Thursday, November 12, 2015

Birthday Boy: Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling turns 35 this year and I feel like it's been forever since I've seen him in a movie and in fact his last film I've seen was the critically-panned Only God Forgives two years ago and I didn't even see it in theaters! The last film of his I saw in theaters was The Place Beyond the Pines which was back in 2012! Let's all fondly remember The Year of Gosling (aka 2011) with the trio of Drive, Ides of March, and Crazy Stupid Love. Good times.

At least the Gosling Comeback is in full overdrive next year. The most exciting project of his for me is the musical he's doing with Emma Stone directed by Whiplash's Damien Chzelle, La La Land. He'll also appear in a Terence Malick film and another film where he'll star opposite Matt Bomer (and Russell Crowe, whatever). Plus he's apparently still working on that new Blade Runner film which... sure, okay. I don't care just give me films starring Ryan Gosling in my eyeballs now. Happy birthday!

(Photos by Nikos Aliagas)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm not really like this, you know...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

I have to confess by saying that horror films, unless they're satirical, campy, and/or funny just aren't my thing. Gory horror is probably the worst because it's such a pointless assault on the senses. Psychological horror is slightly better, but it's the kind of thing I need to be in the mood for. So unfortunately I just wasn't in the mood for this when I watched Roman Polanski's Repulsion a few days ago despite acknowledging it as an accomplished work of art.

Me on a regular night.

Catherine Deneuve plays Carol, a quiet and initially unassuming pretty girl. She works at a salon, has a more worldly older sister, and is being courted by a handsome guy. But it's clear there's something off about her. She's prone to bouts of just staring into space, attention from men annoys more than it pleases, and she can barely put the effort to doing much of anything. When her sister leaves her alone to go on holiday, the character and the film devolves from there and it's all truly horrific to witness from her first accidental mishap with a customer to the purposeful slashing of her creepy landlord. The way the film makes all of this feel organic and uneasy at the same time with its claustrophobic cinematography and manic score is something to be  but it's also just a genre I'm not at all enthused by.

So it's no surprise that for my pick for best shot, I picked one that was slightly  less representative of the horror aspect of the film:

Best Shot

This shot just caught my eye upon first view and one can look at it as the moment before the point of no return for Carol. Here, her paramour has come to investigate what's been going on with her. He's just broken down the front door, which is why it's wide open with her across-the-hall neighbor hilariously privy to their little drama. He's trying to understand her and to tell her he just wants to be with her, but both are turned away from each other, bathed in shadows. It's then no surprise what's happens next (aka not so good for him).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Come and have a bathe...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Like many films chosen for this series, A Room with a View is a film I had meant to see sooner, but just never got around to it. It's especially galling in this case considering my penchant for English period films as well as the presence of so many British actors I know and love. Seeing Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench gleefully gossiping amidst the tall grass was a highlight and very nearly made my pick of best shot.

No, my best shot quite predictably went to a pretty, pretty boy namely Rupert Graves who apparently makes his film debut as the ever-energetic and free-spirited Freddy Honeychurch, the younger brother of our main protagonist Lucy Honeychurch played by Helena Bonham Carter. See A Room with a View is actually just my second Merchant-Ivory film. My first was Maurice starring a fresh-faced Graves playing gay. But that's neither here nor there, here's my favorite shot from this film:

Best Shot

It's the joyful end of a very naked scene involving Graves, Julian Sands, and Simon Callow taking a bath at a local lake. Just a little nude horseplay between friends if you will. Here Graves unsuccessfully tries to hide as his mother, sister, and sister's fiancé (brilliantly played by a snobbish preening Daniel Day Lewis) discovers them to their shock, amusement, and annoyance respectively. Just look at his boyish smile and adorable face. Who could resist? Talk about a nice view (yeah, sorry).

