What I Watched This Week: 25 Jul 2021

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “Broken” (B+)
I’m definitely tired of in medias res openings, but the show pulls off a Breaking Bad-style “paint yourself into a corner and then find your way out” plotting, which should make for an explosive season finale.

Ted Lasso – “Lavender” (A)
The show pulls off one of the most unexpected and hilarious jokes of all time when it’s revealed what Keeley is actually looking at on her phone. But the show continues to soar because of its deep relationships, even between people who don’t exactly care for each other (yet).

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Streaming Picks: August 2021

FILMS
Top Picks
Magnolia – Netflix 8/1
Princess Cyd – Hulu 8/5
Mrs. Doubtfire – Disney+ 8/6
Homeroom – Hulu 8/12
Reminiscence – HBO Max 8/21
Annette – Prime 8/20
It feels like it’s been forever since Netflix added a bona fide classic from the 20th Century. But if you’ve never seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus of interconnected lives in Los Angeles, you’re missing out on a truly incredible experience.

Princess Cyd is one of the better LGBTQ movies of the last decade, and one of the better coming-of-age dramedies, too. It’s also got a positive portrayal of religious people to boot.

Mrs. Doubtfire is about the only thing worth watching on Disney+ this month if you’re not into Marvel or Star Wars. It’s still ridiculous, but Robin Williams sells every moment.

I’ve been anticipating Homeroom ever since it earned rave reviews at Sundance. This documentary follows students in Oakland’s public schools and their attempts to succeed when the deck is stacked against them.

Reminiscence certainly has potential to be an all-time boondoggle. But you bet your ass I’m excited for an original sci-fi movie with a sizable budget and extremely hot leads (Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson). The film, about a man searching for his missing wife, hails from Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy.

Finally, Annette looks to be one of the most daring and original films of the year. With a story and songs by Sparks, this musical is helmed by Leos Carax, creator of some of the most unique films ever made.

Recent Selections
Betrayal at Attica – HBO Max 8/1
Aftermath – Netflix 8/4
Sin Aliento – HBO Max 8/6
All My Life – HBO Max 8/7
Together Together – Hulu 8/10
La Diosa del Asfalto – Netflix 8/11
Held – Hulu 8/12
The Virtuoso – Hulu 8/12
Silo – Hulu 8/15
Godzilla vs. Kong – HBO Max 8/17
The Marijuana Conspiracy – Hulu 8/18
Blast Beat – Hulu 8/19
Jungleland – Hulu 8/19
Half Brothers – HBO Max 8/20
Killer Among Us – Prime 8/20
Reefa – HBO Max 8/20
The Courier – Prime 8/21
We Broke Up – Hulu 8/21
The Old Ways – Netflix 8/25
Really Love – Netflix 8/25
The River Runner – Netflix 8/25
The Water Man – Netflix 8/25
Feral State – Hulu 8/26
Love and Monsters – Hulu 8/26
Chaos Walking – Hulu 8/27
Cruella – Disney+ 8/27
Four Good Days – Hulu 8/28
Horizon Line – Hulu 8/29
Spell – Hulu 8/30

Originals
The Suicide Squad – HBO Max 8/5
The Swarm – Netflix 8/6
Val – Prime 8/6
Vivo – Netflix 8/6
The Kissing Booth 3 – Netflix 8/11
Out of My League – Netflix 8/18
The Secret Diary of an Exchange Student – Netflix 8/18
Sweet Girl – Netflix 8/20
He’s All That – Netflix 8/27
Vacation Friends – Hulu 8/27

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What I Watched This Week: 18 Jul 2021

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “The Grand Victorian” (A)
It takes a confident show to spin this many plates in a single episode, but director Anna Dokoza pulls off the controlled chaos effortlessly. The dramatic tension was next-level, but a Brian Scalabrine cameo made this TV bliss.

Ted Lasso – “Goodbye Earl” (A-) / season premiere
I had a little nervous voice in the back of my head telling me this season was going to faceplant. But that was alleviated after consecutive references to Magnolia and the Gin Blossoms.

