Jmunney’s 2020 Emmy Wish List, Part 1: Drama

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

The 2020 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 28. As per annual tradition, I have assembled a Wish List for as many categories as I have something to say about. There is no minimum or maximum number per category, nor is there any strict adherence to official Emmy rules. And of course, there is the necessary caveat that I have not seen everything. Even with much of the country shut down for the past few months, that’s impossible.

I’m kicking off my Emmy Wish List discussion with some Drama this year. The top shows in this field are absolutely-without-a-doubt Pose and Better Call Saul. The former was nearly my favorite show of 2019, while the latter is right up there for 2020. And you know what? I just couldn’t pick between the two of them for Outstanding Drama Series, so I’m calling a tie! Nor could I pick between Bob Odenkirk or Billy Porter for Lead Actor, so it’s another tie! (I’ll probably pull for Bob come the night of the ceremony, as he’s yet to win, while Billy is the reigning champ.)

The Albuquerque and ballroom crews are dominating most of the acting categories, especially Rhea Seehorn, who I believe was a co-lead this season though she was once again submitted as Supporting. Stunningly, she’s yet to ever be nominated; that had better change this year. Meanwhile, also on BCS, Tony Dalton made an undeniable impression as Lalo Salamanca in his first full season as a regular cast member.

Over in Supporting Actress, I’ve got the ladies of Pose all stacked in there, much as the Game of Thrones ladies were last year at the actual Emmys. And also much like the actual Emmys, my top pick is actually from another show; in this case, Carly Chaikin, who got to do her most complicated work yet in Mr. Robot‘s final season.

Other notables: Evil makes a strong impression in its first season, Rosa Salazar shows up for a rotoscoped performance, and my Guest picks come almost entirely from The Mandalorian.

KEY:
Bold=My winner
!( )!=I haven’t caught up to the current season of this show, but I still wanted to recognize it.
*=I have placed this nominee in a different category than the Emmy ballot.

Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Evil
!(The Good Fight)!
The Mandalorian
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Mr. Robot
Pose
Stargirl
Undone

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Best TV Shows of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

As a voracious consumer of Peak TV, I could have easily filled my list of the Best TV Shows of the 2010s with hundreds of entries. But instead, I chose to zero in on a golden set of 25 that I am absolutely sure I love and will continue to love for years to come. These are the shows that affected me profoundly when I first watched them and that continued to linger in my brain and my soul as the decade marched on.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 2/21/20

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CREDIT: James Minchin/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Brahms: The Boy II (Theatrically Nationwide) – Boy, I don’t know if this’ll be any good, but I’m rooting for Katie Holmes.
The Call of the Wild (Theatrically Nationwide) – Harrison Ford + (CGI) Dog = A Good Time?
Emma. (Limited Theatrically)

TV
Fresh Off the Boat Series Finale (February 21 on ABC)
Better Call Saul Season 5 Premiere (February 23 on AMC)

Music
-Best Coast, Always Tomorrow
-Grimes, Miss_Anthrop0cene

Jmunney’s 2019 Emmy Wish List, Part 2: Drama

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CREDIT: FX/YouTube

The 2019 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 16, and as that annual occasion approaches, I typically put together my own list of which shows and performers I would like to see recognized. But I’ve had some mixed feelings about putting that together this year, as I’ve grappled with the fact that in the era of Peak TV, it becomes more and more impossible to capture all my favorites in one place. Ultimately I decided I wouldn’t be too formal or too precious about it. If there are ten shows I really want to see nominated, then I’ll list ten on my wish list. But if there are just two I really like in another category, then I’ll just list two.

Yesterday I discussed Comedy, and I just couldn’t contain myself to the prescribed number of nominees per category. But now that I’m looking at Drama, I’m struggling to fully flesh them out. Partly that’s because I watch more comedy than drama, and partly it’s because some of the dramas I do watch had off-years.

But I still watched some good, juicy dramas! And tops among them was most definitely Pose, which is my #1 choice in just about every category. Billy Porter is pretty much showmanship personified, and all the main ladies are undeniably compelling. Sex Education also gets my endorsement. I initially thought it was mis-categorized, but since my drama choices are relatively sparse, I won’t complain. And let’s not sleep on The Orville, which has been consistently putting out some intellectually satisfying hard sci-fi without too much fanfare.

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. My top choices are in bold.

Outstanding Drama
Better Call Saul
Homecoming
The Orville
Pose
Sex Education

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Best TV Episodes of 2018

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CREDIT: Guy D’Alema/FX/FX Networks

If you’re still catching up on the best TV of 2018, the following playlist would be a great way to go about it.

