“Brockmire” – The Top 25 Programs of 2017, No. 8

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Hank Azaria has been turning in dynamite performances on many different TV series and in movies for decades – though he is probably best known for his vocal talents on The Simpsons, where he has given voice to such characters as Kwik-E-Mart manager Apu, bartender Moe Szyslak and police chief Wiggum, among many others.  In IFC’s unashamedly adult comedy Brockmire his marvelous voice is once again the star (or, at least, the co-star).  He plays the title character -- a hard-drinking veteran superstar sportscaster who fell from grace after learning that his wife had been unfaithful to him and suffered a very public breakdown (complete with profanities that would make Susie Essman blush) and is now finding tentative redemption (or at least a second shot at a career) as the announcer of a hardscrabble minor league baseball team in a small, economically depressed Pennsylvania town.

Azaria is predictably terrific in the lead role, and Amanda Peet (above right) is a revelation as the team’s owner, Jules James, who takes on the rehabilitation of Jim Brockmire as her latest passion project.  Former Disney XD personality Tyrel Jackson Williams (pictured below) comes close to stealing the show as sweetly hyper-competent Gen Z tech wiz Charles, who is happily introducing Brockmire to the wonders of the digital age.

Azaria famously created the character of Jim Brockmire in a short video called Gamechangers on Funny or Die, later expanding it (in tandem with series creator Joel Church-Cooper) into this modest gem of a series.  He has said that his character’s voice was inspired by listening to New York-area baseball announcers on the radio when he was a kid.

Those of us who did the same have to agree:  Brockmire is a low-budget, high-impact home run.

Previously in the Top 25 Programs of 2017

American Vandal -- No. 9  

The Long Road Home -- No. 10

Ozark -- No. 11

Dear White People -- No. 12

The Middle -- No. 13

Godless -- No. 14

Crosswalk the Musical -- No. 15

South Park -- No. 16

Days of Our Lives -- No. 17

Dancing with the Stars -- No. 18

Carrie Underwood's Performance at the CMA Awards -- No. 19

House Hunters and All Things HGTV -- No. 20 

Project Runway -- No. 21

Live with Kelly and Ryan -- No. 22

Tosh.0 --No. 23

The Graham Norton Show-- No. 24

The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- No. 25

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