TV Recap: Sept. 11-17, 2022

NEW SHOWS
The Handmaid’s Tale
“Morning” (B-) / season premiere
“Ballet” (A)
The show has no more tricks up its sleeve, and Elisabeth Moss’s performance is no longer among the best on TV. I’m a little tired of the literal hand-wringing from June about her bloody revenge killing. The show needs to wrap it up, but it still has one more season after this to do so. Still, the second episode, in which Serena returns to Gilead to give Fred a state funeral, is among the best of the series.

Atlanta
“The Most Atlanta” (A+) / season premiere
“The Homeliest Little Horse” (A)
After a polarizing Season 3, the crew returns home and the show is as brilliant as ever. The season premiere rang especially true for this former Atlantan, with a surreal journey through the most well-trodden and hidden places in Georgia’s capital city. The second episode – intentionally or not – felt like a riff on Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal, with Earn using his now vast wealth to get revenge. Maybe that’s something he should be working on in therapy.

BINGEING
NewsRadio – Season 1 (A- average)
Unlike some sitcoms, the show didn’t need any time to find its footing. The ensemble gelled immediately and took the bold step of diving headfirst into an office romance, instead of a lengthy will they-won’t they. No wonder it was one of my favorites in my youth.

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Emmy Predictions 2022: Drama

DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Euphoria (HBO)
Ozark (Netflix)
Severance (AppleTV+)
Squid Game (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Succession (HBO)
Yellowjackets (Showtime)

Will win: Succession
Could win: Squid Game
Should win: Better Call Saul
Should have been nominated: Evil (Paramount+)

The skinny: The winner will come down to how long voters’ memories are. Neither Squid Game nor Succession aired an episode in 2022, but one of them will emerge victorious. This is a classic case of not knowing if voters will go for something new and exciting or reliably great. So far my money is on honoring the past winner that got even better. It’s just too bad their win will come at the expense of Better Call Saul, which is likely to go down as the biggest loser in Emmy history.

ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Brian Cox, Succession
Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Adam Scott, Severance
Jeremy Strong, Succession

Will win: Brian Cox
Could win: Jeremy Strong
Should win: Bob Odenkirk
Should have been nominated: Mike Colter, Evil

The skinny: I honestly have no idea who’s going to win this. Cox has seemed like he would win ever since Succession started, and his Logan Roy is more ruthless than ever. But Strong was arguably even better this season than he was in Season 2, which he won for. And of course Odenkirk has made Jimmy deeper every single episode, and there could be some residual goodwill since his heart attack. And of course none of that might matter, because Squid Game could surprise us all and win across the board. I would not bet on this category.

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Laura Linney, Ozark
Melanie Lynskey, Yellowjackets
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show
Zendaya, Euphoria

Will win: Zendaya
Could win: Laura Linney
Should win: Melanie Lynskey
Should have been nominated: Katja Herbers, Evil

The skinny: The Emmys love Laura Linney, and I’m a little surprised she hasn’t won for Ozark yet. But this is Zendaya’s to lose. But man, the only person happier than me to see Lynsey win is her husband Jason Ritter.

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Emmy Predictions 2022: Comedy and Variety

COMEDY SERIES
Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Barry (HBO)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime)
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Will win: Abbott Elementary
Could win: Ted Lasso
Should win: Barry
Should have been nominated: Reservation Dogs (Hulu)

The skinny: A truly wonderful lineup that failed to include last year’s best comedy (Reservation Dogs). While Ted Lasso won big last year, it’s more complex second season will probably come up empty. But Abbott Elementary has all the momentum and good will, and I think it will be the first broadcast show to win this award since Modern Family. May it run just as long.

COMEDY ACTOR
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
Nicholas Hoult, The Great
Steve Martin, Only Murders in the Building
Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Will win: Bill Hader
Could win: Jason Sudeikis
Should win: Nicholas Hoult
Should have been nominated: John Goodman, The Righteous Gemstones

The skinny: Barry hadn’t aired a new episode since 2019, but it felt like it hadn’t missed a beat. Even if the show doesn’t get the big award, I think Hader’s almost guaranteed to win a third Best Actor trophy.

COMEDY ACTRESS
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant
Elle Fanning, The Great
Issa Rae, Insecure
Jean Smart, Hacks

Will win: Jean Smart
Could win: Quinta Brunson
Should win: Elle Fanning
Should have been nominated: Devery Jacobs, Reservation Dogs

The skinny: Is there any woman on TV funnier than Jean Smart? I can’t think of one, and her second consecutive win for Hacks would be quite all right with me. As the creator and writer of the Abbott Elementary, it’s also possible voters honor Abbott here, even though she’s arguably the third or fourth funniest person on her own show (see also: Donald Glover’s Best Actor win for Atlanta‘s first season).

