That’s Auntertainment! Episode 15 Part 2: Best TV Dramas of the 2010s

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Aunt Beth and Jeff wrap up July 2020, aka “Best TV of the Decade Month,” with their top 5 Drama selections of the 2010s. There are dangerous lead characters in both of their #1’s and some folks you’ve gotta call in both of their #4’s.

That’s Auntertainment! Episode 15 Part 2: Best TV Dramas of the 2010s

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Jeff and Aunt Beth (and a few canine guests who make some impromptu contributions to the conversation) are finally ready to reveal their favorite TV Dramas of the past decade! Get ready for some trips down the runway, dark origin stories, and secrets lurking within little American towns.

There’s also some discussion about hopes and desires for the upcoming Emmy nominations.

That’s Auntertainment! Episode 14: Best TV Comedies of the 2010s Part 2

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Aunt Beth and Jeff are back again to reveal the very tippy-tops of their Best TV Comedies of the 2010s lists! Included on the docket are both fake lawyers and disgraced lawyers. Also, Jeff forgets to say his name.

That’s Auntertainment! Episode 14: Best TV Comedies of the 2010s Part 1

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Aunt Beth and Jeff are looking back at what made them laugh on the small screen over the last decade as they reveal their lists of the Best TV Comedies of the 2010s. Part 1 covers #’s 10-6, which feature kooky families, animated critters, and plenty of clowning.

They also take some time at the top of the show to marvel at the laugh-filled career of the recently deceased Carl Reiner.

Jmunney’s 2019 Summer TV Preview

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CREDIT: Eric McCandless/ABC

I don’t normally write up a Summer TV Preview, but after looking over what’s set to premiere these coming hot (and sexy) months, I felt compelled to say something.

First off, it really feels like we’re living in a new Golden Era of Game Shows, particularly thanks to ABC, which is enthusiastically committed to its Summer Fun & Games lineup. In addition to returning favorites like Pyramid and Celebrity Family Feud, 2019 is bringing us reboots of Card Sharks (hosted by Joel McHale) and Press Your Luck (hosted by Elizabeth Banks), and on top of that, there’s the premiere of the new “extreme” mini-golf show Holey Moley.

Scanning over what else we’ve got, it seems like there are more scripted series that I watch than ever airing in the summer months. Don’t the networks know I like to get some fresh air? TV gods, please have mercy on me if I can’t keep up-to-date with everything.

And finally, mention must be made of FOX’s What Just Happened??!, an aftershow hosted by Fred Savage. But here’s the catch: it’s an aftershow that consists of discussions of a mothership show that doesn’t actually exist. Sounds perfectly tailor-made for me, and hopefully some of you are intrigued as well.

Listed below are all the shows I am planning on checking out from June through August, along with their premiere dates. For a more complete list of summer shows, click here.

Game Shows
Beat Shazam (Premiered May 20 on FOX)
Celebrity Family Feud (June 9 on ABC)
The $100,000 Pyramid (June 9 on ABC)
Big Little Lies (June 9 on HBO)
Press Your Luck (June 11 on ABC)
Card Sharks (June 12 on ABC)
Match Game (June 12 on ABC)
Holey Moley (June 20 on ABC)
Family Food Fight (June 20 on ABC)
Hollywood Game Night (July 11 on NBC)

Straightforward(ish) Sitcoms and Dramas
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Premiered May 10 on ABC)
Archer: 1999 (Premiered May 29 on FXX)
Black Mirror (June 5 on Netflix)
grown-ish (June 5 on Freeform)
The Handmaid’s Tale (June 5 on Hulu)
Pose (June 11 on FX)
Baskets (June 13 on FX)
The Detour (June 18 on TBS)
Legion (June 24 on FX)
GLOW (August 9 on Netflix)

Oddballs and Outliers
Whose Line is it Anyway? (June 17 on The CW)
Alternatino (June 18 on Comedy Central)
Drunk History (June 18 on Comedy Central)
What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage (June 30 on FOX)

Best TV Shows of 2018

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CREDIT: Courtesy of the Networks

This post was originally published on News Cult in December 2018.

