Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pilot Review: Yellowstone

Yellowstone (Paramount)
Premiered June 20 at 9pm

I don’t read much, if anything, about shows before I watch them, and, more often than not, my expectations turn out to be wholly incorrect. I presumed that this was a period drama about the early years of the Old West and the creation of Yellowstone National Park, or something like that. Instead, it’s a modern-day drama that’s relatively heavy-handed and epic in its own way. Kevin Costner, who won an Oscar for directing “Dances with Wolves” back in 1990 and has often delivered lackluster performances in popular movies, most recently Best Picture nominee “Hidden Figures,” won an Emmy six years ago for anchoring “Hatfields and McCoys,” a miniseries that was set in the past. Here, he’s as stubborn, stoic, and determined as ever, leading a cast that has more than a few recognizable faces in it. Wes Bentley delivered a breakout performance almost twenty years ago in “American Beauty” and hasn’t done all that much of note since, and this seems like a relatively standard role, especially compared with that of his onscreen sister, played by Kelly Reilly, who made a real impression in “Flight” and has had a few major TV roles since then. Gil Birmingham is a reliable actor, from “Hell or High Water” and other projects, who seems to have a solid role as the head of the Indian reservation working with Jill Hennessy’s senator to make the concerns of his people heard. Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the screenplays for “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water,” is the primary force behind this show, and while there are moments of intrigue and characters chewing plenty of scenery, something doesn’t quite spark here. The cinematography and editing are strong, but this sprawling family saga hardly feels like a vital landscape to be explored in this format.

How will it work as a series? This double-decker episode really did feel like a movie, with many more threads to be explored afterwards. There are more than enough characters to fill up an hour each week, and it’s certainly pleasant enough to look at given the obvious appeal of its setting. Still, it doesn’t feel original or truly energetic.
How long will it last? The premiere ratings were off the charts, scoring Paramount a win that it can’t possible ignore. Three more episodes have aired since this show debuted, and while reviews are mixed and far less enthusiastic than the numbers, I think that Paramount is going to want to certify this hit as just what it is, a potential flagship for the newly-rebranded network.

Pilot grade: B-

What I’m Watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4, Episode 3 “Party Monster: Scratching the Surface” (B-)

This is one outrageous episode, but that’s the point. This show has always mocked society and how it is by showcasing a character who is hopelessly innocent that she wouldn’t be able to recognize depravity or evil even if she came face-to-face with it. Sometimes, this show is just plain stupid, and there are parts of this episode that felt a lot like that. DJ Fingablast is clearly an idiot, but that’s the point. The fact that he would go to the trouble of creating an entire documentary about the search for a DJ for his wedding is absurd, and naturally he would be manipulated by Richard Wayne Gary Wayne into trying to get his case overturned. Bobby Moynihan’s crusader for the Innocence Bro-ject was also an unsubtle parody of the way in which men who are accused of mistreating women often try to defend themselves. Having Titus act out a few of the flashback scenes was entertaining, and I suppose that he’s the most consistent, if consistently absurd, element of this show, dismissing his participation in this project as a paid gig he just didn’t understand. I guess this was moderately more bearable and entertaining than the similar mockumentary “American Vandal,” showing up these pursuit-of-truth exposés that get to the heart of some deep secret and often take themselves too seriously. This half-hour was enough for me, so let’s hope that the next and last three episodes of this half-season are more straightforward, as much as this show can be.

What I'm Watching: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, Episode 9 “Smart Power” (B+)

One of the things about this show that has always intrigued me so much is the narrative of events that led to the creation of Gilead and the way in which the rest of the world views this religious totalitarian nation. As we saw previously with the ambassador from Mexico, other countries are hurting greatly from a lack of trade with the former United States, and the resumption of diplomatic relations can help everyone, similar to current events regarding North Korea, a regime that might not actually atone for its misdeeds but can still be normalized for the good of the world. It was fascinating to present this episode’s trip to Canada through the eyes of Serena, who has become an increasingly sympathetic character, so awed by the freedoms she could enjoy over the border and reminded of the limitations she has back in Gilead. The protestors weren’t quite as enraged and mean as they were in the flashbacks to her lecture tour days, but they definitely got to her, specifically Luke, who wisely held up a sign making it impossible for the Waterfords to ignore him. Mark Tuello, played by Sam Jaeger from “Parenthood,” seemed like an inappropriate distraction for Serena, but finding out that he was an agent of the American government looking to extradite her to Hawaii for asylum showed how resistance works in this scary future, with extraction options possible, but only for those who are willing. June trying to find multiple godmothers to look after her baby in Gilead was a fitting subplot, with all her efforts seemingly rewarded by the news from Nick, the hero of this episode, that Luke and Moira are both alive and well and not even close to forgetting about her.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What I’m Watching: Humans

Humans: Season 3, Episode 3 (B+)

It’s interesting to see that the Hawkins family continues to play such a big part on this show when it’s really much more about the synths than them. Laura is determined to use her bureaucratic appointment to help the synths to be judged more favorably by her committee, but even getting close to Dr. Sommer romantically didn’t sway him to be on her side at all when push came to shove. The notion of having the committee come visit the community and see what they’re actually like makes some sense, but there’s far too much dissent, particularly from Agnes, for that to go smoothly without anyone getting hurt and the public relations campaign being irreversibly damaged. Joe didn’t prove to be so useless after all, since Karen froze when Sam nearly got hit by the car because she wasn’t programmatically able to put herself in harm’s way even if it was going to save Sam. Maybe he can find a way to build a relationship with them that’s advantageous to both the humans and the synths involved. It was only a matter of time before Mattie and Leo officially acted on their feelings for one another, and though there may be a decent age gap between them, there are far weirder things on this show that have been presented as acceptable. Niska, as usual, is on her own track, hunting down answers and getting coded messages that might lead her closer to the truth but will also surely frustrate her along the way. What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

What I’m Watching: Supergirl (Season Finale)

Supergirl: Season 3, Episode 23 “Battles Lost and Won” (B)

Was it cool to see a suddenly superpowered Sam punch the somehow existing Reign, cementing her victory over the other part of her? Yes. Did we need twenty-two episodes to get to this point? Absolutely not. Like this season of “The Flash,” this finale was considerably better and more to-the-point than most of the episodes before it, signifying that broadcast seasons really should be shorter. I suppose that I expected Sam to die as a result of the destruction of Reign, and the fact that she’s still alive and kicking means that she could play a different role in season four if she’s kept on as a character. What this finale did do, also like “The Flash,” was introduce a number of new threads that are going to impact the next season’s trajectory greatly. The first was the appearance of a version of Kara who doesn’t seem to know who she is on the Siberian border, which should be interesting since our Kara is indeed still very much alive and cognizant of who she is. Hank is leaving and Alex is taking over at the DEO, which should present new challenges and opportunities. Winn going to the future is cool, and hopefully Brainy will provide just as much comic relief in his absence. James opting to go public with his identity as Guardian is a bold choice, and one that’s sure to have consequences and help this show continue to explore moral themes. I’m still planning to watch this show when it returns in October, but this season really didn’t feel terribly necessarily to me.

Season grade: B-
Season MVP: Melissa Benoist as Kara

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Emmy Nominees: Best Comedy Series

My predictions: 6/8, picking “Will and Grace” over “Barry” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Unlike in the drama series race, there are three new shows in the running here. They all made big splashes, with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel earning 14 nominations, Barry earning 13, and GLOW earning 10. Atlanta is the comedy nominations leader with 16, while returning nominees Silicon Valley, Black-ish, and Curb Your Enthusiasm earned just seven, five and four nominations, respectively. Most puzzling and seemingly tacked-on is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which netted just two total nominations for its six-episode penultimate half-season. I’m surprised that there wasn’t room for “Will and Grace” here, and it’s worth noting that “Modern Family” was finally dethroned and booted from this category. I so wish that there had been room for “The Good Place” too.

