Television is better than ever. The path from Dragnet and The Dick Van Dyke Show to Breaking Bad and Transparent was winding, even excruciatingly so at times. We’ll forgive and forget Small Wonder, but hey, we made it. Sophisticates who once leveled their berets and turned up their noses at sitcoms now relish in the contemplative, serio-drama of Louie. Serialized, character-driven stories replaced case-of-the-week nonsense. With Oscar-winning actors in tow, even wacky soap operas like Empire are prestige. The boob tube is now the glean screen. (OK, I'm still working on that one.)
But maybe TV's a little too smart? For anyone who's been lectured to on the cinematic camerawork of Halt and Catch Fire, been binge-shamed because they only made it to Mozart in the Jungle episode seven ("it gets better!"), comes FX's Baskets, a viciously goofball comedy where The Hangover's Zach Galifianakis cannonballs into TV's changing tides. His character, Chip Baskets, is a struggling clown with no sense of how the real world functions. Baskets presents itself like a snarling hybrid of Between Two Ferns, Jacques Tati's Playtime, and The Wonder Years. It's 100% bizarre and knowingly unlikable.