Sunday, September 20, 2020

Final Emmy Winner Predictions

One year ago, I was at a hotel in Oregon after visiting Crater Lake National Park, watching the Emmys just as well there as I could from anywhere else. This year, I’m in Los Angeles, which would theoretically be closer to the action – if everything was happening in person. I do feel that I’ve been more invested this year than ever before, watching and reviews all submissions in the limited series and TV movie categories. I’ve also written about most of the major races for both The Film Experience, a site I’ve been reading for nearly two decades, and Awards Radar, a brand-new site, which will be hosting a live show during the Emmys (check it out – I’ll be on it!). I also hosted an Emmy panel that you can watch on YouTube.

So far, I’ve scored four out of five with the Creative Arts Emmy categories I predicted that have already been handed out, picking “Bad Education” for Best TV Movie and Cherry Jones, Eddie Murphy, and Kamala Harris for guest acting prizes. I missed Ron Cephas Jones’ repeat win for guest actor, picking Andrew Scott instead. That’s not a bad start, and better than I’ve done in the past.

It seems likely that two shows I don’t love which have grown on me - “Succession” and “Schitt’s Creek” will win most of the drama and comedy awards, while “Watchmen,” which I did find to be excellent, will win most of the limited series prizes. Even with all that, I’m still predicting surprise wins for Zendaya, Shira Haas, and Paul Mescal. I’m not confident in any of those choices – and most of the drama and limited series races – but I’m hopeful that it’s going to be an enjoyable show with some memorable wins.

Enjoy the show, and leave your thoughts in the comments! For detailed predictions in almost every category, click on the hyperlinked category name.

No guts, no glory:
The Crown” wins Best Drama Series

DRAMA SERIES:
Succession

DRAMA LEAD ACTOR:
Jeremy Strong (Succession)

DRAMA LEAD ACTRESS:
Zendaya (Euphoria)

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Billy Crudup (The Morning Show)

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Sarah Snook (Succession)

DRAMA DIRECTING
:
Prisoners of War (Homeland)

DRAMA WRITING
:
This Is Not for Tears (Succession)

COMEDY SERIES:
Schitt’s Creek

COMEDY LEAD ACTOR
:
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)

COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS:
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
:
Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek)

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

COMEDY DIRECTING:
Happy Ending (Schitt’s Creek)

COMEDY WRITING
:
Happy Ending (Schitt’s Creek)

LIMITED SERIES:
Watchmen

TV MOVIE:
Bad Education

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE LEAD ACTOR
:
Paul Mescal (Normal People)

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE LEAD ACTRESS:
Shira Haas (Unorthodox)

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE SUPPORTING ACTOR
:
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen)

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Toni Collette (Unbelievable)

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE DIRECTING:
It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice (Watchmen)

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE WRITING
:
Part 1 (Unorthodox)

COMPETITION PROGRAM:
RuPaul’s Drag Race

VARIETY TALK SERIES:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Creative Arts Emmy Winners

I've had the pleasure of covering some of the Emmy races for The Film Experience this year. Click here to read my write-up about all of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards that have already been handed out.

ICYMI: Emmy Panel

I had the absolute pleasure of hosting a panel this past Tuesday night to discuss the Emmy Awards with my fellow writers from The Film ExperienceJuan Carlos Ojano, Christopher James, and Cláudio Alves. Check it out below!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pilot Review: Ratched

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Comedy Series

I've had the pleasure of covering some of the Emmy races for The Film Experience this year. Click here to read my detailed analysis and predictions for this category.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series

I've had the pleasure of covering some of the Emmy races for The Film Experience this year. Click here to read my detailed analysis and predictions for this category.

What I’m Watching: Pure

Pure: Season 1, Episode 4 (B+)

I wasn’t sure what would come next for Marnie after her big blowup at work, but I’m very glad that we got to see all of the characters again, particularly Amber and Joe. I like that Amber has her own issues, namely sleeping with all of the people she’s supposed to work with, and she tried adamantly not to do that even when she was explicitly brought in for that under the guise of an interview opportunity. She did her best to still conduct it without her phone and without quiet around her, and all she ended up with was an awkward departure that may or may not lead to something. Joe was honest about the fact that he wanted a sexy drink, and Marnie had all of her defenses up so she took that as a sign that he wanted to prey on vulnerable women rather than a very real declaration of romantic interest in her. Getting his foot run over while running after her to give her the money she left in the bar was an unfortunate development, and it was fun to watch Marnie try to be supportive and appropriately distant while caring for him under the influence of strong medication and a lot of pain. This show doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations and presents them in an entertaining way. It was great to have things end with Marnie showing up to tell Charlie that she hadn’t been ignoring him and them sharing one very passionate but perfectly platonic hug.

