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Better Things

FX and Pamela Adlon offer a tremendously insightful comedy.

Better Things FX
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

Pamela Adlon has long been one of TV’s secret weapons. Her mere presence has lent everything from King of the Hill to Louie a welcome shot of acidic wit. But the hazy, lovely FX comedy Better Things demonstrates just how much Adlon has always been one of the medium’s sharpest, wittiest minds.

The actress, who also created and directed every episode in seasons two and three, is terrific as Sam, a mother of three who’s forging an acting career on the fringes of show business. And her three daughters, ranging in age from tween to college freshman, nicely display how rewarding — not to mention exhausting and terrifying — parenting can be.

In season two and the recently launched season three, the show has gone from very good to one of TV’s best. It’s both beautiful and ambitious, with plenty of laughs to go around even as it tells big stories about aging, family, and even ghosts.

“Everything about Better Things feels personal, and yet somehow vastly relatable to anyone who has ever loved a child, agonized over a difficult parent, endured an unsatisfying job, or wondered whether pushing their own personal rock up the hill yet again was really worth it.” Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

Metacritic score: 95 out of 100

Where to watch: New episodes of Better Things air Thursdays at 10 pm Eastern on FX. The first two seasons are streaming on Hulu.

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