Monday, October 5, 2015

Birthday Girl: Kate Winslet

Just a few days ago, I saw Kate Winslet being absolutely wasted on Insurgent and it made me long to see her in great films again. Thankfully I don't have to wait long as she's currently making the publicity rounds, most recently at the New York Film Festival, for her role in Steve Jobs which many believe might be the film to get her back to Oscars' good graces. Not as if she needs it since she's still one of the best in the industry and certainly one of my favorites.

Today is actually Kate's 40th birthday and apart from Steve Jobs, I'm glad she has a couple of other films coming out. The photo above is from The Dressmaker which looks absolutely fun and gorgeous. It had its world premiere last month at the Toronto Film Festival but no word yet on when it'll be released to the general public here in America. Then there's Triple 9 which looks so outside the box to Kate's usual films that I'm probably more excited about it than the two films I've already mentioned (only slightly though). But just look at her...

These are low quality stills from the recently released trailer. And all I can say is... yes, please... more, please... give it to me now! Anyways, happy birthday Kate!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pilot Thoughts: Blood and Oil, Quantico, Heroes Reborn

Last week I wrote about four new pilots I watched this fall. Here are three more though technically two pilots and a reboot.

Blood and Oil (ABC)

As a previous fan of Revenge and current fan of Empire and How to Get Away with Murder, my love for trashy prime-time soaps is clear. My hope was Blood and Oil would follow suit. Unfortunately its biggest sin in the pilot is just how shrug-worthy it all feels. The lead couple played by Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse are blander than milk though I can see the show writing them this way for now to show how quickly they're corrupted by all the sex/money/murder happening in this North Dakotan oil town. But all of that sex/money/murder were just too far and few in the pilot with even Don Johnson and Amber Valletta looking bored. The one teeny tiny highlight was Scott Michael Foster playing the entitled bad boy rich kid. More him and more sex. Less everything else. C

Quantico (ABC)

This show was ABC trying to do a Shonda Rhimes show without Shonda Rhimes. It's literally a mash-up of Grey's Anatomy (hot coeds living and learning together), Scandal (amidst political and dangerous situations), and How to Get Away with Murder (plus a whodunit with a flashback structure). So on the one hand, hats off for doing all of that and still delivering a relatively fun and intriguing pilot. But then it also falls a bit under all of the weighty comparisons and expectations. The characters right now, as uniformly hot as they are, are not specially drawn out, but that's to be expected on a show with this large of an ensemble. Lead Priyanka Chopra seems more than capable though so I'll be interested in seeing what more she can do. B

Heroes Reborn (NBC)

This isn't technically a pilot, but I still wanted to chime in with my thoughts. So, I loved the original Heroes and while I agree that they went off the rails in later seasons, I was still interested in this world, these characters. With that said, I'm predisposed to like this continuation reboot. And here's the thing, this show is exactly what you expect. If you liked Heroes Original Flavor, you will like this. If you didn't, then this new show isn't for you as well. I believe they achieved a nice balance of addressing what happened in the earlier series while being free to continue with a new-ish story. I personally can't wait to spend some time with some old and new characters alike. Is it perfect? It's not at all and many of its flaws (confusing timeline, awkward dialogue) are still present but I'm a sucker for people with super powers so I'll be here every week. B

There was a brief moment last week when I considered watching the pilots for The Grinder and Grandfathered, two shows that I kept mistaking for one another all summer. Both have actually gotten mildly positive notices, but in the era of Peak TV I think I'll do myself a solid and try to limit my TV watching a bit more. In fact, I've already given up on one new show this fall: Scream Queens. I just didn't feel the need to watch another episode after its two-hour premiere episode.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pilot Thoughts: Minority Report, Scream Queens, Muppets, Limitless

The Fall 2015 TV season just had its first week. Actually today will be its 7th day, but there are a million shows on Sundays so I'd rather post my thoughts on any of the new shows I watched this past week.

