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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What Won TV? – September 24-September 30, 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.

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark – Halt and Catch Fire _ Season 4, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/AMC

Sunday – Rick and Morty
Monday – Young Sheldon
Tuesday – Difficult People
Wednesday – You’re the Worst, and the title is back to being so true.
Thursday – The Good Place, The Good Place, The Good Place
Friday – VICE
Saturday – Halt and Catch Fire, and I keep watching the saddest parts again and again.

What Won TV? – September 3-September 9, 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 – What Twin Peaks is this?
Monday – American Dad!
Tuesday – American Horror Story: Cult … of Consequences of Voting for Jill Stein?
Wednesday – You’re the Worst
Thursday – The Gong Show
Friday – BoJack Horseman Season 4 (at least the first third – I’m still watching!)
Saturday – Halt and Catch Fire

What Won TV? – November 13-November 19, 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.

billy-on-the-street-name-a-skin-color

Sunday – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Monday – People of Earth
Tuesday – Name a TV show you should be watching: Billy on the Street
Wednesday – You’re the Worst
Thursday – Jeopardy!
Friday – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and its “feminist bikini area”
Saturday – SNL Thanksgiving by way of Westworld

What Won TV? – October 30-November 5, 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.

koohl-toilet

Sunday – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Monday – People of Earth
Tuesday – Atlanta checked its pockets.
Wednesday – You’re the Worst
Thursday – The Good Place
Friday – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Saturday – Benedict Cumberbatch made the toilet Koohl again.

What Won TV? – October 16-October 22, 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.

david-s-pumpkins

Sunday – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Monday – Jane the Virgin
Tuesday – Jen Kirkman’s Prince dream, as recounted on The Meltdown Show with Jonah and Kumail
Wednesday – You’re the Worst
Thursday – Better Things
Friday – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Saturday – David S. Pumpkins: Any questions?

What Won TV? – August 28-September 3, 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.

The Night Of Closing Argument

Sunday – The Night Of, mostly for John Turturro’s closing argument
Monday – The US Open kicked off.
Tuesday – Difficult People
Wednesday – You’re the Worst
Thursday – RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars is snatching up my attention on Thursdays.
Friday – A bit of US Open
Saturday – US Open

Vulture Festival 2016

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vulture-festival

Last weekend, I attended several panels at the Vulture Festival, an annual pop culture extravaganza thrown by the entertainment wing of New York Magazine. Here’s how it went down.

DAY 1: SATURDAY, 5/21/2016

Breaking Better Call Saul
Vulture TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz chatted with Rhea Seehorn, Michael McKean, and BCS co-creator Peter Gould. Bob Odenkirk joined in via phone (which was unfortunate because he is not the type of guy who will be all “Awkward setup be damned!” and just jump into the conversation). This was a rather engaging discussion, as these folks are eager and eloquent when discussing their process. One major point was the inevitability posed by Breaking Bad already establishing where Jimmy/Saul’s life is headed. To this end, Peter noted how fans often ask him if Kim and Chuck will die, which he at first thought was due to a lack of imagination but then realized it was more about a concern from people in the hope that their favorite fictional characters will remain alive and well.
I had a chance to talk with Rhea Seehorn after the panel. I asked her if she would be submitting as Lead or Supporting for the Emmys this year. She said that her publicists take care of that, but she was pretty sure they would be putting her down for Supporting. When I mentioned that I blog my Emmy prognostications every year, she asked for my info so that she could check out my stuff.

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Best Episode of the Season: You’re the Worst Season 1

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YTWFinishYourMilk

“Finish Your Milk”
You’re the Worst reveals its true self in its antepenultimate Season 1 episode. The fact that its cynicism was just a front for its sincerity is hinted at as early as the pilot, but in this edition, the emotions come pouring out unmistakably. Jimmy makes himself known to Gretchen’s parents against her wishes. He is not trying to prove a point – he legitimately wants to support her and stand up for her. But their romance is a struggle, so these overtures initially lead to strife (brilliantly represented with split-screen editing). Suffering happens when an effort is made, but You’re the Worst argues that that pain is ultimately worth it.

2015 Emmy Nominations Predictions and Wishlist

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For my detailed thoughts on my predictions and wishlists in the major Drama, Comedy, and Variety categories, check out these links:
Comedy
Drama
Variety

Guest Actor, Comedy
John Hawkes, Inside Amy Schumer
Michael Rapaport, Louie
Chris Gethard, Parks and Recreation
Dwayne Johnson, Saturday Night Live

Guest Actress, Comedy
Susie Essman, Broad City

Guest Actor, Drama
Mel Rodriguez, Better Call Saul

Guest Actress, Drama
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Linda Lavin, The Good Wife

Directing, Comedy
Rob Schrab, “Modern Espionage,” Community

Directing, Drama
Adam Arkin, “The Promise,” Justified

Writing, Comedy
Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television,” Community

Writng, Drama
Thomas Schnauz, “Pimento,” Better Call Saul

Animated Program
Bojack Horseman – “Downer Ending”
American Dad! – “Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas”
The Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror XXV”

Commercial
Android – “Friends Furever”

Host – Reality/Reality Competition
RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Interactive Program
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Main Title Design
Man Seeking Woman

Single-Camera Picture Editing, Comedy
Bojack Horseman – “Downer Ending”

Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program
Too Many Cooks
Billy On The Street With First Lady Michelle Obama, Big Bird And Elena!!!

Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program
Community

Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role
Man Seeking Woman – “Traib”