Thursday, September 30, 2021

What I’m Watching: Work in Progress

Work in Progress: Season 2, Episode 7 “Oh Say Can You See” (B+)

I think I expected Abby to be completely non-functional in the pandemic, and it’s interesting to see a different side of her, one that acknowledges the frightening and very contagious nature of the world around her but also the uncontrollable events that happen during it. Waiting around to hear about her dad was an awkward thing, especially since she and her new siblings had to sit together in the same house, but it was very worthwhile and relatable to watch as they noted that they were far enough away from each other that it was probably safe to take off their masks even if that logic didn’t quite make sense, especially for someone with as much anxiety as Abby has. Having her new stepmother be the only one able to go visit him was also difficult, but Abby was able to flash back to other moments in the past that were formative related to her dynamic both with him and her sister. All of her conversations with Alison are so compelling, especially when coupled with the hurtful scenes from her childhood where Alison hit her with something that has stuck with her since then. Hallucinating Detective Bobby Goren in the park and then making out with him in sight of her brother-in-law was quite the fever dream, and I’m entertained that Vincent D’Onofrio was up for a guest spot like this. I’ve been seeing him more and more in other projects like “Ratched” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” and it’s nice to see him poking fun at himself and one of his most well-known roles here.

What I’m Watching: Mr. Corman

Mr. Corman: Season 1, Episode 8 “Hope You Feel Better” (B+)

Earlier this year, a number of films started to premiere about life during the pandemic that I found thoroughly relatable and enjoyable, and I’m appreciating the way some television series are handling the sudden onset of a new reality in a similar way: incorporating it into their storylines midseason just as it at one point became a part of every viewer’s life. Josh already has plenty of anxiety which makes his functioning in the world more difficult, and the freaking out he did here didn’t spill over into his teaching but did affect his personal relationships. The trap he continually found himself in while handling the burgers was entertaining and completely understandable given early wiping habits that others like Josh would surely still do to this day, and Victor’s need to go to work since his job depended on him being out and about showed how different people had to respond based on their circumstances and the nature of their work. Going to his mom’s house to quarantine even though Victor hadn’t actually been exposed to anything was a bit of overkill that so many people still did, and I loved that she tried to screen his call when he could clearly hear that someone had come over, which didn’t sit well with his isolation ideology. Larry’s politics are also not aligned with how Josh sees the world, and it was fun, if quite awkward, to hear them talk at the table and then go for a daring walk out into the world together.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 9 “Beard After Hours” (B)

I usually watch and review this show early, but thanks to some traveling, Jewish holidays, and extensive TIFF coverage, I’m writing about it long after everyone I know has had the chance to watch and comment on it. Most of what I’ve heard has been negative and that this was an add-on episode to the season’s original count, which is why it doesn’t feel like part of the general narrative. What I suspect is that the writers, particularly Brendan Hunt, who plays Beard, always wanted to explore a bit of his backstory while paying homage to numerous cinematic influences. What resulted is a strange, trippy half-hour that looks almost nothing like a traditional episode of this show and which includes almost none of the other characters besides him. But it is fun to know that, each morning when Beard silently nods at his fellow coaches and at Ted when asked how his night was, these are likely the kind of hijinks that he got himself into, not entirely sure whether they really happened or if he might have imagined them. Seeing him in those pants was entertaining, as was how he got to bond with the man who was chasing him to give him back his wallet and not to beat him to death, as he worried was the case. And, though their roles are extremely minimal, the fans always seen cheering and commenting in the pub got to see Beard after hours and experience a truly winning reward thanks to his generosity.

Pilot Review: Back to the Rafters

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

What I’m Watching: The Morning Show (Season Premiere)

The Morning Show: Season 2, Episode 1 “My Least Favorite Year” (B+)

It feels like it’s been forever since this show even though it premiered at the tail end of 2019. Its finale was certainly memorable, and it’s interesting to see this one pick up first with chaos and then with shots of the completely abandoned New York City streets during the pandemic. I like the idea that, unlike “The Newsroom,” which manufactured a news storyline for its second season, this show is merging its universe with the real world, which will most definitely affect the network and the show. Alex was mostly absent for the episode while Bradley took center stage, and she does seem to be acclimating to everyone and to her role even if they’re not quite growing fonder of her. I was pleased to see Hasan Minhaj as her new and apparently departing co-anchor, and Greta Lee from “Russian Doll” as a new higher-up employee. I am missing Hannah and Claire, and while seeing the former again won’t be possible outside of a flashback, I do hope Bel Powley will return soon. The celebratory nature of New Year’s Eve is sure to make for a stark contrast with the quiet and lack of in-person events. Corey trying to bring back Alex was another out-of-the-box idea that no one is going to like, and I imagine that the board member played by the always fantastic Holland Taylor, seen recently on “The Chair,” won’t be happy about that, especially after she unsuccessfully tried to fire Corey months earlier. This episode was really all about (re-)setting the scene, and I’m looking forward to diving more into all the characters in future installments.