Friday, September 18, 2020

What I’m Watching: Five Bedrooms

Five Bedrooms: Season 1, Episode 5 “Five Lies” (B+)

I knew that this had to be Harry’s episode since the other four housemates have all narrated one installment so far, and I’m glad to see that, while he had the bulk of the drama in this hour, we still got some major developments for all of our characters. After a wonderful night out – and in – with Pete, Harry got hit with the worst possible timing. His mother stopping by the first time that he had a man stay over was unfortunate, and it also meant that his lie about being out to his mother was revealed before he had a chance to smooth it over and apologize to Pete for not being honest. He did make an honest effort to go tell her after that, but his mother inviting other a woman to set him up with made that impossible. He was right to say to Liz that he might now never be able to come out to her since it could be the thing that killed her in this weakened state, and he needed to be with someone who was okay with that. I’m proud of Ainsley for resisting Lachlan’s oily profession of love for her, especially after she was so incredibly awkward with Ben. Heather breaking things off because of how Ainsley communicated Ben’s feelings for her was probably an inevitability, but it’s going to make things very uncomfortable around the house. Liz’s situation is indeed lamentable since no one is going to hire her if she leads with her bankruptcy, but I am enjoying her unfiltered responses when questioned by Ainsley or Heather, with not even an illusion of interest in what they’re seeing. Telling Ainsley that she didn’t understand what ripping the band off meant was particularly funny.

What I’m Watching: Brave New World (Season Finale)

Brave New World: Season 1, Episode 9 “Soma Red” (B-)

This wasn’t the strong, emphatic finale I hoped it would be, but there was some very good music playing towards its end as things really began devolving. I suppose chaos was the only possible solution in a world dictated by order, and it actually quite resembled the bloody scene we saw in the second episode as the savages murdered all the visiting alphas and betas. Perhaps that’s the conclusion, that humanity can evolve and try not to remember their vices, but when shown the truth like in Plato’s cave, their inevitable recourse is violence. John already expressed displeasure that the epsilons were blindly following him, and he didn’t want them to exact their version of making everyone equal since it meant destruction and death rather than a more thought-out overhaul of the system, something that could never truly work. CJack60 had a better understanding of the bigger picture and was able to have a relatively calm conversation with Bernard where he could confront the moment when he knew he was different and what it all meant. Bernard was merely obsessed with maintaining order, assuring the panicked citizens that everything would be fine when, like always, he had no concept it would be the case. I think the most interesting arc on this show belonged to Helm, whose seemingly material activities early on in her appearances were eventually replaced by a desire to experience, and an immersion in savage culture not as a spectator but as someone desperate to feel. Lenina did end up being the strongest character by far, emphatically stomping out the device that made her one of the collective before being turned out by a reconditioned Frannie. The first two episodes of this show really intrigued me but things got a bit off-track after that. I might be okay with watching more should a season two renewal come at some point, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Jessica Brown Findlay as Lenina

What I’m Watching: Orange is the New Black (Series Finale)

Orange is the New Black: Season 7, Episode 13 “Here’s Where We Get Off”

Ninety-one episodes is not a short run for any show, but I still can’t help feeling that there’s still so much story here left to tell. While I wasn’t overly fond of the post-riot season, I thought the rest of this show was spectacular, deftly balancing drama and comedy to create a totally watchable and compelling universe, one that wasn’t always pleasant and certainly never straightforward. A ninety-minute finale was a great opportunity to close some of the arcs and revisit past characters without completely ending everything, since, as this show’s theme says, there’s always a second time around and things could be different. Featuring a tribute to Pennsatucky was powerful, especially with Dixon’s participation, and I’m glad that the character got a full makeover as the show went on. It was also affirming to see Taystee realize that she can do something positive with her life, and all she needed to do in order to make her program deals a reality was to get through to Judy King. Cindy figured out what she needed and how she could make the most of her situation too, and it was good to see that. Red seems happy in Florida even if her memory is fading, and Nicky has the chance to take care of young people who remind her of herself. It was most exciting to see Flaca determined to continue Gloria’s work, and finally Luschek took the blame for something, which in turn enabled Gloria to be released. Tamika getting fired by Linda and replaced by Hellman was not a positive development, but not everything works out, which I think is one of the messages of this show. Fig and Caputo found someone they thought could be the perfect child for them to adopt, but we don’t know what will happen with that. I also like that, after Larry gave Piper his take on things, she went to see Alex and they broke up, but the final shot was them seeing each other and smiling. The focus on immigration detention this center was powerful, and even though Blanca was freed and reunited with Diablo, they won’t be able to make the life they had in America. This show has been great entertainment and great drama, and I’ll appreciate the opportunity to recommend it to others in the future.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: A-
Season MVP: Taryn Manning as Pennsatucky
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Danielle Brooks as Taystee
Best Season: Season 3 Best Episode: “We Have Manners. We’re Polite

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 1, Episode 8 “The Diamond Dogs” (B+)

