What I Watched This Week: 13 Sep 2020

NEW SHOWS
The Boys – “We Gotta Go Now” (A)
Homelander was terrifying on his own. But now that he’s teamed up with Stormfront, that’s white supremacist terrorism with superpowers. Yikes.

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Emmy Guide 2020: Limited Series and TV Movies

LIMITED SERIES
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Mrs. America (Hulu)
Unbelievable (Netflix)
Unorthodox (Netflix)
Watchmen (HBO)

Should and will win: Watchmen
Could win: Mrs. America
Should have been nominated: Briarpatch (USA)

The skinny: It’s not quite Watchmen all the way down. (We’ll get to that in a moment.) But 2019’s best show is going to have awards rain down like baby squid.

It’s too bad that even though these categories have fewer nominees than the comedy or drama fields that Briarpatch couldn’t pick up a single nomination.

ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Jeremy Irons, Watchmen
Hugh Jackman, Bad Education
Paul Mescal, Normal People
Jeremy Pope, Hollywood
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Should and will win: Hugh Jackman
Could win: Mark Ruffalo
Should have been nominated: Nick Offerman, Devs

The skinny: While I had long that Ruffalo would walk away with this for his dual role, it now seems like Jackman is going to win, and deservedly so. It’s his best on-screen performance.

ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America
Shira Haas, Unorthodox
Regina King, Watchmen
Octavia Spencer, Self Made
Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere

Should and will win: Regina King
Could win: Cate Blanchett
Should have been nominated: Rosario Dawson, Briarpatch

The skinny: It wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if Blanchett won for her humanizing portrayal of Phyllis Schlafly, but if anyone other than King wins, there will be gasps across America. She’s the best part of the best show.

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Emmy Guide 2020: Comedy and Variety

COMEDY SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Dead to Me (Netflix)
The Good Place (NBC)
Insecure (HBO)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Should and will win: Schitt’s Creek
Could win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should have been nominated: The Great (Hulu)

The skinny: It’s been a long time coming. While it’s sad The Good Place never got its due, Schitt’s Creek was the warmest, most open show on TV for six seasons. It will be a night of worthy sweeps.

While I was glad to see What We Do in the Shadows get some love, it’s sad The Great didn’t get the same attention.

COMEDY ACTOR
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Should win: Ted Danson
Could win: Ramy Youssef
Will win: Eugene Levy
Should have been nominated: Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm

The skinny: While I still think Danson should have won for giving the evil Michael a soul (metaphorically and literally), Levy is almost certain to win. As the straight man in the ensemble, he doesn’t have as many chances for memorable catchphrases and moments, but he’s been one of the funniest people on earth for decades. It’s time.

COMEDY ACTRESS
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish

Should and will win: Catherine O’Hara
Could win: Rachel Brosnahan
Should have been nominated: Elle Fanning, The Great

The skinny: It seemed like she was close last year. This year, nothing is standing in the way of the great Moira Rose.

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Emmy Guide 2020: Drama

DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Ozark (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Succession (HBO)

Should win: Better Call Saul
Could win: Ozark
Will win: Succession
Should have been nominated: Mindhunter (Netflix)

The skinny: Even though it’s been nearly a year since Succession has last aired a new episode, it feels like it has all the momentum. Chalk that up to a lackluster season from The Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones ending, but it’s clearly the frontrunner. Ozark has also been steadily building its case over the past two ceremonies, and its eligible season will be fresher in voters’ minds.

But for all their strengths, they pale in comparison to Better Call Saul, which just wrapped its best season to date. A thrilling, daring expansion of its themes of interior rot.

DRAMA ACTOR
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Steve Carell, The Morning Show
Brian Cox, Succession
Billy Porter, Pose
Jeremy Strong, Succession

Should win: Brian Cox
Could win: Billy Porter
Will win: Jeremy Strong
Should have been nominated: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

The skinny: While Porter could no doubt win again (and use his acceptance speech to call out the Academy for ignoring his trans co-stars), it seems it’s down to the father-son duo of Succession. Cox is a long-respected actor of stage and screen, but he hasn’t won a major award since an Emmy 20 years ago. I’m giving the slight edge to Strong, who’s been an exceptional That Guy until this show came along.

But I’m still not sure how they could forget Bob Odenkirk, who somehow got even better in his 10th year playing this part.

DRAMA ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Laura Linney, Ozark
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Zendaya, Euphoria

Should win: Sandra Oh
Could win: Jennifer Aniston
Will win: Laura Linney
Should have been nominated: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

The skinny: This one’s gonna be a nail-biter. With Moss shockingly snubbed (whatever you think about this season of Handmaid’s Tale, Moss is still acting her ass off), it’s down to Linney and Aniston. The former, who already has four Emmys, is now clearly the lead of the show, getting even more deeply involved with the family’s illegal dealings. But the latter is still beloved, at least judging by her SAG win for a show that’s otherwise received mixed reviews. She won what seems like a lifetime ago for Friends, but seeing as that show’s remained in the public consciousness all this time, that can only help her. Still, I’m sticking to my guns, but I may regret that come Monday.

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What I Watched This Week: 6 Sep 2020

NEW SHOWS
The Boys – “Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men” (A)
A deeply fucked-up hour-plus, as some characters get a brief moment of tenderness before having the rug pulled out from under them again. Few, if any, comic book adaptations have this level of character depth.

