In its first four seasons on HBO, Veep stood tall among other half-hour comedies. No other show was sharper, smarter, or meaner, and the team nocking the arrows pointed directly at America’s absurd political system was led by Armando Iannucci, the satire master responsible for Veep’s U.K. predecessor The Thick of It.
The fifth season, debuting on Sunday, is the first without Iannucci at the helm, and the main concern among Veep fans was whether or not the show would be the same without its fearless leader. But all those worried can rest assured. In the switch to new showrunner David Mandel (Curb Your Enthusiasm), the state of Veep is strong.
Action picks up the day after last season’s calamitous electoral tie, which left Selina Meyer’s presidential future in question. A too-close-to-call scenario in Nevada has the team scrambling in a last-ditch effort to make the former veep’s presidency more than a historical footnote.
One of the great strengths of the series has been the writers’ ability to play to the strength of their cast. The show is at its manic best when a room is packed with loud, opinionated voices, all trying to be heard and protect their jobs; in season 5, the story pivots to bring the core group back together. To that end, one of last season’s MVPs, Sam Richardson’s never-not-funny Richard Splett is back with a very welcome, beefed-up role. And it just so happens that Amy (Anna Chlumsky) and Dan (Reid Scott) also manage to find a way back into the fold.
Sure, it takes a little political yada yada yada-ing, but who really cares when the move brings them within firing range of Jonah? A-