Who should win? I don’t regularly watch “Black-ish” or “GLOW.” I’m spit between “Barry” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” two very different shows.
Who will win? It could be “Atlanta,” but my money is on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Emmy Nominees: Best Drama Series

My predictions: 7/7!

I got everything right here, not that it was much of a surprise. The Americans returned to the race for its final season along with nominations leader Game of Thrones, which picked up 22 bids, down from 24 its past two seasons. Though it didn’t manage a directing or writing bid, Westworld held strong with 21 nominations, down from 22 last year, while The Handmaid’s Tale jumped up from 13 to 20 nominations. Stranger Things, which aired such a long time ago, dropped from 19 to 12 nominations, while This Is Us dropped from 10 to 8. Rounding out the list is The Crown, holding steady at 13. This is a good list – the only one on here I don’t watch is “The Americans.” Out of the expected shows nipping at these seven’s heels, I’d say that “Ozark” and “Killing Eve” came closest.

Who should win? I have to watch “The Americans,” but otherwise I think I’d choose “Game of Thrones” or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Who will win? It’s hard to say. I was going to predict “This Is Us” but I think that The Handmaid’s Tale will repeat, or else “Game of Thrones” will.

Emmy Nominees: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

My predictions: 4/6, missing both “Barry” episodes

The nominees: Alligator Man (Atlanta), Barbershop (Atlanta), Chapter One: Make Your Mark (Barry), Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going (Barry), Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Fifty-One Percent (Silicon Valley)

I really didn’t expect such a warm welcome for Barry, which scored a nomination for both its pilot and its penultimate episode, both of which were great. Atlanta only managed two nominations, which isn’t bad, with Silicon Valley and the pilot of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel rounding out a diverse category.

Who should win? I’d give it to the pilot of “Barry” or “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Who will win? I’ll pick The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with both episodes of “Atlanta” waiting in the wings.

Emmy Nominees: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

My predictions: 4/6, missing “GLOW” and “Barry”

The nominees: FUBU (Atlanta), Teddy Perkins (Atlanta), Chapter One: Make Your Mark (Barry), Pilot (GLOW), Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Initial Coin Offering (Silicon Valley)

Look at this! Three pilots in the running here, which is pretty cool. I didn’t watch past the pilot of GLOW but did find it intriguing enough. Silicon Valley didn’t keep up its streak of two nominations each year with just one episode in the running this year, while last year’s winner Atlanta did manage to score two nominations, both of which I can understand even though I really didn’t like one of them.

Who should win? I’d give this to “Barry” or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Who will win? I’ll go with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel though it could easily be either episode of “Atlanta” also.

Emmy Nominees: Best Writing for a Drama Series

My predictions: 5/6, picking “Westworld” over “Killing Eve”

The nominees: Start (The Americans), Mystery Man (The Crown), The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones), June (The Handmaid’s Tale), Nice Face (Killing Eve), Chapter Nine: The Gate (Stranger Things)

For some reason, “Westworld” got booted from this category, with five of the nominees perfectly expected. Killing Eve is the one that scored the surprise bid (also the only one here not nominated for Best Drama Series), and while I did like the show in the end, the pilot was far from the best episode of the season. This is a decent list otherwise with some good writing, and all I have to watch is the series finale of The Americans.

Who should win? I still have to watch the “The Americans” episode, but for now I’ll choose “Game of Thrones” or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Who will win? I think that The Americans finally wins.

Emmy Nominees: Best Directing for a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/7

The nominees: Paterfamilias (The Crown), Beyond the Wall (Game of Thrones), The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones), After (The Handmaid’s Tale), The Toll (Ozark), Tonight We Improvise (Ozark), Chapter Nine: The Gate (Stranger Things)

I did okay here, netting four of the nominations for the three most popular returning shows. I thought that “Westworld” would end up here again, but instead we got Stranger Things, which lowered its nominations count but still showed up where it counted. Ozark made a strong showing, with a nomination for the pilot and another episode I have yet to watch. I wish “Counterpart” had shown up here, and I’m a bit surprised that “Mindhunter” didn’t, even though it wasn’t in my predictions.

Who should win? I have to watch the episode of “Ozark,” but otherwise I’m fine with either of the “Game of Thrones” hours or “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Who will win? I think this goes to Game of Thrones for “Beyond the Wall.”

Emmy Nominees: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 3/6

It makes complete sense that a highly popular, relatively new comedienne, Tiffany Haddish (Saturday Night Live), would join the ever-popular Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live) as representative nominees of the late-night variety series. I don’t think that either Jane Lynch (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) or Molly Shannon (Will and Grace) did their best work this year, but I’ll allow both because they’re great actresses and were decently funny. Wanda Sykes (Black-ish) didn’t strike me as a necessary returning nominee after her work last year, but I’ll have to see her submitted episode to judge. I could not be more ecstatic about the inclusion of Maya Rudolph (The Good Place), who proved to be more essential than any burrito could have been.

Who should win? I’ve only seen half these, but it’s Rudolph in a heartbeat.
Who will win? I’ll go with Haddish over Fey.

Emmy Nominees: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 2/6, picking only Hader and Glover

I only managed to select the two men also nominated for comedy lead actor: Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) and Donald Glover (Saturday Night Live), missing the man also nominated for drama lead actor, Sterling K. Brown (Saturday Night Live). I would not have expected Katt Williams (Atlanta) to be the guest actor from his show to land a nomination here, but he did it. I’m very pleased with both Bryan Cranston (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Curb Your Enthusiasm), back for the second year in a row for a different show, since both of them were very funny and instrumental to their show’s success.

Who should win? I haven’t seen half of these performances. Cranston gets my vote so far.
Who will win? I think it might actually be Miranda.

Emmy Nominees: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Jodi Balfour and Marisa Tomei over Davis and Jenrette

Viola Davis (Scandal) pulled off an impressive feat – she got dropped from the best actress field for “How to Get Away with Murder” after three consecutive bids, but managed to score a nomination here for playing the same role on another show, joining her onscreen mother, returning nominee Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away with Murder). Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones) is also back for a memorable, tour de force performance on her show. I remembered her from her role on “Grandfathered” but less so for her appearance as a jilted ex in an intense flashback, and it’s not a small thing that Kelly Jenrette (The Handmaid’s Tale) knocked out expected nominee Marisa Tomei to join Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale) and last year’s supporting nominee Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale) to dominate this category with portrayals of strong women cast into unfortunate circumstances in a dystopian future.

Who should win? I haven’t seen Davis’ or Tyson’s work this year, but I’d probably choose Rigg.
Who will win? Conventional wisdom says Rigg finally wins, but one of the handmaid’s representatives easily could too.

Emmy Nominees: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Michael C. Hall and Peter Mullan over Abraham and Britton

My inkling that “The Good Fight” wouldn’t factor into the main Emmy races was correct, and the result is a very interesting list here. Last year’s winner in this category Gerald McRaney (This Is Us) and last year’s supporting nominee Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) are the sentimental favorites. F. Murray Abraham (Homeland) is a strong actor on an ailing show whose episode I didn’t see. Matthew Goode (The Crown) was a memorable presence in a recurring role in his show, and I’m thrilled that Jimmi Simpson (Westworld), who should have earned a supporting nomination last year, finally landed some awards attention. His show didn’t manage a single other nomination, but Cameron Britton (Mindhunter) clearly made an impression as a serial killer who really liked to talk.

Who should win? Without having seen Abraham’s episode, I’d probably pick Britton. Who will win? It could be McRaney again, but I think Britton takes it.

Emmy Nominees: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 4/8

Well, this is a big category, and one with a whole range of nominees. I had to look up who Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) was since I had no idea who she was, as the latest cast member joining last year’s nominee Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live) and two-time winner Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) to make it two years in a row for three nominees from the late-night variety series. Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) managed to be the only regular cast member from her show to return with a nomination this year, following her win the last time she contended in 2006. Also returning as the lone representative of her show is Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), whose series got cancelled thanks to its star’s tweets. Metcalf is obviously popular nonetheless, with three consecutive wins back in the early 1990s. The other three nominees are all brand-new, with Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) riding the wave of enthusiasm for her show, Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) earning a deserved nomination for helping to make her show what it is, and Betty Gilpin (GLOW) managing to get nominated despite lead actress Alison Brie being snubbed. I have a lot to catch up on here, but this is an interesting category to be sure.