What I’m Watching: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 3, Episode 4 “The Casino” (B+)

It’s often agonizing to watch this show and its characters because of their unending stupidity, but that’s obviously part of the appeal, and we have Guillermo to stand in for the audience and shake his head in shame every time they do something where they absolutely should have known better. Nadja thinking she was seeing the real Rat Pack again and trying to repeatedly remind them who she was before sticking them up for cash was one such instance, and somehow all of the other people there didn’t catch on to the fact that she was completely clueless (a needed suspension of disbelief, I understand). Laszlo’s surprise at being able to just get his best bud to give him his credit card without an explanation and, more importantly, without any hypnosis, was entertaining, and I like that it spurred him into action to help him, even if that ended up resulting in a boxer punching the head off his opponent, which was surely bloodier and more fatal than they intended. Colin getting caught up in his “binge-watching” and not noticing that housekeeping vacuumed all their ancestral soil led to quite the international mission for Guillermo, who was able to get into numerous countries on short notice without much trouble. Colin forcing the teller to stay with him as he counted the money was miserable, and he also got Nandor to a very dark place as he contemplated, for the first time, just how small he was in the grand scheme of the universe.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Pilot Review: The Premise

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

Pilot Review: The Lost Symbol

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

Sunday, September 26, 2021

What I’m Watching: What If…?

What If…? Season 1, Episode 6 “What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” (B-)

Even though I definitely saw the first “Iron Man” movie and I’m pretty sure that Killmonger first appeared in “Black Panther,” which I also saw, I still don’t remember the exact details of who was involved in the various inciting elements of their origin stories. This series is highly dependent on that knowledge, since the differences that are seen relate to what characters aren’t involved and how their absence or presence changes everything. It was interesting to see Killmonger save Tony and how the two of them worked closely together, which came to a swift and deadly end when Tony realized Killmonger’s true intentions but then ended up getting killed since the trained warrior was able to get the best of him. Having him command an American army to invade Wakanda only to not to do it because he had his own ulterior motives was somewhat intriguing but ultimately not all that involving. As usual, I spent most of the episode wondering which voices were the same as the actors from the movies. I think I thought that it was Robert Downey Jr. as Tony, but apparently that wasn’t the case (it was Mick Wingert), but most of the rest were the original voices: Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Leslie Bibb, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett, with Jeff Bridges and Letitia Wright replaced as Obadiah Stane and Letitia Wright as Shuri replaced. That’s probably the most enjoyable part of this show, since its storylines are hit or miss.

What I’m Watching: Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail (Season Finale)

Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail: Season 3, Episode 10 “End of the Trail” (B+)

Watching a season finale without knowing whether a show will be returning for another iteration is always a bit anxiety-producing, though in the case of this series, these characters are definitely going away, even if the actors might return for another season or two. It’s good to know that two of the show’s stars, Geraldine Viswanathan and Karan Soni, acted together in the film “7 Days,” indicating that further collaborations even outside this series might be possible. This was a pretty solid finale, one that tied up all the plotlines while still keeping the intrigue up until the end regarding whether it was all going to turn out okay or not. Todd treating all of the sex he was watching people have in front of him like a Netflix menu was an entertaining idea, and Ezekiel nearly managed to extract Prudence without him noticing, but naturally that plan didn’t pan out so perfectly. Prudence exacting a very particular form of revenge at the end was extremely fitting. Trig wanting to be bad just for the hell of it was a notion that was quelled by her father finally telling her that he loved her, something that she had always wanted to hear. Ezekiel’s bride first wishing that he would go to the good part of hell and then inviting him and Prudence along was a sign of how endearing his intentions are, and I greatly enjoyed getting to watch Ezekiel and Prudence on their extremely rocky road towards a happy relationship. I think I liked this season as much as I liked season one, and I’m definitely on board for a season four and beyond.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Round Two: American Crime Story: Impeachment

American Crime Story: Impeachment: Season 3, Episode 2 “The President Kissed Me” (B)

I’m deeply interested in the subject matter of this show, but I’m not sure I’m too impressed with the execution. There is absolutely a demonization of President Bill Clinton in how this story is being told, and that’s not to suggest he should be let off the hook since he was in fact guilty of having an affair. But this feels a lot more like a hit job in some ways than a telling of history, and it’s taking a rather long time to get to the real meat of the story. That said, it’s good to see strong actresses taking on intriguing roles, like Judith Light as Susan Carpenter-McMillan, who managed to use the clueless and easily manipulated Paula Jones, played fantastically by Annaleigh Ashford, to her own purposes, and Cobie Smulders as Ann Coulter. It’s also great to see the performances from both Sarah Paulson and Beanie Feldstein, whose interactions are quite enlightening since they show how both people want something different from the relationship and aren’t all that interested in the other person’s priorities. Linda desperately wanting to get Monica to come antiquing with her was one such instance of that, and Monica’s obsession with sitting by the phone waiting for the president to call was a problematic habit that led to her revealing the biggest secret in Washington to the worst possible person, which we know isn’t going to turn out well for anyone. I’m eager to see more familiar faces introduced and see how this political process plays out.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 14 “Mxy in the Middle” (B)