REWATCH
Ted Lasso – Season 1 (A- average)
Still impressive, both in how often it made me laugh and smile.

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What I Watched This Week: 11 Jul 2021

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “New Patty” (A-)
Mary Hollis Inboden continues to shine, as Allison’s actions leave her in emotional turmoil and physical danger. Allison’s recklessness and impulsiveness lead the audience to believe she’s going to destroy all the goodwill she might have built up, but surprises us by holding off on her murderous plan until she has a better opportunity that won’t destroy Patty in the process. Plus, Jon Glazer shows up as the psychotic Paddy, giving the sitcom scenes a needed edgy injection.

BINGEING
I Think You Should Leave – Season 2 (A- average)
A lot of sketches are more melancholy than the previous season, but still hilarious. With slightly more money, they can do some more elaborate insanity, but keep the same energy.

The X-Files – Season 5 (B+ average)
A little less consistent this season as this season went both bigger in some episodes and smaller than others as they ramp up for the feature film. But “The Post-Modern Prometheus” was extraordinary.

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2021 Emmy Picks: Limited/Anthology Series and Movies

LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Fargo (FX)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Small Axe (Prime)
The Underground Railroad (Prime)

Potential surprises:
The Comey Rule (Showtime)
The Good Lord Bird (Showtime)
I May Destroy You (HBO)
It’s a Sin (HBO Max)
The Undoing (HBO)
WandaVision (Disney+)

In my dreams: N/A

The skinny: It’s well past time for the Emmys to change their rules and expand this category. Five nominees simply isn’t enough when there are this many quality shows with short runs. This is gonna be an absolute bloodbath, with all but Fargo having a significant shot at taking home the prize.

TV MOVIE
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (Netflix)
Mahalia (Lifetime)
Oslo (HBO)
Sylvie’s Love (Prime)
Uncle Frank (Prime)

Potential surprise:
Coastal Elites (HBO)

In my dreams: N/A

The skinny: Meanwhile, you could probably retire this category, especially since Amazon picked up Sylvie’s Love and Uncle Frank at festivals, then slotted them here. There’s really no difference between these films and, say, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which competed for Oscars.

ACTOR IN A LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE
Bryan Cranston, Your Honor
Jeff Daniels, The Comey Rule
Hugh Grant, The Undoing
Ethan Hawke, The Good Lord Bird
Ewan McGregor, Halston

Potential surprises:
Paul Bettany, WandaVision
Joel Edgerton, The Underground Railroad
Hugh Laurie, Roadkill
Lin Manuel-Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr, Hamilton
Chris Rock, Fargo
Andrew Scott, Oslo

In my dreams: Paul Bettany, Uncle Frank

The skinny: I remain unconvinced Hamilton will be a major factor in the acting races, but I could definitely be wrong. Besides, there are plenty of other actors who are worthy. Cranston and Grant seem like sure bets, but if Hawke makes it in and the leads of Hamilton don’t, he’s the frontrunner.

ACTRESS IN A LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE
Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You
Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha
Nicole Kidman, The Undoing
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit
Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Potential surprises:
Christine Baranski, Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Danielle Brooks, Mahalia
Kate Mara, A Teacher
Thosu Mbedu, The Underground Railroad
Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision
Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Tessa Thompson, Sylvie’s Love

In my dreams: Haley Lu Richardson, Unpregnant

The skinny: Congrats to all the other ladies here. Kate Winslet is taking this home, so start practicing your not-surprised-but-happy-for-her faces.

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2021 Emmy Picks: Drama

With so many series facing extended production delays due to the pandemic, the window is open for a lot of series that probably wouldn’t have ever gotten their shot in a “normal” TV year. So let’s celebrate these underdogs.

DRAMA SERIES
Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Perry Mason (HBO)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)

Potential surprises:
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness (TNT) – new season qualified it as Drama Series; previous season nominated for Best Limited Series
The Boys (Prime) – never nominated
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+) – new show
For All Mankind (AppleTV+) – never nominated
Yellowstone (Paramount) – never nominated

Ineligible: Better Call Saul, The Crown, Killing Eve, Ozark, Stranger Things, Succession

In my dreams: N/A

The skinny: The Crown might finally get its due, after being acclaimed and incredibly popular for its past three seasons. Finally winning for your best season to date will probably feel terrific.

