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 Episodes of 2019

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CREDIT: TBS

If you were cryogenically frozen in suspended animation for all of 2019 and want to get caught up on all the great TV you missed as efficiently as possible, well boy, do I have some suggestions for you…

1. American Dad!, “Rabbit Ears”
2. Watchmen, “A God Walks Into Abar”
3. South Park, “Band in China”
4. Barry, “ronny/lily”
5. Mr. Robot, “whoami”
6. Documentary Now!, “Batshit Valley”
7. The Other Two, “Chase Drops His First Album”
8. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “The Gang Chokes”
9. The Twilight Zone, “Blurryman”
10. Pose, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”
11. The Twilight Zone, “Replay”
12. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Thunder Gun 4: Maximum Cool”
13. American Dad!, “Top of the Steve”
14. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “The Gang Texts”
15. Momma Named Me Sheriff, “TV”
16. John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch
17.
Riverdale, “Chapter Sixty-Five: In Treatment”
18. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Inescapable”
19. mixed-ish, “Let Your Hair Down”
20. Legion, “Chapter 25”

The 53 Best TV Shows of 2019

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CREDIT (Clockwise from Top Left): Amazon; Disney; Pamela Littky/FOX; Rhys Thomas/IFC

Under the known laws of physics, it is currently impossible to watch every TV show (or even just every good show) airing new episodes in a given year. But for those of us who treat televisual consumption as a transcendent pursuit, we do our best to fit in as many programs as possible, which means that there are more than ten or even twenty shows worth recognizing in an annual best-of list. So this year, I decided to rank as many shows as I thought were worthy of recognition and provide blurbs for the ones where I really needed to say something.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 10/4/19

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CREDIT: Netflix

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

Movies
Joker (Theatrically Nationwide) – Worth checking out to have your own reaction.
Lucy in the Sky (Limited Theatrically) – Lucy! I’m home, in space!
Pain and Glory (Limited Theatrically)

TV
Big Mouth Season 3 (October 4 on Netflix)
Mr. Robot Season 4 Premiere (October 6 on USA) – The final season unfolds over Christmas.
Riverdale Season 4 Premiere (October 9 on The CW)
Nancy Drew Series Premiere (October 9 on The CW)

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? – October 8-October 14, 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: Bob Mahoney/AMC

This is going to be my last edition of “What Won TV?,” at least for a while. With the super-saturated nature of the television medium, there are just too many times now where I don’t catch all the shows I watch within the week they actually air.

Sunday – A guest star-strong Simpsons
Monday – Jeopardy!
Tuesday – The Middle
Wednesday – Mr. Robot
Thursday – Great News (Honorable Mention to Jeopardy!, even though Trebek claims he knows nothing about a dick tree)
Friday – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Saturday – Let me end by choosing Halt and Catch Fire.

What Won TV? – September 4-September 10, 2016

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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.

MR. ROBOT -- "eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx" Episode 210 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jeremy Holm as Mr. Sutherland, Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, Stephanie Corneliussen as Joanna Wellick -- (Photo by: Michael Parmelee/USA Network)

Sunday – US Open here and there
Monday – Maria Shriver’s face during Ann Coulter’s Rob Lowe Roast set
Tuesday – Atlanta
Wednesday – Mr. Robot, especially Angela and Elliot on the subway
Thursday – Better Things
Friday – Doth my nugs bequeath me? It’s The Eric Andre Show!
Saturday – US Open: Ladies Final

What Won TV? – August 21-August 27, 2016

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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.

blood-orange-conan

Sunday – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Monday – A rerun of the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament
Tuesday – Blood Orange’s performance of “Augustine/Thank You” on Conan
Wednesday – Mr. Robot
Thursday – RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars
Friday – A saucy Eric Andre Show
Saturday – N/A

What Won TV? – August 14-August 20, 2016

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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.

larry-wilmore-jon-stewart-final-nightly-show

Sunday – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Monday – Olympics, featuring King of the 800 David Rudisha
Tuesday – Difficult People
Wednesday – Mr. Robot
Thursday – The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, because we should not confuse cancellation with failure
Friday – The Eric Andre Show
Saturday – Olympics: the 4×400‘s were fun

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