I will say that I’m disappointed that Ted didn’t get to meet the Milk sisters and unload his carton of puns on them, but he did a masterful job of sticking up for his friend Rebecca. I actually though that he didn’t seem to be doing much at first, letting Rupert show off his new girlfriend and the dastardly way in which he had managed to secure partial ownership even though he wasn’t allowed to do that. But, as usual, Ted’s charming sensibilities come out in the best possible ways, and not only did he manage to effortlessly destroy Rupert after baiting him into a game of darts, he also expressed that people were never curious and as a result wouldn’t have, for instance, engaged him in conversation about whether he had ever played darts. Rebecca has a difficult job ahead of her now that Higgins has quit because he can’t handle her continued desire to bring down the team just to get back at Rupert, and Keeley has given her an ultimatum regarding her obvious attempted sabotage of Ted that went awry a few episodes earlier. Roy grabbing the photographer’s memory card and giving it to Keeley as a memento of their first date was a clever way for Keeley to learn what really happened, and I didn’t see that coming. Keeley was very adorable jumping from seat to seat to ask Roy questions, and he responded well enough, even admitting later that he does yoga with a group of sixty-something women who don’t know who he is. Jamie’s return was also perfectly brief, and I like that as a coda for his character. It’s hardly serious, but I like the Diamond Dogs and the way that they’re all on pretty much the same page and operate as an effective team to dole out love advice to those who want it and those who don’t.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

I've had the pleasure of covering some of the Emmy races for the brand new website Awards Radar this year. Click here to read my detailed analysis and predictions for this category.

What I’m Watching: Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves: Season 1, Episode 7 “Faces” (C+)

I’m becoming less and less convinced that this show is headed somewhere interesting, which makes the prospect of a second season, which this show was renewed for today, not all that appealing. We knew that both Mother and Father had been reprogrammed so that they would function as parents, and now, after that, attempts are being made to once again change their prime directives. That worked immediately on Father, who Campion was devastated to see wasn’t the same ally he had always been able to rely on, while Mother was able to resist and even shared some damaging information about Marcus that should have completely outed him as an impostor. It’s hard to believe that Lucius, faithful servant that he might be, would be so blind to every clear sign that Marcus isn’t a true believer, and hearing explicitly from Mother that he is an atheist posing as the man he sees before him should have been the last straw that convinced him to take charge. Sue doesn’t even want to pretend anymore, and her love for Paul is likely to going to result in her sharing the truth with him, which I have a feeling won’t go well. Campion is not happy to conform and accept the religion that’s being pushed on him, and given Mother’s resilience even while she no longer had her eyes or anything resembling the upper hand, I think this temporary settlement is very much at risk of collapsing. It would be worthwhile to see Marcus consider using Mother to his advantage and reframing what remains of society on this planet in a way that aligns more closely to his actual worldview, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

What I’m Watching: Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves: Season 1, Episode 6 “Lost Paradise” (B-)

There’s something that has confused me about the programming of the androids since the very first episode, when Mother left Marcus alive. Shooting guns at the Mithraic soldiers (in Father’s case) and exploding them with her voice (in Mother’s) seem like they would run counter to their instincts unless they truly believe, or have been programmed to believe, that they can better take care of the children than their own human parents. Maybe it’s that they’re so evolved and can sense that even the two who feel a bond with their child aren’t actually biologically connected to Paul at all. I am continually intrigued by how the androids are affected by whatever force it is on this planet that haunts them with reminders of Tally, and Marcus experienced his own inexplicable barrier when he was unable to finish the job and kill Mother. Trapping her in a simulation loop was a smart plan, though her strength, even while she was distracted and seduced by Campion, was formidable, shattering that energy-draining mirror and lifting rocks with more precision that Yoda or Luke Skywalker ever could. I do realize now where I know the older Campion from – actor Cosmo Jarvis delivered a memorable turn in the film “The Evening Hour,” which I saw at Sundance. Hunter didn’t hesitate to broadcast Father’s location and get him shot, showing firmly which side he’s on. I’m not sure exactly where things go from here with both androids seemingly subdued, but we do have four episodes left in the season.

What I’m Watching: Dead Pixels

Dead Pixels: Season 1, Episode 5 “Patricide” (B+)

We haven’t seen these characters interact too much with the outside world aside from their uncomfortable conversations with Alison and the occasional presence of Russell’s mom. It makes sense that Nicky would have developed a complex when his father continually expresses that he doesn’t think much of him and instead talks incessantly of his brother’s accomplishments. Yes, doing something (I’m really not still quite sure what) in a video game with only bananas may be impressive to some, but Nicky’s dad didn’t even think he was capable of carving up some meat. Nicky did take that resentment to heart a bit too much when he kept murdering his father in the game, something he rightfully expressed wasn’t at all enjoyable. Russell was also far too excited about his new discovery, and it’s interesting that Meg is so into the notion of them having sex in the game but then didn’t even want to talk to him in real life, sending an extremely mixed message to the eternally confused and now exhausted Russell. As usual, Alison nailed it when she told Nicky that she knows he’s in love with Meg and that he really should tell her at some point, though of course he won’t. Bringing home a date of her own didn’t go too well thanks to Meg’s unwillingness to leave the living room when directly asked, and somehow them having (admittedly loud) sex was seen as yet another affront to Meg, who could probably manage to connect with either of the two main men in her life if she actually tried to experience the real world for a few minutes.