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TV Recap: Sept. 4-10, 2022

NEW SHOWS
What We Do in the Shadows – “Sunrise, Sunset” (B) / season finale
Always a shame when a successful season ends on more of a meh note. But there wasn’t much choice but to return to square one, with Colin Robinson back to being a full-grown energy vampire and the nightclub shutting down. Nothing wrong with resetting – as comedies like this have to do sometimes – but it doesn’t hit the heights of this season’s best moments.

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Emmy Predictions 2022: Limited/Anthology Series and Movies

LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Dopesick (Hulu)
The Dropout (Hulu)
Inventing Anna (Netflix)
Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
The White Lotus (HBO)

Will and should win: The White Lotus
Could win: The Dropout
Should have been nominated: Under the Banner of Heaven (Hulu)

The skinny: Spring 2022 brought us a glut of miniseries based on real criminals, but it’s still surprising voters decided on Inventing Anna and Pam & Tommy instead of the superior Under the Banner of Heaven and The Staircase. But it doesn’t matter, because the only purely fictional show here will dominate the evening. Mike White’s The White Lotus took everyone by surprise last summer: a caustic, deeply funny and often uncomfortable show about the rich guests and poor staff of a luxury hotel in Hawaii. It will have been more than a year since the last episode aired by the time Mike White accepts the first of many awards at the ceremony, but its power won’t have diminished.

ACTOR IN A LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Colin Firth, The Staircase
Andrew Garfield, Under the Banner of Heaven
Oscar Isaac, Scenes from a Marriage
Michael Keaton, Dopesick
Himesh Patel, Station Eleven
Sebastian Stan, Pam & Tommy

Will win: Colin Firth
Could win: Michael Keaton
Should win: Andrew Garfield
Should have been nominated: Jon Bernthal, We Own This City

The skinny: Firth already has an Oscar, but his turn in The Staircase is his greatest performance. This is a stacked category, and I won’t be bothered if any of these gents win. I still think Garfield – who plays a Mormon detective whose faith is rocked by a grisly case – is the clear champion, but judging by how little the show was recognized, he feels like a longshot.

ACTRESS IN A LIMITED/ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Toni Collette, The Staircase
Julia Garner, Inventing Anna
Lily James, Pam & Tommy
Sarah Paulson, Impeachment: American Crime Story
Margaret Qualley, Maid
Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout

Will win: Amanda Seyfried
Could win: Julia Garner
Should win: Margaret Qualley
Should have been nominated: Jessica Chastain, Scenes from a Marriage

The skinny: Here’s where I admit I haven’t seen The Dropout, despite its acclaim. I’m still skeptical of any story that’s already been told succinctly in two hours – in this case Alex Gibney’s doc The Inventor – spread out over 8-10 hours. This feels like Seyfried’s award to lose, even going against heavyweights like Garner and Paulson. I still prefer Qualley, giving the performance of her career so far as a single mother running into the buzzsaw of bureaucracy after leaving her abusive husband.

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Streaming Picks: September 2022

FILMS
Top Picks
Petite Maman – Hulu 9/6
The Last Duel – Hulu 9/14
The Outfit – Prime 9/16
Ambulance – Prime 9/30
House of Gucci – Paramount+ 9/30
This month I’m spotlighting some movies from the last year you might have missed. While your mileage may vary on the excesses of the latter two films, the first three are absolute knockouts.

