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“Brockmire,” on IFC, continues to be a laugh-out loud comedy series that in its second season is deepening just a bit in terms of how it portrays its protagonist, Jim Brockmire, a broken down, alcoholic minor league baseball announcer trying desperately to get back to the big leagues.

Hank Azaria is amazing as Brockmire - funny as hell even as the character gives in to almost all his self-destructive impulses. I wrote here about the first season that "Brockmire" is alternately depraved, profane and subversive, but it also is surprisingly literate and charming - and I have no reason to adjust that assessment. My only problem with the new season is that Amanda Peet, raunchily charming in season one, has only been in the second season intermittently, and the series misses her.

However, the silver lining is that Tyrel Jackson Williams has more to do as Charles, the teenager who hates baseball but loves technology, and becomes Brockmire’s enabler in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I love “Brockmire” - it is profane, irreverent, dark, and very, very funny.

I finally caught up with a movie called Love, Simon the other night, and found it to be utterly charming - a coming-of-age and coming-out romantic comedy about a gay teenager living in the suburbs of Atlanta. The movies doesn’t really make any pretense at being realistic, but rather opts for a Ferris Bueller-style of irony. The cast is terrific, especially Nick Robinson in the title role, and they totally sell it.

We watched Love, Simon as a family the other night, and to be honest, it was with varying degrees of appreciation. But we all were in tears at one point late in the movie, during one scene with Simon and his dad (Josh Duhamel) … which I think means that we were a lot more invested in Simon’s life than we even thought.

Love, Simon at its core is a movie about how the assumptions and preconceptions that we bring to our lives often are wrong. It is charming, and, ultimately, affecting.

Longtime MNB readers know that mysteries - especially the American hard-boiled variety - are my favorite literary genre. I read a lot of stuff - a lot of nonfiction lately - but give me a terrific mystery any day. I wouldn’t even call it a guilty pleasure, because I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I love reading and often rereading the work of people like Michael Connelly, Ace Atkins, Reed Farrel Coleman, Bob Morris and, of course, Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker … at their best, they can be as piercing and evocative as any writer out there.

Which is why it is great fun to come upon a new writer working in the category - in this case, Thomas Kies, whose new novel, “Darkness Lane,” has just been published by Poison Pen Press.

Kies’ heroine is Geneva Chase, an alcoholic newspaper reporter working in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and dealing with the precipitous decline of print journalism, though not well. (Maybe this is part of the reason I liked it so much - the story takes place in my backyard, for all practical purposes, and the newspaper business is one that I’m passionate about.) When a local teenaged girl goes missing, Geneva finds herself in a unique position to cover the story - her adopted daughter was the missing girl’s best friend, and she knows most of the players personally as well as professionally. But that gives her blind spots as well as access, and she seems equally capable of making bad life choices while making good investigatory moves.

“Darkness Lane,” the second in a promised series, is solid, entertaining work, and I look forward to more from Kies.

That’s it for this week.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

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