Minority Report (FOX)

It's been awhile since I've see the Minority Report film, but I never actually thought it would be resurrected as a TV show. But it has and despite all the cool futuristic fluorishes (and they ARE cool), it sadly feels a little been-there-done that. It doesn't help that FOX is essentially copying the formula that made Sleepy Hollow work in its first season. You have the awkward out-of-place guy with preternatural talents working with a strong, super capable lady cop to solve crimes. But while Sleepy Hollow had the whole cadre of supernatural things that go bump in the night at its disposal, Minority Report just feels like a police procedural but with slightly more advance technology. The cast is fine, even good, and the final scene that hints to something bigger, while predictable, was effective. The ratings for this one weren't great, but I'll keep seeing it to see if it improves. C+

Scream Queens (FOX)

Watching a Ryan Murphy show for two hours straight has got to fall under "cruel and unjust punishment" especially with its visceral assault on your senses. Maybe I've grown out of his schtick. I loved early season Glee (and watched to the bitter, bitter end) and Popular is still an unheralded work of genius. I never got into American Horror Story and now with Scream Queens, I just think he's not for me. Does the pilot provide fun, crazy moments and cool, interesting characters? Certainly, but they're either hidden and obscured or turned up to 11 to the point of eye-rollingness. Here's the thing though, Murphy shows usually drop in level from the pilot/first season so if I wasn't into the pilot this time around, that's just an invitation to do right for me and stop watching now. I might give it one more episode, because I *am* a TV masochist sometimes. D+

The Muppets (ABC)

I've seen so many reactions from people who say that this iteration of the Muppets just seem too adult and thus it all feels off. I don't entirely disagree with them, but "too adult" is relative and I think that off feeling is on purpose. There's already that disconnect when puppets are treated as humans (which this show has established in previous editions) and this show just takes that to the next step. So in that sense, I totally dug it. Apart from the whole Muppets aspect of it, as a show, it largely reminded me of 30 Rock, which is a good thing in my book. I know the pilot was rushed to production so I have to believe everyone involved will get the right balance and flow for these beloved characters eventually. I'll stick around to see if they do. B

Limitless (CBS)

While FOX wanted its Minority Report to be Sleepy Hollow, CBS wanted Limitless to be its next Elementary (with a side of NBC's Chuck)... not to mention that all four of those shows pretty much are the same in concept. The crazy thing about Limitless though is how much I enjoyed the pilot. They deftly re-packaged the film into a TV episode that not only re-introduces the concept, but builds on the film. Plus I thought it was exciting, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt. My biggest fear, of course, is that the pilot is not representative at all of what the show moving forward is going to be which is... a police procedural. And look, I'm not totally against them. I still very much like Elementary, but most of that is because I enjoy spending time with its characters. This show might have a fighting chance in that regard as its full of people I've loved from elsewhere namely Jennifer Carpenter, Ron Rifkin, Blair Brown. Lead actor Jake McDorman is fine and I have liked him in other shows (Greek, Shameless). My biggest hope is that they find some shading to this procedural show be it in his developing relationship with Carpenter or continuing to see his relationship with his parents/family. B+

So as you can see, with new shows this year, it's slim pickins'. Tonight, I'll be checking out two more pilots: Blood and Oil and Quantico. I don't have any high hopes for Blood and Oil only that it be as soapy and trashy as it could be. I *do* expect Quantico to be good, or at least entertaining. After that, I still have to dig into Heroes Reborn even though it's technically not a new show, I still consider it as such. The only other two new broadcast pilots I'm going to check out aren't on air until October (Supergirl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Thankfully I have my hands full with my long list of returning shows, most of which have upped their game. But that's probably another post waiting to be written.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The 2015 Emmys: The Winners

Tonight's Emmy Awards were pretty great actually with diverse winners, records and streaks getting broken, and history made. The night started out strong with host Andy Samberg delivering an Ode to Having Way Too Many TV Shows to Catch Up On which I bet a lot of us felt quite sympathetic to in a deeper level (Samberg actually was pretty solid throughout the night I thought). The night ended out just as strongly as Tracy Morgan made his first live (and emotional) appearance since his accident and Veep and Game of Thrones were awarded Best Comedy and Best Drama Series respectively. In the the process, Veep halted the consecutive wins of Modern Family in the category at 5 and Game of Thrones, with a total of 12 wins, replaced The West Wing as the series to receive the most Emmys in a single year.