Who should win? I haven’t seen half of this category’s contenders, but I think I’d vote for Borstein or Metcalf.
Who will win? It’s just a question of which political commentary voters want to honor: the expressed parody (McKinnon), the clear mockery (Mullally), or the face of the resistance in parody (Metcalf).

Emmy Nominees: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 5/7, picking Sean Hayes over Kenan Thompson and Henry Winkler

“Will and Grace” really did not perform as well as expected today, and it’s a shame that its indisputably strongest cast member, Sean Hayes, couldn’t be fit into a seven-wide category. It’s nice to see that Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), officially the longest-running cast member on his show, earned his first Emmy nomination for acting this year after a bid for music and lyrics last year, joining reigning champion Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live). His show did extraordinary well, and Henry Winkler (Barry) is a big part of his show’s tone and effectiveness. Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) earned his first non-“Monk” nomination for being part of this year’s most beloved new comedy, and Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), a guest acting nomination for “This Is Us” last year, earned his first bid for this year’s most beloved comedy overall. With longtime nominee Ty Burrell finally knocked out this year, with his show receiving just one technical nomination, that leaves Louie Anderson (Baskets) and Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as the most senior nominees here.

Who should win? I haven’t seen any of Baldwin and Thompson’s work this year, or Anderson’s, for that matter. Of the rest, I vote for Winkler or Shalhoub.
Who will win? Unless recent Tony winner Shalhoub wins over voters, I think Baldwin repeats.

Emmy Nominees: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

My predictions: 5/7, picking Chrissy Metz over Kirby and Strahovski

There are seven nominees in this category, but most notable is the omission of a sure thing from last year who had more than ample material this year: Chrissy Metz. This is the first time since “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 that one show has three nominees, with last year’s winner in this category, Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), last year’s winner in the guest category, Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid’s Tale), and a very worthwhile new addition, Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) representing the third-place nominations leader. I’m not sure that Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) needed to be on the list this year, while Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Thandie Newton (Westworld) were indisputably vital holdovers from last year. Rounding out the list is the one actress who won’t play the same role again in the future, Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), who definitely made the most of her time on the show.

Who should win? Newton is always terrific, and Brown was great, but I think I’d go with Strahovski.
Who will win? I suppose it could be Dowd again, and Newton might win too. My pick right now is Strahovski, though Bledel could easily end up the winner also.

Emmy Nominees: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Bobby Cannavale and Justin Hartley over Coster-Waldau and Fiennes

Two widely-predicted contenders in this category, Justin Hartley and Noah Schnapp, didn’t make the cut despite their shows doing pretty well elsewhere. I suppose any enthusiasm for “Mr. Robot” was too much to hope for. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) finally earned his first Emmy nomination after many years of only Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) being nominated, and I think it’s a worthwhile inclusion this year. Two other supporting players who didn’t make it last year got their shot this year: Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Matt Smith (The Crown), deserving nominees whose material really was expanded. David Harbour (Stranger Things) is back again for his show, as is Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), a show still hanging on after starting strong years ago.

Who should win? These are all good choices, though I’d probably leave off Patinkin for the portion of his season that I’ve seen. Dinklage would probably get my vote, though any of them would be fine.
Who will win? It’s hard to say. I think Dinklage will probably win ago if Smith doesn’t upset.

Emmy Nominees: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Alison Brie and Debra Messing over Adlon and Rae

One of my cheers today was for Issa Rae (Insecure), who showed up with a surprise nomination today given no enthusiasm anywhere else for her show. It’s a well-deserved inclusion. Though I don’t watch her show, it’s a shame that Brie didn’t get nominated when her show picked up ten nominations. Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) was a sure thing, and her show performed pretty much as well as expected. The other four nominees are all back from last year, with just one of them nominated along with her show, Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish). Pamela Adlon (Better Things) managed a repeat nomination for her show, along with Allison Janney (Mom) and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie).

Who should win? I don’t watch Ross or Janney’s shows regularly, but Brosnahan is the clear pick here, even though Rae winning would be exciting too.
Who will win? Without Brie in the race, I think that Brosnahan can officially become the first new winner in this category in a number of years thanks to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ absence.

Emmy Nominees: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

My predictions: 5/6, picking Eric McCormack over Danson

This category contains one of the best nominees announced today, although it’s hard not to be sad that he represents just one of two nominations for a show that could easily have earned a dozen different bids it would have deserved. Congratulations to Ted Danson (The Good Place), who put his underrated show on the map. The notable omission here was Eric McCormack, who was just the first of many elements of his show not to be cited despite expectations of a warm embrace from voters. Bill Hader (Barry) was the other new addition to this category, with his show surprising to earn the third-highest total of any comedy series, a welcome move in my opinion. Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) managed to rejoin the race as his show received a decent welcome back showing, joining last year’s winner Donald Glover (Atlanta) and two other returning nominees, Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) and William H. Macy (Shameless). Not a bad list even if mine wouldn’t look exactly the same.

Who should win? I’d probably choose Hader or Danson, though I should note that I don’t watch Anderson’s show regularly.
Who will win? Given the strong response to his show, I’ll pick Hader right now.

Emmy Nominees: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Mandy Moore and Emilia Clarke over Maslany and Oh

I cheered when I heard Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) announced as a nominee since I had figured that, even though she won the last time her show was eligible, she would be completely forgotten about. That made me very happy. I wasn’t quite as thrilled about the inclusion of Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) since I think her costar Jodie Comer would have been much more deserving of a nomination. It’s a shame that Mandy Moore got left out, especially since another costar of hers was surprisingly snubbed, leaving just four men as the acting nominees from their show. The other four are all back from last year, along with their series: Claire Foy (The Crown) and Keri Russell (The Americans), both competing for the last time, and Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) and last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Who should win? Maslany would be a great choice for a repeat win, and so would Moss.
Who will win? I’ll still go with Foy, whose show performed pretty well in other categories, though Moss is just as possible.

Emmy Nominees: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

My predictions: 4/6, picking Kit Harington and J.K. Simmons over Bateman and Harris

I’ll admit that I’m surprised by one inclusion in this category: Ed Harris (Westworld), who I had predicted to be nominated last year in the supporting race and didn’t expect would now show up this year in a more contested race. I also may have to check out some of the work of Jason Bateman (Ozark) if he submitted anything other than the pilot. The other four were expected repeat nominees from last year, with Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) earning a promotion to the lead race and joining Matthew Rhys (The Americans) on his final nomination and Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us) and last year’s winner Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us). I’m disappointed that J.K. Simmons didn’t make the cut – he would have been a great addition to this category. Also of note is that Freddie Highmore wasn't nominated, but I didn't expect his series to be true Emmy fare.

Who should win? I can’t comment much on Bateman’s performance, but I think I’d probably give this to Wright.
Who will win? My money is on Ventimiglia.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Atlanta, Black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep

The competition: Two of last year’s nominees, “Master of None” and three-time winner “Veep,” are out. Eight-time nominee and five-time winner Modern Family is on thin ice, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt only had six episodes aired as the first part of its final season. Silicon Valley feels safe, and it would be a shock to see Black-ish left off the list. And Atlanta is as locked as anything can be. The only previous nominees still on the air, Transparent and Orange is the New Black, are highly unlikely to return. GLOW and SMILF were the all-caps early choices around Golden Globe and SAG time for new series, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel feels like a sure thing. New shows like Atypical and Barry will surely garner votes, as may sophomore entries The Good Place and Better Things, but it’s the long-absent returning series that have a better shot of cracking the field. Roseanne doesn’t stand much of a chance, but I’d expect both Curb Your Enthusiasm and Will and Grace to earn nominations, even if they don’t show up en masse in other categories. And I can only hope that The End of the F***ing World earns a shocking but well-deserved nomination.

The predicted nominees: Atlanta, Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, GLOW, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Silicon Valley, Will and Grace

The predicted winner: I think The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel scores over “Atlanta.”

