Tuesday, December 11, 2018

SAG Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, GLOW, Orange is the New Black, Veep

Two of last year’s nominees, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and champ “Veep,” won’t be back since they didn’t air new episodes in 2019. Three-time winner Orange is the New Black has fallen out of favor with almost every other awards body, and it may be time for that to happen here too. Black-ish could just as easily return as it could not, while GLOW stands a good chance of repeating. Two previous nominees, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, could easily return with spots open, but I expect other comedies could take their place. The underappreciated The Good Place seems like a fitting bet for one spot, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which this group didn’t embrace in its infancy at this time last year, shouldn’t have any trouble getting nominated this time around. Barry is another likely contender, though Atlanta, which didn’t earn any bids for its first season, could find itself honored too. Two Golden Globe-honored shows, Kidding and The Kominsky Method, might also show up.

Current predictions:
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

SAG Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: The Crown, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, This Is Us

Three of last year’s nominees won’t be back since they didn’t air in 2019, and the other two are all but guaranteed to return. Even though they both experienced snubs in the top Golden Globe category, don’t expect The Handmaid’s Tale and defending champ This Is Us to be written off so quickly by SAG. The same goes for Westworld, which was nominated when it was last eligible. Newcomers nominated at the Golden Globes like Pose, Killing Eve, Homecoming, Bodyguard, and Succession don’t seem likely to crack this race, whereas departing seasoned series The Americans very well may. Better Call Saul has never been nominated in this category but might for the first time this year, as could Ozark for its second season.

Current predictions:
The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Handmaid’s Tale 

This Is Us

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

Last year’s nominees: Laura Dern (Big Little Lies), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), Jessica Lange (Feud: Bette and Joan), Susan Sarandon (Feud: Bette and Joan), Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies)

This category should contain representatives from more than just two programs this year, and Laura Dern (The Tale) is likely to return. Both Amy Adams (Sharp Objects) and Regina King (Seven Seconds) will probably be nominated for their film work, and so it’s likely they’ll both be here too, possibly along with another double nominee from the same category, Emma Stone (Maniac). Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) and Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) are supporting stars with a good shot here, though they’ll have to compete against the likes of Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora), Connie Britton (Dirty John), Florence Pugh (The Little Drummer Girl), and Emma Thompson (King Lear).

Current predictions:
Amy Adams (Sharp Objects)
Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora)
Laura Dern (The Tale)
Regina King (Seven Seconds)
Emma Stone (Maniac)

Monday, December 10, 2018

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

Last year’s nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Lying Detective), Jeff Daniels (Godless), Robert De Niro (The Wizard of Lies), Geoffrey Rush (Genius), Alexander Skarsgaard (Big Little Lies)

Three of last year’s nominees may be back for different projects, and Rush may be replaced by Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso), the star of the second season of his anthology series. Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose) was the only one of last year’s nominees to earn a Golden Globe bid this time around, though Jeff Daniels (The Looming Tower) and Alexander Skarsgard (The Little Drummer Girl) might contend too. Other Golden Globe nominees include Daniel Bruhl (The Alienist), Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace), Edgar Ramirez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), and Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal). Watch out also for Jonah Hill (Maniac), Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Anthony Hopkins (King Lear), Al Pacino (Paterno), and Peter Dinklage (My Dinner with Herve).

Current predictions:
Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose)
Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)
Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal)
Jonah Hill (Maniac)

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Alison Brie (GLOW), Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

Just one of these women – Tomlin – was nominated in the corresponding Emmy category this past year. Two-time winner Louis-Dreyfus won’t be back since her show doesn’t return until 2019. Another two-time winner – Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) – probably won’t return given her diminished role on her show, but she did make it in the past two years, so maybe she’ll be back again. Alison Brie (GLOW) saw her show be just as popular in year two, and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie) could just as easily be snubbed as they could be included again. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) missed out last year when her show had just debuted – don’t expect the same to happen this year. Kristen Bell (The Good Place) finally got a Golden Globe nomination and might earn a SAG bid too since the guild is all for established series. Debra Messing (Will and Grace) and Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) each got Golden Globe nominations and have two SAG bids from the first runs of their show, and Megan Mullally (Will and Grace), a three-time SAG winner, earned an Emmy nomination this past year. Other possibilities include Emmy nominees like Issa Rae (Insecure), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), and Laurie Metcalf (The Conners), though she’d likely contend for that show rather than the original “Roseanne” that earned her the Emmy bid.

Current predictions:
Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Alison Brie (GLOW)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Sean Hayes (Will and Grace), William H. Macy (Shameless), Marc Maron (GLOW)

Both Ansari and David won’t be back since their shows didn’t produce new episodes this past year. William H. Macy (Shameless) won this award three out of the past four years, and it’s unlikely that he’d be snubbed now given SAG voters’ love for the familiar, even if he did miss out on a Globe nomination this year. The same goes for Sean Hayes (Will and Grace), while the return of Marc Maron (GLOW) is less certain. The past two Emmy winners, Donald Glover (Atlanta) and Bill Hader (Barry), are likely to be recognized by SAG for the first time this year. New Globe nominees Jim Carrey (Kidding) and Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) both stand a chance even though freshman series are rarely welcomed into this category, and, though he missed out on a Globe nomination, Ted Danson (The Good Place) seems like a friendly face to join this field. Supporting actors Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method) and Henry Winkler (Barry) might also find themselves honored.

Current predictions:
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
Bill Hader (Barry)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Henry Winkler (Barry)

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Claire Foy (The Crown), Laura Linney (Ozark), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Brown and two-time defending champ Foy won’t be back since their shows didn’t air in 2018. Robin Wright (House of Cards) is very likely to return for the final season of her show to earn her fifth consecutive nomination despite missing out a Golden Globe bid. Laura Linney (Ozark) showing up again is less guaranteed, and Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), who is all but certain to earn another bid, might be joined by any of the three women from her show nominated in the supporting Emmy category. Thandie Newton (Westworld), a nominee two years ago, should be back. Keri Russell (The Americans) could become a first-time nominee for the final season of her show, and high-profile new contenders Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Julia Roberts (Homecoming) could also crack the list despite freshman series rarely getting honored in this race, but I’m betting, riskily, that it won’t happen. I’d love to see Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) here too, but the fact that she missed out on a Globe bid gives me serious pause. Maybe there will even be room for supporting actress Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) or Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Current predictions:
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Keri Russell (The Americans)
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Jason Bateman (Ozark), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), David Harbour (Stranger Things), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

Dinklage and Harbour aren’t eligible this year since their shows didn’t air in 2018. Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), last year’s winner, is still hot, though missing out on a Golden Globe bid, along with Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), might make them vulnerable, though SAG tends to keep shows and actors around much longer than that organization. Jason Bateman (Ozark) did repeat at the Globes, joined by newcomers Stephan James (Homecoming), Richard Madden (Bodyguard), and Billy Porter (Pose). He won an Emmy and just received his first Golden Globe bid, so maybe it’s time Matthew Rhys (The Americans) earns a SAG nomination for the final season of his show. Supporting Emmy nominee Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale) could also be an addition to this lineup, as could lead acting nominees Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), or Ed Harris (Westworld).