It’s an interesting concept that superpowered aliens and magic aren’t all that different, yet most of the characters on this show are so willing to accept the existence of the former but not the latter. Pairing Mxy and Nyxly being the major plotline with Lena’s search for answers about her mother, who was apparently a witch, made a lot of sense thematically, and I’m curious if it’s going to end up being Lena who learns enough magic to be able to help the superfriends stop Nyxly. Mxy’s eagerness to be helpful was not terribly productive, and his use of the image inducer was clever but ultimately failed, proving that it wasn’t going to work when they went up against Nyxly. The ease with which she snapped her fingers and first nearly suffocated Kara and then restrained everyone so that they could become dragon bait was formidable, and Mxy allowing himself to be captured at the last minute was a surprisingly selfless act, one that hopefully comes with a plan that he either shared with someone else or which will become clear at exactly the right moment when they next go up against Nyxly. As this show inches closer to its end, facing off against someone who could very well end the universe as we know it feels very appropriate. Nyxly also takes a certain pleasure in getting the best of those she believes have wronged here, and while Kara’s offenses aren’t nearly as bad as even Mxy’s, she’s set her sights on our heroes as enemies, and they’re going to have to take her down.

What I’m Watching: Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders in the Building: Season 1, Episode 5 “Twist” (B+)

The good news is that Oscar was the one tailing Mabel and he didn’t have any nefarious intentions, and they immediately decided to drive to Teaneck to figure out the next piece of the puzzle. Charles and Oliver were so thrown off by the fact that she had lied to them that they went about following her in a predictably immature and obvious way, which Oliver tried to defend as “blending in by standing out.” I enjoyed Oliver recording constantly and asking Charles to call him a simpleton again so that he could get it on tape, and the idea that Oliver pays for parking in the building yet hasn’t had a license in twenty-five years is somehow very fitting. That could explain why he’s having such trouble keeping up with his building fees, paying for things that he absolutely doesn’t need when he simply can’t afford it. I was surprised by Charles’ willingness to indulge Oliver’s pretzel craving, especially since they were trying to stay on Mabel’s tail. The commentary about traveling to Long Island and getting various sexually-transmitted diseases made for some unexpected and moderately heartwarming since those two have plenty in common yet find many reasons to bicker. They seem to have arrived at a good place with Mabel now that everything’s out in the open, but that doesn’t mean they’re all that much closer to figuring out who the murderer could be. I originally thought this show was meant to be eight episodes and I’m glad to now know that it’s ten, meaning that we’re exactly halfway through at this point.

Friday, September 24, 2021

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 2, Episode 6 “Love Shack” (B+)

It’s most fun – and uncomfortable – when all of the characters on this show come together in one place and are reminded of the many interconnected dynamics that make their lives and especially their love lives very complicated. I think the couple I was rooting for most was Micah and Maribel, and despite the fact that he started out being very awkward and then went to hit on what Maribel describes as the hottest guy in the bar, they clearly both feel the same way about each other and just have to work up the courage to say that rather than beating around the bush and watching the same movie by themselves. Tom and Alice had the best night, with Alice initially coming on a bit strong in her texts but Tom responding perfectly so that they could ultimately put brewing feelings into action. While Dani and Sophie did have a relatively pleasant exchange, I can’t imagine how Dani would ever want Sophie to speak to her again after she very publicly professed her love for someone else while she was in the room, and Gigi was understandably angry when Bette brushed her off and told her that she had managed to find someone who checked all her boxes. Sophie and Finley got together already, determined to write Dani out of existence, which won’t be that easy, while Gigi made her newfound intentions known, and hopefully they won’t play quite as long a game as Shane and Tess are currently playing with not acting on their clear feelings for each other.

Pilot Review: Y: The Last Man

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

What I’m Watching: Work in Progress

Work in Progress: Season 2, Episode 6 “Eleanor Roosevelt” (B+)

I like that, after the ominous ending of the previous episode, this show started off the pandemic experience with a flashback to a different time when Abby had other issues interacting the world. Being shouted out of an event because she was bisexual rather than just a lesbian was harsh, and she seemed to have a really enlightening and great time on the road trip. Seeing her first trans experience and the look on her face while she was struggling to understand the people around her spoke volumes, and it’s quite a departure from the way that she tried hard to say the right thing with Chris and treat him the way he wanted to be treated. Back in the present, Abby and Campbell were having a blast shopping in the supermarket with gloves, and, when someone wasn’t observing the proper protocols, all Abby did was mutter under her breath about six feet and all that. Hearing that she was thriving not having to go into work and making her own schedule presented a much more optimistic view than I had expected, though I suspect that’s all about to change with the news of her father being in the ICU. Her friendship with the similarly-minded Campbell is surely going to be what will help her get through it, and I enjoyed her beauty school dropout background that came to light and the excitement of her pet adoption that went through rather seamlessly. I don’t imagine what comes next is going to be easy for either of them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

What I’m Watching: Billions

Billions: Season 5, Episode 9 “Implosion” (B)