Next up: Category-by-category analysis beginning Thursday morning!

Emmy Predictions: Best Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Westworld

The competition: This category is considered to be sewn up by many prognosticators. Subtract the only two non-sophomore shows, “Better Call Saul” and “House of Cards,” which haven’t yet returned for their latest offerings. Plug back in two-time winner Game of Thrones, which took last season off after back-to-back wins, and The Americans, which aired its final season and was popular enough to snag one nomination here, two years ago. The only question is if any of last year’s five freshman nominees or “The Americans” are weak enough to be knocked out by the likes of the three most popular new shows: Killing Eve, Ozark, or Mindhunter, or if we’re truly underestimating something like The Chi or The Deuce. In theory, there’s also Mr. Robot, which was unceremoniously booted after being included its first season, and the once-great Homeland, which is a shell of its former self but did manage nominations for its lackluster fourth and fifth seasons. Maybe we’ll get a huge, hopefully good, surprise here!

The predicted nominees: The Americans, The Crown, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Westworld

The predicted winner: This feels like the year for This Is Us, but who the hell knows?

Next up: Best Comedy Series

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: B.A.N. (Atlanta), Streets on Lock (Atlanta), Thanksgiving (Master of None), Success Failure (Silicon Valley), Georgia (Veep), Groundbreaking (Veep)

The top contenders:
Alligator Man (Atlanta)
Barbershop (Atlanta)
FUBU (Atlanta)
Chapter One: Make Your Mark (Barry)
Episode 3 (The End of the F***ing World)
Episode 7 (Episodes)
Pilot (GLOW)
Hella LA (Insecure)
Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Fifty-One Percent (Silicon Valley)
Deep-Dish Pizza and a Shot of Holy Water (SMILF)
Grandpa Jack (Will and Grace)
Rosario’s Quinceanera (Will and Grace)

Three slots are open due to the absence of “Veep” and “Master of None,” but there are also some new contenders. Atlanta has three episodes, all of which could make the cut, while Silicon Valley and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel should be considered locked for their submitted installments. It’s worth noting that Episodes has received exactly one nomination in this category for each of its seasons, and though its last nomination was when it aired back in 2014, that statistic shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to its series finale. This is where new shows could shine, including Barry, GLOW, and my personal favorite, The End of the F***ing World, which would make me so happy if it managed a nomination here.

The predicted nominees: Alligator Man (Atlanta), Barbershop (Atlanta), FUBU (Atlanta), Pilot (GLOW), Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Fifty-One Percent (Silicon Valley)

The predicted winner: This seems like an easy place for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to score.

Next up: Best Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: B.A.N. (Atlanta), Intellectual Property (Silicon Valley), Server Error (Silicon Valley), Blurb (Veep), Groundbreaking (Veep), Justice (Veep)

The top contenders:
FUBU (Atlanta)
Teddy Perkins (Atlanta)
Chapter One: Make Your Mark (Barry)
Fatwa! (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
The Pickle Gambit (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Thank You For Your Service (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Episode 3 (The End of the F***ing World)
Episode 5 (Episodes)
Pilot (GLOW)
Hella Perspective (Insecure)
Mrs. X at the Gaslight (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Chief Operating Officer (Silicon Valley)
Initial Coin Offering (Silicon Valley)
Mark’s Lunch and Two Cups of Coffee (SMILF)
Rosario’s Quinceanera (Will and Grace)

There are three slots open this year thanks to “Veep” not airing, and it’s possible that a few of them could go to Curb Your Enthusiasm, which netted four slots back in 2003 and three in 2004. It’s eligible here since the episodes are all considered improvised and therefore not up for writing, but there are far too many installments (six) submitted for it to be clear which ones are frontrunners. Both episodes of Atlanta stand a good chance of being included, and there’s no reason to think that the two submitted episodes of Silicon Valley won’t make it three in a row for that show. New series haven’t tended to make much of a dent aside from “Atlanta” last year, but expect The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to, and maybe GLOW also. I’m less confident about Barry or SMILF but they’re possible too.

The predicted nominees: FUBU (Atlanta), Teddy Perkins (Atlanta), Fatwa! (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Chief Operating Officer (Silicon Valley), Initial Coin Offering (Silicon Valley)

The predicted winner: If enthusiasm for the show is as predicted, count on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel over runner-up “Atlanta.”

Next up: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Writing for a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: The Soviet Division (The Americans), Chicanery (Better Call Saul), Assassins (The Crown), Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale), Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Stranger Things), The Bicameral Mind (Westworld)

The top contenders:
Start (The Americans)
Pilot (The Chi)
The Crossing (Counterpart)
Mystery Man (The Crown)
Pilot (The Deuce)
The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones)
June (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Nice Face (Killing Eve)
Episode 10 (Mindhunter)
The Toll (Ozark)
Pilot (Snowfall)
Chapter Nine: The Gate (Stranger Things)
The Car (This Is Us)
Super Bowl Sunday (This Is Us)
The Riddle of the Sphinx (Westworld)
The Passenger (Westworld)

Much less so than in the directing category, this race only really has too many submissions (five) from Westworld, which might end up without a nomination here as a result. Count on the series finale of The Americans and the only submissions from The Crown, Game of Thrones, and The Handmaid’s Tale to fill up most of this category. Whether Stranger Things shows up again is a question mark, and there are also a bunch of new shows that could show up, with Counterpart and Killing Eve seeming like the likeliest in my mind, though Ozark and Mindhunter had all the early buzz.

The predicted nominees: Start (The Americans), Mystery Man (The Crown), The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones), June (The Handmaid’s Tale), Chapter Nine: The Gate (Stranger Things), The Passnger (Westworld)

The predicted winner: Maybe The Americans finally takes it.

Next up: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

Monday, July 9, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Directing for a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Witness (Better Call Saul), Hyde Park Corner (The Crown), Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale), The Bridge (The Handmaid’s Tale), America First (Homeland), Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Stranger Things), The Bicameral Mind (Westworld)

The top contenders:
Start (The Americans)
Pilot (The Chi)
The Crossing (Counterpart)
Paterfamilias (The Crown)
Pilot (The Deuce)
Beyond the Wall (Game of Thrones)
The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones)
After (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Unwomen (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Paen to the People (Homeland)
Nice Face (Killing Eve)
Episode 7 (Mindhunter)
The Toll (Ozark)
Pilot (Snowfall)
Chapter Nine: The Gate (Stranger Things)
Superbowl Sunday (This Is Us)
Akane No Mai (Westworld)
The Passenger (Westworld)
The Riddle of the Sphinx (Westworld)

There’s no reason to think that most of last year’s series won’t be nominated again, with only “Better Call Saul” ineligible because its next season starts this August. The problem is that multiple episodes have been submitted by so many series, with between two to six different installments in the running from most of the popular shows likely to get votes. Only The Crown and Killing Eve, which is itself a longshot at best, have just one episode submitted. It’s fair to expect that Game of Thrones may earn two nominations again given it pulled off that same feat the last two times it was eligible, and though its quality has gone far downhill (I gave up on it), Homeland seems to be a relatively permanent addition. The real question is whether any of the new series in contention, like Mindhunter, Ozark, The Crossing, The Chi, The Deuce, or Snowfall, will be able to break in here the way other pilots often have in previous years, and if the one new drama series not honored in this category last year, This Is Us, can transcend the acting races to show up here too.

The predicted nominees: Paterfamilias (The Crown), Beyond the Wall (Game of Thrones), The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones), After (The Handmaid’s Tale), Superbowl Sunday (This Is Us), The Passenger (Westworld)

The predicted winner: I think Game of Thrones wins it for “Beyond the Wall.”