Current predictions:
Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)

What I’m Watching: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4, Episode 8 “I’m Not the Person I Used to Be” (B+)

This episode deserves some credit for cleverly bringing back a few characters that we haven’t seen either in a little bit or a very long time, and doing it while not so subtly referencing its impending end. Greg has been gone for so long, and the notion that he would return literally as a different person was a creative way to deal with the fact that actor Santino Fontana has moved on to other projects. Bringing Skyler Astin of “Pitch Perfect” fame in to play the new character who’s a bit like the old one but far more positive seems like a great idea thus far, and it’s good to see him catch Rebecca off guard by not responding to things in the way that she expects. Dropping the bombshell about sleeping with his dad didn’t even go all that poorly though, like Paula, we’ll have to wait a full month to discover what happens next. Josh making perfect matzah brei and Nathaniel being nice were just good progress, and now maybe she’ll be happy with someone else. I’m glad that Valencia and her mystery crush Father Brah didn’t get back into something but instead acknowledged that they missed their shot but still ended up in great relationships with other people/deities. Josh bonding with the unpopular magic club team, led by George, was a fun opportunity for Danny Jolles to finally get a solo song for George (he’s very excited about it). Hector being a terrible class president and White Josh abdicating the prom king throne were fun subplots too. This show won’t be over by Valentine’s Day as everyone kept suggesting, but I do think this episode may have turned a great corner!

What I’m Watching: Will and Grace

Will and Grace: Season 10, Episode 8 “Anchor Away” (B)

I’ll start by dismissing the much less worthwhile and effective part of this episode, which inexplicably featured Minnie Driver as Lorraine Finster in a weird kind of strip club for bar mitzvah boys. That plotline just didn’t work for me, namely the visual, and Karen giving Lorraine a lapdance to show her the respect that she felt that she deserved was far from the episode’s best moment. Lorraine telling Grace that she would only help her if she showed that she wasn’t above stripping was funny, though I’m not sure we needed what came after, even if it is Grace’s tendency to not let up when someone challenges her on something she knows isn’t right for her. Karen calling her Chinese divorce lawyer Jew in front of Grace only to be corrected that he’s Korean and his name is Joe was more entertaining, and that’s the kind of Karen humor that I prefer. The other half of this episode, on the other hand, was spectacular, following up on this show’s recent hot streak. Casting Matt Bomer as a stud weatherman named McCoy Whitman was great enough all on its own, and Will having to dumb himself down because he didn’t want to date smart guys was a recipe for hilarity. Imitating Jack was the obvious direction, and I love that he was flattered rather than offended when he realized that Will was pretending to be like him. I laughed out loud at the best scene of the half-hour, when Jack could only mutter “J-Law” and “Jude Law” when McCoy caught on and asked him what type of law he practiced.

What I’m Watching: The Good Place

The Good Place: Season 3, Episode 10 “Janet(s)” (B+)

There are two pieces of amazing news to share about this show since it last aired. The first is that, well before many other shows are given the same confirmation, it’s already been renewed for a fourth season! Three years in, it’s finally been nominated for a major series award, contending for the top comedy prize along with star Kristen Bell at the Golden Globes. It’s an extremely deserved honor, and this episode was a very fun exercise that also provided a new twist which helps to explain part of why our protagonists might have ended up in the bad place aside from the reasons we already know. Having the four humans look and sound like Janet was extremely funny, and dressing them all in their usual clothes made for even more fun. Chidi Janet starting to teach them all about philosophical theories of experience was only the beginning, and Eleanor Janet pretending to be Jason Janet was clever. I love that Chidi was able to save Janet’s void from self-destruction by kissing Eleanor, and now their feelings have been realized in a fantastic way. Stephen Merchant was a superb casting choice to play Neil, and the discovery that no one has gotten into the good place in 521 years suggests that something really is up and not right. It’s great to see Michael hatch a plan, and them getting to what must be the back room of the good place where Eleanor can no longer swear is an amazing conclusion to send the show on hiatus before its final three episodes of the season start up again in a month.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season Premiere)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2, Episode 1 “Simone” (B+)

I’m sure many people have already binge-watched all ten episodes of the second season of this series that just received three Golden Globe nominations a day after its premiere. I’m happy to be able to experience it for a full two and a half months, especially after this very strong and dependable start. The opening song with the lyrics “I have always been a woman who arranges things” showed Midge being truly awesome at the switchboard, solving problems for all the other girls and even handling phone calls from her excited manager and her panicked father. The notion that Rose could tell Abe that she was moving to France and all he would hear was what was for dinner is unthinkable, yet somehow Tony Shalhoub makes the character work. The real star of this hour, who hasn’t earned any accolades for her work, was Marin Hinkle, who made Rose truly delighted to be in another world even when elements of her past showed up to disrupt it. Leave it to Midge to do an entire comedy show by translation, ending on a seriously sad note that prompted the other New Yorker in the room to give her the number for Sylvia Plath’s therapist. Seeing Joel react to her show and then tell her over the phone that he can’t be with her if she continues to do her standup makes the reality of them coexisting a difficult one, but it is important for this show to have a dramatic backbone. Alex Borstein earned her inaugural Golden Globe bid with her performance in this episode, not letting up for a second when she got picked up by two gangsters played by John Scurti and Erik Palladino who eventually warmed to her in a superb subplot. I’m thrilled to be watching this excellent show again.