1. Atlanta, “Teddy Perkins”
2. Saturday Night Live, Donald Glover/Childish Gambino
3. Atlanta, “Barbershop”
4. Mystery Science Theater 3000, “Mac and Me”
5. Big Mouth, “The Planned Parenthood Show”
6. BoJack Horseman, “The Showstopper”
7. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “The Gang Solves the Bathroom Problem”
8. The Assassination of Gianni Versace, “A Random Killing”
9. Barry, “Chapter Eight: Know Your Truth”
10. Pose, “Giving and Receiving”
11. Joe Pera Talks With You, “Joe Pera Talks to You About the Rat Wars of Alberta, Canada (1950–Present Day)”
12. BoJack Horseman, “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos”
13. Murphy Brown, “Thanksgiving and Taking”
14. Atlanta, “Woods”
15. Murphy Brown, “#MurphyToo”
16. Better Call Saul, “Winner”
17. The Last O.G., “Swipe Right”
18. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Mac Finds His Pride”
19. South Park, “A Boy and a Priest”
20. Sharp Objects, “Milk”

Best TV Episodes of 2017

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CREDIT: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

These episodes of television all originally aired in North America between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. I watched them, and I enjoyed doing so. I bet you will feel the same while watching them … if you haven’t already.

1. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 8”
2. Nathan for You – “The Anecdote”
3. Halt and Catch Fire – “Who Needs a Guy”
4. Nathan for You – “Finding Frances”
5. Rick and Morty – “Morty’s Mind Blowers”
6. Better Call Saul – “Chicanery”
7. Halt and Catch Fire – “Ten of Swords”
8. Black Mirror – “Hang the DJ”
9. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 17”
10. Halt and Catch Fire – “Goodwill”
11. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 18”
12. Mr. Robot – “eps3.4_runtime-error.r00”
13. Review – “Cryogenics; Lightning; Last Review”
14. The Good Place – “Dance Dance Resolution”
15. Great News – “Honeypot!”
16. Big Mouth – “Requiem for a Wet Dream”
17. Rick and Morty – “The Ricklantis Mixup”
18. Mr. Robot – “eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko”
19. BoJack Horseman – “Time’s Arrow”
20. Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories – “Angel Man”

Best TV Shows of 2017

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CREDIT (Clockwise from Top Left): Michael Gibson/FXX; Showtime; AMC; Kelsey McNeal/ABC

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2017.

In recent past best-of-year lists, I have pointed out the impossibility of watching every single program that airs on television. The medium is now saturated to the point that not only could one average viewer be watching a completely different set of shows than another average viewer, but so could one professional critic be similarly disconnected to another critic. It naturally follows then that no best-of is any more “correct” than any other. But this has been the case all along. The value of such year-end curating is not a matter of accuracy, but of insight and personal style. Thus, I encourage readers to seek out as many best-of lists as they find edifying, from as diverse a group of critics as possible. Think of each as the best according to a particular palette. Here is my contribution to that cornucopia.

(Shows that were top 10-worthy this year that I didn’t have enough room for include Baskets, BoJack Horseman, The Carmichael Show, Legion, Rick and Morty, Riverdale, Silicon Valley, Speechless, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Young Pope, and You’re the Worst.)

10. Review (Comedy Central)
If this list were determined by density of entertainment value alone, the three-episode final season of Review would easily take the top spot. Andy Daly’s career-defining work as “life reviewer” Forrest MacNeil brought his combination of explosive hilarity and existential despair to its logical eternally continuous endpoint. Great series finales tend to be either ambiguous or definitive; Review’s is somehow both open-ended and forcefully conclusive.

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What Won TV? – June 18-June 24, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

CREDIT: VH1

Sunday – Twin Peaks
Monday – Better Call Saul, because everything’s blowing up
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo had a fine finale, but The Carmichael Show had one of its best discussions ever.
Thursday – The Gong Show, cheeky monkeys
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race, even though my cable cut in and out during one of the lip syncs
Saturday – The Doctor Who/Orphan Black double bill lived up to its promise.

What Won TV? – June 11-June 17, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

CREDIT: ABC/Lou Rocco

Sunday – The $100,000 Pyramid, for Leslie Jones’ reaction
Monday – Better Call Saul
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo
Thursday – AFI Life Achievement Award for Actress, Director, and Climate Change Denier Diane Keaton
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race: Extra Stressful Reunion Edition
Saturday – Orphan Black

What Won TV? – June 4-June 10, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

Sunday – Amidst all the prestige, I think I actually liked Mike Tyson Mysteries the most.
Monday – Better Call Saul
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo
Thursday – The AV Club
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Sunday – French Open Ladies Final, especially the part when the winner asked if she could brush her hair before the trophy ceremony.

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