HBO was the night's big winner not only winning Best Comedy and Drama Series (no network has done that since 2002 when NBC's Friends and The West Wing won), but also taking home Best Limited Series with Olive Kitteridge. In total, HBO won 43 Emmy Awards including 25 from those three shows alone. It was also a huge night for women and women of color. Directing and writing in a Limited Series went to two women (Lisa Cholodenko and Jane Anderson respectively) for the aforementioned Olive Kitteridge while Jill Soloway won Best Directing in Comedy Series for the groundbreaking show Transparent (also picking up a win for Jeffrey Tambor). Meanwhile Regina King, Uzo Aduba, and Viola Davis won acting awards. For Aduba, she joins Ed Asner for having a role awarded in both Comedy and Drama. For Davis, she becomes the first (!) black actress to win for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. All of their speeches were highlights of the night, but Viola channeling Harriet Tubman would be hard to top. Speaking of great women, Allison Janney won her 7th acting Emmy tying her with... Ed Asner for the most.

And while Veep and Game of Thrones finally broke through to lead their respective categories, all eyes were on Jon Hamm who thankfully broke through as well finally winning for his role as Don Draper on Mad Men (the show then received only 1 acting win in 36 nominations). Sadly, Amy Poehler didn't fare as well with her Leslie Knope Emmy-less (she still won the night and the award show will truly and surely miss her). I could go on and on about the shows and performances I think should've won like Lisa Kudrow, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Banks, Parks and Recreation... but it's been a long night. The show pleasantly ended earlier than many thought and so in that spirit, I'll stop and just present to you the list of winners:

Game of Thrones (HBO)
ACTOR: Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
ACTRESS: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
SUPP. ACTOR: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
DIRECTING: David Nutter, Game of Thrones (HBO)
WRITING: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones (HBO)
GUEST ACTOR: Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards (Netflix)
GUEST ACTRESS: Margo Martindale, The Americans (FX)

Veep (HBO)
ACTOR: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (Amazon)
ACTRESS: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
SUPP. ACTOR: Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
DIRECTING: Jill Soloway, Transparent (Amazon)
WRITING: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, Veep (HBO)
GUEST ACTOR: Bradley Whitford, Transparent (Amazon)
GUEST ACTRESS: Joan Cusack, Shameless (Showtime)

Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
TV MOVIE: Bessie (HBO)
ACTOR: Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
ACTRESS: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
SUPP. ACTOR: Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Regina King, American Crime (ABC)
DIRECTING: Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
WRITING: Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

In terms of predictions I made, I got 9 out of 15 and with alternates 12 out of 15 so not too terrible, but nothing to celebrate. So until next year!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Emmy Nominations and Predictions: Drama

Tonight are the Emmy Awards! Yesterday, I posted my thoughts and predictions for the comedy categories. Here are the drama ones:

Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange Is the New Black

With last year's champ Breaking Bad done and dusted, it's a great opportunity for a handful of these shows. Will Mad Men win for a fifth and final time? Will Game of Thrones, the show nominated for the most Emmy Awards with 24, break through finally? Will the new category for Orange Is the New Black mean an easier time for a win (no)? Will Better Call Saul just pick up where Breaking Bad left off? Any of these scenarios could happen so I'm at a bit of a loss, but thankfully I'm OK with any of those happening! I'm more annoyed that they still didn't find a way to honor The Americans or even the huge network hit Empire.

Prediction: Mad Men
Alternate: Game of Thrones
Should Win: Orange is the New Black
Should've Been Nominated: The Americans, The Leftovers, Empire, Agent Carter

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Does Jeff Daniels have some blackmail-worthy information or something? I mean I haven't seen his show, but it's all still so perplexing. It IS nice seeing Chandler pop up randomly here, though again I have no opinion since I haven't seen his show. The rest of the nominees were predictable based on history and with Cranston out of the way COULD IT BE THIS YEAR FINALLY JON HAMM MIGHT WIN? That is the big question of course and I do think it'll happen with the rule change (more people voting) and the perceived slight of Hamm not winning for this particular role.

