Emmys 2015 Picks: Mine and Yours

With the Emmys airing this Sunday, September 20th (at 7 PM CDT), the Television Academy will answer so many questions we’ve had since the nominations were announced 2 months ago…

Will Better Call Saul pick up where Breaking Bad left off? 

Do Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler finally get their due? 

Which show gets more love after airing their final episodes, Mad Men or The Newsroom? 

WHY DOES EVERYONE ON AMERICAN HORROR STORY GET NOMINATED? 

We may never know about that last one, but we can make our predictions anyway! I’ve stuck to most of my WAY TOO EARLY picks from the summer, but you can cast your votes for each category.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Louie
  • Modern Family
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep

My Pick: Parks and Recreation

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Homeland

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Late Show
  • Tonight Show

My Pick: Late Show, Letterman’s farewell was too good.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • Drunk History
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key & Peele
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live

My Pick: Key & Peele

Outstanding Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story Freak Show
  • Olive Kitteridge
  • The Honorable Woman
  • Wolf Hall

My Pick: Olive Kitteridge

Outstanding Animated Program

  • Archer
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park

My Pick: Archer

Outstanding Lead Actor in A Drama Series

  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

My Pick: Jon Hamm, although it’s a two man race with Jeff Daniels 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

My Pick: Robin Wright

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards

My Pick: Jonathan Banks

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Uzo Aduba

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Alan Alda, The Blacklist
  • Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
  • F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
  • Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
  • Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
  • Pablo Schreiber, Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Pablo Schreiber

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
  • Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards
  • Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
  • Khandi Alexander, Scandal
  • Margo Martindale, The Americans

My Pick: Diana Rigg

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

My Pick: Will Forte

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

My Pick: Amy Poehler

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Andrew Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Adam Driver, Girls
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Tony Hale, Veep

My Pick: Ty Burrell

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Niecy Nash, Getting On
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Gaby Hoffman, Transparent
  • Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep

My Pick: Kate McKinnon

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Mel Brooks, The Comedians
  • Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  • Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
  • Bradley Whitford, Transparent
  • Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Jon Hamm

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Girls
  • Pamela Adlon, Louie
  • Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
  • Joan Cusack, Shameless
  • Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
  • Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Pamela Adlon 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Adrien Brody, Houdini
  • Ricky Gervais, Derek
  • Timothy Hutton, American Crime
  • Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
  • David Oyelowo, Nightengale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

My Pick: David Oyelowo

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime Story
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
  • Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd

My Pick: Frances McDormand

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Richard Cabral, American Crime
  • Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
  • Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall

My Pick: Bill Murray

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Mo’Nique, Bessie
  • Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge

My Pick: Regina King 

Share your picks and tell your friends to do the same on Facebook and Twitter!

September 2015 TV Premieres and What To Watch

Ready your DVRs! 

Fall TV is coming. While you still have to wait another month for big premieres like Homeland, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Fargo…

(“…very friendly people”)

…but September is no slouch for new Television. After this week, CBS will be leading off big for Late Night TV lovers and it only gets better from there. 

September 8th

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

Stephen Colbert Late Show Premiere

10:35 PM CDT

The table is set for Stephen Colbert, who takes over for Davide Letterman at The Late Show. The Tuesday premiere schedule is pretty thin as is, and all eyes will be on Colbert to see how he transitions from his Comedy Central character and takes on the likes of Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel in that time slot.

For me, it’s a breath of fresh air after the disappointing showing so far from Colbert’s new CBS teammate, James Corden. I wasn’t expecting the spastic preteen pandering that Corden’s Late Late Show was going to bring. It’s a long “ughhhh” when you go from Craig Ferguson and his “Don’t give a shit” brand of comedy to…sing-a-longs with Justin Bieber. 

Here’s the slate of guests to look forward to with Colbert when the new Late Show kicks off. 

Tuesday: George Clooney, Jeb Bush and band leader Jon Baptiste with special musical guests

Wednesday: Scarlet Johansson, Elon Musk and Kendrick Lamar

Thursday: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Toby Keith

Friday: Amy Schumer, Stephen King and Troubled Waters

September 9th

The League (FXX)

League FXX

9:00 PM CDT

The 7th season of The League will be it’s last. It’s a show about a Fantasy Football league that only sorta talks about Fantasy Football, which is fine. Every few episodes have their NFL cameos that include Matt Forte, Darren Sproles, JJ Watt, Marshawn Lynch, Jay Cutler, and the “Cameron Jordan & Jordan Cameron” combo that never gets old.