I spent much of 2018 despairing over how there isn’t enough time to watch every great show out there, just as I have every year for the past decade or so. Despite that permanent dilemma, I did not struggle as much as I usually do to settle on a top 10. But of course, there are always more than ten great shows that I would like to recognize. So before you continue reading on to my picks of the very best, here are some other shows I loved in 2018: Bob’s Burgers, The Goldbergs, The Good Place, Great News, Homecoming, Jane the Virgin, Killing Eve, The Last O.G., Mystery Science Theater 3000, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sharp Objects, Speechless, Trial & Error, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

And here are some 2018 shows that I kept hearing wonderful things about, but that I never got around to seeing: The Americans, The Good Fight, Lodge 49, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, One Day at a Time, Random Acts of Flyness, Succession, The Terror.

10. BoJack Horseman (Netflix) – Most BoJack Horseman seasons lead up to some earth-shattering conclusion. Season 5 followed much the same structure but wisely ultimately settled on a more even-keeled note, declaring that people sometimes do good things and sometimes do bad things, and the trick is to do good things more often. Maybe there is equilibrium in BoJack’s future?

9. Joe Pera Talks with You (Adult Swim) – Perhaps the most unique show of 2018, and probably the gentlest in Adult Swim history, Joe Pera Talks with You inspires wonder at all the simple facts of life. As a fictionalized version of himself, Pera presents a well-examined life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that we can all appreciate.

8. Better Call Saul (AMC) – Jimmy continued his path towards fully becoming Saul Goodman, which could really describe any season of this show. And yet by just continuing along its set path, it gobsmacks you evermore with its explorations of identity, duty, and destiny. It just goes to show you that it really is all about the journey.

7. Barry (HBO) – Alec Berg and Bill Hader walked a tightrope every episode as they tracked the progress of hitman turned very bad actor Barry Berkman. They pushed themselves into narrative corners, as violently dramatic consequences bumped up against the foibles of the trenches of showbiz, and yet they always followed through on their trickiest conundrums.

6. Pose (FX) – The push for diversity in television is valiant in terms of representation and employment. But is it also valuable for creativity? Pose is a perfect example to show that yes indeed, it is. This recreation of New York’s 1980s queer ballroom scene opened up groundbreaking avenues for televisual storytelling.

5. Big Mouth (Netflix) – Netflix’s animated tale of burgeoning puberty courtesy of Nick Kroll and company is raunchy and specific in a manner that is uproarious, gross, and a little profound. Hormone and Shame Monsters are the stuff of modern mythmaking.

4. American Vandal (Netflix) – The first season of this Netflix true crime mockumentary was a rousing success, but I had my doubts about the second. The jokes and intrigue around spray-painted dicks made sense, but taking on actual poop sounded a little frightening. Luckily the crimes of the Turd Burglar were treated as terrifyingly as they deserved to be, and we were treated to another fascinating portrait of adolescence, the high school ecosystem, and our online selves.

3. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (FX) – It was really more “The Killings of Andrew Cunanan” rather than just “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” Progressing backwards and expanding outwards, this was Ryan Murphy’s other exhilarating formal experiment of 2018.

2. Baskets (FX) – The Baskets family went into business together and opened up a circus. It sounded like a great idea, but there are always struggles along the way. If you’re looking for portraits of genuine American families on TV, Baskets is a little odd, but it does the trick.

1. Atlanta (FX)Atlanta is a landmark achievement in surreal television. It all appears to tie together when watching it, but as I attempt to reconstruct Season 2 in my head, I wonder how Florida Man, a slippery barber, and Teddy Perkins can all possibly hang together. And yet I know deep in my psyche how much emotional sense it all makes. Donald Glover and company followed their muse to dark and exciting corners for our delight.

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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