Great News is the best show on Netflix. Why was it cut down in its prime

Tina Fey is heartbroken that her sizzlingly witty cable news sitcom was axed when it was firing on all cylinders, and I couldn’t agree more. We must get Netflix to bring it back

In a recent interview to commemorate the end of the Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, its co-creators, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, touched on the premature cancellation of their other series, Great News. “That is a heartbreak,” said Fey, “because Tracey Wigfield was really firing on all cylinders running that show and that cast were delightful and so funny and we could’ve done that show for seven seasons and it would’ve stayed consistently funny.”

Heartbreak is so right. Because now I’m trapped in a Great News purgatory, watching its 23 episodes over and over again on Netflix. Why? Because I like it? Because I can’t bear to say goodbye? Because I hope that my repeated viewing will somehow trigger a switch at Netflix HQ that gets it recommissioned? Yes to all the above.

I love Great News. It’s a slightly slower 30 Rock, a Kimmy Schmidt that comes with the added benefit of internal logic. It’s a show set behind the scenes of a cable news network, coming right at the point in time when cable news is eating itself. It has, in Andrea Martin, one of the all-time great sitcom performances. It is tremendous, and I love it, and I’d happily sell my kidneys to Netflix if it meant we got new episodes.

Like 30 Rock, Great News is only tangentially about the television industry. Instead, it’s a zippy exploration of workplace power structures. Adam Campbell (from basically everything, but most recently Kimmy Schmidt) plays the executive producer of a show called The Breakdown. John Michael Higgins and Nicole Richie play Chuck and Portia, the anchors, respectively an absurd blowhard and a canny millennial. Briga Heelan plays a segment producer and Andrea Martin plays her mother, an intern.

And this is what makes Great News so special. A 72-year-old Tony award-winner who never quite got the acclaim she deserved on television, Martin lunges at her role and boots it to a steaming pulp. It is a performance of total, unquestioning comic commitment. It’s a stage-honed, seat-rattling howl of a turn. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. In one episode she does more with one line – “Give her an interview as a personal favour to my fist” – than most actors have achieved in their entire careers. The material fits her perfectly. Ask me to give you my top 10 reasons to bring back Great News, and Martin would be eight of them. I’m simply not finished watching her yet.

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