What I’m Watching: The Conners

The Conners: Season 1, Episode 7 “Hold the Salt” (B+)

I really liked this episode, in which both plotlines were quite funny. Darlene dressing up for work had her entire family talking, and I like that Ben started their banter by telling her that she knew exactly what kind of woman he was attracted to. Their sexual chemistry was strong, but they really clashed when it comes to their alpha personalities. Darlene refusing to take off her shoes, trying to open a bottle of white wine, and forcibly adding salt straight into the dish was entertaining, and I love that they both used the phrase “I tried it in my mind and I hated it” to shut down the other’s gentle suggestion of what to do. Meeting Blue to hear her complaints about David’s submissiveness woke her up to the kind of person Ben really was, and the notion of them both letting go of control and trusting each other should prove extremely entertaining going forward. Matthew Broderick’s return as Peter showed that he wasn’t just the most boring person in the world, painfully detailing the meaning of Crayola, but that he might have less genuine intentions when it comes to the joint bank account he opened with Jackie. It was sweet to see Dan stepping in to look out for her best interests and conveying that to her when she yelled at him a lot in their own little way of communicating, clearly wanting the best for the other but never willing to admit that they possibly care for each other.

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 5, Episode 8 “What’s Past is Prologue” (B+)

This episode was fun and inventive since it allowed us to travel back to some prominent moments of this show’s past without dwelling on the more frustrating and unending elements, namely the whole DeVoe era. Learning that this is the one hundredth episode makes sense given its time-jumping nature. Trying hard not to influence the timeline made for some interesting interactions, particularly with Eobard guessing who Nora was and helping Barry because he understood the importance of maintaining events as they were supposed to happen. Seeing everything again through Nora’s eyes proved enlightening as well, and now it’s looking like she might be up to something a bit more nefarious. She obviously doesn’t know that much about time travel since she didn’t know what a time wraith was, but she is logging entries in a diary and sending them to someone, very possibly the future version of Harrison Wells that she went to go see in prison. Obviously taking down Cicada wasn’t going to be so easy, but we’ll leave him for now while we get to something that I’m sure will be much more exciting. Ending this episode with the same scene that concluded the most recent episode of “Supergirl” makes me ready for the next installment of this series, airing at a special time tomorrow night at 8pm as the first of three parts of a multi-show crossover to close out 2018. Bring it on, and here’s hoping for a great start to the new year with this show.

What I’m Watching: Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 7 “Hell No, Dolly!” (C+)

It’s not as if this show is too much at risk of being cancelled, so wasting time on unfortunate demonic detours like this one aren’t nearly as lamentable as with other shows like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” that are swiftly remembering their finales. I’m really not too big on crazy killer dolls, and I’d rather not comment on any part of that here other than to say it was weird to use the term “dybbuk” in the same scene as a doll wielding a knife. The Professor Stein doll scene was particularly odd. What I did enjoy more was the building camaraderie between Ava and Mick, which is probably just tolerance of each other more than anything else after Sara tried to set them up so that they could play nice. I love that Ava is secretly obsessed with serial killers, something that came in very handy in this hour as they went to search for an unleashed killer in New Orleans. As Zari tries to monitor the B-team’s activities and Ray experiments with facial hair, it’s good to see friendships forming between the likes of Charlie, who now may be able to shape-shift once again, and Constantine, who spent the hour mourning his lover who he had to send to hell along with a demon. I don’t know what to make of the episode’s ending with everyone frozen in time and Zari apparently turned into a doll? Who would have thought that Charlie would be the one to have to save the day?

Friday, December 7, 2018

What I’m Watching: Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan: Season 6, Episode 6 “A Girl Named Maria” (B+)

This episode opened with an interesting juxtaposition of an intruder breaking in to Sam’s home with a gun and Ray having forceful sex with Anita, who we then didn’t see for the rest of the episode. I enjoyed the bonding that happened between Sam and Lena, mainly because Katherine Moennig is this show’s most underused player, and that’s saying something considering the wealth of talent in the cast, including Eddie Marsan. This episode’s big mature realist was Bridget, who, upon being called by Terry to watch the baby while he went to fight, wasted no in time in getting in touch with Teresa. I’ve been watching actress Alyssa Diaz on “Narcos: Mexico,” and it’s good to see her back for an intense scene in which she told Bunchy that she hadn’t wanted to end their relationship. Bunchy tried to stop things from escalating on the bus with Mickey, but he’s in way over his head. This episode was an important turning point for Ray, who got the sense from Mac that there was something seriously wrong. The notion that his activities are being monitored and that his orchestration of events involving Anita, plus the fact that he went in to rough up the mayor when he thought that he was the perpetrator who attacked Sam, means that things are not looking good for Ray. He very calmly pulled over after telling Bridget that she’d never leave him, but it’s important to remember that he’s no friend of law enforcement, and just because he’s ready to answer for his actions doesn’t mean the police are going to be nice to him.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 4, Episode 8 “Bunker Hill” (B)

If I hadn’t already deduced that Nia was hiding something due to her clearly fake narcolepsy, I’d remember accidentally reading seeing Nia also billed in episode credits as Dreamer. Finding out that she’s an alien whose female members sometimes have the ability to dream the future is cool, and obviously she has some major significance since Brainy was very wary of sharing details so that he wouldn’t inadvertently affect the timeline. Her powers came in very handy here, though I’m always surprised that Kara isn’t more willing to share her secret identity with those who are clearly trustworthy. Not revealing it to the American people, on the other hand, makes sense, though now it’s made her a free agent who I suspect is going to end up being considered an enemy combatant by Haley and the president, who are more sympathetic to “human rights” than aliens who don’t commit crimes and fight terrorism. Hank picked an inconvenient time to try to get into Manchester’s head, and fortunately no one else got seriously hurt before Kara literally raised the roof while under the nth metal and took him out so that he could head to prison. Protests going on outside Catco indicate problematic times to come when it really will be humans pitted against aliens, but I’m much more excited by what’s happening in the next episode, which will air at a special time on Tuesday. Ending with a different Flash being threatened with a big book on Earth-90 makes me so pumped for the Elseworlds crossover, which will air three nights in a row at 8pm beginning on Sunday. Bring it on!

Take Three: The Bisexual

The Bisexual: Season 1, Episode 3 (B+)

Leila is the type of person who creates drama where there doesn’t need to be any, and her incessant need to focus on something that might otherwise fly under the radar creates plenty of humorous and incredibly awkward moments. She doesn’t like to be defined, either, telling Gabe that seeing a man doesn’t make her straight, and that she hates the term bisexual, which of course is this show’s title, because it makes her think about Tila Tequila and Anne Heche. Her reasons for not being as into sex with a man because of the cleanup were both understandable and entertainingly phrased. She completely freaked out when Deniz showed up and she had to get Jon-Criss to pretend he was Gabe’s friend so that she wouldn’t suspect anything about her having slept with a man. It’s too bad that her obsession with clubbing got her caught with him by the worst person possible, Sadie, who wasn’t even close to understanding when she realized, and Jon-Criss wasn’t too happy when she tried to shut him out either. I enjoyed seeing more of Francisca, who dug at Gabe by telling him that he was “getting round” when he was taking more baklava and did an incredibly dry reading of her “Apples to Apples” or “Cards Against Humanity” card, whichever game it was that there playing. It seemed like she was about to kiss Leila when she mentioned being bisexual while Gabe was in the room, which hardly would have been sensitive and fortunately didn’t actually happen.