So much for the balance of power, something that’s always unpredictable on this show, but I guess that’s what keeps things interesting. Prince going after Axe’s prized pizza business was a serious mistake, and who better to betray Chuck than his own father, who it turns out could be bought by a major chance at good health brought to him by none other than the very connected Axe. If it’s good for one person almost as much as it is for Axe, it’s Wags, who was worried that Axe was spending too much time targeting Prince and wanted to be able to talk to Axe like Axe talked to him. Prince’s efforts to appeal to those who no longer wanted to be in business with him were met with failure, but he was able to compel him not to jump ship by unsubtly warning him of how little he would think about him if he didn’t stick with him during this difficult time. His friend’s mother had the right impression of him, though Prince did want to be someone better, which just isn’t in the cards given his competition. After Chuck initially failed to get the Delaware AG to intervene, he came up with a perfect plan to put his father in there as a permanent roadblock, and Axe’s subversion of that notion didn’t seem to faze Prince at all. Taylor showing up at exactly that moment to affirm their intention to take down Axe after he dumped everything associated with Prince behind their back was an exciting moment, one that’s sure to lead to exciting drama. Tanner destroying his own paintings when he found out that Wendy and Axe had cut his commissions wasn’t terribly mature, and Wendy got the definitive last word with her undeniable confirmation of the end of their relationship.

Pilot Review: Scenes from a Marriage

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

Pilot Review: American Rust

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

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Final Emmy Winner Predictions

The Emmy Awards air tonight, and I’ve had the pleasure of breaking down a few of the major categories for The Film Experience and Awards Radar, along with the rest of the drama, comedy, and limited series races here. I also got to interview a handful of Emmy nominees for Awards Radar and AwardsWatch. Will that give me more insight into who will win? We’ll see!

In preparation for this year’s awards, I caught up on the full seasons of a few shows I had never really watched before: “The Boys,” “Bridgerton,” “Cobra Kai,” “Emily in Paris,,” “Pen15,” and “I May Destroy You.” None of those, except maybe the last one, should figure too heavily into tonight’s ceremony barring a real surprise, and the same is probably true for the two other shows that I sampled heavily, “Black-ish” and “Saturday Night Live,” though the latter did pick up the guest actor and guest actress trophies already.

This night is almost sure to be mostly about “Ted Lasso” and “The Crown,” and the only question is which limited series will triumph. I’m betting on “The Queen’s Gambit,” but it could just easily be “WandaVision” or “Mare of Easttown.” I think my boldest prediction is Mj Rodriguez winning best actress for “Pose,” which I would love to see happen.

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

No guts, no glory:
“I May Destroy You” wins Best Limited Series

The Crown

Billy Porter (Pose)

Mj Rodriguez (Pose)

Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)

Gillian Anderson (The Crown)

Fairytale (The Crown)

War (The Crown)

Ted Lasso

Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)

Jean Smart (Hacks)

Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)

Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

The Hope That Kills You (Ted Lasso)

Pilot (Ted Lasso)

The Queen’s Gambit

Paul Bettany (WandaVision)

Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)

Daveed Diggs (Hamilton)

Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision)

The Queen’s Gambit

Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience (WandaVision)

Celebrating America - An Inauguration Night Special

Bo Burnham: Inside

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Comedy Series

Here’s my breakdown of the last Emmy category. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

Hero Pizza,” “Age Against the Machine,” “Our Wedding Dre,” “What About Gary?,” “First Trap,” “Things Done Changed

This show receives its fourth overall bid after a two-year absence from this category. I don’t regularly watch but did screen all six submitted episodes, which were mostly entertaining if unextraordinary. This show has one season left and could compete then, but don’t expect it to do much this year.

Cobra Kai
Nature vs. Nurture,” “The Right Path,” “Miyagi-Do,” “King Cobra,” “Feel the Night,” “December 19

This show went from one nomination each of the past two years to four this time, plus a place here. I had never seen it before but screened the pilot on the eve of Emmy nominations. It’s fun occasionally but I’m not sure I would classify it as a comedy. I’m not sure exactly what it’s doing here, but I can understand some appreciate nostalgia, karate, and what this show means to them.

Emily in Paris
Emily in Paris,” “Masculin Feminin,” “Sexy or Sexist,” “Ringarde,” “Family Affair,” “Cancel Couture

While this show’s placement here might be a head-scratcher for many, especially since it received exactly one other bid, I actually quite enjoyed it when I went back to catch up on all but the pilot. It’s absolutely light and may not be one of the best comedies of the year, but I had a great time watching it.

The Flight Attendant
In Case of Emergency,” “Rabbits,” “Funeralia,” “Conspiracy Theories,” “Other People’s Houses,” “After Dark

This show is an absolute genre hybrid, classified as a comedy but involving some pretty deadly and often disturbing stuff. But it is pretty great and so very watchable, and its nine nominations suggest that it’s been widely well-received. I don’t think it can upset the two more popular freshmen this year, but it has its supporters.

There Is No Line,” “Primm,” “Falling,” “New Eyes,” “1.69 Million,” “I Think She Will

This show is a lot of fun, and I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the “stars and “creators when it premiered. Its fifteen-nomination haul means that it’s the most serious competition to one very lovable American football coach, and an upset, while not so unlikely, is possible.

The Kominsky Method
Chapter 17. In all the old familiar places,” “Chapter 18. You only give me your funny paper,” “Chapter 19. And it's getting more and more absurd,” “Chapter 20. The round toes, of the high shoes,” “Chapter 21. Near, far, wherever you are,” “Chapter 22. The fundamental things apply

This show, which missed out for its first season, returns for its third and final season after earning a bid last year. It doubled its previous nomination total of three to six this time, and while there’s a sliver of a chance that Michael Douglas or Paul Reiser get goodbye prizes, this show doesn’t stand a chance here. While those, like me, like it, others seem to find it tired and uninspired. It is the only show that aired just six episodes, meaning that its whole season is represented here.