Next up: Best Writing for a Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Becky Ann Baker, Angela Bassett, Carrie Fisher, Melissa McCarthy, Wanda Sykes, Kristen Wiig

The competition: Just one of these women is on the ballot again, and that’s Wanda Sykes (Black-ish), who is hardly a lock but could easily return. Two nominees from two years ago, both of whom are also starring in popular shows, Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory) and Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory), are eligible again, as is previous winner Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live) and previous nominee Blythe Danner (Will and Grace), whose show just returned after more than a decade off the air. 90-year-old Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (Roseanne) could land her first Emmy nomination, as could Lauren Graham (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Tiffany Haddish (Saturday Night Live). Other possibilities include a host of former nominees eligible for different series, including Elizabeth Banks (Curb Your Enthusaism), Minnie Driver (Will and Grace), Jane Lynch (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Jane Lynch (Will and Grace), Elizabeth Perkins (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Molly Shannon (Will and Grace).

The predicted nominees: Danner, Fey, Graham, Haddish, Lynch, Parsons

The predicted winner: I think Parsons wins if she gets nominated.

Next up: Best Directing for a Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Riz Ahmed, Dave Chappelle, Tom Hanks, Hugh Laurie, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Matthew Rhys

The competition: Just one of last year’s nominees might return again this year, and it’s for a different gig: Lin-Manuel Miranda (Curb Your Enthusiasm). He’ll face still competition from other guest stars from his show, including F. Murray Abraham (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Bryan Cranston (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Steven Weber (Curb Your Enthusiasm). As usual, hosting one of television’s most popular variety series helps you get votes, with a slew of contenders this year, led by Chadwick Boseman (Saturday Night Live), Robert De Niro (Saturday Night Live), Will Ferrell (Saturday Night Live), Donald Glover (Saturday Night Live), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), and John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live). There are three past nominees reprising guest spots on TV’s most beloved revived show - Bobby Cannavale (Will and Grace), Alec Baldwin (Will and Grace), and Leslie Jordan (Will and Grace), and both Harry Connick Jr. (Will and Grace) and Ben Platt (Will and Grace) could also join them this year. They’ve all been nominated before for these roles, and so Jon Hamm (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Nathan Lane (Modern Family), Bob Newhart (The Big Bang Theory), and Fred Willard (Modern Family) could all be back this year. Watch out for Christopher Lloyd (Roseanne) or Emmy favorites Beau Bridges (Black-ish) or Sterling K. Brown (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) to show up as well.

The predicted nominees: Baldwin, De Niro, Glover, Hader, Newhart, Platt

The predicted winner: I think that Newhart wins.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Alexis Bledel, Laverne Cox, Margo Martindale, Shannon Purser, Cicely Tyson, Alison Wright

The competition: Last year’s winner, Bledel, has been promoted to the supporting category, and in her absence, three contenders from her show are likely to get nominated: last year’s supporting nominee Samara Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale) and one-shot guest stars Marisa Tomei (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale). Last year’s nominees Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away with Murder) are on the ballot again, as is three-time nominee Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones). Past nominees Viola Davis (Scandal) and Kerry Washington (How to Get Away with Murder) could take advantage of series crossovers to score new nominations here, and Margo Martindale (The Good Fight), Elizabeth Perkins (This Is Us), and Carrie Preston (The Good Fight) could all benefit from showcases in new roles after earlier career nominations. Pam Grier (This Is Us), Jodi Balfour (The Crown), and Rinko Kikuchi (Westworld) could also siphon votes for memorable guest spots.

The predicted nominees: Balfour, Jones, Rigg, Tomey, Tyson, Wiley

The predicted winner: Everyone seems to think it will be Rigg.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Hank Azaria, Brian Tyree Henry, Gerald McRaney, Ben Mendelsohn, Denis O’Hare, BD Wong

The competition: Count on last year’s winner, Gerald McRaney (This Is Us), to return, especially since he’s the only one of these six men in contention in this category again. He’ll likely be joined by previous supporting actor nominee Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us), eligible now in this category. One past nominee for the same role, F. Murray Abraham (Homeland), is back in the running, while Emmy favorites including Beau Bridges (Homeland), Nathan Lane (The Blacklist), Michael J. Fox (Designated Survivor), Alan Alda (The Good Fight), and Michael C. Hall (The Crown) could garner votes even if their show’s don’t usually host nominees. Sylvester Stallone (This Is Us) and Matthew Goode (The Crown) could contend as well, and the least-known votes-getter is sure to be Cameron Britton (Mindhunter), who has a better shot at ending up here if his show does well in other categories. HBO’s megahit, which didn’t even have anyone to submit in this race last year, has four legitimate contenders this time, with Peter Mullan (Westworld) and Jimmi Simpson (Westworld) having an edge over Ben Barnes (Westworld) and Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld).

The predicted nominees: Goode, Hall, Jones, McRaney, Mullan, Simpson

The predicted winner: I think that McRaney wins again.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Vanessa Bayer, Anna Chlumsky, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Jones, Judith Light, Kate McKinnon

The competition: Count out half of last year’s nominees automatically, with Chlumsky’s show on an extended hiatus and both Bayer and Hahn having departed from their series. Two-time winner Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) is the only sure thing to return, while costar Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live) is a distinct possibility. Judith Light (Transparent) didn’t have nearly the same showcase in season four as she did in season three, and she’s actually likely to be booted for costar Gaby Hoffman (Transparent) just like she was in season one. Two-time winner Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) shouldn’t have much trouble earning her eighth nomination following her series’ triumphant return, and the odds for three-time winner Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), who earned a staggering three separate acting nominations two years ago, and two-time nominee Sara Gilbert (Roseanne) have gone up exponentially following their show’s cancellation and the news that they will both be part of a new spinoff without the title character. New possibilities include Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Marin Hinkle (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), and Betty Gilpin (GLOW). Past nominees Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) and Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) could rejoin the lineup. Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Andrea Martin (Great News), Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time), and Rosie O’Donnell (SMILF) will all surely earn votes and could sneak onto the list as well.

The predicted nominees: Borstein, Gilbert, Hinkle, McKinnon, Metcalf, Mulllally

The predicted winner: I’ll go with Metcalf.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Louie Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Tituss Burgess, Ty Burrell, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh

The competition: Count out two of last year’s nominees, Hale and Walsh, since their show isn’t coming back for its final run until next season. Of the four who could return, winner Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live) is the surest thing given the political climate and his portrayal of the current commander-in-chief. Louie Anderson (Baskets), who won two years ago, is probable but hardly guaranteed given the under-the-radar nature of his show. Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Ty Burrell (Modern Family) are both still likely, but their shows are preparing for their swan songs and receiving considerably less acclaim than they used to. Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) is on the ballot here but not in the lead category for “Transparent,” which could earn him some votes thanks to his previous two nominations for this role, though recent allegations will probably prevent that. Another previously nominated costar, Will Arnett (Arrested Development), could earn a spot, as could Tony Hale (Arrested Development), a two-time winner for “Veep” who might earn votes for a different show. Expect Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) to pick up his eighth nomination thanks to his series’ return. Three-time winner Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is a good bet for a very different post-“Monk” role, and SAG nominee Marc Maron (GLOW) may also join the list as a freshman series representative, as could Henry Winkler (Barry). Other possibilities include Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish), and Walton Goggins (Vice Principals).

The predicted nominees: Anderson, Baldwin, Burgess, Hayes, Henry, Shalhoub

The predicted winner: I think that Hayes manages to take it.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Friday, July 6, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Uzo Aduba, Millie Bobby Brown, Ann Dowd, Chrissy Metz, Thandie Newton, Samira Wiley

The competition: All but one of last year’s nominees are in the running again, with Wiley headed to the guest category and likely to have her spot filled by Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid’s Tale), promoted from the guest race. Two-time winner Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) returned with a nomination last year after being snubbed the year before, and she’s the most vulnerable since her show has fallen out of favor with Emmy voters in almost all other categories. The other four nominees are pretty safe: winner Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), and Thandie Newton (Westworld), and so it’s hard to decide which of them will be knocked out. Though former nominee Emilia Clarke has been promoted to the lead category, her costars Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) are back in contention after their show took a season off last year. Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Susan Kelechi Watson (This Is Us) could also join previously nominated costars thanks to expanded plotlines this season, and the same goes for Vanessa Kirby (The Crown). Veteran guest nominee and winner Margo Martindale (The Americans) could also earn a farewell promotion to this category.