Take Three: Narcos: Mexico

Narcos: Mexico: Season 1, Episode 3 “El Padrino” (B+)

Prior to this episode, I’ve thought that Miguel was an infinitely more intriguing protagonist than Kiki. After he had the story about getting a black eye before his badge photo told to all of his colleagues, with whom he already wasn’t getting along, Kiki opted to go for the craziest undercover assignment without even telling anyone, getting on a bus with a bag over his head and then going to work picking weed from the vastest fields he’d ever seen. He nearly got himself recognized by an authority figure who would have had him shot on the spot, but then he made his escape, only to discover that his wife had gone into labor. I’m glad that the festive occasion didn’t get him the least bit distracted, and that, coupled with Jaime’s confirmation that the surveillance photos and entire operation were bogus, finally gives the DEA the upper hand. Not only that, but Kiki was able to identify Miguel as the kingpin. It’s a major victory, though they’re going to have many obstacles in trying to do anything about it given the level of corruption and powerful people involved. Miguel got spooked when a partner got taken out and he was forced into a corner, but he seems to be back on track now, especially since his brother didn’t do anything stupid after his pride was wounded because a girl he liked mistook him for a waiter. This operation is truly building up, and Miguel needs to be able to deal with the bumps along the way.

In great news, this show has been renewed for a second season!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Minute with Abe Returns!

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Comedy Series

My predictions: 3/5, missing “Kidding” and “The Kominsky Method
Who’s missing? Atlanta, GLOW, Black-ish, Will and Grace

Now this is a cool list. I’m only two episodes into the first season of The Kominsky Method and haven’t watched any of the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which just premiered yesterday, yet, but I have high hopes for both based on what I’ve seen so far. Kidding, though hardly an even and consistent series, is a decent choice, and I’m a huge fan of freshman series Barry. The most exciting thing is that, after being snubbed for two years, The Good Place finally made the cut along with star Kristen Bell. More surprisingly, “Atlanta” got left out after winning this race for season one, though star Donald Glover did get nominated again.

Who will win? Even with three freshmen in the mix, I think sophomore champ The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel wins again.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Drama Series

My predictions: 3/5, missing “The Americans” and “Pose
Who’s missing? The Handmaid’s Tale, This Is Us, Counterpart

I didn’t even notice one of the biggest snubs until I got to this category to write about it! After winning this category last year, “The Handmaid’s Tale” got left out of this race despite two acting bids. That’s a real disappointment considering it was my choice for Best Drama Series this past season. “This Is Us” being dropped after two seasons is less of a shock, and I’m sad about “Counterpart” but not surprised. Instead, we get one departing series for the first time, The Americans, and four brand-new shows. I didn’t get into Pose but I understand that people like it a lot. Homecoming and Killing Eve were expected, and both did well, with two and one acting nominations, respectively. I’m most excited about Bodyguard, which I swapped into my predictions after realizing that it was eligible in this category rather than the miniseries race. This is an interesting list to be sure even if it wouldn’t really mirror my own.

Who will win? Of all the new shows, which one wins? I’ll bet on Homecoming right now.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Miniseries or Television Film

My predictions: 3/5, missing “The Alienist” and “Escape at Dannemora
Who’s missing? The Tale, Maniac, Patrick Melrose, Genius: Picasso, The Little Drummer Girl

I have very little vested interest in this category, but I’m so excited that the terrific A Very English Scandal made the cut. It’s available on Amazon Prime – highly recommended! I watched just one episode of each of the other four nominees. The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a juggernaut, and both Escape at Dannemora and Sharp Objects performed strongly with their featured leading actresses recognized (and supporting in the case of the latter. I didn’t expect The Alienist to do so well, but it did get picked up for a second series, so I guess that speaks to its popularity.

Who will win? I think The Assassination of Gianni Versace is unbeatable.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a TV Series

My predictions: 5/5
Who’s missing? Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid’s Tale)

This was a very expected list, as evidenced by my perfect score here. I’m very happy to see Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) deservedly recognized over last year’s nominated costar Dowd (who is also good, of course) for her standout season two work. It’s also great to see Emmy winner Thandie Newton (Westworld) back, representing her show, which is absent in all other categories. She’s joined by the comedy Emmy winner Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), nominated for the second season of her show that just premiered yesterday and which I haven’t had a chance to start yet. Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) and Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) round out the list for miniseries I stopped watching after episode one.

Who will win? It’s hardly guaranteed in a competitive category like this, but I’m betting on Strahovski.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a TV Series

My predictions: 4/5, missing Culkin
Who’s missing? Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale), Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta)

The American Film Institute named his show as one of its top ten television programs of the year, and therefore I guess it’s not a surprise that Kieran Culkin (Succession), a previous Globe nominee sixteen years ago for his performance in the film “Igby Goes Down.” I watched just the first episode of his show as well as that of Edgar Ramirez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace). I’m happy to see Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal) recognized for a great performance in one of the few miniseries I watched this year. Emmy winner Henry Winkler (Barry) is a welcome face, and he’s joined by another veteran actor, Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method), whose show and performance have delighted me just in the first two episodes of his show that I’ve watched thus far.

Who will win? I’ll go with Winkler though I don’t know if he’s a lock with Arkin in contention also.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie

My predictions: 4/5, missing Britton
Who’s missing? Emma Stone (Maniac), Florence Pugh (The Little Drummer Girl)

I’ve sampled every one of these performances, though the only one I’ve seen in its entirety is Laura Dern (The Tale) when her film played at Sundance before it was acquired by HBO. I’m glad she made the cut since the project doesn’t seem to be getting nearly enough attention. Both Amy Adams (Sharp Objects) and Regina King (Seven Seconds) are double nominees this year with matching bids in the film best supporting actress category, and while both movies did well, Adams’ miniseries had a much better showing than King’s. Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora) made the cut, as did a more surprising and equally recent entry, Connie Britton (Dirty John), whose performance didn’t impress me nearly as much. It’s sad not see Stone here for a good performance I’ve been enjoying.

