“Barry,” the wonderful series on HBO, is back for a second season, and it hasn’t lost a step. Bill Hader is marvelously contained as a hitman who decides that his real calling is to be an actor, and Henry Winkler steals every scene he’s in as his narcissistic acting teacher. The best thing about the show is its deadpan consideration of the difference between good and evil … at one point in the show, Barry asks a man who has asked him to commit murder if he is evil, and the man responds, “Of course you’re evil. Don’t I tell you that enough?”

Could evil be in the eyes of the beholder? Is real, personal change actually possible? All hard questions, and at the heart of “Barry” on HBO - terrific television at its best.



“Billions” is back. Thank goodness. If you’ve never watched the Showtime series with Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis as battling titans in New York City - one a prosecutor, the other a gazillionaire investor - you need to start at the beginning, and keep going, as the show gets more twisty and intriguing and better written and acted with every season.

It is worth a binge - terrific TV.



I finally caught up with Bohemian Rhapsody the other evening, and I guess the best I can say is that it was perfectly fine that I waited to watch it at home instead of rushing out to the movie theater.

Bohemian Rhapsody essentially is a biopic about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, and Rami Malek is terrific in the role, though I’d argue that the script lets him down a bit - it is sort of a paint-by-numbers approach to a film biography that left me wishing for something a little more innovative and involving.

There have been some complaints about the film’s inaccuracies, but they didn’t bother me … maybe because, not being a Queen fan, I was largely oblivious to them. I don’t worry about such thing s much - there’s a difference between a photograph and a painting, and I always think of films based on real events as being the latter. I’m more interested in emotional truth than objective accuracy.

In addition to Malek’s superb performance, and that of Lucy Boynton as his longtime love - which created a lot of personal conflicts since Mercury increasingly was in touch with his homosexuality - I was perhaps most surprised by how many of the songs I knew. Maybe, without knowing it, I was more of a Queen fan than I realized.



Two wines to recommend this week:

• the 2017 Justin Monmousseau Vouvray, which is bright, not to sweet, and drinkable on its own and with a nice light meal.

• the Bruni Vermentino, a delicious white Tuscan wine that tastes like peach - perfect as the weather gets warmer.



That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

Sláinte!!