DRAMA ACTOR
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
Josh O’Connor, The Crown
Billy Porter, Pose
Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Potential surprises:
Kevin Costner, Yellowstone – never nominated for this show; 1 win for Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Anthony Mackie, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – new show
Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton – new show
Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country – new show
Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: Organized Crime – new show; 1 nomination for this role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian – never nominated
Sebastian Stan, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – new show

Ineligible: Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong

In my dreams: Antony Starr, The Boys

The skinny: Really no telling here, with its two Black nominees both previous winners, and a few new faces. Rhys seems the front-runner, but I couldn’t exactly tell you why, other than he’s great.

DRAMA ACTRESS
Uzo Aduba, In Treatment
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Emma Corrin, The Crown
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country

Potential surprises:
Phoebe Dynevor, Bridgerton – new show
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – 8 nominations (including 1 win)
Katherine Heigl, Firefly Lane – new show; 1 win for Supporting Actress
Queen Latifah, The Equalizer – new show; 2 nominations for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Sarah Paulson, Ratched – new show; 1 win for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Mj Rodriguez, Pose – never nominated

Ineligible: Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman, Jodie Comer, Laura Linney, Sandra Oh, Zendaya

In my dreams: Laura Donnelly, The Nevers

The skinny: It will be Colman vs. Corrin, with Moss returning after being bafflingly left off last year.

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What I Watched This Week: 4 Jul 2021

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “Live Free or Die” (B+)
Patty and Alison bond, despite the former’s objections. Funny how doing something illegal can do that. Kevin’s escape room shenanigans would have worked better if they had tied it more to Alison’s actual quest to escape, but the show still works.

REWATCH
I Think You Should Leave – Season 1 (A- average)
After two years of memeing and permeating the internet, Tim Robinson’s sketch show is even funnier now. A true comedy miracle.

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2021 Emmy Picks: Comedy and Variety

With so many series facing extended production delays due to the pandemic, the window is open for a lot of series that probably wouldn’t have ever gotten their shot in a “normal” TV year. So let’s celebrate these underdogs.

COMEDY SERIES
black-ish (ABC)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Master of None (Netflix)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Superstore (NBC)
Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

Potential surprises:
Dickinson (AppleTV+) – never nominated
Emily in Paris (Netflix) – new show
Girls5eva (Peacock) – new show
Mr. Mayor (NBC) – new show
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC) – never nominated

Ineligible: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dead to Me, Insecure, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Schitt’s Creek, What We Do in the Shadows

In my dreams: Search Party (HBO Max)

The skinny: While AppleTV+ is still a nascent streaming service, it has won a major Emmy already (Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Morning Show). This series is a bona-fide phenomenon and offers the same warm vibes the previous winner (Schitt’s Creek) had. I will be shocked if anything else wins.

COMEDY ACTOR
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Ted Danson, Mr. Mayor
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Martin Freeman, Breeders
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
Kenan Thompson, Kenan

Potential surprises:
Jamie Foxx, Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me! – new show
John Goodman, The Connors – never nominated for this show; 7 nominations for this role on Roseanne
William H. Macy, Shameless – 5 nominations
Ben Platt, The Politician – never nominated

Ineligible: Don Cheadle, Ted Danson (for The Good Place), Eugene Levy, Ramy Youssef

In my dreams: Glenn Howerton, A.P. Bio

The skinny: Ted Lasso wouldn’t work without Sudeikis’ indefatigable coach. He’s a lock.

