Hacks is back for season 2. The popular HBO Max comedy-drama returns this week on the streamer.

Lauded for its witty writing and storylines, the show has been a hit with viewers and critics alike and it won Jean Smart an Emmy. And as they told us, the reviews don’t go unnoticed by the cast. 

The series follows the ins and outs of the relationship (both boss-employee and mentor-mentee) between Deborah Vance (Smart), a legendary Las Vegas comic, and entitled, outcast 25-year-old comedy writer Ava (Einbinder).

Shadow and Act spoke with Smart, Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Megan Stalter and Mark Indelicato, as well as co-creator Paul W. Downs about the new season and more.

On the critical praise of the show being unexpected but hoped for and why the show has registered well with viewers

The legendary Smart has several popular credits under her belt, including the recent HBO Max successful drama series, Mare of Easttown. With so many years in the business, she admits that the critical acclaim has been a confidence booster. 

“You tell yourself that reviews don’t matter and things like that,” she told us. “But the fact that the show got critical acclaim and acclaim from the audience, the fans, was just more than we could have hoped for and the nominations and everything and it just was great and I just was so proud of everybody in the show and on the show and the crew and everybody deserved every good thing that was appreciated about the show. It was more than was just more than I dared hope for.”

Clemons-Hopkins plays the role of Marcus and says the reason the show has been a success is because it’s relatable. “It’s a world filled with flawed human beings interacting with each other and comedy and sometimes drama ensues. And that is so like life,” they told us. “And so I think viewers enjoy seeing the representation of life and its ups and downs and everything in between all at the same time, because that’s kind of how it goes. I think any audience likes to see things like this. Some type of pressing through that they can both identify with but also be entertained by.”

Watch the interviews below: