Tuesday, September 18, 2018

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

This is the fourth category of the 12th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2017-2018 season. This year, I’m including a shorter list, with just nominees and a few finalists, if applicable. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series


Last year’s nominees: Kristen Bell, Ellie Kemper, Leighton Meester, Issa Rae, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Emmy nominees: Pamela Adlon, Rachel Brosnahan, Allison Janney, Issa Rae, Tracie Ellis Ross, Lily Tomlin

Finalists: Andrea Savage (I'm Sorry), Rose McIver (iZombie), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet), Natalie Zea (The Detour), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

The nominees:
Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World)
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Alia Shawkat (Search Party)
Issa Rae (Insecure)

The winner:

Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) was singularly full of fast-talking energy and spirit, encapsulating her entire show with her social graces and wit.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

This is the third category of the 12th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2017-2018 season. This year, I’m including a shorter list, with just nominees and a few finalists, if applicable. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series


Last year’s nominees: Aziz Ansari, Thomas Haden Church, Walton Goggins, John Lithgow, Danny McBride

Emmy nominees: Anthony Anderson, Ted Danson, Larry David, Donald Glover, Bill Hader, William H. Macy

Finalists: Thomas Haden Church (Divorce), Jim Howick (Loaded), Jack Dylan Grazer (Me, Myself, and I), Danny McBride (Vice Principals), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)

The nominees:
Alex Lawther (The End of the F***ing World)
Keir Gilchrist (Atypical)
Bill Hader (Barry)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)

The winner:

Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet) made every moment that he appeared on screen a hilarious, awkward delight, infusing an amazing nervous energy into his character.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

This is the second category of the 12th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2017-2018 season. This year, I’m including a shorter list, with just nominees and a few finalists, if applicable. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series


Last year’s nominees: Michelle Dockery, Rachel Keller, Elisabeth Moss, Evan Rachel Wood, Robin Wright

Emmy nominees: Claire Foy, Tatiana Maslany, Sandra Oh, Elisabeth Moss, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood

Finalists: Mandy Moore (This Is Us), Molly Parker (Lost in Space), Michelle Dockery (Good Behavior), Claire Foy (The Crown)

The nominees:
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Christina Hendricks (Good Girls)

The winner:

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) became even more determined to continue creating her own existence in a horrific world with no room for individuality and rebellion.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

This is the first category of the 12th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2017-2018 season. This year, I’m including a shorter list, with just nominees and a few finalists, if applicable. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series


Last year’s nominees: Rami Malek, Giovanni Ribisi, Dan Stevens, Billy Bob Thornton, Finn Wolfhard

Emmy nominees: Jason Bateman, Sterling K. Brown, Ed Harris, Matthew Rhys, Milo Ventimiglia, Jeffrey Wright

Finalists: Dan Stevens (Legion), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)

The nominees:
Paul Bettany (Manhunt: Unabomber)
Taylor Kitsch (Waco)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Giovanni Ribisi (Sneaky Pete)

The winner:

J.K. Simmons (Counterpart) delivered an incredible dual performance, portraying two characters whose identical looks made his ability to separate them into different people all the more mesmerizing.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Monday, September 17, 2018

Emmy Reactions

Now that’s a rare occasion: an awards show that actually ends on time. I’m never rooting for that, especially in this case because I’m on the west coast and this is much earlier than I’ve experienced an awards show ending before. All in all, it was a good night, and I’m pretty happy with most of the winners. We’ll get back to that in a moment. I enjoyed watching Michael Che and Colin Jost on “Saturday Night Live,” but they’re better at just delivering one-liners than actually hosting a show like this. Their bit about hundreds of people watching at home was funny, and only Jaleel White and Bryan Cranston managed to save the “Reparation Emmys.” It was also very weird that they had the presenters come out after the nominees were announced each time. I’m all for the many clips that played (before they incorrectly thought they were out of time and rushed through the variety talk series nominees), but it feels more natural to have the presenters out there first. They also didn’t have the guest acting winners present together, with Katt Williams absent (unless I’m mistaken), but it actually worked out sweetly to have Samira Wiley present with Elisabeth Moss (but for the unfortunate loss of all three of their shows’ nominees in that category) and Ron Cephas Jones make dad jokes with Ron Cephas Jones. Of the many presenters, I most enjoyed Sandra Oh’s enthusiasm while she tried to announce “La La Land” as the winner, a high compliment given that the joke has been made before and the Queer Eye guys giving fashion tips to the Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominees. Here are some other takeaways:

- I’m thrilled that “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Barry” split all the comedy wins, leaving “Atlanta” shut out. I missed only Henry Winkler, picking Tony Shalhoub instead, and even though I would have honored a different “Barry” actor, Anthony Carrigan, I’m all for it, especially because of how happy Winkler was and everyone was for him. Alex Borstein and Amy Sherman-Palladino are both a bit strange, as is Bill Hader, and Rachel Brosnahan urging people to go vote was cool. It’s nice to see all new series win in these categories!
- I watched a bit of most of the miniseries/TV movie nominees but not enough to truly be invested. I was happy for Merritt Wever because I like her a lot, and Jeff Daniels was subdued and blunt as usual. Regina King has won three awards in four years, which is impressive, though I was hoping “The Tale” would be recognized in some form with a win for Laura Dern. Ryan Murphy also shouldn’t be shocked that he won his fifth Emmy, though it is only his second for directing, after the pilot of “Glee” nine years ago.
- I don’t care much about the variety and talk series and not at all about reality, and I wish those would have happened much earlier in the show. That’s why I’m writing about them now. John Mulaney saying that his wife was too busy to fly across the country to watch him lose was funny, and of course the director of the Oscars proposing on air was very sweet. If anyone has the right to do it, it’s the director of an event like the Oscars.
- And then we have drama. I was all about Thandie Newton winning last year, and it’s good that she got recognized now for what was admittedly an equally strong performance. It’s just a shame that Yvonne Strahovski didn’t win for her performance this year. Without any frontrunner in the supporting actor category, Peter Dinklage was a fine default choice. I found myself happy for “The Americans” with its writing win even though I’m not a big fan of the show, and it was nice that he thanked the television critics for keeping it on the air. I’m also okay with Matthew Rhys since there was no one in best actor that I was all about, and Sterling K. Brown won last year. Similarly, good for Claire Foy, who sweetly said goodbye to the character while the show goes on, and “The Crown” even picked up a directing trophy which wasn’t expected. Last but not least, it seemed like it could be “The Americans” over “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and then “Game of Thrones” took it instead, allowing the wealth to be spread decently in the drama categories. I’m more than okay with that.
- Finally, I scored 18/26. I did better last year but not the few years before that, but most importantly, according to GoldDerby, my predictions ranked 15 out of about 3000, which is pretty awesome!

What’s next? My own choices for the best in this past television season, the AFT Television Awards, begin tomorrow! I’ll be posting the nominees and winners over the next week or so, mixed in with some regular television episode and pilot reviews! Stay tuned, and stick around!

Final Emmy Winner Predictions


I’m in Los Angeles for the Emmys for the first time in a long time, if not ever, and therefore I’ll be sitting down to watch this show at 5pm and done with it at exactly the time I’d usually start. Though that precludes me from watching it with friends who have to be at work, I don’t mind getting an earlier start on the evening.

Going into tonight, we actually have a number of competitive races, and I’m betting against some of the frontrunners. I’m actually 0/4 on the guest categories, with Ron Cephas Jones, Samira Wiley, Katt Williams, and Tiffany Haddish triumphing. I could have seen the first and last ones but was very surprised by the middle two. Either way, it shouldn’t have much bearing on tonight, other than to give Wiley and Williams’ shows, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Atlanta,” respectively, a bit of a boost.

Best Drama Series is a dead heat between “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Game of Thrones.” I thought both were terrific, so I don’t really mind which one wins, though I am rooting most strongly for Yvonne Strahovski to win since I think she was superb and deserves a win. Best Comedy Series is so close between “Atlanta” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and I really prefer the latter. I’d also love to see “Barry” pick up a few wins.

For the other categories, I don’t know much, since I just watched the first hours of “The Alieniest,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Godless,” and “Patrick Melrose,” and didn’t love any of them. I’ve also sampled “Twin Peaks,” “The Looming Tower,” and “American Vandal,” which are all up for other awards, and none of those impressed me much. Only “Waco,” which picked up an acting nomination for supporting actor John Leguizamo, who was far from the best part of that project, did I watch in its entirety and enjoy, along with “The Tale,” which was a movie back when I saw it at Sundance in January. I haven’t seen “U.S.S. Callister: Black Mirror,” which already picked up the Best TV Movie award last week at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, though I’ve heard terrific things, and as a result I will be considerably less invested in all of the categories not related to drama and comedy series.

As always, I’m excited for the show, and will post some brief reactions either immediately afterwards or the next morning. Enjoy the show, and leave your thoughts in the comments! For detailed predictions in all applicable categories, click on the hyperlinked category name.

No guts, no glory (last year, my choice of Ann Dowd was right!):
Betty Gilpin wins for “GLOW

DRAMA SERIES:
The Handmaid’s Tale

DRAMA LEAD ACTOR:
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)

DRAMA LEAD ACTRESS:
Claire Foy (The Crown)

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)

DRAMA DIRECTING
:
The Dragon and the Wolf (Game of Thrones)

DRAMA WRITING
:
START (The Americans)

COMEDY SERIES:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

COMEDY LEAD ACTOR
:
Bill Hader (Barry)

COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS:
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
:
Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

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

COMEDY DIRECTING:
Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

COMEDY WRITING
:
Pilot (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

LIMITED SERIES:
The Assassination of Gianni Versace

TV MOVIE/LIMITED ACTOR:
Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)

TV MOVIE/LIMITED ACTRESS:
Laura Dern (The Tale)

TV MOVIE/LIMITED SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Jeff Daniels (Godless)

TV MOVIE/LIMITED SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)

TV MOVIE/LIMITED DIRECTING:
The Assassination of Gianni Versace

TV MOVIE/LIMITED WRITING:
U.S.S. Callister: Black Mirror

VARIETY TALK SERIES:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

VARIETY SKETCH SERIES:
Saturday Night Live

VARIETY DIRECTING:
The Oscars

VARIETY WRITING:
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents: The Great American Puerto Rico

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Comedy Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

ATLANTA
Alligator Man,” “Sportin’ Waves,” “Money Bag Shawty,” “Barbershop,” “Teddy Perkins,” “North of the Border

This is the second consecutive nomination for FX’s dark comedy, which grew its nominations count exponentially from six to sixteen this year. This list interestingly doesn’t include “FUBU,” which star Donald Glover is nominated for directing. I only really liked two of these episodes – “Money Bag Shawty” and “North of the Border” – but I recognize that I’m in the minority with this show, which most people seem to love. It’s a peculiar but apparently effective list, and doubting the nominations leader is never a smart move. This show is definitely poised for a win; we’ll just have to see if either of the two new hot shows can eclipse it.

BARRY
Chapter One: Make Your Mark,” “Chapter Four: Commit… To YOU,” “Chapter Five: Do Your Job,” “Chapter Six: Listen with Your Ears, React with Your Face,” “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going,” “Chapter Eight: Know Your Truth

I couldn’t be happier that this terrific new HBO comedy series made the cut in this category, picking up a very impressive thirteen overall bids. With just eight episodes in its run, this show didn’t have to lead many out, opting to dismiss its second and third installments. They’re all great half-hours, and I don’t think that too much context is needed to understand why this show has such an effective tone. I’m not sure it has a universal enough appeal to win, but it would be cool and I think people would be excited.

BLACK-ISH
Juneteenth,” “Mother Nature,” “First and Last,” “Advance to Go (Collect $200),” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” “Blue Valentine

For the first time ever, there’s just one broadcast network series represented in this entire lineup – and it’s this one. On its third consecutive bid in this category, this show is up to its highest haul ever, with five total nominations. In a crowded field, I feel like this one has absolutely no buzz. I’m never particularly impressed by the slate of sample episodes submitted by this show, but this year’s felt especially underwhelming, with the final, entirely serious episode proving least satisfying. I guess it has a better shot than a few other nominees without any heat right now, but not by much.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Foisted!,” “A Disturbance in the Kitchen,” “Running with the Bulls,” “Never Wait for Seconds!,” “The Shucker,” “Fatwa!”

This show is back with its first nomination since it last aired in 2012. It’s the eighth time it has contended in this category, missing out only for its debut season. Its nomination total of four is pretty standard, and it definitely entertained people. Most of these episodes are good, though I didn’t love the last two Hamilton-themed installments. This show does deserve credit for being this year’s only show returning from a long absence to crack this category, but I don’t see that being nearly enough to defeat seven other series.


GLOW
Pilot,” “Debbie Does Something,” “This is One of Those Moments,” “Live Studio Audience,” “Maybe It’s All the Disco,” “Money’s in the Chase

Netflix’s comedy about the making of a female wrestling series landed ten nominations but missed out on key bids for stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron, indicating that it’s not as beloved as the other two nominated freshman series in this category. It’s rare that I sample Emmy episodes of a show I don’t watch and end up loving them, but that’s what happened with this one, which only improved after the pilot, the weakest of an otherwise fantastic slate. I don’t think this series performed well enough to beat the other shows nominated in this category, but I’d honestly be perfectly happy to see that happen.

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
Pilot,” “Ya Shivu v Bolshom Dome Na Kholme,” “Because You Left,” “The Disappointment of the Dionne Quintuplets,” “Put That on Your Plate,” “Thank You and Good Night

This freshman Amazon comedy was a smash success when it debuted, earning a two-season commitment and taking home the Golden Globe, BFCA, and PGA Awards for Best Comedy Series. Its fourteen-nomination total is the second-highest in this category, and it’s likely to a win a few of those awards. Only the second episode was somewhat weak, and interestingly one of its actors’ submitted episodes, “Doink,” isn’t on this list. I think this is a superb showcase representing a creative and enjoyable program, and it’s just a question of if it can beat FX’s returning series.

SILICON VALLEY
Chief Operating Officer,” “Tech Evangelist,” “Facial Recognition,” “Artificial Emotional Intelligence,” “Initial Coin Offering,” “Fifty-One Percent

This show is on its fifth consecutive nomination, dropping down to seven nominations after higher totals the past two years. Once again, it’s the only nominee in this category without any cast members nominated, and it’s down to just one directing bid and one writing bid after multiple mentions each of the last few years. The six episodes, of eight total, that it submitted are fine, though I didn’t love “Facial Recognition.” This season felt like the weakest the show has produced yet, and if it hasn’t won up until now, I don’t see any chance that it would this year either.

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Kimmy Is… Little Girl, Big City,” “Kimmy Has a Weekend,” “Party Monster: Scratching the Surface,” “Kimmy Disrupts the Paradigm,” “Kimmy and the Beest,” “Kimmy Meets an Old Friend

For what’s technically the first half of this show’s fourth and final season, this series received just one other bid, for supporting actor Tituss Burgess. Though other shows have pulled off the feat of earning just one nomination, in the top category, this series joins a few others as the shortest season to be cited, submitting all six of its aired episodes. I only really cared for “Kimmy Disrupts the Paradigm,” and I feel like this show, the eighth alphabetical nominee, was just tacked on to the list here. Even with a vote-split possible, this show seems very unlikely to win at this point.

What should win (based on entire season):The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Barry
What should win (based on individual episodes):Barry
What will win: While “Barry” has a shot, this category is really a battle between the returning show with the most nominations, “Atlanta,” and the freshman revelation, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I think is going to succesfully win voters over in this and other categories.

Next up: That’s a wrap! Don't miss the show tomorrow night!

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

THE AMERICANS
Dead Hand,” “The Great Patriotic War,” “Harvest,” “The Summit,” “Jennings, Elizabeth,” “START

FX’s beloved Russian spy drama made the cut two years ago for its fourth season and now returns for its sixth and final year. Its four-nomination haul doesn’t appear to make it much of a threat to win, but there are fans who would love to see it rewarded. Its episodes aren’t bad, and the show grew on me as it went on even if I’m still not overly fond of it. I compare its situation to “Friday Night Lights,” a show that took home a best actor prize and a writing trophy in its final year but still couldn’t make the cut here because Emmy voters just didn’t go nuts for it.

THE CROWN
Beryl,” “Marionettes,” “Matrimonium,” “Dear Mrs. Kennedy,” “Paterfamilias,” “Mystery Man

This is the second consecutive nomination for this show and the last for its current cast since it’s jumping forward in history a couple decades for season three. This show scored three wins last year out of thirteen nominations, the same total it contends for this year. These submitted episodes, representing the second season as a whole, really do underline the show’s title as its feature, not just its primary protagonist. I wasn’t quite as taken with the first, Margaret-centric episode, but the rest are all very solid, including the last three episodes of the season that feature a visit by JFK and his wife, a revelation about Philip, and everything coming to a head in the finale. This show doesn’t have the momentum it could have had last year to win, but it’s sure to get some votes, especially for the way in which it presents its events.

GAME OF THRONES
Stormborn,” “The Queen’s Justice,” “The Spoils of War,” “Eastwatch,” “Beyond the Wall,” “The Dragon and the Wolf

It’s not too hard to pick six episodes when you air only seven in a season. The premiere is actually the one that wasn’t submitted, but fortunately the other six are all superb, with the sixth, “Beyond the Wall,” which is up for its direction, is my favorite, and the season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” seems to be the most popular, picking up bids for both directing and writing. It’s the most-nominated program this year and took home the most awards the last two years it contended, when it also won Best Drama Series. It’s just a question of whether it can eclipse last year’s winner…

THE HANDMAID’S TALE
June,” “Unwomen,” “Baggage,” “After,” “Smart Power,” “The Last Ceremony

Last year’s winner in this category is up from thirteen nominations last year to a staggering twenty this year, all the more impressive because just a few of them are for technical citations. The best episode of season two, its finale, wasn’t eligible because it debuted in July, but this lineup is still superb, with a few standout episodes left off due to the strength of the season as a whole. They’re disturbing and tough to watch, but that’s part of what makes this show so incredible. It will just have to take down HBO’s returning juggernaut and FX’s fan favorite, but I still think it can win.

STRANGER THINGS
MADMAX,” “Trick or Treat, Freak,” “Will the Wise,” “The Spy,” “The Mind Flayer,” “The Gate

This show returns for its second consecutive nomination, down from nineteen nominations last year to twelve this time around. I personally preferred year two, though I think voters won’t be paying any attention to this show, which they barely acknowledged last year, giving it five technical trophies. Its submitted episodes are all strong, wisely omitting the seventh chapter that many didn’t like. This represents well the quality this show has to offer, but again, if this show was going to win, it would have been last year when it was riding a high that’s decreased considerably, especially with the delay of season three until 2019.

THIS IS US
A Father’s Advice,” “Number One,” “The Fifth Wheel,” “Super Bowl Sunday,” “The Car,” “The Wedding

One of the most beloved shows on television is back with a nomination for its second season, which wasn’t nominated nearly as much this year. Half of these episodes are strong – one that really gets to who Kevin is and why he’s always felt like the fifth wheel, the impactful super-sized Super Bowl episode, and the one after that which traced Jack’s legacy through his purchase of a new car. Of three back-to-back episodes focusing on each child, Number One’s spotlight was the weakest, and neither the season premiere or the season finale impressed me much since they both employed typical manipulative tendencies of this show to drop a huge bombshell clue that takes away from the overall effectiveness of the hour. This show might have won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Best Drama Series, but its chances to win here are slim.

WESTWORLD
Journey Into Night,” “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” “Akane No Mai,” “Kiksuya,” “Vanishing Point,” “The Passenger

What we have here is a controversial show that scored five technical wins out of twenty-two total nominations last year and earned a staggering twenty-one nominations this year. I don’t think it’s nearly as well-regarded as it was at first, and the fact that it won pretty much nothing last year suggests that its chances here are extremely limited. The season premiere gets things started, two middle episodes really reframe everything, and the last three take the action to a whole new level. I had somewhat mixed feelings about the two most memorable episodes here, “Akane No Mai,” which took place mostly in Shogun World, and the finale, “The Passenger,” which changed the game entirely. I’m a big fan of this show but I’ll admit season two had some problems. It’s far too divisive to win.

What should win (based on entire season):The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Game of Thrones,” or “Stranger Things
What should win (based on individual episodes):The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Game of Thrones,” or “Stranger Things
What will win: It’s a tight race between two-time champion “Game of Thrones” and the show that won in its absence last year, The Handmaid’s Tale. Watch out for “The Americans” to upset, but I think it will be one of those two.

Next up: Best Comedy Series

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What I’m Watching: Casual (Penultimate Episode)

Casual: Season 4, Episode 7 “All About You” (B+)

Who would have thought that, going into the final episode of this show, Leon and Laura would be the ones in relationships that seem like they’re actually going to last? Leia and Leon both looked miserable when they were talking about the things they’d have to split, and kudos to Leia for being impulsive as she often is and telling Leon that she wasn’t okay with him giving up on her. To be fair, Laura isn’t really in a relationship, but she’s come to a point where she’s recognizing what she’s done and determined to right her wrongs, sticking around all day to be able to tell Tathiana how she feels and to apologize in person rather than over a text to show that she means it. Something tells me they may just work out. Rae was looking happy about her date with Alex, but then the news about her impending move to Texas changed it all, ensuring that they’re not going to be able to have a happy life together after all. Alex is going to be back at square one after this development, whereas Val for once is taking charge of her situation, shutting John down when he repeated, over and over again, his story about nearly dying after a minor accident caused by his own recklessness. I’m not sure what will happen and be settled in the finale, but I’m feeling very good right now about where this show has gone and how this final season has played out.

What I’m Watching: Better Call Saul


Better Call Saul: Season 4, Episode 6 “Pinata” (B+)

I’m not sure there’s another show where the opening scene can be quite as powerful and directing as on this one. It took me just one mention of a movie to place the Oscar pool as early 1993 for films released in 1992. Seeing Kim and Jimmy both delivering mail throughout the office represented a place at which they might have both been headed to similar destinations, but Chuck dismissing Jimmy’s childish humor seems to be what inspired him to actually make that happen rather than just sit back and rest on his comedy and charm. Getting the call about the will and watching his old commercial again sent him back to daydreaming about his joint law ambitions with Kim, but she’s moving much further ahead, and she feels satisfied, something Jimmy doesn’t. Watching him make a power move against the guys who ripped him off was almost frightening, showing a much darker side of the world he’s entering. Jimmy doesn’t have many kind feelings for Howard, and it’s rare to see him prod Howard enough to get him truly angry. Now that they’re over past issues, Mike and Gus have a tremendous working relationship, with the security expert recommending fully-stocked living accommodations to make sure that all the guys don’t go stir-crazy. Kai is definitely going to be trouble, but something tells me that Mike will have it all under control. Gus going to taunt Hector in the hospital was most effective as a callback to how we know their relationship ends in the future.

Pilot Review: You

You (Lifetime)
Premiered September 9 at 10pm

I don’t watch a lot of programming on Lifetime, encountering a handful of pilots over the past few years and just one Emmy-nominated series, “UnREAL.” I sat down to watch this pilot not sure what to expect, and it definitely doesn’t fall into the category of shows featuring strong female characters. It might be better suited instead to the tastes of female viewers, though I can’t understand why anyone would want to watch this show. While some series feel particularly counterproductive in this #metoo era, this one takes it one step further by showcasing something infinitely less appealing: a stalker who sets his sights on a woman that he’s going to manipulate into falling in love with him. That doesn’t give her much credit as an intelligent character, and it also takes more than a few liberties about his ability to not seem like the creepiest person who ever lived. Somehow, just one person thinks that he’s suspicious, a parole officer who spends most of his time getting drunk and threatening to, of all things, cut Joe’s eyes out if he continues to spend time with his son. The tone of this show is all over the place, with Joe’s casual comment of “I’ve seen enough romantic comedies to know that guys like me are always getting in jams like this” when he got stuck in the shower feeling very different than his book-glue lair. Lines like “Bro, you waste of hair” are almost more cringe-worthy than the premise of this show itself. It’s billed as a psychological thriller but falters in that area as well.

How will it work as a series? I can’t figure out why he captured and imprisoned her boyfriend – maybe to interrogate him and find out everything about her that he needs to know to woo her? It seems like a faulty plan, and one that’s sure to go awry. He has managed to get close to her very quickly, and presumably she’s the only “you” that this show is going to focus on.
How long will it last? For some reason, the reviews are actually mostly good, which I can’t quite believe. More importantly, the show was actually renewed for a second season even before it premiered, so its future is sure to be just as successful as it is off-putting. Whether its characters will survive that long is another question someone who is going to continue watching will have to answer.

Pilot grade: D

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pilot Review: Kidding


Kidding (Showtime)
Premiered September 9 at 10pm

Back in the 1990s, Jim Carrey was hugely popular. He starred in a number of very entertaining comedy films and had an extremely successful career. For a brief period, he dipped into drama with “The Truman Show” and “Man on the Moon,” which won him back-to-back Golden Globes, and his last truly acclaimed film was “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” from director Michel Gondry. Now, nearly fifteen years later, Carrey makes a triumphant return to prominence after less frequent – and less notable – films and some controversial comments about vaccinations. This series is a truly bizarre specimen, something that could only have been cooked up by Gondry, and honestly, something that Carrey might be uniquely qualified to anchor. His comedy past gives audiences some context for what to expect from him, and those dramatic detours mean that he’s capable of playing characters who aren’t totally in sync with the world around them, suppressing deeper issues while putting on a happy front. Jeff seems set on sharing what he’s feeling with the viewers, who he refers to as friends, but those kind of serious death conversations aren’t going to be allowed by others, namely his father, who’s also his producer and boss. He’s about to experience a full-blown crisis that’s going to show through to viewers even just in the change of his haircut. His sister has her own wacky ideas, like refusing to let her daughter shower until she eats her vegetables, and his surviving son, Will, whose troublemaking tendencies compensate for his father’s do-gooder behavior. There’s a lot of talent here, namely Oscar nominees Frank Langella and Catherine Keener and the always great Judy Greer. I need to watch more to see what to make of this show, which includes some puzzling tangents like the snagglehorse guys having sex in the suit, but it is intriguing if nothing else.

How will it work as a series? Jeff is going to be chastised for ruining his squeaky-clean image, and I’m sure his determination to share what he’s going through is going to cause him to continue to try to rebel. It should be an interesting journey, though a few more episodes will have to indicate what direction it’s really headed in and where it wants to end up.
How long will it last? Reviews are decent, if far from universal acclaim. The ratings aren’t great, coming in considerably below “SMILF,” a show that didn’t have Carrey at the helm. It seems like a productive effort for Showtime to pursue, so I imagine a renewal will give it more of a shot even if the numbers don’t suggest it deserves one.

Pilot grade: B

What I’m Watching: Insecure

Insecure: Season 3, Episode 5 “High-like” (B)

I’m never too excited when an episode of any show features a drug bender since there’s a tendency to get sidetracked with scenes of complete delusion and absurd behavior. There certainly was that here, mainly with Kellie getting herself tased after she got a little bit too confrontational with the woman who didn’t seem to care that she had taken the spots that they were trying to hold. But there were some stronger developments in this half-hour, namely Issa seeing Nathan, who I really just want to refer to as Nanceford, and pushing him on why he hadn’t bothered to reach back out to her. They had quite the moment on the ride before it started going and real life kicked back in, reminding Issa that she was, as usual, neglecting one part of her life to invest in another. Tiffany is indeed in a very different place than the rest of her friends, thinking ahead to her future and what responsibility looks like. Molly didn’t last long before she gave in to Issa’s peer pressure, and while she was smart enough to get her work done when everyone else was passed out when she arrived, she nearly undid it all when she was going to submit some rambling nonsense while she was high. Volunteering for more work when she already had plans just to seem more committed than her male rival was self-destructive enough in itself, and that’s surely not the last such problematic work decision that she’ll make.

What I’m Watching: Shameless (Season Premiere)


Shameless: Season 9, Episode 1 “Are You There Shim? It’s Me, Ian” (B+)

It’s a rare to find a show going into its ninth season that’s just as good as ever. Most of the buzz about this show recently has been related to star Emmy Rossum’s announcement that she’s leaving, but fortunately that’s not until the end of this year. We can see already that Fiona is thinking about moving on, working hard to clean her building so that she can get it appraised and bail her brother out. Dropping Ford’s second cell phone in the toilet in a panic is more of the old Fiona that we know, and thinking twice about whether she should help Ian when he’s going to be unreliable is a sign of her focusing on her self – or at least trying to – for once. In jail, Ian is doing his best to lead an entertaining revolution of the male prostitutes, and though he doesn’t appear to be on his meds, prison may not be the worst place for him if he’s not suffering. Lip getting chewed out for his sexual performance at the wedding by the overly eager bridesmaid was pretty brutal, and something tells me that he’s going to start pursuing her after not being able to get her out of his head. Debs’ solution to being paid less because she takes more bathroom breaks was disgusting and so classic for this show, and getting to relieve herself while still talking to her boss was a moment of twisted victory. Kev and Veronica trying desperately to control their children can’t head anywhere good, but I like that Kev is the one with the smart idea for once. Carl doing superbly in military school is no surprise, and of course Cassidy didn’t go away but is camping out right outside the walls waiting for him to be done. I’m not sure if not seeing her demise onscreen means she’s actually going to come back since not featuring her at all in this premiere would have been an easy enough way to do away with her, but maybe I’m reading too much into that. Frank having sex with every housewife and then turning out to be the carrier of a virulent strain of sexually transmitted diseases was hilarious, and the emergency PTA meeting was a great plotline, particularly with the two dads who revealed their affair and then started a thruple. Liam offering up the stolen silverware for his fellow young students to take back was an unexpected Gallagher development – maybe he’s going to turn out to be the first honest straight shooter of the family.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pilot Review: Rel


Rel (FOX)
Premiered September 9 at 8pm

Most of the broadcast network pilots are starting towards the end of the month, but for some strange reason, we get this one as the first early premiere. I wasn’t familiar with actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery, who I now recognize from his minor role as the TSA agent best friend in “Get Out.” We’ve mostly moved away from people getting shows just because they’ve been funnier in other venues, but it still does happen and the result is often what happens here. This show feels like it’s straight out of the late 1990s or early 2000s, exhibiting very few signs of creativity and even fewer laughs. When the laugh track starts right away before anything funny happens, it’s evident that there’s a whole lot of overcompensation at play. The whole premise here is very overdrawn, with everyone somehow knowing that his wife had sex with his barber. The fact that Monica had “loose boots” and that was the problem that he had with her was silly at best, and it only went downhill from there. Howery playing the pastor who was oversharing everything about his life means that this show isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and Sinbad’s entire role is the most thinly written. This feels like so many sitcoms that have been forgotten through the years, and Howery playing a version of himself doesn’t make it stand out at all. Premiering it before the rest of the fall slate isn’t doing this show any favors – it’s not good even with no competition.

How will it work as a series? He managed to confront the barber and somehow seem inferior, and so presumably he’s going to have to restart his life on his own. We haven’t seen his kids yet, and so it’s possible they’ll be a positive addition to the show and make him slightly more endearing and tolerable, but I doubt that.
How long will it last? The reviews are predictably poor, but the ratings weren’t all that bad. Starting out early is a good thing for this show, though I’m not sure how well it will do when it’s puzzlingly tacked on to FOX’s Sunday night animated lineup. I don’t think it’s going to make it to the end of the season.

Pilot grade: F

What I’m Watching: Atypical (Season Premiere)

Atypical: Season 2, Episode 1 “Juiced!” (B+)

It’s very nice to have this show, one of last year’s best surprises, back for a second season. The fallout from the two major revelations in the finale – Elsa’s affair and Sam being in love with Julia – were going to have consequences, but they’re considerably different here than they would be on any other show. Casey, preparing for a big life change of her own, was so intent on continuing to tease and torment her brother so that she could be consistent in her behavior, and that worked for a while until he reached a breaking point, which prompted him to throw orange juice on the only part of her uniform that wasn’t damaged. At least she’s mature enough to know that the best apology she could hope for from him wasn’t a direct admission of guilt and remorse for that specific action but a thoughtful gift for her first day of school. Julia, who has never been terribly professional, handled herself moderately better when Sam showed up to talk to her, and he still wants her to be his therapist, especially after experiencing so many different options, including one that he actually thought was a rabbit. Elsa is struggling immensely to continue to parent her two children who have lost respect for her because of her infidelity, but the way they were treating her was far more civilly than how Doug acted when he finally showed back up. Kicking her out immediately wasn’t kind, and I think we all know that a single-parent household with a different parent present isn’t going to be any better for Sam or the family as a whole.

Pilot Review: Harrow

Harrow (Hulu)
Premiered September 7

Ioan Gruffudd is a British actor who has been relatively prolific on television, with multiple international roles over the past two decades. He started off starring as Horatio Hornblower on the British TV movie series then was a series regular on the short-lived “Century City” on CBS, which had a handful of other actors who would go on to be big names like Viola Davis. He didn’t have a great role on “Ringer,” but established a loyal fan base on ABC’s “Forever” that didn’t stop it from getting cancelled after just one season. He was far more charismatic – and villainous – on “Liar,” which will soon return for a second season, and now he gets to anchor his own show with a whole lot of energy here. This Australian drama debuted on ABC in Australia back in March and is now available to American audiences via Hulu. I wasn’t sure exactly what this was supposed to be about when it started, and even after sitting through the entire pilot, I’m still not completely certain. Dr. Harrow quickly announced that he was quitting when he saw the opportunity to spend more time with his very rebellious daughter, a concern obviously heightened by the dead girl whose father was insistent that she hadn’t committed suicide, but then all he did was stick around to do investigative work when he wasn’t even technically employed any more. The revelation that he may have killed someone is troubling but also not quite believable, and it’s a mystery that I’m not really interested in seeing solved. This is a great showcase for Gruffudd if nothing else.