The predicted nominees: Bledel, Brown, Dowd, Headey, Metz, Newton

The predicted winner: I think Bledel wins this time.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Jonathan Banks, David Harbour, Ron Cephas Jones, Michael Kelly, John Lithgow, Mandy Patinkin, Jeffrey Wright

The competition: Expect a huge shakeup in this category since just two of last year’s nominees are in the running. Wright and Jones will compete in other categories, Lithgow didn’t appear on his show, and Banks and Kelly’s series have been on hiatus and will return later this year. David Harbour (Stranger Things) should be a sure thing, whereas Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), who has only been nominated for half of his show’s run, is far from guaranteed. Past nominee Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) will be nominated again now that his show is back, and another past nominee, Jon Voight (Ray Donovan), could return too. Transplanted category nominees could include Anthony Hopkins (Westworld), downgraded from lead, and BD Wong (Mr. Robot), upgraded from guest. Justin Hartley (This Is Us) seems likely to join the list after being left off last year, and previous would-be contenders like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Noah Emmerich (The Americans) could finally be nominated. Matt Smith (The Crown) and Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things) both stand a solid chance of being included, and votes could also go to Asia Kate Dillon (Billions), Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale), Zahn McClarnon (Westworld), and Richard Schiff (The Good Doctor). I’d watch out for an actor who was previously nominated for a show after it had lost support in major categories, and one who was terrific in his role: Bobby Cannavale (Mr. Robot).

The predicted nominees: Cannavale, Dinklage, Harbour, Hartley, Patinkin, Smith

The predicted winner: I think that Cannavale takes it if he’s nominated.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Pamela Adlon, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Ellie Kemper, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lily Tomlin

The competition: The only one of last year’s seven nominees who won’t be back this year is the six-time defending champ Louis-Dreyfus, who won’t be back for the final season of her show until 2019. Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) seems like the safest bet to return aside from Allison Janney (Mom), who took home two awards in the supporting category for this role and shows no signs of slowing down with her prospective second consecutive bid in this race. Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) joined Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie) for the first time in this field last year, and the two could just as easily be left off as they could return. Pamela Adlon (Better Things), the newest addition to this race, might be back for season two if voters are still excited about her show, which I think they are. Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) seems vulnerable because her show wasn’t renewed, and the first half of the last season premiered right at the end of the eligibility period, which might actually help since it’s fresh in voters’ minds. Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) might have been a frontrunner a month or two ago, but there’s no way she’s going to be nominated now. Another revival star, Debra Messing (Will and Grace), stands a much better shot. Joining the race is Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), whose omission would be a real shock. Other new contenders include Alison Brie (GLOW), who scored both Golden Globe and SAG bids, and Frankie Shaw (SMILF), who netted a Globe nod. Could season two be the charm for Issa Rae (Insecure) or Kristen Bell (The Good Place)? I’d hope so, but I’m not optimistic.

The predicted nominees: Brie, Brosnahan, Janney, Messing, Ross, Tomlin

The predicted winner: I think that Brosnahan takes it.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Emmy Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Anthony Anderson, Aziz Ansari, Zach Galifianakis, Donald Glover, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Tambor

The competition: Count out Ansari since his show didn’t air this year. Tambor probably wouldn’t have been nominated if he had been submitted by Amazon following sexual harassment allegations. Donald Glover (Atlanta) is the surest best to return for a well-received second season of his show, and I see no reason why Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) wouldn’t be back too. William H. Macy (Shameless) is looking at nomination number five for a show with an incredibly talented ensemble that’s barely been noticed in other categories, and he is just as likely to be left off as he is to return. The same odds apply to Zach Galifianakis (Baskets), who was included for the first time last year. There are a handful of past nominees whose shows are back after lengthy hiatuses, including Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Eric McCormack (Will and Grace), and Matt LeBlanc (Episodes). The only one with a perfect track record, earning nominations every season his show has aired, is LeBlanc, but he’s the likeliest to be forgotten, with David and McCormack far safer bets for their more widely-watched, warmly-received shows. Earlier this spring, John Goodman (Roseanne) might have been in the same field as the others, but given the swift cancellation of his show and announcement of a spinoff without the title character, it’s hard to know, and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) doesn’t seem all that likely either. A number of actors previously nominated for other shows are back in the running this year, including Bill Hader (Barry), Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G.), and an actor who didn’t get nominated last year for the first season of his show, Ted Danson (The Good Place).

The predicted nominees: Anderson, David, Glover, Hader, Macy, McCormack

The predicted winner: It seem likely that Glover would triumph again, but I’m not sure.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Viola Davis, Claire Foy, Elisabeth Moss, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, Robin Wright

The competition: Just one of these nominees is guaranteed not to be in the running this year, and that’s Robin Wright, who, despite anchoring the final season of her show after the firing of costar Kevin Spacey, isn’t eligible since it hasn’t yet premiered. This is the last chance for Claire Foy (The Crown) to be nominated since another actress will be taking over the role next year, and she may even win as a result. Keri Russell (The Americans) is in contention for what would be her third consecutive and final possible nomination for her show, which ended earlier this year. After a win two years ago, Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) is looking for a third nomination, the lone broadcast network representative whose show is hardly as beloved by Emmy voters, aside from her performance, as most others honored in this category. Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) seems like a good bet to return given her enhanced role in season two, and the same goes for last year’s winner, Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale). The likeliest to join this race is Mandy Moore (This Is Us), who was left out last year but has a knockout of a showcase in her show’s Superbowl episode. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) previously earned three nominations in the supporting category, and a promotion to the lead race may net her a spot here. Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), who missed out in the supporting category last year, might benefit from her own promotion to receive a nomination this year. Laura Linney (Ozark) earned a SAG bid and Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Deuce) picked up a Golden Globe nomination, both for freshman series, and so they might show up here. Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) is a possibility, though I’d actually give her costar Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) the edge, though I think the show is too weird for voters. Claire Danes (Homeland) missed out for the first time last year after two wins and five nominations and could be back. I’m rooting most for Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), who won the last time her show was eligible on her second nomination two years ago and contends this year for the final season of her show.

The predicted nominees: Clarke, Foy, Moore, Moss, Russell, Wood

The predicted winner: It could be Moss again, but I think Foy will take it for her last hurrah for this role.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Emmy Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 12th. As always, chime in below in the comments with any thoughts of your own.

Last year’s nominees: Sterling K. Brown, Anthony Hopkins, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Liev Schreiber, Kevin Spacey, Milo Ventimiglia

The competition: This category is going to get a shakeup with three of last year’s nominees aren’t eligible. Even if his show had aired a season with him in it, Spacey wouldn’t be back. Odenkirk’s show will be back in August, and Hopkins isn’t a lead on his show anymore. In Hopkins’ place, last year’s supporting nominee Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) should earn the promotion, while Ed Harris (Westworld), left off the supporting list last year, will probably miss out again. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) has managed three consecutive nominations with almost no other support for his show, and his annual inclusion feels tentative at best. Matthew Rhys (The Americans) is likely to return for the final season of his show, but he’s not a lock. Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), last year’s winner, will probably repeat, and his costar Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us) has a good shot at another nomination. Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) earned his first Emmy bid, in the supporting race, the last time his show was eligible back in 2016, and his promotion to the lead category should earn him a place here. Jason Bateman (Ozark), a two-time nominee for “Arrested Development,” picked up both Golden Globe and SAG bids for his performance on the streaming drama and shouldn’t have much trouble getting nominated here. Freddie Highmore (The Good Doctor) was honored at the Golden Globes with a mention for his freshman series and could show up in this category, though it’s far from a guarantee. I’m still shocked that Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), who won this award two years ago, wasn’t even nominated last year, and so I’m pulling for his return. Donald Sutherland (Trust) is a possibility if audiences aren’t tired of the Getty saga that earned Christopher Plummer an Oscar nomination last year for the same role. Dark horses include Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter) and James Franco (The Deuce), who haven’t earned the accolades many expected despite positive reviews for their shows and performances. I’m rooting for someone else - J.K. Simmons (Counterpart) – who astounded with a double turn on his Starz show and will hopefully muster the support the recent Oscar winner needs to earn his first Emmy nomination.

