Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 6/18/21

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Kevin Can F*** Himself (CREDIT: Jojo Whilden/AMC)

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

Movies
Luca (June 18 on Disney+)
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (Theaters)
The Sparks Brothers (Theaters)

TV
Physical Series Premiere (June 18 on Apple TV+) – Rose Byrne gets into 80s aerobics.
Evil Season 2 Premiere (June 20 on Paramount+)
Kevin Can F*** Himself Series Premiere (June 23 on AMC) – Annie Murphy hates sitcom clichés.
Rick and Morty Season 5 Premiere (June 20 on Adult Swim)
College Bowl Reboot Premiere (June 22 on NBC) – Peyton Manning hosts.
Card Sharks Season Premiere (June 23 on ABC)
Conan Series Finale (June 24 on TBS) – Headed to HBO Max.
The Good Fight Season 5 Premiere (June 24 on Paramount+)
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6 Premiere (June 24 on Paramount+)
When Nature Calls with Helen Mirren (June 24 on ABC) – Something with animals.

Music
-H.E.R., Back of My Mind

The Best TV Episodes of 2020

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(CREDIT: FX/YouTube Screenshot)

When making Best Episode lists, some TV critics limit themselves to one entry per show, but I never operate by that self-imposition, as certain shows are just masterful when crafting a single hour or half-hour (or whatever runtime they feel like using), and that ought to be reflected in the ledger. So you’ll find that several shows have wound up more than once in this list, and those tended to be the ones that also fared the best on my Best Shows of 2020 list. You’ll also find at least one program that didn’t make my Best Shows list, as it’s possible to have one excellent outing within an otherwise disappointing season. So forthwith, if someone who missed all TV in 2020 asked me for a refresher, here is where I would direct them:

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The 67 Best TV Shows of 2020

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Clockwise from Top Left: What We Do in the Shadows, Never Have I Ever, Better Call Saul, How To with John Wilson (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots)

Last year, I decided to rank as many TV shows as I felt like recognizing in my year-end list, and that worked out so well that I decided to do it again for 2020. So welcome to my ranking of the 67 Best TV Shows of 2020! Not every show is accompanied by a blurb, just the ones that I felt like I really needed to say something about.

I worked with a self-imposed rule that I had to have watched at least 50% of a show’s 2020 output for it to be eligible, but there were some shows that I’ve only just begun to watch that I wanted to recognize as well, so they’ve got their own Honorable Mention section. And there were also some shows that aired relatively few episodes in 2020 to the point that I didn’t think they should be eligible either, so they’ve also got an Honorable Mention section. And then there’s one more show that’s managed to establish its very own Honorable Mention section, and that’s where we start.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/1/20

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CREDIT: Netflix/YouTube Screenshot

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

TV
Rick and Morty Season 4 Mid-Season Premiere (May 3 on Adult Swim)
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Series Premiere (May 4 on Disney+) – Docuseries BTS look at our new favorite Star Wars show.
Jeopardy! Ken Jennings Encore (May 4-15, Check local listings) – Encore presentations of the first and last games in Ken Jennings’ original run as well as the Greatest of All Time tournament.

Comedy
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill (May 5 on Netflix)

Best TV Episodes of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

In assembling my picks for the best TV episodes of the past decade, I noticed that I was leaning heavily on the comedy side. This was unsurprising, as I tend to watch more sitcoms than dramas. But the difference was even more pronounced than usual. I think that makes sense, because on average, comedies tend to be specifically designed on an episodic basis moreso than dramas.

I should also note that I did not limit shows to any prescribed maximum. You’ll notice that certain programs keep popping up, like Community and Nathan for You. They deserve it, as they’re the types of shows that revolutionized themselves on the regular.

So here are the television morsels from the 2010s that shine within the context of their full works and also stand brilliantly on their own.

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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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Best 2020 Super Bowl Commercials

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CREDIT: Reeses/YouTube Screenshot

The major trend of Super Bowl LIV’s ads appeared to be Collaboration. Multiple spots promoted multiple products, what with Charlie Day asking everyone what to do about his stain and Sofia Vergara teaming up with the Old Spice guy and the Charmin bear with the clean heinie to take care of a chili spill. As for my own particular personal reactions, it felt so good to laugh again!

Before I get to the rankings, I would like to note that at the viewing party I attended, it was hard to hear the ads during the first half, but thankfully by the third quarter the acoustics were much more favorable. If any early spots looked like they deserved reconsideration, I made sure to re-watch them on YouTube.

5. Minions: The Rise of Gru, “Get Ready” – Usually I don’t include movie or TV trailers in these rankings, but this is Minions (set to “Sabotage”), so obviously I had to make an exception.

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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 11/8/19

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CREDIT: Adult Swim

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

Movies
Doctor Sleep (Theatrically Nationwide)
Last Christmas (Theatrically Nationwide)
Noelle (Streaming November 12 on Disney+)

TV
Rick and Morty Season 4 Premiere (November 10 on Adult Swim) – The show with perhaps the best episode titles finally returns. (“Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat” kicks us off.)
Disney+ Launch Alert!
Forky Asks a Question Series Premiere (November 12 on Disney+)
The Mandalorian Series Premiere (November 12 on Disney+)
Pixar IRL Series Premiere (November 12 on Disney+)
The World According to Jeff Goldblum Series Premiere (November 12 on Disney+)

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”

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