Prediction: Jon Hamm
Alternate: Kevin Spacey
Should Win: Jon Hamm
Should've Been Nominated: Cillian Murphy, Matthew Rhys, Charlie Cox, Jamie Dornan

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Tatiana Maslany! Tatiana Maslany! I was honestly shocked, pleasantly, when her name was called nomination morning. I still can't believe it. This is actually an amazing, amazing short list top-lined by Davis and Henson who should both be seen as the favorites to win. I wouldn't know who to pick between the two of them if I had a vote... so I probably would just pick Moss for her first win and final time to honor her for her fantastic Peggy Olson. I do wish this was another category that had extra slot since Keri Russell and (more unlikely) Hayley Atwell would've fit right in.

Prediction: Taraji P. Henson
Alternate: Viola Davis
Should Win: Elisabeth Moss
Should've Been Nominated: Keri Russell, Hayley Atwell, Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House of Cards

These nominees are refreshingly different from last year with Dinklage and Carter as the only repeat nominees. In Carter's case, I have no earthly idea why they keep nominating him and even Dinklage didn't have much to do this season. I am very much rooting for Banks here who delivered a knockout season (and episode), but who knows? My personal list, however, would've trended a bit younger such as Matt Czuchry, Joshua Jackson, Jussie Smollett, Conrad Ricamora, Matthew Goode, Vincent Kartheiser, Jack Falahee, Allen Leech... I could go on and on.

Prediction: Jonathan Banks
Alternate: Ben Mendelsohn
Should Win: Jonathan Banks
Should've Been Nominated: Jussie Smollett, Joshua Jackson, Matt Czuchry, Conrad Ricamora

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Unlike the men, a lot of the nominees are repeats from last year with previously Emmy nominated Clarke and Aduba replacing Maggie Smith (finally!) and last year's winner Anna Gunn. If there was ever a free-for-all category, this is it. Literally, any one of these ladies could win. If I had to pick the most likely winners it'd have to be Hendricks for the final season of her show, Aduba for being the MVP of her show (at least in terms of general perception), and Baranski (The Good Wife has had a female acting winner 5 years in a row). The big crime here though is not awarding Lorraine Toussaint a nomination for her singular work. She would've been a shoo-in for Guest Actress, but alas a recent rule change put her here in a much more competitive/crowded field.

Prediction: Uzo Aduba
Alternate: Christine Baranski
Should Win: Lena Headey
Should've Been Nominated: Lorraine Toussaint, Samira Wiley, Ann Dowd, Charlotte Rampling

Overall, the big question of the night is how much will the Emmys decide to honor Mad Men for its final year in contention? And if the answer is no, which shows and actors will take up the baton? Game of Thrones? Better Call Saul? Orange is the New Black? Of course, there were still plenty of shows I wished were honored like The Americans, The Leftovers, and even Empire. Alas.

And just for completeness sake, here are my predictions for the Miniseries/TV Movies categories, with the exception of Best TV Movie which was given out to Bessie during last week's Creative Arts Emmy Awards:


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Emmy Nominations and Predictions: Comedy

The Emmys are tomorrow! And I still haven't talked about the nominations. Where did the summer go? So below are my thoughts and predictions for the big categories in Comedy. Tomorrow aka Emmy Day, I'll post about the Drama categories.

Modern Family
Parks & Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Modern Family has won this category five years in a row. Five. Years. In. A. Row. Last year's Orange is the New Black (now inexplicably a drama series) had all the buzz and it still didn't win so underestimate the show at your peril. With that said, the Emmys didn't even give Frasier a sixth win so I think and hope they'll finally look somewhere new and I think Amazon's Transparent will be it. People think it'll be too niche, but with its lead a lock for a win and increased visibility for transgendered issues recently, I think it's likely. Frankly I'm just happy they chose to recognize the final season of Parks and Recreation and the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, both of which were not a given AT ALL. Still plenty of GREAT shows were left out in the cold such as Broad City and Jane the Virgin.

