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TV Takes: ‘Get Shorty’ is one of TV’s best kept secrets

The Epix show stars Chris O’Dowd as an enforcer working for a Nevada drug dealer.
TV Takes illustration
TV Takes illustration [ LISA MERKLIN | Times ]
Published Jul. 8, 2020

Editor’s note: TV Takes is a new series in which our staffers offer their thoughts on the TV they’re watching at the moment. Not just new shows, but rediscovered favorites and decade-old shows we’re watching for the first time — anything you can stream from your couch.

Name of show: Get Shorty

When it debuted: Aug. 13, 2017

Where you can watch it: Epix

What’s it about: Remember the 1995 movie starring John Travolta and Danny DeVito? It was lousy. And because it was so bad, viewers might be inclined to overlook this loose TV adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. The series created by Davey Holmes (whose credits also include Showtime’s Shameless) has finished three seasons. It stars Chris O’Dowd as Miles Daly, an enforcer working for a small-town Nevada casino owner-drug dealer. Sean Bridgers plays his idiot partner, who wrestles with the morality of his actions one minute, and the next minute puts a bullet in someone’s head. Miles pitches his boss (Lidia Porto) on a money-laundering scheme to make a movie in Hollywood. Ray Romano stars as a washed-up producer Miles enlists. And Carolyn Dodd glows as Miles’ daughter Emma, nicknamed “Shorty.” Adam Arkin directs nearly half of the show’s 27 episodes.

Is it worth watching? Get Shorty is not a new show. But we’re going to use this space occasionally to talk about under-appreciated TV that’s worth your time now that you’ve probably exhausted every single other conceivable option during this pandemic. (You don’t have to revert to The Office and Seinfeld reruns — again. Or watch Breaking Bad for the third time. Really.) The writing of Get Shorty is sharp and funny. The ensemble cast is terrific. Romano oozes insecurity and klutzy uncertainty as film-producing hack Rick Moreweather. Each episode manages a couple of roundhouse swings at Hollywood culture. And O’Dowd is fabulous and convincing. He’s gentle toward his daughter and unforgiving if anyone stands in his way. Even most of the gangsters grow on you, especially the stoic Isaac Keys as Ed and the opportunistic Goya Robles as Yago. Critics have called this series one of TV’s best kept secrets. And it really, really is. You can find Season 1 on Netflix. The rest is available on Epix or other streaming services like Sling.