Wrestle,” “Vendy Wiccany,” “Three,” “Sleepover,” “Play,” “Opening Night

I’m not a big fan of this show, which earned a writing mention last year and is now here with six of its seven aired episodes. Some of it can be fun, but I just find it too cringeworthy and awkward to be enjoyable (which I realize is the point). The absence of its two lead actresses means that it doesn’t likely have widespread support, but expect this show to be back in future years and to win some prizes at some point.

Ted Lasso
Pilot,” “Trent Crimm: The Independent,” “Tan Lines,” “Make Rebecca Great Again,” “All Apologies,” “The Hope That Kills You

Now everyone knows this show, and for good reason. It’s solid fun, truly a pleasure, and it’s also in the middle of airing its second season, which definitely helps. I see no negatives, and I think this show is as certain as “Schitt’s Creek” was last year to win this thing.

What should win (based on entire season): “Ted Lasso” or “Hacks”
What should win (based on individual episodes): “Ted Lasso” or “Hacks”
What will win: It’s going to be Ted Lasso for sure.

Next up: That’s a wrap!

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series

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

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Limited Series

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

Friday, September 17, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie

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

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You
Brad Ingelsby, Mare of Easttown
Scott Frank, The Queen’s Gambit
Peter Cameron and Chuck Hayward, WandaVision (All-New Halloween Spooktacular!)
Jac Schaeffer, WandaVision (Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience)
Laura Dooney, WandaVision (Previously On)

Coel contends this year for acting, directing, and producing. Frank was previously nominated for writing, directing, and producing “Godless,” and competes for those same three prizes this year. Ingelsby, Hayward, and Schaeffer also have nominations for producing their projects. Only one show has before had three episodes nominated, and it won: “The People v. O.J. Simpson” in 2016.

What should win: I think I would choose “I May Destroy You,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” or a “WandaVision” installment, but I’m fine with all these.
What will win: I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll bet on Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience, the pilot installment of “WandaVision.”

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Limited Series or TV Movie

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

Thomas Kail, Hamilton
Sam Miller and Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You (Ego Death)
Sam Miller, I May Destroy You (Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes)
Craig Zobel, Mare of Easttown
Scott Frank, The Queen’s Gambit
Barry Jenkins, The Underground Railroad
Matt Shakman, WandaVision

Kail won previously for directing “Grease Live!” Miller was previously nominated for directing “Luther,” and Coel contends this year for acting, writing, and producing. Frank was previously nominated for writing, directing, and producing “Godless,” and competes for those same three prizes this year. Shakman was a nominee last year for directing the pilot episode of “The Great.” In the top category, “Hamilton” is considered a pre-recorded variety special and nominated there, while the other four are up for Best Limited or Anthology Series. Multiple episodes from one show have been nominated in the past, and only in 2014 did that result in a win, for a season one installment of “Fargo.”

What should win: I think I’d choose “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Underground Railroad,” or “WandaVision”
What will win: I’m tempted to say maybe Jenkins can prevail here, but I’m going to stick with The Queen’s Gambit with a distinct possibility of “WandaVision” too.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

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

Steve Yockey, The Flight Attendant (In Case of Emergency)
Meredith Scardino, Girls5eva (Pilot)
Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky Hacks (There Is No Line)
Maya Erskine, Pen15 (Play)
Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly, Ted Lasso (Pilot)
Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso (Make Rebecca Great Again)

Every nominee in this category is also up for producing this year, save for Scardino, whose show didn’t make the cut in the top race. She has been there before though for previous shows, and has four wins for writing “The Colbert Report.” Erskine earned a bid in this category two years ago for her show. Sudeikis and Hunt are also nominated for their performances on their show. “Schitt’s Creek” had two nominations last year and won. A few shows, including “My Name is Earl,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” have won this prize for their pilots without a nomination in the top category. There are four pilots nominated this year. While they are very often nominated, only two have won recently: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” in 2018 and “Modern Family” in 2010.

What should win: I’d be happy with “Hacks,” “The Flight Attendant,” or any of the “Ted Lasso” installments.
What will win: I see this going to the Ted Lasso pilot.

Next up: Best Directing for a Limited Series or TV Movie

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

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

James Burrows, B Positive (Pilot)
Susanna Fogel, The Flight Attendant (In Case of Emergency)
Lucia Aniello, Hacks (There Is No Line)
James Widdoes, Mom (Scooby-Doo Checks and Salisbury Steak)
Zach Braff, Ted Lasso (Biscuits)
Declan Lowney, Ted Lasso (Make Rebecca Great Again)
MJ Delaney, Ted Lasso (The Hope That Kills You)

Burrows is the most-nominated and most-honored director in this category, with twenty-six career bids, seven of which were for “Will and Grace,” and five wins, most recently for “Frasier” in 1994. Aniello, who I got to interview, is also nominated as a writer and producer. Braff was previously nominated for acting in “Scrubs” in 2005. Both “B Positive” and “Mom” are not nominated for Best Comedy Series. A show with multiple nominations hasn’t won since 2012. Pilots do often win, with a premiere episode triumphing every year from 2004-2008 and then again in 2010 and 2018.