How will it work as a series? Presumably, he’s covering something up that’s ultimately protecting his daughter, but he’s pushing her away enough by not coming through for her when she finally thought he would, so it’s going to be an uphill battle for him to get his life back on track. The medical stuff might be cool, but I’m not sure about the overall plot.
How long will it last? It was popular enough in Australia to get renewed for a second season back in ABC. It feels like a productive venture for Hulu to be invested in as they can rebroadcast it for a new audience. Gruffudd is a moderately recognizable face who should help bring in new viewers, and I think he’ll help this show prove marketable to American watchers.

Pilot grade: C+

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Comedy Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Donald Glover, Atlanta (Alligator Man)
Stefani Robinson, Atlanta (Barbershop)
Alec Berg and Bill Hader, Barry (Chapter One: Make Your Mark)
Liz Sarnoff, Barry (Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going)
Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Pilot)
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (Fifty-One Percent)

Glover was nominated last year, and also contends this year for directing and starring in his show, as does Hader. Sherman-Palladino, previously nominated for a 1992 episode of “Roseanne,” is also up for directing. This is the fifth year in a row that Berg is nominated. The pilot installments of “Barry” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are also nominated for directing. A show with two nominations hasn’t won since 2013.

What should win:The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or either episode of “Barry
What will win: I think it will be The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but it could also be the pilot of “Barry.”

Next up: Best Drama Series and Best Comedy Series coming this weekend!

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Comedy Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Donald Glover, Atlanta (FUBU)
Hiro Murai, Atlanta (Teddy Perkins)
Bill Hader, Barry (Chapter One: Make Your Mark)
Mark Cendrowski, The Big Bang Theory (The Bow Tie Asymmetry)
Jesse Peretz, GLOW (Pilot)
Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Pilot)
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley (Initial Coin Offering)

Glover won this award last year, and he also contends for writing and starring in his show this year. This is the fifth consecutive nomination for Judge. Hader also contends for writing and starring in his show this year, and Sherman-Palladino is also up for writing her episode. This is the first-ever nomination for “The Big Bang Theory,” which is in his eleventh season. The pilot installments of “Barry” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are also nominated for writing.

What should win:Barry,” “The Big Bang Theory,” or “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
What will win: Honestly, any of them could win. My bet is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but it could be either episode of “Atlanta” or “The Big Bang Theory” too.

Next up: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Drama Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg, The Americans (START)
Peter Morgan, The Crown (Mystery Man)
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones (The Dragon and the Wolf)
Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale (June)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve (Nice Face)
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, Stranger Things (Chapter Nine: The Gate)

The Handmaid’s Tale” and Miller won this award last year, and “Game of Thrones” and Benioff and Weiss took it the two years before that. Fields and Weisberg are back for a third year in a row, and their show returns for its fourth consecutive bid. Morgan and the Duffer brothers were both nominated last year. “The Dragon and the Wolf” and “Chapter Nine: The Gate” are both also up for directing.

What should win: While I’d love to see Waller-Bridge win an Emmy, I didn’t love the pilot of her show. I’d probably choice the season premiere of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
What will win: It could easily be “The Handmaid’s Tale” again, but I’ll pick the series finale of The Americans to finally score here.

Next up: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Drama Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Stephen Daldry, The Crown (Paterfamilias)
Alan Taylor, Game of Thrones (Beyond the Wall)
Jeremy Podeswa, Game of Thrones (The Dragon and the Wolf)
Kari Skogland, The Handmaid’s Tale (After)
Jason Bateman, Ozark (The Toll)
Daniel Sackheim, Ozark (Tonight We Improvise)
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, Stranger Things (Chapter Nine: The Gate)

The Handmaid’s Tale” won this award last year, and “Game of Thrones” took it the two years before that. Daldry and the Duffer brothers were nominated last year. Taylor won in 2007 for “The Sopranos” and was nominated the next year for “Mad Men.” Podeswa has two previous nominations, one for “Boardwalk Empire” and one for “Game of Thrones.” Sackheim won this award in 1994 for “NYPD Blue.” Bateman also contends for starring in his show this year. “The Dragon and the Wolf” and “Chapter Nine: The Gate” are both also up for writing. The past three winners have all been from shows with two nominations in this category. Only once in the past decade has the winner of this award not been nominated for Best Drama Series.

What should win:Beyond the Wall” was one of my top episodes this season.
What will win: I think The Dragon and the Wolf will prevail, but it could be any of them.

Next up: Best Writing for a Drama Series

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Zazie Beetz as Van Keefer, Atlanta (Helen)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Beetz, who represents one of the staggering sixteen bids her show received for its second season. Beetz, who wasn’t entirely present throughout the season, shines in a huge showcase in her submitted episode, which finds her speaking fluent German and finally speaking up for herself. Like her castmates, it’s not a funny turn, but she definitely has talent and might be able to muster a win if her show sweeps, though this category is extremely packed.

Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Doink)
Borstein was nominated in 2013 for voicing “Family Guy” characters and already won that award this year. Borstein is an undeniably funny and crucial part of her show, serving as the manager for the budding stand-up comic. In her submitted episode, she expresses her rage at her client’s ill-advised decision to try to go with a bigger name. Other prognosticators seem to think that Borstein has a good shot, and I’m tempted to agree. There are a lot of nominees here, but her show is popular and might also sweep.

Aidy Bryant as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Chadwick Boseman)
Bryant is the latest SNL performer to be cited in this category following one previous Emmy bid for music and lyrics in 2014. Bryant is hardly the most prominent cast member on the show, but she does get to be the star of a funny sketch that finds her exhibiting a whole lot of personality in her submitted episode. I just don’t see her edging out two-time defending champ and costar McKinnon or many of the other nominees.

