For the most part, the excellence of HBO’s “Togetherness” isn’t surprising. Co-creators Mark and Jay Duplass have a long track record with films they either wrote and directed themselves or supported in some way, Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet have lots of fine performances on their resumes, and even Mark Duplass himself has turned out to be an interesting and versatile actor as his career has evolved.
The one unknown is the man who is in many ways the reason the show exists: co-star and co-creator Steve Zissis, a longtime friend and collaborator of the brothers Duplass who hasn’t had many prominent roles outside of their films. As Alex, a talented but underemployed actor crashing on his best friend’s couch, Zissis gets to be funny, charming, and at times heartbreaking over the course of this eight-episode first season. (Four episodes have aired so far; HBO recently ordered a second season.)