Catch-22 is brilliant, funny and tragic

Hulu’s original series based on Josh Heller’s anti-war novel is as close to a masterpiece as it gets. The show is a fantastic marriage of captivating tragedies and war-based comedy akin to M*A*S*H.

No spoilers will be given, but the show follows a character named Yo-Yo. He is an bombardier with the Air Force during the war against Germany. A series of unlucky happenstances lead him through an endless race to finish his missions and get home. Christopher Abbott plays a compelling lead. Yo-Yo is a nervous and reluctant soldier whose actions are sometimes perceived as cowardice. He is, however, the best conduit for the viewer to see how much is lost and given in war. Whether it be losing friends, getting lost in the system or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

George Clooney’s aggressive and ubiquitous Scheisskopf is great. It is a different style of role for Clooney, much more separate from his suave and collected characters. He is also the executive producer on the show who came to Hulu in hopes to adapt the novel into a series. Hugh Laurie (House) also plays a great and comedic role in the series. The book was made into a film back in 1970. The film received great acclaim and starred Alan Arkin in the centric role.

The whole supporting cast is quite exceptional. There is very little need for improvement. The show stealers, though, are Jordan Chandler and Daniel David Stewart. Chandler (Friday Night Lights and Bloodline) plays the insecure and overcompensating Cathcart. An externally stern yet internally fragile Colonel in charge of Yo-Yo’s base. Stewart plays Milo Minderbinder, a soldier turned mess officer that works his way up to owning and controlling a trade syndicate for the base. His fast-talking and highly likeable outlook make him one the the show’s brightest points.

The show finds a way to draw natural comedy from the tragic real-life situations that soldiers face while telling a deeply moving story of self preservation and discovery. George Clooney directs a good chunk of the episodes, as well, and brings us a real treat. A socially aware drama that deals with politics, friendships, death and human nature. I highly recommend this show.

What did you think of Catch-22? What other Hulu originals do you enjoy?

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