What should win: I’m happy with most of these, and I think I’d choose “Hacks” or one of “Ted Lasso” episodes.
What will win: While this could be a chance for “Hacks” to break through, I think Ted Lasso scores, though I’m not sure for which episode. Maybe “The Hope That Kills You.”

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.

Rebecca Sonnenshine, The Boys (What I Know)
Peter Morgan, The Crown (War)
Yahlin Chang, The Handmaid’s Tale (Home)
Misha Green, Lovecraft Country (Sundown)
Dave Filoni, The Mandalorian (Chapter 13: The Jedi)
Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian (Chapter 16: The Rescue)
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals, Janet Mock and Our Lady J, Pose (Series Finale)

Murphy has six Emmys and Falchuk has two, with Canals, also nominated this year for directing, Mock, and Our Lady J also up this year and for season one as producers. This is one of Murphy’s four bids this year. This is the first writing nomination for Filoni and Chang, who are up again as producers for their shows. The same is true for Favreau, who also contends for directing. Green and Sonnenshine are also nominated as producers. This is Morgan’s fourth nomination in this category for this show, and he has yet to win. “The Handmaid’s Tale” won this prize for its pilot. Shows with multiple nominations in this category do tend to win frequently, which happened most recently in 2014.

What should win: I think the “Lovecraft Country” pilot gets my vote, but I like a lot of these choices.
What will win: I’m really not sure. Maybe The Crown scores its first trophy in this category?

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.

Julie Anne Robinson, Bridgerton (Diamond of the First Water)
Benjamin Caron, The Crown (Fairytale)
Jessica Hobbs, The Crown (War)
Liz Garbus, The Handmaid’s Tale (The Wilderness)
Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian (Chapter 9: The Marshal)
Steven Canals, Pose (Series Finale)

Caron and Hobbs both return to this race after being here last year. Garbus has five nominations for producing nonfiction projects and one for directing, with two wins. Canals and Favreau were both previously nominated as producers of their shows and now contend again for producing as well as for writing. “The Crown” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” have both won this prize previously. Double bids for a show aren’t a disqualifier – several series have won with multiple installments nominated.

What should win: I’d probably choose either the “Pose” series finale or the season finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
What will win: I’d like to be able to predict “Pose” but I think Fairytale is more likely.

Next up: Best Writing for a Drama Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Only limited series contenders submit episodes. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

The nominees: Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton), Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision), Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit), Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown), Jean Smart (Mare of Easttown), Phillipa Soo (Hamilton)

Hahn was previously nominated for “Transparent,” and Smart is a double nominee this year, contending also for “Hacks.” She has nine previous nominations and three wins. The other four are all first-time nominees. Hahn and Ingram got to submit episodes – End Game and Breaking the Fourth Wall – while both Nicholson and Smart chose the same installment, Sacrament. I’m not sure that necessarily cancels them out, but it is a bit strange. I think Hahn is very popular, and she would be a great and deserving choice.

Who should win: Hahn
Who will win: I think Hahn can win, but watch out for Nicholson or, if “Hamilton” sweeps, Goldsberry.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Only limited series contenders submit episodes. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

The nominees: Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Queen’s Gambit), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You), Jonathan Groff (Hamilton), Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown), Anthony Ramos (Hamilton)

All six men in this category are first-time nominees. Brodie-Sangster, Essiedu, and Peters all got to submit episodes for consideration – Adjournment, That Was Fun, and Enter Number Two, respectively – which give them all great showcases. I was thrilled to get to interview both Brodie-Sangster and Diggs, so please check out those great conversations. I think Diggs might be out front here, but it’s possible that Peters can pull far enough ahead of his fellow nominees.

Who should win: Brodie-Sangster, Essiedu, or Peters. I like Diggs and Groff a lot but I don’t think the performances are different from the ones that already won them Tonys.
Who will win: I’m going with Diggs.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Performers in this category don’t submit specific episodes, but I’ve watched the entirety of their shows to best assess their chances.

The nominees: Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You), Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha), Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)

Erivo, Olsen, and Taylor-Joy earn their inaugural Emmy bids this year, along with Coel, who is also contending for writing, directing, and producing her show. Winslet, who is also up for producing her show, won this prize a decade ago for “Mildred Pierce” and was also nominated in 2006 for guest-starring on “(Extras.” This is a formidable competition where almost anyone could win, though Erivo would be a real surprise and Coel would be a considerable upset. Winslet is a veteran while the others are relative newcomers who have been building reputations over the past few years. If nominations totals are relevant, then Olsen might have the best shot, but I think this comes down to Taylor-Joy and Winslet, and I’m tempted to go with the former, who won the Golden Globe and the SAG before Winslet was in the mix, even if maybe that’s not the smartest idea.

Who should win: Coel, Olsen, or Taylor-Joy
Who will win: I’m going with Taylor-Joy.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Performers in this category don’t submit specific episodes, but I’ve watched the entirety of their shows to best assess their chances.