Other Recommendations
10 Cloverfield Lane – Paramount+ 9/1
10 Things I Hate About You – Hulu 9/1
17 Again – Peacock 9/1
21 Grams – Prime 9/1
About a Boy – Peacock 9/1
Airplane! – HBO Max 9/1
The American – Hulu 9/1
American Dreamz – Peacock 9/1
American Pie – Hulu 9/1
An American Werewolf in London – Prime 9/1
Anchorman – Paramount+ 9/1
Army of Darkness – Peacock 9/1
Austin Powers – Netflix 9/1
Baby Mama – Peacock 9/1
Bandslam – HBO Max 9/1
Batman Begins – Hulu 9/1
Beau Travail – HBO Max 9/1
Beetlejuice – Peacock 9/1
Big – Hulu 9/1
The Birds – Peacock 9/1
The Blair Witch Project – Prime, Paramount+ and Peacock 9/1
Bull Durham – Paramount+ 9/1
Candyman (1992) – Peacock 9/1
Cat People (1942) – HBO Max 9/1
Charlie Wilson’s War – Peacock 9/1
Chronicle – Hulu 9/1
Cliffhanger – Hulu 9/1
A Clockwork Orange – Netflix 9/1
Clueless – Netflix 9/1
Collateral – Paramount+ 9/1
Congo – Paramount+ 9/1
Crazy Heart – Prime 9/1
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Paramount+ 9/1
The Darjeeling Limited – Hulu 9/1
The Dark Knight – Hulu 9/1
Dawn of the Dead (2004) – Peacock 9/1
The Descent – Prime 9/1
Despicable Me – Netflix 9/1
Drag Me to Hell – Peacock 9/1
Dredd – Peacock 9/1
Drive Angry – Hulu 9/1
Eddie Murphy: Raw – Paramount+ 9/1
Erin Brockovich – Peacock 9/1
The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Hulu 9/1
F/X – Paramount+ 9/1
Fear – Peacock 9/1
Fight Club – Prime and Hulu 9/1
The Fisher King – Hulu 9/1
Friday Night Lights – Peacock 9/1
Furious 7 – Peacock 9/1
Get Smart – Hulu 9/1
Glory – HBO Max 9/1
Gone Girl – Peacock 9/1
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) – Peacock 9/1
The Good Shepherd – Hulu 9/1
Gorky Park – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Peacock 9/1
The Hangover – Peacock 9/1
Hard Eight – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
He Got Game – Prime and Hulu 9/1
Heartburn – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
High-Rise – Hulu 9/1
Hot Tub Time Machine – HBO Max 9/1
How to Train Your Dragon – Prime 9/1
I’m Still Here – Prime 9/1
If Beale Street Could Talk – Netflix 9/1
In Time – Prime 9/1
The Italian Job – Netflix 9/1
Jailhouse Rock – HBO Max 9/1
John Q. – Netflix 9/1
Jurassic Park – Peacock 9/1
Just Friends – Netflix 9/1
A Knight’s Tale – Netflix 9/1
Legally Blonde – Prime 9/1
Let the Right One In – Prime 9/1
Life of Crime – HBO Max 9/1
The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Peacock 9/1
Love Actually – Peacock 9/1
Mama – Peacock 9/1
The Mask of Zorro – Hulu 9/1
Melancholia – HBO Max 9/1
Meet the Parents – Hulu 9/1
Mother! – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
My Beautiful Laundrette – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
My Best Friend’s Wedding – Peacock 9/1
My Week with Marilyn – HBO Max 9/1
The Natural – Paramount+ 9/1
Neighbors 2 – Peacock 9/1
Nine Months – Hulu 9/1
Notes on a Scandal – Hulu 9/1
Notting Hill – Peacock 9/1
Open Water – Prime and Hulu 9/1
Paul – Peacock 9/1
The People vs. Larry Flynt – Hulu 9/1
Philadelphia – Hulu 9/1
Pitch Perfect – Peacock 9/1
Prince of Darkness – Peacock 9/1
Psycho (1960) – Peacock 9/1
The Quiet Man – Paramount+ 9/1
Rear Window (1954) – Peacock 9/1
Reign of Fire – Prime 9/1
Rescue Dawn – Prime 9/1
Road House – Netflix 9/1
Robot and Frank – Hulu 9/1
Rocknrolla – HBO Max 9/1
Role Models – Prime 9/1
Rookie of the Year – Prime 9/1
Rope – Peacock 9/1
Roxanne – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
The Rundown – Peacock 9/1
Serendipity – Paramount+ 9/1
Shadow of a Doubt – Peacock 9/1
Shanghai Noon – Paramount+
Shaun of the Dead – Peacock 9/1
The Silence of the Lambs – Prime 9/1
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – Paramount+ 9/1
Skyfall – Prime 9/1
Slither – Peacock 9/1
The Social Network – Hulu 9/1
Star Trek (2009) – Paramount+ 9/1
Steel Magnolias – Peacock 9/1
Stripes – Hulu 9/1
The Tailor of Panama – HBO Max 9/1
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight – Peacock 9/1
Tales from the Hood – Peacock 9/1
They Live – Peacock 9/1
The Thing – Peacock 9/1
This Is 40 – Hulu and Netflix 9/1
Tigerland – Hulu 9/1
Topsy-Turvy – HBO Max 9/1
Trollhunter – Prime 9/1
True Grit (2010) – Paramount+ 9/1
True Lies – Hulu 9/1
Twister – Peacock 9/1
United 93 – Peacock 9/1
Up in the Air – Paramount+ 9/1
The Usual Suspects – Prime 9/1
Vertigo – Peacock 9/1
Village of the Damned (1960) – HBO Max 9/1
War of the Worlds (2005) – Prime and Paramount+ 9/1
What Lies Beneath – HBO Max 9/1
Zodiac – Paramount+ 9/1
Thor: Love and Thunder – Disney+ 9/8
Colette – Netflix 9/13
Tammy – HBO Max 9/14
Dracula (1931) – Peacock 9/15
Frankenstein (1931) – Peacock 9/15
The Invisible Man (1933) – Peacock 9/15
It Came from Outer Space – Peacock 9/15
The Mummy (1932) – Peacock 9/15
Phantom of the Opera (1943) – Peacock 9/15
Love, Simon – Hulu 9/15
This Is the End – Netflix 9/16
Elysium – Netflix 9/27
Our Idiot Brother – Prime 9/27

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TV Recap: Aug. 21-27, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “Mrs. McRoberts Is Dead” (B+) / season premiere
Felt very reminiscent of Breaking Bad, in that the writers have painted themselves into a corner, then have to figure a way out of it. The first half felt a little forced and flustered, but the second half was a stroke of genius.