COMEDY ACTRESS
Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Girls5eva
Allison Janney, Mom
Jane Levy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Jean Smart, Hacks

Potential surprises:
Aidy Bryant, Shrill – never nominated for this show; 1 nomination for Supporting Actress
Maya Erskine, PEN15 – never nominated for acting; 1 nomination for Writing
Anna Konkle, PEN15 – never nominated for acting; 1 nomination for Writing
Nasim Pedrad, Chad – new show
Hailee Steinfeld, Dickinson – never nominated
Lena Waithe, Master of None – never nominated for acting; 1 win for Writing

Ineligible: Christina Applegate, Rachel Brosnahan, Linda Cardellini, Catherine O’Hara, Issa Rae

In my dreams: Alia Shawkat, Search Party

The skinny: After losing two nominations for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, Jean Smart seems poised to win not one but two awards this year.

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live
Laurence Fishburne, black-ish
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso
Michael Huisman, The Flight Attendant
Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso
Jeremy Swift, Ted Lasso
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Bowen Yang, Saturday Night Live

Potential surprises:
Beck Bennett, Saturday Night Live – never nominated
Mikey Day, Saturday Night Live – never nominated for acting; 1 nomination for Writing for a Variety Series
Paul W. Downs, Hacks – new show
T.R. Knight, The Flight Attendant – new show; 1 nomination for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Christopher McDonald, Hacks – new show
Alex Moffat, Saturday Night Live – never nominated
Kyle Mooney, Saturday Night Live – never nominated
Chris Redd, Saturday Night Live – never nominated for acting; 1 win for Music and Lyrics
Paul Reiser, The Kominsky Method – never nominated for this show; 6 nominations for Lead Actor
Ray Romano, Made for Love – new show; 6 nominations (including 1 win) for Lead Actor
Nico Santos, Superstore – never nominated
George Segal, The Goldbergs – never nominated

Ineligible: Mahershala Ali, Alan Arkin, Andre Braugher, Sterling K. Brown, William Jackson Harper, Dan Levy, Tony Shalhoub

In my dreams: Cole Escola, Search Party

The skinny: This category is by far the most wide open. Could it be all SNL and Ted Lasso dudes? It’s definitely a possibility. Kenan and Bowen seem like the only locks here.

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Naomi Ackie, Master of None
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Hannah Einbinder, Hacks
Holly Hunter, Mr. Mayor
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Potential surprises:
Chloe Fineman, Saturday Night Live – never nominated
Heidi Gardner, Saturday Night Live – never nominated
Jane Krakowski, Dickinson – never nominated for this show; 5 nominations for Supporting Actress
Zosia Mamet, The Flight Attendant – new show
Laurie Metcalf, The Conners – never nominated for this show; 5 nominations (including 3 wins) for this role on Roseanne
Kaitlin Olson, Hacks – new show
Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant – new show; 3 nominations for Choreography
Jaime Pressly, Mom – never nominated for this show; 2 nominations (including 1 win) for Supporting Actress
Kathleen Turner, The Kominsky Method – never nominated
Melissa Villaseñor, Saturday Night Live – never nominated

Ineligible: Alex Borstein, D’Arcy Carden, Betty Gilpin, Marin Hinkle, Annie Murphy, Yvonne Orji

In my dreams: Paula Pell, A.P. Bio

The skinny: Another wide-open category. Kate McKinnon is a mainstay, and Hannah Waddingham will almost certainly be here as well. Naomi Ackie is likely to run away with this, though I’m not sure if there are any eligibility issues with a new season of a show that ran only five episodes.

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What I Watched This Week: 27 Jun 2021

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “We’re Selling Washing Machines” (A-)
Mary Hollis Inboden starts stealing the show early as Patty, a woman whose “just one of the boys” vibes is a front for a mountain of regret. In just three episodes, we’re already rooting for her, even though she keeps making bad decisions.

CURRENT SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself
“Living the Dream” (B+)
“New Tricks” (A)
The pilot takes some getting used to, but eventually it works quite well, mainly because Annie Murphy is so tremendous. The second episode is much better, with all that set-up out of the way. It walks the comedy-drama tightrope expertly.

BINGEING
A.P. Bio – Season 3 (A- average)
If I had had Peacock last year and been able to see this third season, it would have absolutely made my Top 10. The students are almost irrelevant at this point, serving as a sort of Greek chorus/joke machine, but it’s still just as warm and funny. Its heart is nearly as big as Ted Lasso‘s.