I’ll be honest, I have only watched the show as a Netflix binge watch ever since their move to FXX. It’s a ridiculously quick watch that way. For the final season though, it’ll be worth the effort week-to-week. A lot of familiar faces will be reprising their roles like Rob Riggle, Will Forte, Zach Woods, Ike Barinholtz, Leslie Bibb…and Marshawn Lynch. And don’t forget all the near decade long running jokes between Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, Paul Sheer and Katie Aselton and their quest for THE SHIVA!

September 10th

Longmire (Netflix)

Longmire Netflix

Full Season Available at 12:01 AM

Originally on A&E, Longmire is an excellent fix for fans of both Justified and Hell On Wheels. It’s a modern serial western about a Wyoming county sheriff solving gruesome crimes in both his jurisdiction and the neighboring Cheyenne reservation. Robert Taylor didn’t have much notoriety before playing Walt Longmire, but it seems like the role he was meant to play. Along with Battlestar Galactica and 24 alum Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips takes viewers back to his Young Guns days as Walt’s badass Native American sidekick.

September 13th

Doll & Em

9:30 PM CDT

If you’re having Emily Mortimer withdrawal since The Newsroom went off the air, this may be your fix. This 6 episode sitcom follows the actress and her best friend/assistant Dolly Wells around during their adventures in Hollywood and Broadway. It’s cheeky…Did I use that correctly? 

September 15th

The Mindy Project (Hulu weekly)

Mindy Project Hulu

Best Time Ever w/ Neil Patrick Harris (NBC)

Best Time Ever NBC

9:00 PM CDT

The Bastard Executioner (FX)

9:00 PM CDT

Kurt Sutter’s followup to FX’s highest rated show, Sons of Anarchy, is medieval in every way possible. It’s Game of Thrones with more historical relevance, as it takes place during King Edward III’s reign. Lee Jones has some Chris Hemsworth/Thor to him playing the protagonist Wilkin Brattle. True Blood fans will enjoy Vampire Bill aka Stephen Moyer back in a period piece in a co-starring role. Longtime Sutter enthusiasts will recognize plenty of familiar faces from his SOA and  The Shield  runs, including Katey Sagal and Timothy V. Murphy. 

September 16th

South Park (Comedy Central)

9:00 PM CDT

THIS IS SEASON 19!!! Trey Parker and Matt Stone truly have it made, as they have been renewed through 25 seasons with Comedy Central. It’s fun to speculate which pop culture and political news, issues and events will be parodied in the upcoming season…I’ll throw down some bets for Donald Trump, Star Wars, and Deflategate (they love their football and their Denver Broncos). 

September 19th

Doctor Who (BBC America)

Picture shows:  Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara

8:00 PM CDT

I have to confess…I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who (*ducks*). I guess it’s never too late to start, right? 

September 21st

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Big Bang Theory CBS

7:00 PM CDT

Minority Report (FOX)

Minority Report

8:00 PM CDT

Gotham: Rise of the Villains (FOX)

7:00 PM CDT

I’m not sure if anyone really loved Gotham’s Season 1. Whether it was the campiness of the show or the inconsistent schedule that made you forget it was still on-air…Regardless, all the Batman bad guys you saw in S1 are back for S2…and they are angry. 

September 22nd

NCIS (CBS)

NCIS

7:00 PM CDT

Scream Queens (FOX)

Scream Queens

7:00 PM CDT

The Muppets (ABC)

7:00 PM CDT

It’s the F***’n Muppets…what more do you need? 

September 23rd

The Goldbergs (ABC)

JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE, SEAN GIAMBRONE, HAYLEY ORRANTIA

7:30 PM CDT

Empire (FOX)

Empire

8:00 PM CDT

Modern Family (ABC)

Modern Family S6

8:00 PM CDT

Going into it’s sixth season, Modern Family still guarantees at least one solid belly laugh every episode. 

September 24th

Heroes Reborn (NBC)

7 PM CDT

I understand that Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder  all return that evening, but Heroes is all that matters to me…and many. 