Prediction: Transparent
Alternate: Veep
Should Win: Parks and Recration
Should've Been Nominated: Jane the Virgin, Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Comeback

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Even with room for 7 names, it's hilarious to me how yawn-worthy this category still is. In fact, other than Tambor, I would've nominated a whole different set of names including Thomas Middlestitch whose show was nominated for Best Comedy and Andy Samberg aka the night's host! In any case, this category is a slam-dunk for Tambor especially (and shockingly) with previous multi-winner Jim Parsons not nominated. What happened there?

Prediction: Jeffrey Tambor
Alternate: William H. Macy
Should Win: Jeffrey Tambor
Should've Been Nominated: Adam Scott, Thomas Middleditch, Chris Messina, Andy Samberg

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

We give the sad lineup of men an extra name and we don't do that same for this insanely stacked category? With one more slot, they could've found room for Gina Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Gina Rodriguez, Contance Wu, Gina Rogriguez. You get the idea. With that said, this is a really strong short list where I can see all of them winning or at least all of them trying to win against Emmy juggernaut JLD who will likely win again. If I had a vote though... it's still tough. Lisa Kudrow literally gave the best performance of the year not in just this category, but in all of acting. But how can Amy Poehler not have an Emmy for Leslie Knope? In the end, I'm sticking to the spirit of the award i.e. best performance of the year and it's hands down Kudrow (Rodriguez would've given her competition for my vote though were she nominated).

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Alternate: Amy Schumer
Should Win: Lisa Kudrow
Should've Been Nominated: Gina Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Constance Wu, Ilana Glazer

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep

This mirrors last year's nominees with Key and Burgess replacing Fred Armisen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (for the better in my opinion). Last year, Burrell won even though I thought previous year's winner Hale had it in the bag. Those two could easily just keep passing this award between each other for years to come, but I'm rooting for Braugher or Burgess who are both just such scene-stealers on their respective shows in such different, but still delightful ways. That said if anyone watched TV at all the past year, then it would've been a no-brainer to give Jamie Camil (Jane the Virgin) a nomination.

Prediction: Tony Hale
Alternate: Ty Burrell
Should Win: Andre Braugher
Should've Been Nominated: Jaime Camil, Nick Offerman, Noel Fisher, Hugh Laurie

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

No offense to any of these ladies (I love most of them), but 8 slots is overkill. With that said, we did get fun inclusions because of it like Nash and Hoffman. Also, welcome back Jane Krakowski, maybe this time the Emmys will actually give you a trophy. Or not since who can defeat Emmy favorite and last year's winner Allison Janney? No one, that's who. I have a long list of should've been nominated including Melora Hardin from Transparent and pretty much every female supporting actor in Jane the Virgin and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Julie Bowen
Should Win: Kate McKinnon
Should've Been Nominated: Melora Hardin, Yael Grobas, Andrea Navedo, Chelsea Peretti

In the end, I wish there were more love for a few shows like Jane the Virgin, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Broad City. But the Modern Family's stranglehold seems to be lessening and Parsons' non-nomination at least shows some kind of movement from the norm. And as unlikely as they may be to win, I'm all about Lisa Kudrow and Parks and Recreation. Tomorrow the drama categories!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Summer TV Review

With all this talk about Peak TV this summer, you would think there would be tons of original shows to watch and obsessed over the past few months. Oh wait, there were! With the fall TV season already starting up, I just wanted to take a few moments to celebrate the great TV I saw this past summer starting with my favorite...