The predicted nominees: Brown, Harington, Rhys, Simmons, Ventimiglia, Wright

The predicted winner: Based on episode submissions, I think that Ventimiglia could actually take this one home.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Pilot Review: Deep State

Deep State (Epix)
Premiered June 17 at 9pm

Often, an actor is the reason to watch a show, and when a player who’s usually relegated to supporting roles gets the spotlight, it’s a cause for celebration. Mark Strong is a very hardworking British actor who I first encountered in memorable roles in two separate 2008 films, “Body of Lies” and “RocknRolla,” and he’s subsequently been great in “The Guard,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Imitation Game,” “The Catcher Was a Spy,” and “Stockholm,” among others. He last appeared on American television in “Low Winter Sun,” the one-season AMC remake of the British show of the same name, in which he also starred. In Epix’s import from Fox UK, which has been extensively plastered all over subway platform walls for months in New York City, Strong plays a British agent who reluctantly returns to work after his family is threatened and learns that his son has been killed. If I were to choose anyone for cool-as-ice operative work, it would probably be Strong, and while he is good, this show doesn’t allow him to be nearly Bond-like enough. Instead, it’s a relatively standard action series, one that immediately moves to ripping out fingernails and other unpleasant torture methods in pursuit of intelligence that probably won’t matter in the long run anyway. Though I wanted to root for and watch Strong in this role, I didn’t find anything here that stood out from the many similar shows that have been produced in the past few years.

How will it work as a series? Max is back in, whether he wants to be or not, and there’s going to be no stopping him as he tries to both get justice for his son and help stop future threats both against him personally and his country. This kind of thing has been done before, and this show shouldn’t be much different.
How long will it last? While Epix has three scripted original series on its slate, this one is an import, admittedly one that would pair very well with “Berlin Station.” After a strong start, this show was renewed for a second season back in April by FOX UK, and there’s no reason to think that Epix wouldn’t stick with it for year two, especially considering it has received mostly positive reviews from American critics.

Pilot grade: C+

Sunday, July 1, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Affair (Season Premiere)

The Affair: Season 4, Episode 1 (B)

I have mixed feelings about the return of this show, which I honestly had completely forgotten about in the year and a half since it last aired. Seasons one and two were terrific, but season three took a few unfortunate turns before bottoming out after a development that wasn’t acknowledged in either the season three finale or this premiere. Noah’s mental state is not in question, while Helen’s is, and the biggest thing about this episode is that neither of them is having an affair. While this show doesn’t need to stick to its title premise quite as much as “Prison Break” did, we’re at the point where Noah is now twice divorced and Helen is starting a new life in California with Vic, with no signs of infidelity anywhere around. That could potentially be interesting, but right now it’s not entirely clear what the direction will be. Noah continues to be a very unlikeable person, accusing one student of plagiarism because of a previous offense and then showing up late and belligerent to Trevor’s event, interrupting him just as he was about to come out to his family. Helen, who has been the most magnetic character on the show for the past two seasons, is getting less sympathetic as time goes on, and her earthquake fears felt all too metaphoric in this hour until the very last moment of the episode when it turned out to be Vic who wasn’t stable, passed out on the floor after being the most reliable element in her life up until that point. Hopefully Alison and Cole’s stories will be more enticing in episode two.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What I’m Watching: Westworld

Westworld: Season 2, Episode 9 “Vanishing Point” (B+)

I’m amazed that it’s been almost a full week since the season finale aired and I haven’t had either of the final two episodes spoiled for me, and with six hours of television ahead of the finale in the queue, I’m hoping that will continue. This episode was unusual because it actually provided some direct answers and, more importantly, showed us specific scenes that happened in the real world. I don’t want to read any recaps to confirm that what I saw was indeed what I saw for fear of stumbling upon a critical spoiler, but I think the gist is clear. William’s addiction to Westworld pushed his wife to the edge, exacerbating a drinking problem that may have started as a result of his frequent absences and making him feel lonelier and lonelier as he pursued the end of the game. Killing all of the people who showed up and then shooting his daughter because he thought she was Ford trying to test him shows how far he’s gone with no hope of return, and seeing Ford present his initial challenge to William doesn’t justify the fact that he has now killed the only person who still mattered to him. Teddy shooting himself in front of Dolores doesn’t feel as consequential since he is a host and could therefore be easily received, something I don’t believe is possible if the guests die within the park. Bernard is the true hero of this season, fighting valiantly against his programming to prove that he can be good. I’m excited for the finale and hopeful that it will be intense, enthralling, and satisfying in whatever way this show can be.

Friday, June 29, 2018

What I’m Watching: 12 Monkeys (Season Premiere)

12 Monkeys: Season 4, Episode 1 “The End” (B)

I never understand why networks feel the need to release an entire season over the course of a short time period since, unless it’s dropped all on the same day on a streaming service. It just doesn’t feel like the network is all that invested in the success of its programming, cramming all the episodes in instead of spreading them out over the course of ten to thirteen weeks. After airing all ten hours of season three in a single weekend last year, the eleven episodes of season four will be spread across four weeks, the third of which is tonight. I’m going to stretch it out as I usually do, watching a few quickly as I catch up on all my shows but still taking them one episode at a time. I like a lot of things about this show but I’m not quite as into the mindless action which involves gun battles that end only with fringe characters dying. Olivia, the newly cemented Witness, arriving with an entire city to destroy the nuisance that is Jones and her time-traveling facility once and for all, is a formidable and unforgiving nemesis, and though she believes that she’s taken them out, she’s not going to stop once it’s clear that they’re poised to be far more influential than they knew. Returning to the moment before Cole went back in time to first meet Cassie is fascinating, and I’m so interested to see where things go from here. I was thrilled about the notion of two different Jennifers defying a paradox to work together on heists, and the revelation that she’s just imagining separate versions of herself is a real letdown.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Resuming Soon!

You may have noticed a lack of posts here in the past week. A busy couple of weeks during which I fell behind on all my TV was followed by the unfortunate news that my grandmother passed away. I spent much of last week in Florida before returning home for less than 48 hours before departing for a previously-planned two-week trip to Israel. I'm currently in Haifa and trying to focus more on my travel than on my TV, which means posts will be significantly delayed for the time being. Rest assured, I'm still watching TV when I have free moments, and will be back soon with reviews as I write them as well as Emmy predictions in advance of the July 12th nominations announcement. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Round Two: American Woman

American Woman: Season 1, Episode 2 “Changes and the New Normal” (B-)

I was up for giving this show a second chance, but I think that’s enough. The news that there was a warrant out for Steve’s arrest at the end of the first episode was downplayed considerably in this hour, with his participation in a pyramid scheme boiled down to Bonnie being close to losing the house and Steve having a court date coming up. It’s true that accepting money from Kathleen isn’t a great long-term plan, but you’d think that Bonnie might be okay with it to make sure that she doesn’t lose the house. There was plenty of institutional chauvinism on display in this episode, with Diana told that she shouldn’t get the promotion over her dim-witted male coworker because, as a “single gal,” she doesn’t have to support her family. Greg is doing his best to keep his sexual orientation under wraps, getting turned on by a man during an audition and rushing in to have sex with Kathleen while he’s fired up. Bonnie demonstrated her resilience and creativity by selling herself as an asset because of her ability to bribe her friends into not shopping elsewhere, counteracting her complete lack of experience with anything aside from being a “transportation coordinator” in regards to getting her kids to school. Bonnie working up the courage to wait on someone she knew on her first day on the job showed that she’s acclimating, and she’s going to do it with sass too. I’m sure there will be more drama to come, but I’m happy to part ways with this show at this point.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pilot Review: Strange Angel

Strange Angel (CBS All Access)
Premiered June 14

I went into this show without knowing anything about it other than that it was the first original drama to air on CBS’ premium streaming service that wasn’t a continuation or reboot of a previous series. After finishing the hour, I didn’t feel that I came away with much more knowledge, since this show is a real head-scratcher that doesn’t try too hard to explain what it’s about. I’m not at all familiar with Jack Parsons and his role in the creation and development of rockets, and I don’t know anything about the occult ritual group that it appears that he’ll soon become involved with after following his eccentric neighbor. What I did find most interesting wasn’t the plot but the presentation, with Ernest first introduced as a man with an unknown background who definitely seemed off in some way and Jack wide-eyed and watching, trying to figure out what his story was. The more standard scientific showcase of the rocket engineering and funding efforts are also mildly interesting, though Jack seems way too wild and unpredictable while the more stoic Richard exercises reserved caution at every juncture. Though I imagine there’s more intrigue to be found her, the little I saw of the community Jack seems destined to join – described in synopses as performing sex magick rituals – was substantially unappealing to me. The hook here wasn’t strong enough, suggesting a character that might be worth watching but failing to hone in and make following his story feel truly urgent and compelling.