September 28th

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

10:00 PM CDT

By the end of the month, we’ll be comfortable with the new Late Show hosted by Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert…and we’ll finally get to know Trevor Noah better as he heads the post-Jon Stewart era. 

What TV shows are you looking forward to most this Fall? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Time To Exhale: True Detective Season 2 Does and Doesn’t Suck, So Far…

We are three episodes into Nic Pizollato’s followup to the incredible first season story that made the brothers from ‘Edtv’, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, our favorite detective tag team of all-time. Some viewers have jumped off the ledge, some are looking for a reason to hang on, and others aren’t that phased by True Detective Season 2…You can count me in the latter because I’ve suffered through much worse television.

Here’s the part where I warn you that the rest of this is riddled with SPOILERS. Continue at your own risk, if you aren’t caught up on the season. 

shh gif

As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t hate this new season of True Detective. There’s an actual mystery that I find compelling and some performances that I can appreciate. However, there are things worth hating and I understand the frustration and annoyance by fans. Pizzollato told us this would be a completely different story, but I don’t think viewers expected it to be THIS much different. If the first season wasn’t on such a high pedestal, would we care as much?

Trying to separate Season 2 from it’s predecessor, while also analyzing what the first season got right, there are reasons to indeed hate this season and reasons not to.

Why Season 2 Sucks

1. Taylor Kitsch! 

When the cast was finally confirmed, after what seemed like an eternity of speculation, I was actually excited about it. Colin Farrell was the most talented of the bunch. Vince Vaughn could finally get back to being the dark and twisted character actor that he started out as. Rachel McAdams is swell. The only wild card, to me, was Taylor Kitsch…TAYLOR KITSCH HAS BEEN EXCRUTIATING AND PAINFUL.

In 3 episodes, his only meaningful contribution to the story is finding the murder victim that kicked this whole thing off, Ben Caspere. Outside of that, Kitsch’s character has been an awful stereotype of a self-loathing war veteran with some messed up mommy issues and sexuality denial. Every curse word he tries using sounds as forced as when preteens discover swearing.

I don’t know if we’re supposed to feel bad for Officer Paul Woodrugh because of what he’s dealing with, but I have zero investment in him. If Paul doesn’t get interesting soon, I’m going to go back to referring to him as John Carter (not a compliment).

John Carter gif

2. Too Many Moving Pieces

This isn’t Game of Thrones. With twice as many main characters as the first season, we’re getting 4 times as many storylines. Part of Season 1’s charm was its simplicity. The main focus was finding the “Yellow King”, and how the development of the dysfunctional, yet charming, partnership between Rust Cohle and Marty Hart made that happen.

Instead, we’re not only worried about who’s killing off associations to Frank Seymon, but also an investigation into Ray Velcoro and the Vinci police department, Ray’s custody battle for his son, Paul’s stupid drama (which we eluded to earlier), and Ani’s family “cult” connections/porn addiction. Because of the multiple separate storylines, there’s very little chemistry between the characters (besides Ray and Ani) and the plot just drags…

It was episode 4 of Season 1,  “Who Goes There”, where the series set itself apart from everything else.

Will they pull something like the “6 straight minutes of one continuous shot” off again to make all the storylines worthwhile?

3. Cut the Bullshit, Frank.

I thought Vaughn with an organized crime background would be much more interesting than it has been so far. I understand Frank is trying to “go legit” and it’s not the signs of fading or weakness that bother me…It’s the soliloquies in bed and “attempts to speak with a blank stare” that do.

Frank push

I’m convinced, though, that Frank has turned a corner following his reawakening as a violent man. I loved him tearing the nasty gold teeth out of Danny Santos’s mouth and saying “Why would you greet the world like that?”

Frank’s wife, Jordan (played by Kelly Reilly), is a different dynamic and I don’t know what to make of her. Her consistent glares from a distance make you wonder if she has something else at play, besides what’s in Frank’s best interest, or if there really isn’t anything going on up there. I know everyone can’t be Claire Underwood, but that’s the kind of character I wish Jordan was. Frank has appeared needy of a backbone at times. I hope Jordan can be someone who can reinforce it….or completely break it.