Who will win? These are all powerhouse contenders. My bet right now is on Adams with Arquette having a shot to upset.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie

My predictions: 3/5, missing Banderas and Bruhl
Who’s missing? Jonah Hill (Maniac), Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora)

I don’t usually watch miniseries or TV movies (none of which are nominated here), and the one that I’ve been following most closely recently, “Maniac,” got shut out. The other one that I invested in did much better, and I’m thrilled to see Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal) and his show did get nominated. Like Geoffrey Rush last year, Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso) got in without his show nominated. The same is true for Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), while Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) and Daniel Bruhl (The Alienist) made the cut along with their series. I’ve only watched the first episode of each of the latter three, so I can’t comment too much on the quality of the performances.

Who will win? Criss might have more buzz, but I’ll give the edge with this group to Grant.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

My predictions: 3/5, missing Bergen and Messing
Who’s missing? Issa Rae (Insecure), Maya Rudolph (Forever), Jennifer Garner (Camping)

This is the ninth nomination for Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) and the seventh for Debra Messing (Will and Grace) for these roles, though the last time either of them were mentioned for them was in 1995 and 2005, respectively. Bergen, whose show doesn’t look to be continuing, previously won twice, while it’s interesting to see Messing honored here after Eric McCormack was last year, Sean Hayes was chosen by SAG, and Megan Mullally was Emmy-nominated. No one seems to want more than one actor from the show! I couldn’t be more ecstatic about Kristen Bell (The Good Place), earning her very first Globe nomination for the recently-renewed NBC comedy. Last year’s winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and another nominee, Alison Brie (GLOW), are also back, leaving this category freshman-free, which is bad news for Rudolph and Garner, neither of whom I was rooting for. And Rae missing out isn’t much of a surprise this far into her show’s run.

Who will win? I don’t see Bergen winning, and Bell would be a wonderful shock, so I think Brosnahan repeats.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

My predictions: 4/5, missing Cohen
Who’s missing? Ted Danson (The Good Place), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Eric McCormack (Will and Grace), William H. Macy (Shameless)

The biggest surprise inclusion of the day comes in the form of Sacha Baron Cohen (Who is America?), whose show I haven’t seen. It’s strange that Danson, the only representative from his show to earn an Emmy nomination, missed out when his show finally did well in other categories, while previous winner Donald Glover (Atlanta) did return when his similarly-awarded series was left off the top category. The other three nominees are all brand-new and have their shows nominated along with them: Jim Carrey (Kidding), Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), and Bill Hader (Barry).

Who will win? It will be competitive between the big three new inclusions, but I’d guess Douglas for now.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

My predictions: 3/5, missing Balfe and Russell
Who’s missing? Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Deuce)

There’s not much consistency with the Globes, bringing back Caitriona Balfe (Outlander) for the fourth year in a row and inviting Keri Russell (The Americans) back for one last shot after a previous nomination while omitting Wright for the final year of her show. I’m disappointed that Comer didn’t join costar and Globes cohost Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) since I think she’s the strongest part of her show, and this seemed like the place that she could get in. Julia Roberts (Homecoming) made the cut, as expected, joining last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Who will win? It might be Oh, who will already be up on stage all night, but my money is on Roberts.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

My predictions: 2/5, missing Bateman, James, and Porter
Who’s missing? Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), John Krasinski (Jack Ryan), J.K. Simmons (Counterpart), Freddie Highmore (The Good Doctor), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)

This was my worst category, I think, and I was so overcome with my excitement for Richard Madden (Bodyguard) getting included here that I neglected to note that J.K. Simmons and his excellent show had been omitted. I also put Madden in over Jason Bateman (Ozark), who managed to return with no other mentions for his show. Matthew Rhys (The Americans) made a predicted return for the final season of his show, which also managed to do well in other races even though I didn’t expect that. Stephan James (Homecoming) is a solid mention for his show, and I think this nomination comes in part for his work in the strongly-received film “If Beale Street Could Talk.” I didn’t think it would happen, but Billy Porter (Pose) made the cut for a show that people obviously like.

Who will win? Nostalgia might favor Rhys, but I think the freshness of the Globes goes for Madden instead.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Final Golden Globe Predictions

Golden Globe nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. While I’m making some moderate modifications to my film predictions, I don’t think there’s much to change here. What I’m not sure about is whether established favorites like “This Is Us” and more tepidly received fare like “GLOW” or the completely snubbed “The Good Place” will end up still doing well, or if there will be an onslaught of other new series I’m not predicting that end up showing up a lot. The only big change I made reflects my misconception that “Bodyguard” was considered a limited series, so I’m gambling on it showing up in both the lead actor and drama series races, with Benicio Del Toro taking his spot in the miniseries acting race. AFI announced their top TV yesterday, including mostly series that I’m not predicting: “The Americans,” “Pose,” “Succession,” “Better Call Saul,” and “The Kominsky Method.” We’ll see if they show up here or not. I’m rooting for “Counterpart” but dubious about its chances, and I’m also worried that the very deserving Jodie Comer won’t be nominated alongside her Emmy-honored costar Sandra Oh. A big surprise would be “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” missing out across the board for its second season, which premieres today, even later than its first season last year. I’m excited to see what this list will include, though I imagine most of my attention will end up on the film side rather than here. Full reactions by category beginning Thursday morning, though probably not quite as early as nominations are announced given that I’m currently in Los Angeles.

No guts, no glory:
I’d say my predictions for “Counterpart” and “Bodyguard” in the top races count for that!

