The second season of “Shrill” does the kind of thing that only top-shelf shows can do successfully, which is pick up immediately where the first season left off (as in, literally the moment the last season ended) and keep going as though there was no interruption, and somehow manages to improve on the first season along the way. Mind you, the first season didn’t exactly need much improvement because it arrived fully-formed, but it’s interesting how this season manages to do an entirely satisfying deeper dive into its characters and their dynamics, moving away from plot-heavy machinations and focusing instead on how life’s changes impact Aidy Bryant’s Annie and her relationship with her surroundings. It gives the entire season a ‘slice of life’ feel that’s perfectly pleasant and consistent without being trivial or insignificant, while also giving the first-rate supporting cast a number of chances to shine. In particular, John Cameron Mitchell finally gets a chance to deploy his considerable chops as the icy Gabe who must confront his own vulnerabilities (and also delivers an electric, unplugged performance of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”), while late-season additions E.R. Fightmaster and Illeana Douglas show up to steal scenes left and right. It’s awesome that these 8 episodes join the first season’s 6 as though they were all part of the same arc, which makes the whole show feel like a consistent, emotionally satisfying and occasionally laugh-out-loud-funny miniseries instead of a fragmented, multi-year effort.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)