CURRENT SHOWS
The Boys
“The Big Ride” (B+) / season premiere
“Proper Preparation and Planning” (A-)
“Nothing Like It in the World” (A)
The first two episodes feel like table-setting, but by the third episode, it’s even more gleefully depraved and cynical than its darkly satirical first season. I think this show is going to take the leap.

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What I Watched This Week: 30 Aug 2020

REWATCH
The Simpsons – Season 5 (A- average)
Fewer absolute classics this season, but still in the middle of the show’s prime. “Cape Feare” remains the show’s best Sideshow Bob episode.

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Streaming Picks: September 2020

FILMS
Top Picks
The Bank Job – Hulu and Prime 9/1
I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Netflix 9/4
If you haven’t seen Roger Donaldson’s excellent heist movie, it’s a hidden gem. And it’s a bit smarter than your typical Jason Statham movie. To say much more would give away its many delicious secrets.

Charlie Kaufman hasn’t made a live-action movie in more than a decade. Creatively bankrupt studios just don’t want to give him modest sums of money for his distinctly bizarre tales. Enter Netflix, who was willing to pony up the cash for his adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel about a strained couple’s trip to meet the man’s parents, and all the unsettling things that happen along the way.

Recent Selections
1/1 – Prime 9/1
1 Million Happy Nows – Prime 9/1
Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game – Prime 9/1
Bachelor Lions – Prime 9/1
Bitter Melon – Prime 9/1
Bully – Prime 9/1
The Dunning Man – Prime 9/1
Eaten by Lions – Prime 9/1
Enemy Within – Prime 9/1
The Festival – Prime 9/1
The Go-Getters – Prime 9/1
I’d Like to Be Alone Now – Prime 9/1
I’m Not Here – Prime 9/1
The Ring Thing – Prime 9/1
Snapshots – Prime 9/1
To Keep the Light – Prime 9/1
The Turkey Bowl – Prime 9/1
What Children Do – Prime 9/1
What If It Works? – Prime 9/1
Hell on the Border – Hulu and Prime 9/2
The Lost Okoroshi – Netflix 9/4
Awoken – Hulu 9/6
Blackbird – Prime 9/16
Babyteeth – Hulu 9/18
The Fight – Hulu 9/18
Gemini Man – Hulu and Prime 9/18
StarDog and TurboCat – Hulu 9/18
The Haunted – Hulu 9/20
The Addams Family – Hulu and Prime 9/22
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans – Hulu 9/24
Judy – Hulu and Prime 9/25
Forces of Nature – Prime 9/28
Inherit the Viper – Hulu and Prime 9/28
Trauma Center – Hulu and Prime 9/29
Welcome to Sudden Death – Netflix 9/29

Originals
La Partita – Netflix 9/1
Freaks: You’re One of Us – Netflix 9/2
Love, Guaranteed – Netflix 9/3
Dino Dana: The Movie – Prime 9/4
So Much Love to Give – Netflix 9/9
Mignonnes – Netflix 9/9
The Babysitter: Killer Queen – Netflix 9/10
Se busca papa – Netflix 9/11
The Devil All the Time – Netflix 9/16
The Paramedic – Netflix 9/16
All In: The Fight for Democracy – Prime 9/18
Enola Holmes – Netflix 9/23
The Glorias – Prime 9/30

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What I Watched This Week: 23 Aug 2020

CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
Middleditch & Schwartz (A average)
Some of the most deeply inspired lunacy I’ve ever seen on screen. Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) join forces to make long-form improv. There are a million ways this could have gone wrong, but they make it work beautifully. Netflix should make this an annual event.

BINGEING
Fargo – Season 3 (A- average)
Started off slow, paling in comparison to the previous two installments. But it morphed into a season-long meditation on pessimism vs. optimism. That last shot is critical, but I’m choosing pessimism.

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What I Watched This Week: 16 Aug 2020

BINGEING
Jonny Quest – Season 1 (B)
Only occasionally as fun as I remembered it, and a lot more racist than I remembered it. But when it’s at it’s best, it’s exhilarating, and I was a kid again.

The Singing Detective (A- average)
Starts as a clever riff on pulp novels, and ends up as a profound meditation on grief, loss and the way your memory plays tricks on you.

CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
Marc Maron: End Times Fun (B+)
What’s special about Maron as a stand-up is when he goes off on a tangent that only makes sense to him until the end when he ties it back together. This special also captured the wavering between anxiety and the “fuck it all” feeling that’s so common in Trump’s America.

Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (B)
Solid, but nothing spectacular. Patton is as lovable as always, but this isn’t his top shelf material.

Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great (A-)
Despite being filmed in 2019, really feels like it has the energy of 2020: Claiming small victories, knowing your limitations and celebrating just being alive for one more day.

REWATCH
The Simpsons – Season 4 (A average)
The show’s first truly amazing season, with “Whacking Day” as the only episode not on par with the rest of the season.

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What I Watched This Week: 9 Aug 2020

NEW SHOWS
Perry Mason – “Chapter Eight” (B+) / season finale
Checks all the boxes it needs to, with a post-script that sets up what should be an improved Season 2. But I’ll be thinking about that final scene with Matthew Rhys and Tatiana Maslany for a long time.

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