Final predictions:
Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
John Krasinski (Jack Ryan)
Richard Madden (Bodyguard)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
J.K. Simmons (Counterpart)

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)
Julia Roberts (Homecoming)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Best Actor in a TV Series - Comedy/Musical
Jim Carrey (Kidding)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
Donald Glover (Atlanta)
Bill Hader (Barry)

Best Actress in a TV Series - Comedy/Musical
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Alison Brie (GLOW)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Issa Rae (Insecure)
Maya Rudolph (Forever)

Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose)
Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora)
Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal)
Jonah Hill (Maniac)

Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Amy Adams (Sharp Objects)
Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora)
Laura Dern (The Tale)
Regina King (Seven Seconds)
Emma Stone (Maniac)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a TV Series
Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)
Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Edgar Ramirez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)
Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal)
Henry Winkler (Barry)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a TV Series
Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects)
Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Best Miniseries or Television Film
The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Sharp Objects
The Tale
A Very English Scandal

Best Drama Series
The Handmaid’s Tale
Killing Eve

Best Comedy Series
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I’m Watching: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4, Episode 7 “I Will Help You” (B)

I find Rebecca’s Jewish heritage to be one of the least compelling aspects of this show, maybe because it’s so over-the-top and portrayed in a negative fashion. Her only encounters with religion are derogatory, and the notion that her mom went to a camp actually called Camp Kvetcher is pretty absurd. What that framing did help do is show that, even if she’s not a senior partner at a law firm, she can still be there for her mother as a loyal and loving family member. Valencia getting Elayne Boosler because she has legitimate connections was a good resolution that helped Naomi stick it to Marilyn and Audra, and then Rebecca got to shut down her mother for trying to get her law career back when that’s not what she wanted. One thing that this show has always been good at is rehabilitating its supporting characters, which is why Nathaniel trying to be a good person and discovering what fuzzy feels like was actually the best use of that character in a long time. Josh being terrible at real life things was hilarious, putting a pan with spaghetti in the oven and quickly killing Estrea, and I love that he and Rebecca are now friends who are so far past everything that happens. I’m thrilled that they’re going to be roommates, and I’m not sure if I’m rooting for them to get back together or if they’ll be better off just being pals looking out for each other’s best interests with different romantic partners. Rebecca’s definitely remembering why she was attracted to both Josh and Nathaniel in the first place, which should lead to hijinks.

What I’m Watching: Homecoming

Homecoming: Season 1, Episode 4 “Redwood” (B)

This episode featured one hell of an ominous opening with the bloody planting and tracking the shipment from formation to delivery with some very eerie music. We also saw Cruz in a far less friendly setting when he first showed up demanding to know why Shrier took the fall and why he was gone when he was going through the same thing. It all always seems to lead to a haunting story for Cruz’s time serving in the military that doesn’t bother him nearly as much as it should by the time he finishes it. The far more engaging portions of this episode were those that took place in the future, as Heidi was disturbed to discover that she can’t remember that she was in the hospital. I was very excited to see Carrasco show up at Redwood looking for answers about Homecoming only to have Colin come straight out to talk to him. He was all about denying that he knew Heidi and pretending nothing suspicious happened, and I was just starting to think that he was losing the upper hand because he wasn’t walking while he was talking before he began doing just that. Carrasco still made an impression by telling him he had located a subject and that, coupled with Heidi dialing Colin at the end of the episode, left him very frazzled. Though I know we’ve seen her before, I immediately recognized “SMILF” star Frankie Shaw as Heidi’s fellow waitress who was very encouraging of her pressing for answers when we saw her this time.

What I’m Watching: House of Cards

House of Cards: Season 6, Episode 4 “Chapter 69” (B-)

Halfway through this show’s final season, it’s becoming increasingly tiresome as more battle lines are drawn and it seems that none of the many shadowy characters know just who offed Cathy. That could have something to do with the fact that we saw her boil her own cell phone at the end of the episode, though she strikes me as someone far too concerned scared of losing her life to engineer her own suicide to ensure the proper political fallout. Even faking her own death seems above her. It was a positive thing to recall this show’s better days by bringing back two familiar characters that we haven’t seen in a while. Linda slyly noted to Claire that she might have caused all this because she didn’t give Frank what he originally wanted in the first episode, a real throwback to something that feels so insignificant at this point. Petrov’s return was the best part of this episode, as he and Claire are truly able to match each other and have an honest conversation. Claire and Doug comforting Cathy’s family felt especially inauthentic, possibly because it made for the calmest confrontations of the episode. I don’t know what’s going on with Tom and his stolen identity, but he’s far from front and center on this show anymore. I have a feeling that Mark is going to kill Seth soon given how much he’s inserting himself into places he doesn’t belong and ignoring everything Mark says as he works for the Shepherds. Somehow, I imagine another murder wouldn’t be so unexpected for this show.

What I’m Watching: The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle: Season 3, Episode 7 “Excess Animus” (B)

The gang’s all back together, with Juliana reunited with a typically reserved and far from jolly Frank and a far more visibly excited Ed. Juliana seems very intent on making active change in trying to broadcast the movies that show proof of another world to everyone she can, while Tagomi is far more worried about those in charge here trying to build a way to conquer whatever else exists out there. I don’t know that either is more realistic, but we definitely saw something unexpected in Tagomi coming clean with Kido about the fact that he is a traveler. Kido has usually seemed like a villain here, but maybe that won’t be the case anymore. I can’t understand why we’re still following Robert and his misadventures, which in this episode included coming home to find his house being inhabited by someone else, not having the money to pay a prostitute, and then ending up being tortured by Kido’s thugs for unknown reasons. Mark definitely didn’t have to look hard for the men who were looking for the guy that got killed at Sabra, and judging by their vicious behavior in public, it’s terrifying to think what they might do if they find this secret Jewish community. Helen’s fever dreams are truly something, and I suspect that Dr. Ryan would know better than to do anything with Helen that might find him killed almost immediately upon its discovery. John’s having intense dreams too, and I remain curious about whether he’ll switch sides to a degree also.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What I’m Watching: Maniac

Maniac: Season 1, Episode 7 “Ceci N’est Pas Une Drill” (B-)

I’m not overly fond of these episodes that take place almost entirely within the dream hallucinations of our protagonists, especially when they’re not connected like in this case. We also know that Greta is doing something while she’s under, but we didn’t get to see how that was at all. Instead, Owen experienced what was likely an exaggerated version of his own recent history, with his gangster father telling him that he had another brother who apparently lied all the time as a baby and that he was going to need him to pretend to be crazy to take the fall for his latest crimes. I know that Josh Pais tends to be play annoying characters, especially recently on “Ray Donovan,” but I didn’t need to see him get his ear drilled into while the cops listening in didn’t bother to do anything as the music played loudly. It’s hard to spot all the faces we’re supposed to recognize in their hallucinations, but I did spy Jemima Kirke, who plays Adelaide, as one of the cops wiring him for sound. Annie seemed impossibly bored with her elven fantasy, and I was disappointed that her accent wasn’t nearly as convincing as the one she puts on in “The Favourite.” I’ll gloss over the fact that a little bug talked to her after she got knocked out and jump instead to the way that she was able to snap herself out of that dream and realize who she was and who her sister was. Azumi said to James that maybe his mother doesn’t destroying everything, but I’m at a loss as to where this show is heading right now.

What I’m Watching: Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black: Season 6, Episode 7 “Changing Winds” (B+)

Could it be that, after this show has reduced Piper’s role to that of a member of the supporting cast, it’s trying to promote her back to the lead by having her start writing a memoir? The real Piper didn’t spend nearly this long in prison, but I guess they’re going for some form of self-actualization of this story. Explaining Badison’s past in the episode after Daddy’s made some sense, though I still prefer the latter character. Daya is spiraling down, and now Daddy may be in trouble too because she touched Barb’s stash. Badison better hope that she can win back Carol’s trust since she’s getting the cold shoulder in a big way right now, and that stab wound looks pretty bad. Though she’s now involved in a way she didn’t want to be, Alex was smart to suggest Luschek as the most corruptible guard for Badison to try to get to help her with the smuggling operation, which makes sense since he may be depraved but he doesn’t have bad intentions. I like that Pennsatucky recognized Linda and used some information about the recently absent Boo to blackmail her way into staying in Florida, where she gets to be friends with Frieda and Crazy Eyes, who seems to be expressing her individual nature after getting some confusing messages over the radio. Cindy and Flaca are a fun pair, though their partnership is far from perfect. It’s good to see that Maria isn’t dead, though her situation hasn’t gotten much better since she got herself released from psych and is now quietly serving as an emissary of the lord.

What I’m Watching: Luke Cage

Luke Cage: Season 2, Episode 7 “On and On” (B+)

This was not a particularly positive episode for the good guys. Misty was finally getting back to a good place, earning respect from the captain, making out with a stranger at a bar, and showing Luke that maybe he should be her sidekick rather than the other way around. And then it all went south, with Tom getting close to turning Mariah before he decided to meet Comanche without making sure his informant wasn’t being followed. Shades joking with Comanche that he cries watching “This Is Us,” an odd mention of another show that struck me as very out of left field, made it seem like they were getting closer when Shades had really just deduced that Comanche was informing. Comanche’s decision to shoot Tom when Shades showed up was a poor one which ended up getting both of them killed rather than giving either of them a chance of getting away. Bushmaster made his power move also, draining Mariah’s bank accounts before decapitating Piranha and then striking the literal match to burn Mariah’s home down. After his somewhat unsuccessful heart-to-heart with his father, Luke proved that he is a hero who doesn’t discriminate when it comes to who he saves by running in and taking Mariah out just before it all went up in flames. Bushmaster seems to think that he should declare victory, and I’m curious to see why Mariah meant by hiring him. Having her switch sides to work with Luke and Misty to take down Bushmaster could be an interesting direction for the rest of the season.

Monday, December 3, 2018

What I’m Watching: Goliath

Goliath: Season 2, Episode 7 “Diablo Verde” (C+)

There’s only one episode left in this season, and I’d assume in the whole series given how little I’ve heard about this show since its second season premiered, aside from Satellite Award nominations for Billy Bob Thornton and supporting actor Mark Duplass, who didn’t appear at all in this installment. I can’t imagine what kind of resolution we’ll get in the concluding hour, since now even the bad guys are killing each other off while the good guys are no closer to truly being able to serve justice. Billy being stuck in Mexico with a handful of babysitters didn’t feel like a necessary hour at all, particularly because we, like him, didn’t have any idea how he got there. I recognized Steven Bauer as one of his more verbose guards, though it’s strange to hear him without the Israeli accent he puts on as Avi on “Ray Donovan.” Paul Ben-Victor was another familiar face as the less patient and much angrier leader. Billy, as usual, worked calmly and efficiently with Lauren Tom’s Applebees to engineer a major jailbreak that managed to get her to some degree of safety and him back to California crumpled up in a trunk. Showing the title that usually serves as the opening credits indicator of the show a full forty-one minutes in was a peculiar choice, and I would have appreciated an hour that dealt much more with Patti using her newfound romantic relationship to her advantage and Denise engaging in some truly disturbing, daddy-level drinking when Billy went missing. Danny getting killed seems puzzling since now the cartel is out two corrupt cops, and it’s strange that all signs point to David Cross’ broker rather than Tom, who has been seen with Danny at the club so many times. I’m hopeful that the finale will provide some sense of resolution that will make me eager for a third season, should one be commissioned.

What I’m Watching: Will and Grace

Will and Grace: Season 10, Episode 7 “So Long, Division” (B+)

This was an effective follow-up to the terrific episode of this show that aired a few weeks ago, keeping its characters focused on their dynamics without going too over-the-top. Noah telling Grace that she would be able to meet his daughter at some point, just not right away, made the situation far more palatable, but of course Grace had to go and stop by his apartment right away so that she met Katie accidentally. Posing as the math tutor and then trying to hide in the closet was entertaining, and Noah saying “When we break up” turned everything into a far more serious issue that resulted in Grace ordering multiple meals for at least six people. Noah showing up to say that maybe they wouldn’t was sweet, and I’m really getting on board with their relationship since they have their tics but somehow it seems to work. Marilyn bonding with Karen after her dog died was fun, especially since it drove Will crazy, and it’s good to see two relatively similarly-minded individuals getting to know each other. Will’s interaction with his mom wasn’t actually that negative, even if what she wants from him is a bit confusing. Jack trying to rehearse his absurd show led to a hilarious debate about which minority group feels the most slighted in society, representing the best of this show’s social and political commentary, and I love that the door closed itself on the straight white male who suggested that he was more under attack than any group in America.

What I’m Watching: Bodyguard (Season Finale)

Bodyguard: Season 1, Episode 6 (B+)

I had been careful not to research anything about this show to see if it was going to be returning for a second season so that I wouldn’t spoil anything for myself, and I’m happy to now see that, though it wasn’t originally the plan, it may now be back thanks to its tremendous success. It did end on a surprisingly peaceful and optimistic note, with David acquitted and reunited not only with his children but even with his wife in a very friendly if platonic way. The typically tense action came earlier in the extended hour than usual, and it takes some real talent for someone to be able to defuse a bomb while it’s attached to their chest. Vicky was brave to run to her husband so that she could ensure he wouldn’t be shot, and his immediate reaction was a selfless request not to have his children lose both of their parents at the same time. Setting a trap for Longcross was smart, though the speed with which he got released was both impressive and terrifying. Running as soon as he got the bomb off could have been a very dangerous decision, but he went straight back to Chanel and was able to trap both Craddock and Aikens without much difficulty. Nadia revealing herself to have been the architect of so much was an interesting and unexpected twist, one that speaks volumes to making assumptions about people and their capabilities based on how they look or who they are. This show has been unparalleled in terms of its successful execution of suspense, and I sincerely hope that it’s both back for more new stories and appropriately rewarded for its excellence.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Richard Madden as David

Sunday, December 2, 2018

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 3, Episode 9 “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” (B-)

I’ve been thinking over and over throughout this season that it feels silly to spend so much time getting to know a character who we’re well aware is going to die before anyone aside from Jack can interact with him. I guess that’s why this season has spent so much time invested in building up the idea of Nicky the lost brother only to surprise audiences with the news that he is apparently alive and living under his real name, something that seems extremely strange given that Jack would have wanted to reunite with him if he didn’t indeed die in Vietnam. It was awfully easy for the news of his non-demise to be revealed, though it’s possible no one ever bothered to check if Jack was so sure that he had died. Kate not checking a great music teaching job because of her lack of a college degree was disappointing, and kudos to her supportive husband Toby for encouraging her to reenroll so that she can follow some dreams. Deja calling her mother seemed like it might be a problem for Randall and Beth, as might Tess being uncertain about her sexuality, but a debate in which Randall managed to rally the troops in a way only he can turned into a much more serious issue for the couple. What the flash-forward at the end seemed to indicate is that Randall and Beth might be splitting up, which is both surprising and upsetting. Going to see Rebecca together in the future doesn’t explain much, but that’s the nature of this show, dropping little hints to tempt viewers that won’t be resolved for a long time, at least not until the show returns from its hiatus in mid-January.

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 5, Episode 7 “O Come, All Ye Thankful” (B)

Sicada’s origin story isn’t too full of surprises, initially resistant to the idea of having to be a guardian to his orphaned niece and then so attached to her that he swore vengeance on all metas, which he himself is, after she ended up in a coma. Barry spooked him by showing up and asking for him, but he was so determined to spend the holidays with his niece that he let himself get caught on camera and identified by name and face to Team Flash. You’d think that him being blinded by revenge would make him easier to stop, and maybe this multitasking season can move on from him as a villain to something else when it returns from the winter hiatus that it’s going on in a few weeks following the Arrowverse crossover I’m highly anticipating. This episode gave a harsh reality check to the bratty Nora who saw what it meant to almost lose her father, finally cognizant that there’s more to the legend that just what’s she seen all her life in the museum. The notion of Barry staying safe if he hangs up his costume and stops being the Flash is an interesting one, but he’ll never be able to resist the urge to help people. The team made quick work of the Weather Wizard’s angry daughter, in time to celebrate Thanksgiving, even with the naysayers like Cisco and Sherloque who needed a bit of tough love from an unsympathetic and hilarious Killer Frost.

What I’m Watching: The Conners

The Conners: Season 1, Episode 6 “One Flew Over the Conners’ Nest” (B)

I wondered if we’d see Sarah Chalke again on this show as Andrea, the woman who was going to have a baby with Becky as her surrogate. Her return appearance was hardly one that was encouraging to Becky’s impending parenthood, and naturally that would affect her state of mind and push her to, say, agree to give her baby to the friendly lesbian couple that spends a lot of nights at the bar. They seemed so excited about it when she was clearly unresolved, and Darlene got to be the one to help Becky realize that she did in fact want to be a parent. Darlene was typically unwilling to go the lengths other will in order to make money, refusing to bend over for the creepy customer played by Kirk Fox, who portrayed garbage man Joe on “Parks and Recreation,” when he purposely dropped her tips on the floor. I like that Ben, after he tried to train her in how to defend herself, showed up intent on punching out the guy, in a very “boyfriend” kind of move. I’m all for them dating since I think it will be fun and different, and I don’t think he’s going to try too hard to impress the Conner clan, which is sure to irritate Dan. He wasn’t happy about the chicken coop idea pitched by Jackie, who just wanted to feel like she was more welcome than she already made herself feel coming over all the time. I do like the dynamic between Dan and Jackie and how they both respond so strongly to each other.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

What I’m Watching: Manifest

Manifest: Season 1, Episode 9 “Dead Reckoning” (C)

This show is going off the air for about six weeks, and I’m not sure I’m going to tune back in when it returns. I had expected it to peter out eventually, but instead it’s just proceeding along at a glacial pace without any intriguing elements. Flashing back to the original interviews with the passengers which resulted in Autumn being told that she has a record and then showing up looking very shaken to Ben’s house. One of my pet peeves when it comes to watching television is unnecessary replay of scenes, and it wasn’t much of a stretch to imagine that Autumn was actually sent by Laurence to spy on them. I wish there was more sophistication than her unsubtle text of “What now?” back to him. Just as Vance was becoming a strong ally for Ben and Michaela, he got himself killed, while Jared might have been spared thanks to Michaela deciding to ask the voice in her head for help for the first time. While Jared dying would be tragic, Ben has a more concrete loss that isn’t based on the end of a life but instead a relationship that has been far too strained by the fact that he wants his wife to understand what it was like to be on the plane while all she sees is a scared child who shouldn’t be put in harm’s way so frequently. While I’d hope there’s something worthwhile left to discover when this show returns in January, I’m not optimistic at all.

What I’m Watching: Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 6 “Tender is the Nate” (B-)

This episode was fun, to be sure, but I’m not sure that this show is living up entirely to its potential. Nate’s dead is definitely taking on a more central role, getting very into their latest trip with a chance to meet his favorite author and then orchestrate a victory for the team in the unexpected form of a guitar performance to put the beast to sleep. I’m glad that Nate was able to get his dad on board with supporting the legends, though there was no mention of what we saw at the end of last week’s episode indicating more nefarious activities on his part. I did enjoy the overview of the legends and the egregious money that they spend putting together all of their antics, most of which I would have assumed were covered by Gideon creation rather than actual money. We didn’t get to hear any of the ensuing conversation, but I like that Mick identified himself as an author and was going to have a chat with a true literary legend I can’t imagine he had heard of previously due to his criminal past and likely lack of concentrated schooling. Sara tried to give Ava a birthday to remember before having to jet off to do damage control, but she ended up having a memorable day trapped with Mona and Nora is a truly inappropriate situation that led to a slight possibility of Nora soon being released and joining the legends, something I’m hoping is going to happen soon since she would be a helpful troublesome asset who would make even Charlie and Constantine seem like they fit.