Stars: Stephen Merchant, Christine Woods, Nate Torrence, Kevin Wiseman, Kyle Mooney
The TV shows able to elicit a visceral reaction in its viewers are those that normally deal within the realms of horror/explosions. HBO's Hello Ladies is the rare comedy that will make you cringe, groan, and curl up in discomfort. If you get queasy in uncomfortable or painful situations, the debut season of this show from Ricky Gervais' BFF Stephen Merchant might very well make you throw up. Stuart Pritchard (Merchant) occupies the stereotypical Los Angeles that's full of beautiful, superficial people. His ever-spiraling misadventures in the quest for love and ass are like a swarmy Larry David fresh after reading a pick-up artist instructional manual.
Besides warping the ideals of thousands of young men, Entourage's lasting legacy was painting Los Angeles as a playground for the wealthy and the superficial. Hello Ladies takes place in this world, but instead of following around the top ballers, we're stuck, painfully, with Stuart and his lovable loser friends. And while the vicious city never quite defeats Stuart's spirits, his intentions are so intense that at times we root against this bird-like man from getting what he thinks he wants. Most shows set in L.A. use the glitz and glamor as fuel for aspiration; Hello Ladies subtly reminds us that the City of Angels is human, after all. —James Harris