4. Hitting 1/3 on Cliffhangers Isn’t a Good Batting Average.

Season 1 was masterful when it came to making you want more after the duration ran out each week…Rust telling investigators to “Ask the right fucking questions” after the first episode. “The Monster at the end of your dream”, Reggie Ledoux, entering the picture before everything goes black…

We’ve only had one of those instances in Season 2, and it was nearly a killer (literally).

Ray shotgunned

I found that ending to be brilliant. People were already swearing off the show because they thought Ray was dead. The speculation was as heated as the ending to Game of Thrones this past season. The follow up episode had kept the vigor going, an excellent chase scene, but they couldn’t end it with momentum. A weird awkward scene between Frank and Jordan to close the episode was as effective as Russell Wilson not handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line in the Super Bowl.

5. NO MORE MUSICAL NUMBERS!!!

The “Conway Twitty Impersonator in Limbo” bit was weird, right?

Conway Twitty TD

I allowed it because it matched with Ray’s bolo tie and I was excited to see Fred Ward as his father. Maybe it’s a theme with the bar, that Ray is in limbo whenever he’s seated in his booth, but I don’t need this show to turn out like American Horror Story has. My biggest complaint (among many) is that AHS turned into Glee for their “Freak Show” season, and that’s not why I tune in. For 3 episodes in a row, a performer has gotten too much screen time on the same stage in the same bar and I hope that changes in Episode 4.

Why Season 2 Doesn’t Suck

1. Ray Velcoro

Ray’s bolo tie puts Philip Rivers to shame, He’s also the most compelling character on the entire show.

Ray Fucks shit up

Ray has a little bit of both Rust and Marty in him. The baggage is evident and clear, as is the cynicism. He also prides himself on being a good detective, despite being morally and legally compromised. It’s hard to not get excited when he turned down a drink in Episode 3, saying “…it takes the edge off. I want to stay angry.”

2. Ray and Ani’s Chemistry

Ani is closest to Ray’s level as a cop, she’s not in anybody’s pocket, and there’s definitely a mutual respect between the two. On a show that LOVES asking unanswered questions, they are forthright with each other and don’t let bullshit get in the way. You would think two cops from different departments with different agendas would have unnecessary drama…That doesn’t seem to be the case yet.

I think most fans are glad Ray is alive so that they don’t have to deal with more Paul than they have to. Looking forward to some Marty & Rust-like banter going forward.

…and hopefully Ray heals up in time to actually catch someone.

3. Nic Pizzolatto’s Writing

None of the characters are made for Rust Cohle’s philosophy lessons (even as much as Frank tries telling dumb rat stories). They don’t have to be. As slow as the show has progressed so far, the dialogue has still been fantastic. Whether it was malicious or not, Pizzolatto’s shots at his former award winning director, Cary Fukunaga, in the scene on-set of a post apocalyptic film were hilarious…and completely passive aggressive.

I also know that everything on the show is deliberate, and everything has a purpose. Like creepy Rick Springfield…

If we go by some of the Season 1 playbook, there’s a lot riding on episode 4 this week. It’s the midway point, and you have to think Pizzolatto has something up his sleeve.

4. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Mystery?

Caspere’s murder has taken the detectives down one hell of a rabbit hole…Sex trade, corruption, weirdos in animal masks…And with one of Frank’s soldiers having a similar fate, one wonders if we’ve already met the killer (sorry, Stan)….It’s tough to jump ship if you were already invested in the mystery itself. Whether you like or dislike each of the characters, everyone is a suspect in this case.

5. The Sprinkling of Classic HBO TV Alums

One of my favorite aspects to Season 1 was seeing some of my favorite actors from my favorite shows make appearances. The Wire’s Clark Peters aka Lester Freeman and Shea Whigham from Boardwalk Empire are a few notable ones, and this season of True Detective hasn’t been any different. Another Wire alum, Michael Hyatt (Brianna Barksdale) has made waves as Ani’s commanding officer. Deadwood fans should recognize Ray’s teammate, W. Earl Brown, who played Dan Dority on the classic western series…now stalking Paul, for some kind of leverage.

But probably THE BIGGEST REASON True Detective Season 2 doesn’t suck…

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 7.28.06 PM

Masuka from Dexter aka C.S. Lee has made his presence known! And that goes a long way in my book…no matter how brief it’s been so far.

Love the show or hate it? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.