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Streaming Picks: July 2021

FILMS
Top Picks
The Conversation – Hulu 7/1
No Sudden Move – HBO Max 7/1
Rear Window – Prime 7/1
Summer of Soul – Hulu 7/2
The Empty Man – HBO Max 7/17
This is honestly one of the greatest movie months I’ve ever seen among the five streaming services. The Conversation and Rear Window are two of the greatest movies ever made, tales of obsession and paranoia that remain just as vital today.

No Sudden Move is the latest from Steven Soderbergh, which is always a cause for celebration. It’s got an absolutely astonishing cast (including Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Hamm and Brendan Fraser) and frigid Detroit landscape, perfect for a crime movie.

Summer of Soul is Questlove’s directorial debut, a concert doc about the Harlem Cultural Festival, which was just as important as Woodstock in the summer of 1969, but only got a fraction of the contemporary and historical coverage.

And finally, The Empty Man is available for a wider audience to join the cult. This 2020 horror film sat on the shelf for many years and became an extremely low priority for Fox, especially after the Disney acquisition. It got dumped unceremoniously in theaters last fall, before finding a passionate audience on VOD. I’m one of those devotees. Your mileage may vary on the ending, but this is a stunning directorial debut either way.

Recent Selections
An Acceptable Loss – Hulu 7/1
The Best of Enemies – Netflix 7/1
Born to Play – Netflix 7/1
Hampstead – Netflix 7/1
Judas and the Black Messiah – HBO Max 7/1
Mary Magdalene – Netflix 7/1
Ode to Joy – Hulu 7/1
Stray – Hulu 7/1
Sword of Trust – Netflix 7/1
Bill & Ted Face the Music – Hulu 7/2
Dreamcatcher – Hulu 7/3
Let Him Go – HBO Max 7/3
Shiva Baby – HBO Max 7/7
This Little Love of Mine – Netflix 7/7
Human Capital – HBO Max 7/8
The Hunt – HBO Max 7/8
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – Hulu 7/9
Moffie – Hulu 7/9
Our Friend – Prime 7/9
Tom & Jerry – HBO Max 7/15
Cosmic Sin – Netflix 7/17
Milkwater – Netflix 7/20
Still Working 9 to 5 – Netflix 7/22
Freaky – HBO Max 7/24
The Operative – Netflix 7/27
The Resort – Hulu 7/27
Fantastic Fungi – Netflix 7/28
The Vault – Netflix 7/31

Originals
¡Come! – HBO Max 7/1
Dynasty Warriors – Netflix 7/1
Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway – Netflix 7/1
The 8th Night – Netflix 7/2
Fear Street: 1994 – Netflix 7/2
Haseen Dillruba – Netflix 7/2
Lo Que Siento por Ti – HBO Max 7/2
The Tomorrow War – Prime 7/2
Major Grom: Plague Doctor – Netflix 7/7
Black Widow – Disney+ 7/9
Fear Street: 1978 – Netflix 7/9
How I Became a Superhero – Netflix 7/9
Last Summer – Netflix 7/9
A Classic Horror Story – Netflix 7/14
The Guide to the Perfect Family – Netflix 7/14
Gunpowder Milkshake – Netflix 7/14
A Perfect Fit – Netflix 7/15
My Amanda – Netflix 7/15
Deep – Netflix 7/16
Fear Street: 1666 – Netflix 7/16
Space Jam: A New Legacy – HBO Max 7/16
Chernobyl 1986 – Netflix 7/21
Bankrolled – Netflix 7/23
Blood Red Sky – Netflix 7/23
Corazon de Mezquite – HBO Max 7/23
Kingdom: Ashin of the North – Netflix 7/23
The Last Letter from Your Lover – Netflix 7/23
Batkowiak – Netflix 7/28
Resort to Love – Netflix 7/29
Jungle Cruise – Disney+ 7/30
The Last Mercenary – Netflix 7/30
Uno Para Todos – HBO Max 7/30

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