Only Murders in the Building – “I Know Who Did It” (A-) / season finale
A rousing, meta resolution to this season’s mystery. The show’s middle 10 minutes or so – at the “killer reveal party,” which is a killer party that reveals the killer – was some of the most purely pleasurable television of the year.

BINGEING
The Critic – Season 2 (B+ average)
Not as sharp as its first season, but Jay’s ongoing relationship with single mom Alice lets him reveal some rare human emotions. A shame this show didn’t last longer.

The Sandman – Season 1 (A- average)
Holy shit, they did it. After decades in development hell, this team pulled it off. They made the intricate stories and beautifully horrifying images come to life, all while updating the characters in ways that made perfect sense for 2022.

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Too Early for This: Oscar Picks – August 2022

I’m not going in-depth this time because only – checks notes – one potential Best Picture nominee has come out so far. So enjoy the mystery for now.

BEST PICTURE
Armageddon Time
Avatar: The Way of Water
Babylon
Bardo

Empire of Light
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans

She Said
The Son
White Noise

BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Bardo
Sam Mendes, Empire of Light
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

BEST ACTOR
Austin Butler, Elvis
Adam Driver, White Noise
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Hugh Jackman, The Son
Bill Nighy, Living

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, Tár
Viola Davis, The Woman King
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Carey Mulligan, She Said
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

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TV Recap: Aug. 14-20, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Evil – “The Demon of the End” (A) / season finale
Two words: Demon Nativity. After last week’s unexpected turn of events, I was expecting more tragedy. But things seemed to work out for our trio of assessors and their families, at least until the horrifying revelations of the last 10 minutes. No show is more willing to make us love our characters despite their flaws, and I can’t think of any show that would end with a Laurie Anderson song.

Better Call Saul – “Saul Gone” (A) / series finale
About as good as could be expected. While I initially thought all the cameos were too cutesy, they actually make the whole episode even sadder. This finale even mirrors Breaking Bad‘s “Felina,” with the criminal protagonists attempting to making things right with their former accomplices before getting what they deserve (if such a thing exists). If Odenkirk goes this entire show without ever winning an Emmy, it’s further proof the Academy doesn’t know what they’re doing.

The Rehearsal – “Pretend Daddy” (A) / season finale
All of the hand-wringing and thinkpieces over the show’s ethics proved unnecessary, as Nathan Fielder himself wrestles with the impact his show had on one of its youngest participants: a 6-year-old boy named Remy who bonded with Nathan in their many days of parenting practice. It’s brilliant, heartbreaking and hilarious.

BINGEING
The Critic – Season 1 (B+ average)
Some of the jokes and movie parodies are extremely dated, but the core still works. This is still a funny, culturally literate story of a very lonely man who loves cinema, food and his son.

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Every Episode of Seinfeld, Ranked in Tiers

I recently finished a rewatch of Seinfeld on Netflix, so I figured I’d do something I haven’t done in two years: I’ll rank every episode in tiers. Some rules: Nothing in Season 1 is up to the highs of the show’s best, and only a handful of episodes in the final season are.

So here are my rankings. Disagree away!

CLASSIC TIER
Season 1
N/A

Season 2
“The Apartment”
“The Deal”
“The Chinese Restaurant”

Season 3
“The Pen”
“The Library”
“The Parking Garage”
“The Subway”
“The Fix-Up”
“The Boyfriend”

Season 4
“The Cheever Letters”
“The Opera”
“The Virgin”
“The Contest”
“The Pick”
“The Outing”
“The Implant”
“The Junior Mint”

Season 5
“The Puffy Shirt”
“The Dinner Party”
“The Marine Biologist”
“The Hamptons”
“The Opposite”

Season 6
“The Race”
“The Beard”
“The Jimmy”
“The Fusilli Jerry”

Season 7
“The Engagement”
“The Wink”
“The Sponge”
“The Wait Out”
“The Invitations”

Season 8
“The Bizarro Jerry”
“The Little Kicks”
“The Chicken Roaster”
“The Abstinence”
“The Little Jerry”
“The Pothole”
“The English Patient”
“The Summer of George”

Season 9
“The Merv Griffin Show”
“The Slicer”
“The Betrayal”
“The Burning”

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