How will it work as a series? Ernest, played fanatically by Rupert Friend, in a decent role for the “Homeland” alum, seemed very excited that Jack was following him around, while someone else clearly was angry enough to try to scare his wife off with a threat. The intersection of his scientific work and his extracurricular activities is sure to be sensational, though I’d imagine things will get weird quickly.
How long will it last? It doesn’t appear that this show is getting great reviews, though it’s not all bad. A mixed reaction means that it’s not as strong a case for renewal as CBS All Access’ other offerings, which have proven to be slam dunks. Tentatively, I’d say that this one isn’t going to get renewed, but without any sense of ratings data, it’s impossible to know and could always end up going the other way.

Pilot grade: C+

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What I’m Watching: Brockmire

Brockmire: Season 2, Episode 7 “Caught in a Rundown” (B)

I know I sound like a broken record, but shouldn’t Jules have been a crucial participant of any intervention for Brockmire? Maybe she prefers him drunk because then at least she knows they’re both on the same page making bad decisions together. Either way, in this penultimate episode of the season, we finally got to an event that should probably have happened at the very start of this show and will surely happen again since, like Tina Fey in her memorable “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” role, he was drinking through his shirt the entire time. It was fun enough to see the top five people aside from Jules try to get Brockmire to realize that he’s drinking all the time, even if most of them really don’t like him. Charles and Pedro are pretty much the only ones who actually do, and Charles isn’t in Brockmire’s good graces at the moment because of his recent betrayal, even if it really is him looking out for his best interests. Brockmire going after him shows that he does still care for him, and their fates are linked together whether Charles likes it or not. Lucy and Jean haven’t shown much affection for Brockmire in the past and their interference now didn’t feel like a major reintroduction into his life, while Raj managed to impress him by roasting him instead of appealing to him in a kinder way. Opting to drown his sorrows with Carrie Preston’s wild Elle should only make his problems worse, but it should make for an intriguing and worthwhile finale.

What I’m Watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4, Episode 2 “Kimmy Has a Weekend!” (B-)

Here we have a sharp return to this show’s more absurdist tendencies, playing up the real world in an extreme way rather than with slightly subtle humor. Somehow, Kimmy has managed to keep her job after the sexual harassment scandal she very innocently created, and now she wants to make sure she’s living an educated and active life. Thinking that she’s judged by others for her time in the bunker helped to explain why she couldn’t see her white privilege, something that was harped on with plenty of exaggeration when she and Titus when shopping together. Walking into the salon and demanding that all of the employees be referred to by their actual names was a winning moment for her, helping to undo the damage done by those who ate salads off the heads of the women working there. Jacqueline is also a major offender, doing exactly what Kimmy hates, and now she’s trying to help an incredibly dumb shlub become an actor just so that she can get him out of her apartment and pretend for her son that she’s not actually so poor that she’s currently living with Kimmy after being discovered in her office. I’m not too into all of this fake television and film that everyone is watching, and it looks like that may continue based on how this episode ended. The best line in an otherwise lackluster episode came from Titus, referencing himself in the third person in typical fashion: “Titus Andromedon doesn’t deliver, he Digiorno’s.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, Episode 8 “Women’s Work” (B+)

This was a very difficult episode to watch, not only because of the cruel violence we saw from a character who’s been one of the few that isn’t so terrible up until this point, but also because of the tremendous regression it represented. Continuing on the impactful end of the previous episode, we saw Serena and Offred growing much closer thanks to the activities that Offred described as befitting colleagues in another life but decried as heretics in this one. Instead of the extended break from the horrors of Gilead that we got at the start of this season, their liberation was a brief one, with Fred’s return a depressing event, one that turned brutal when Fred understood that Serena had tried to assert herself in his absence, something he couldn’t tolerate even though they had worked together like this “before.” Bringing in a doctor currently serving as a Martha to try to help Janine’s baby was bold, and something tells me that, even if she had been able to save the child, Fred would have punished her anyway. What’s most important is that Serena has reached a breaking point, one that might compel her not only to be more humane to Janine and to Offred, who’s checking on her now, but also to work to change this monstrous society she’s helped to create. Maybe that Canada trip can be truly impactful. As Nick’s wife tries everything possible to please him, he’s turning into exactly the controlling husband she wants him to be, becoming something that he’d never want to as likely the only thing that could help hide everything she suspects about him. Ending the episode with Janine holding the baby was certainly unexpected, proving that true maternal bonding does mean something in a world that's tried to erase it.

What I’m Watching: Humans

Humans: Season 3, Episode 2 (B+)
He may not be particularly emotive, but Max is a good, calm leader, one who wants to make sure that the synths under his care aren’t all unilaterally punished for the crimes of others. He was smart to make sure to get Mattie and Leo out of there as quickly as possible once Agnes indicated that her subordination wasn’t close to over and that she was determined to find whatever he was hiding. Niska wasn’t into following his orders either, and her latest trip allowed us to see Mia springing into action to help protect the refugee synths who arrived looking for some hope of salvation. Though she was originally upset at the idea of having a synth escort because of her role on the commission, Laura found ways to use Stanley to her advantage, helping with the shopping list, catching projectiles thrown by angry people, and calculating the percentage of likely truth in a fellow commission member’s statement. I was questioning why it was that Joe continues to be a part of this show, teaching Toby about work ethic in his moderately successful grocery store, and I guess it’s so that he can help Karen and Sam realize that they’re not nearly as safe as they think they are, even if Sam is able to correct his “inadequacy requires more effort” statement to something a bit more human. Joe hasn’t been useful for a while, so let’s hope that him being featured prominently means that he’s going to an asset rather than the hindrance he’s been since he first tried to have sex with Mia.

What I’m Watching: Legion (Season Finale)

Legion: Season 2, Episode 11 “Chapter 19” (B+)

This was one hell of a transformative episode, showing us that everything we learned from Future Syd about what David would become was indeed true, though it’s possible that knowing what he would do made them act in a way that then caused him to turn. The opening scene was uniquely weird, with David and Farouk transforming into different people, animals, and objects in their midst of their epic battle, animated above their bodies as they participated in a questionably necessary musical number. Syd showing up with a gun pointed at David because she realized that he might not be the hero was a somewhat unexpected but equally inevitable development, and Lenny springing into action to fire two bullets to give David the upper hand was incredibly choreographed, especially with the sideways cinematography showing her walking in the desert carrying her gun. Farouk was felled pretty effectively by that power-cancelling and painful-looking crown, but, as we quickly learned and David did too, it wasn’t him that was on trial. David’s fury was evident when he was trapped in that containment bubble, but Syd telling him that he drugged her and then had sex with her demonstrated how out of touch he is with his own actions. Melanie and Oliver calmly commenting on events from three years in the future without their bodies and a good chunk of their memories opened this episode in a very different way than it ended, with David’s triumphant and terrifying turn, bringing Lenny along with him for a destructive joyride with Blondie firmly in his rear-view mirror. I’m so intrigued to see what happens in season three.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Dan Stevens as David