‘Master Of None’ is even better in Season 2
The first season of Master Of None, the thoughtful Netflix comedy starring Aziz Ansari and created by Ansari and Alan Yang, was one of the best pieces of comedy-drama to come out in 2015. Now, about a year and a half later, they’re back with a second season that is even better, more ambitious, more creative and more moving than the first run was.
Ansari plays Dev, an actor who left New York at the end of the first season to get away from a breakup with his girlfriend Rachel (Noel Wells). When Season 2 begins, Dev has been in Italy for some time, looking at new scenery and learning to make pasta. He’s been making friends, too.
I would say more about the first of the 10 new episodes that dropped on Friday morning, but one of the sublime pleasures of the series in its second season is that the episodes are formally surprising, experimenting with style and structure in ways that never seem like quirkiness for its own sake, but like decisions made in order to underline what’s happening thematically. For instance, one midseason episode focuses on characters you wouldn’t expect to spend so much time with, not merely because it brings something fresh (though that’s true), but because it acknowledges and thus reduces the solipsism that can come through in a series that does nothing but examine in closer and closer detail one man’s journeys through the city with his pals. By the very act of making that episode, the show contextualizes Dev differently, as a man who is engaging and entertaining, but who is surrounded by people in New York who are just as interesting and significant as he is. It makes the focus on him explicitly arbitrary, at some level. It makes him seem smaller, more fragile, and more at the mercy of a much bigger world.
But perhaps the best thing about this second season is its steady reliance on the episode as the unit of television. As television has started to…