Bored to Death: Season 1

Rated 3.0

Jonathan Ames’ shaggy-dog HBO comedy series Bored to Death returns for a second season on September 26, so let’s hope that the writer/raconteur has a settled on a direction for this promising show. The first season was fitfully entertaining but too ramshackle to succeed, and was often barely held together by its high-concept premise and the odd-couple ensemble of Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zack Galifianakis. Schwartzman plays Jonathan Ames, a struggling writer and slowly recovering alcoholic (he’s down to just white wine) whose live-in girlfriend moves out in the series’ opening scene. Despondent and directionless, he places a Craigslist ad as an “unlicensed private detective,” and tentatively begins a side career as a bumbling, would-be Philip Marlowe. This eight-episode offering has its moments, but you hope it’s just the groundwork for a much-improved sophomore season.