barry is back on Sky Comedy, and season three is already looking like something really special.

The series, about a soul-less assassin trying to find human connection and meaning through acting, has been one of the real comedy drama gems of the last few years.

It returns after a Covid-related break, picking up the pieces of Barry’s shattered world from the end of the last outing, the stakes are higher and the risk greater as out beloved anti-hero doesn’t know where to go.

Bill Hader is Barry. (Sky/HBO)
Bill Hader is Barry. (Sky/HBO)

The show is kind of like Grosse Point Blank meets 30 Rock and for the previous two series, we’d seen poor Barry make friends and fall in love, all the while trying to extricate himself from the contract killing world — to comically unsuccessful effect.

Read more: Everything new on Sky in April

Having come across an acting class while making a hit in LA, he was tickled by the idea of a creative art – and very interested in pursuing beautiful aspiring actress Sally.

But as pulled in by his past, it’s been a constant struggle to stay out of the game, and avoid an ever-closer police department.

Barry searches the dark web for jobs; Sally, now the creator and star of her own show, begins to feel the pressures of success; Noho Hank braves his first big test in interrogation; Gene ruminates over Fuches' crushing reveal.
Sally (Sarah Goldberg), now the creator and star of her own show, begins to feel the pressures of success. (Sky/HBO)

As his acting and drama world crumbled last year, with his acting coach Gene (the legendary Henry Winkler) discovering his protégé had killed his girlfriend, Barry doesn’t know where to go. Especially as her erstwhile handler and manipulator Fuches also seems to be out of the picture.

As his girlfriend Sally tries to scale heights with her blossoming acting career, Barry is sinking further, directionless, into his old ways, and the stakes just keep getting higher.

Bill Hader is in best form yet as his grim alter-ego struggles to resume a normalish life.

Henry Winkler as acting coach Gene Cousineau in Barry. (Sky/HBO)
Henry Winkler as acting coach Gene Cousineau in Barry. (Sky/HBO)

While Henry (the Fonz) Winkler’s dreamer acting coach turned bitter and heartbroken adversary is once again a touch of class.

Read more: New on Netflix in April

But as with every episode of this so far, it’s Anthony Carrigan’s man-of-the-match Noho Hank who steals all the lumens. His naïve, goofy and somehow still all-powerful Chechen gang boss is one of the best characters on television just now and his starting point for season three is as surprising as it is delightful.

Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank in Barry. (Sky/HBO)
Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank in Barry. (Sky/HBO)

When the supporting comedy villain outshines the SNL star lead, and The Fonz, you know you’ve got a special show on your hands. Unmissable again.

Barry is on Sky Comedy, Monday nights at 9:45pm from 25 April.

Watch: Bill Hader opens up about anxiety struggles

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