The nominees: Paul Bettany (WandaVision), Hugh Grant (The Undoing), Ewan McGregor (Halston), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)

The only first-time nominee in this category is Bettany, who also stars in the nominated TV movie Uncle Frank. Grant and Odom each have one previous nomination, for acting and voice-over, respectively, and McGregor has two acting nods and one narrator bid. Miranda is also nominated this year for producing his pre-recorded variety special, and has two previous acting nominations and one producing bid, plus a 2014 win for music and lyrics from The Tonys. This category feels to me like an opportunity for Bettany to win because it’s not nearly as competitive as the other acting races, though it’s always possible that Miranda could triumph too, though he did lose when he contended in the film comedy actor race at the Golden Globes. I personally liked McGregor’s performance and series more than I think most did, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Grant about this show, which is a conversation you should absolutely read.

Who should win: Bettany, McGregor, or Grant
Who will win: I’ll pick Bettany, but this one is more up in the air than most.

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.

Aidy Bryant as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Regé Jean-Page)
This is Bryant’s second nomination for this role, her first since 2018, and her third overall after a music and lyrics bid back in 2014. She’s also nominated this year for her terrific performance in season three of Shrill this year. She has some great sketches in her submitted episode, and her dual nomination might mean that she has the buzz to win. It would be fun to see given how funny she can be, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels, Hacks (I Think She Will)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Einbinder, who is truly hilarious on her show and chose a great episode, the season finale, as her submission. The issue is that she’s really not a supporting actress and belongs in the leading race, so those upset about category fraud (if they exist within the TV academy) may not want to endorse her presence here. That said, she did tie with another Hannah, fellow nominee Waddingham, at the Hollywood Critics Association, which could indicate that quality is more important than quantity.

Kate McKinnon as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Bill Burr)
This is the eighth consecutive nomination for McKinnon, who won twice, in 2016 and 2017. She’s a default nominee at this point, and though she’s done a great job of portraying figures like Rudy Giuliani this season, her submission doesn’t give her all that much to do. She’s still funny and so natural even when she’s challenging herself, but I don’t see this being the year she scores her third trophy.

Rosie Perez as Megan Briscoe, The Flight Attendant (Arrivals and Departures)
Perez previously received three Emmy nominations for choreography on “In Living Color” between 1990 and 1993. Now, she’s a first-time acting nominee for her terrific work on her very dark comedy. She chose the season finale as her submission, which helps to bring together her storyline in an interesting and unexpected way. She’s definitely the least inherently comedic choice, but a win for her would be a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge a talented actress and a show that isn’t likely to pick up any other major prizes.

Cecily Strong as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Anya Taylor-Joy)
Strong earns her second consecutive Emmy nomination this year. I’ve enjoyed getting to watch her on “Schmigadoon,” which will be eligible next Emmy season, and my appreciation of her performance on that show has made me want her to win for this one. Her submitted episode is the last of nine that I watched this season, and also the finale. While she does have a great scene where she plays Judge Jeanine Pirro, she doesn’t get all that much else to do, so I’m not sure this is when she’s going to win, even if I do hope it happens in the future.

Juno Temple as Keeley Jones, Ted Lasso (For the Children)
This is the first nomination for Temple, who is an absolute pleasure to watch on her show. She chose a fantastic episode to submit, one that shows her exploring changing relationships with three different characters: Jamie, Roy, and Rebecca. The only trouble is that she’s nominated against her costar Waddingham, who to this point has won most of the prizes she’s contended for. A Temple win isn’t out of the question, but it’s much less likely than Waddingham.

Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton, Ted Lasso (All Apologies)
This is Waddingham’s first Emmy nomination. She’s already won most of the awards she’s been up for, including the Critics Choice Association prize. She’s a strong presence on her show and does a great job with the material, and that’s absolutely true in the her submitted episode, where she deals with a long-kept secret and its impacts on her relationships. I think it’s a fantastic vehicle to catapult Waddingham to a win.

Who should win (based on entire season): Einbinder, Temple, or Waddingham
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Einbinder, Temple, or Waddingham
Who will win: I feel like Waddingham is far enough out in front, but it’s possible that any of these women could end up winning.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

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.

Carl Clemons-Hopkins as Marcus Vaughn, Hacks (New Eyes)
Clemons-Hopkins was a lovely and unexpected addition to this Emmy field, the kind of supporting player who usually goes unnoticed but is vital to the show’s functioning and success. The first-time nominee often gets to be the one reacting to other people being over-the-top, but in their submitted episode, Marcus pursues a relationship in an entertaining way. I’m not sure he can compete with the rest of this group, but he would be a fun and surprising choice if voters love his show and don’t want to pick between actors from the same show.

Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent, Ted Lasso (All Apologies)
Goldstein is a first-time nominee, and, I’d argue, the most prominent of the four men from his show in this category. His Roy is hilariously angry all the time, and it’s fun to see him see the consequences of that rage and work on it with his coach in his submitted episode. I think Goldstein has a big enough part to stay ahead of his costars and net the win, especially since he’s barely been rewarded for this performance yet.

Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard, Ted Lasso (Two Aces)
Hunt was previously nominated for writing the 2015 Super Bowl Special, and this year adds four nominations to his record, with two writing bids and a producing credit joining this one. He’s a great part of the show, always deadpan in everything he says, and it’s good to see him nominated, especially after I had the chance to interview him earlier this year. The problem is that I didn’t mention him at all in his submitted episode, and even though he might have some fun material related to ghosts haunting the locker room, it’s not substantial enough for him to have any likelihood of winning.

Nick Mohammed as Nate Shelley, Ted Lasso (Make Rebecca Great Again)
This is the first Emmy nomination for the delightful Mohammed, who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently about this show and his other TV projects. I’ve said before that he’s the most endearing character on the show next to Ted, and in his submitted episode, that’s even truer, as he is finally encouraged to give feedback that no one has ever asked him for before that. Maybe it’s possible that voters will choose his likeable kit man over the aggressive star player?

Paul Reiser as Martin Schneider, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 18. You only give me your funny paper)
Reiser has ten previous nominations, six for acting and four for producing “Mad About You,” but this is his first time contending in twenty-two years. He looks much, much older thanks to his makeup and hairstyle, but his performance is full of enthusiasm. He’s an endearing character who, in his submitted episode, has to contend with boundaries and generational conflicts in his new family. Given that he’s never won an Emmy before, it’s very possible that Reiser wins here, especially since his show isn’t likely to triumph in other categories.

Jeremy Swift as Leslie Higgins, Ted Lasso (Biscuits)
Swift earns his first Emmy nomination for a delightful performance as the well-meaning operations director who takes a lot of abuse from those around him. It’s easy to find Higgins likeable, and it’s a great performance, but, like Hunt, I can’t find any mention of Higgins in my review of the show’s second episode. I’m sure he has some great interactions with both Rebecca and Ted, but for now, he’ll have to settle for his nomination given the size and nature of his role.

Kenan Thompson as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Dave Chappelle)
Thompson is a double nominee this year, also contending for his lead performance in his NBC sitcom “Kenan.” This is his third consecutive bid for “Saturday Night Live,” and he also has two previous nominations, one of which resulted in a win, for music and lyrics on the show. Thompson is a prominent player in a lot of show’s sketches, but his submitted episode doesn’t give him in the way of noteworthy opportunities, particularly in comparison to last year. It would be a surprise to see him win this year, especially with his nominated costar in the mix…

Bowen Yang as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Carey Mulligan)
Yang, nominated for an Emmy two years for writing on his show, earns his first acting bid this year. Yang is the first featured player to earn an Emmy nomination, which shows just how beloved he is. I wasn’t very familiar with him but did see his appearance as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, which, from what I understand, is what earned him this nomination. Given his ability to get nominated in the first place, a win seems distinctly possible too.

Who should win (based on entire season): Goldstein or Reiser
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Goldstein, Clemons-Hopkins, Mohammed, or Reiser
Who will win: It might be Yang or Reiser, but I think Goldstein will win.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

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

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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

Anthony Anderson as Dre Johnson, Black-ish (What About Gary

This is the seventh consecutive nomination for Anderson, who has his show nominated again in the top race after a two-year absence. While he does have longevity going for him, he’ll likely have to wait for the next and final eighth season to truly compete. That said, his episode is a fun one that allows him the chance to cycle through his white cousin’s sudden interest in racial justice, a topic that should feel relevant for many viewers.

Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 20. The round toes, of the high shoes)
This is Douglas’ third consecutive nomination for this role. Previously, he won an Emmy in 2013 for “Behind the Candelabra” and was previously nominated once for guesting on “Will and Grace” and three times for starring in “The Streets of San Francisco” in the 1970s. His show is now done after three seasons, and I’m glad that he submitted this solid showcase rather than the series finale. I don’t think he can beat Jason Sudeikis, but a career win for Douglas wouldn’t be all that shocking (or undeserved, in my opinion).

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, Shameless (Father Frank, Full of Grace)
Macy returns to this category after a two-year absence for his sixth bid for the show. He has seven additional previous nominations, and trophies for acting and writing in 2002’s “Door to Door.” I’m a big fan of Macy’s and his show, but it is hard to believe that, in its eleven years, he’s one of the only performers to be recognized. The series finale gives him a great chance to be both his over-the-top self and a bit nostalgic, but I don’t think the show has enough support for him to manage a win.

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, Ted Lasso (Pilot)
Sudeikis is a four-time Emmy nominee this year, contending here, for producing his show, and for writing two different episodes, including the pilot. Submitting the first episode of the show makes sense given how instantly beloved he is, and I don’t see anything going against Sudeikis for this win. He’s already picked up prizes from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Critics Choice Association. An Emmy is definitely next.

Kenan Thompson as Kenan Williams, Kenan (Flirting)
Thompson is a double nominee this year, having earned his third consecutive bid for “Saturday Night Live.” He also has two previous nominations, one of which resulted in a win, for music and lyrics on that show. This bid, for his NBC sitcom, feels like him riding his reputation in a weak year, since neither his show nor his performance are particularly funny. His episode submission is more awkward than anything else, and I don’t see him competing strongly in this field.

Who should win (based on entire season): Sudeikis
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Sudeikis or Douglas
Who will win: This one is locked: it’s Sudeikis.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series