Betty Gilpin as Debbie Eagan, GLOW (Debbie Does Something)
Gilpin managed to be the lone acting nominee from her well-received freshman series despite costars Alison Brie and Marc Maron earning bids from other organizations. It’s easy to see why Gilpin stands out as Debbie, the established actress who doesn’t want to stoop to the level of her inexperienced costars. Going to her first wrestling match provides an excellent showcase for Gilpin. I’d love to see her win, but it’s not an outwardly funny performance, and her show didn’t land nearly as well as some of her fellow nominees’. She’s still a possibility, but it’s not likely.

Leslie Jones as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Donald Glover)
This is the second consecutive nomination for Jones. In her submitted episode, she gets to do the same thing she did last year: say whatever she wants without being interrupted too much. I think last year was a better showcase for her since she was confronting her having been hacked, and she doesn’t have nearly as much going for her this year. Her winning would be a real surprise.

Kate McKinnon as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Bill Hader)
Two-time defending champ McKinnon is back with her fifth consecutive nomination. She doesn’t get to play Hillary Clinton to the same effect in her submitted episode this time around, but that’s fair given she’s no longer in the spotlight. Portraying Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos is just as funny, if not better, and that may give her a leg up in this fine showcase to take home a third trophy.

Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Roseanne (No Country for Old Women)
Metcalf, who managed three separate acting nominations two years ago, is now on her eleventh nomination. She took home this award – for this role – three years in a row over two decades ago. Now, Metcalf has managed to earn Emmy affection when no one else from her show did. I probably would have selected the season premiere rather than this half-hour, which focuses more on Jackie’s mother, but if liberal voters want to reward one of the only things they liked about this now-cancelled show, Metcalf would be a great choice.

Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Will and Grace (Rosario’s Quinceanera)
Mullally is back after seven consecutive nominations for her show during its original run. She won on her first and last try, in 2000 and 2006, respectively. She’s the only series regular from her returning show to earn a nomination this year. Her submitted episode shows her connecting back to an unseen former character rather than highlighting her Trump allegiance that might have played better as comedy with voters. She’s won before and could again, but the lackluster reception for her show indicates that she’s far from a sure thing.

Who should win (based on entire season): Gilpin, Metcalf, or Borstein
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Gilpin or Beetz
Who will win: A slew of previous winners could repeat, be it McKinnon, Metcalf, or Mullally. Instead, I’ll go with Borstein, who will benefit from overall enthusiasm from her show, though arguably Beetz or Gilpin could win by the same logic.

Next up: Best Directing for a Drama Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series


Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets, Baskets (Thanksgiving)
This is Anderson’s third consecutive nomination. He won two years ago for this role. Last year, he was joined by costar Zach Galifianakis, but now he’s on his own. His submitted episode gives Christine a fabulous showcase as she prepares for a lonely Thanksgiving only to be joined by many unexpected guests, who she hosts fantastically. It’s a great episode, one that could easily sway voters if they’re not sure who to select.

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, Saturday Night Live (Host: Donald Glover)
Last year’s winner in this category is back with his fourteenth career acting nomination, He won twice for “30 Rock” back in 2008 and 2009. Baldwin is immensely popular at the moment for his portrayal of Donald Trump on the variety sketch series, and he definitely hits it out of the park in his conversation with the real-life Stormy Daniels in the cold open of his submitted episode. That’s pretty much all he does though, so I’m not sure if he’ll be able to pull off a repeat win. It’s definitely possible – don’t rule him out.

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Kimmy and the Beest)
This is the fourth consecutive nomination for Burgess, who now represents his show’s only nomination besides Best Comedy Series. I remember writing when I saw this episode that this would make a lot of sense as Burgess’ submission since it gives him so much to do, but those who don’t watch regularly might have trouble understanding his very peculiar character. If he didn’t win for his caviar, pinot noir song, I don’t see how he could win now, but maybe he will, or maybe he’ll finally triumph when the remaining episodes of this show air next season.

Bryan Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Atlanta (Woods)
Henry earned a guest acting bid for “This Is Us” last year while missing out in this category. With his show’s nomination count more than doubled in year two, Henry is up for his portrayal of rapper Paper Boi, who in his submitted episode gets robbed and then wanders around through the woods experiencing more misery for the entirety of the half-hour. It’s definitely not a comedic performance, but if his show sweeps, which it could, he might just go along with the ride.

Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Thank You and Good Night)
Shalhoub won three out of his eight consecutive bids for starring as an obsessive-compulsive detective on “Monk,” and he’s fresh off a Tony win for “The Band’s Visit.” Here, he plays a similarly buttoned-up individual, desperate to preserve the peaceful ways of his tranquil 1950s life. In the season finale, he can’t stand that developments in other people’s lives might affect his own. He’s entertaining and very funny, and I think that he’s experiencing a surge of popularity for his Broadway turn that, coupled with enthusiasm for this show, will likely propel him to a win.

Kenan Thompson as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: John Mulaney)
Everyone I’ve mentioned Thompson’s nomination to has responded with a certain respect for the fifteen seasons he’s put into this show as its longest-running cast member. He contended for music and lyrics for SNL last year and won that same award this year. He has a fun spotlight as a singing lobster in the standout sketch from his submitted episode, but honestly the reason he would win is the same reason he got nominated: a recognition of his commitment to the show. His material isn’t as funny as Baldwin’s, and I don’t think he’ll be able to take down any of the other nominees in this category.

Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau, Barry (Chapter Four: Commit…to You?)
Winkler has five previous acting nominations, the first of which came in 1976, for “Happy Days,” and the most recent two, guest bids in drama and comedy in the same year, were in 2000. Now, he’s back for a regular TV role as the absurd acting coach Gene Cousineau. In his submitted episode, Cousineau gets to dissect Barry and (nearly) seduce the main detective working on the case. He’s a great actor who’s been working for decades, and giving him a win would be a perfect way to reward the much-liked HBO show.

Who should win (based on entire season): Shalhoub or Winkler
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Shalhoub, Winkler, or Anderson
Who will win: I’m going with Shalhoub over Winkler, though it could easily be him or almost any of the others.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series