1. Sense8 - This Netflix sci-fi series from  Andy and Lana Wachowski absolutely took a hold of me like no other show this year. The show's concept is as intriguing as it is epic. Eight individuals, strangers to one another and situated around the world, suddenly find themselves connected physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. They are able to experience what the others experience, take over each other's bodies and minds, share skills and memories, and so much more. This unique ability shared among the Sensates as they are called provides the show with many opportunities to highlight issues of identity, family, sexuality, among many others. Plus with a truly diverse and international cast and shooting locations, the scope is appropriately epic. Of course all of this would mean nothing without great characters and honestly it is impossible to pick a favorite from the main Sensates to the large supporting cast playing their loved ones. Is the show perfect? Hardly, especially with its thin and convoluted government conspiracy plot. But it's still one of the most high-reaching and highly empathetic show you'll ever find.

2. Orange is the New Black - Netflix making a second appearance already, but why not? This show was groundbreaking two years ago when it premiered and it's still breaking ground. One of my absolute favorite things about this show is its ability to get into every character, no matter how small, and see what makes them tick. Their decision to switch it up from last season and not have a central villain character shows the show's willingness to keep experimenting as well as making their "protagonist" becoming a little antagonistic and, more surprisingly, a bit more of a supporting player. But it's unavoidable with a large and talented cast, still one of the best and most diverse in TV these days.

3. Mr. Robot - USA Network is usually known for its light and casual procedurals so I initially didn't give Mr. Robot any mind. That was until all the critics couldn't stop raving about it. Since I was already a fan of lead actor Rami Malek, I gave it a shot and thank goodness I did because what I discovered was a thrilling hacker drama with more layers and twists than I dare thought was possible for a TV show. Malek, with his sharp features and wide eyes, is the perfect lead playing the brilliant, insane, socially anxious Eliot Anderson. The show, like its central character, keeps wanting to alienate, but only pulls you right into its drama. The show's technical prowess must also be commended from its truly cinematic and arresting visuals to its bombastic sound. All of it plays in perfect service to the truly fucked up world where you hardly know who is good or evil, real or imaginary, friend or foe.

4. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp - Yeah, so Netflix is just kicking ass and taking names even more so with this most improbable show. How did they possibly decide to do a prequel to a cult film from a decade ago starring all of the original actors, most of whom have gone on to much bigger, better things? And once they did and got everything done to see it through, including getting all of the aforementioned actors to agree to appear on the show, how did they actually make it as good as it was? To get into specifics would be moot, but creators and writers David Wain and Michael Showalter truly captured the wacky spirit of their film and adapted it well to TV. And huge kudos to the all of the actors being back as it really wouldn't have been the same without all of them participating in this very weird, very funny show.

5. Hannibal - The fact that this show lasted on NBC for three seasons seems just as improbable with its dark and grotesque subject matter coupled with its tragically low ratings. But thankfully Bryan Fuller and company were able to have relatively free rein to tell their masterful tale of Hannibal Lecter and the people he consumed, both literally and figuratively. Granted this season, I think they went a little too out there even for my taste, but the fact that they went to those crazy places is one of the things I loved and will miss about the show. Shout out to Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Gillian Anderson, and everyone else on the cast for what they did and were able to do.

Quick thoughts on other shows...

- Yes, this summer there was a show about humans called Mr. Robot and a show about robots called Humans. Multitudes. Anyways, this "robots have feelings too" show was really quite good with some aces acting.

American Ninja Warrior - Still one of the best competitive reality shows to watch over summer. Compelling (and attractive) cast of characters doing something only few of us can attempt to do.

So You Think You Can Dance - The Street vs. Stage format change was super annoying enough to make me think for a moment about not watching this season, but the immense talent, which never left, convinced me to stick around.

Teen Wolf/Scream - Lumping both of these together, because they're both on MTV and gave me my requisite "hot teens in immortal danger" and "hot teens dying a lot" storylines I apparently crave.

Face Off - Yes, another reality show, but this one is so good. They do cool special effects makeup! And the contestants actually help each other! And the judges know what they're talking about! What a concept.

Unreal - And finally, I only saw the pilot of this show before it suddenly became unavailable to watch, but that one episode showed me exactly why so many people became quite obsessed with it this summer. Hope to see more of it when it's available to watch again.