BoJack Horseman’s third season hit Netflix last weekend and it features all the intricate comedy and morose misanthropy fans have come to expect. It doesn’t, however, quite live up to the excellence of its second season, offering fewer big laughs and an increasingly unlikeable protagonist. But will this serve the show better in the long run?
In many ways, BoJack Horseman sits at the intersection of two of Netflix’s earliest ‘original’ series: House of Cards and the fourth season of Arrested Development. On the one hand, it’s a deep dive into a stern and egotistical protagonist’s battles with power. On the other, it’s a dizzyingly ambitious sitcom stuffed with visual puns, elaborate in-jokes and showbiz satire. If you haven’t seen the show, that might sound like an odd combination — particularly in the context of a universe largely populated by talking animals. But one of the best things about the show is how effectively it balances familiar shades of light and dark.
By playing with (and sometimes rejecting) the conventions of TV’s recent ‘golden age’, BoJack’s third season isn’t so much a step down or a step forward, but a smart recognition of the challenges that faced its forebears and an attempt to avoid them in the future.