Predicting the 2016 Emmy Nominees (Part II) – Comedy

The comedy landscape for television has changed immensely in the last year. While longtime running favorites like The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are still on-air, there was a void left by the NBC triumvirate of Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office. 

Consider that void filled by HBO and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix has produced binge-worthy hit-after-hit with original programming like Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace & Frankie while Amazon has made their mark with their award winning shows, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. Meanwhile, ABC has stuck to the “comedy about a family” formula with some success, churning out shows like Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, and The Goldbergs. 

Predicting comedy categories is tough because comedy is so subjective, but there shouldn’t be too many supporting actor/actress categories filled with players from the same show. There’s plenty of talent out there deserving recognition, and I hope my guesses pan out to show it.

<< Part I – Drama

Outstanding Comedy Series

 

Veep (HBO)

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Coming off 5 big Emmy wins a year ago, Veep is in full stride. It’s a show, while best watched episode by episode, that you can tune in and and enjoy at any point. In a year where politics and the presidential election is topping our headlines, Veep‘s excellent writing and acting has provided much needed relief and satire for it.

Silicon Valley (HBO)

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I personally feel this is the best comedy on television right now. Every episode exudes the genius of Mike Judge (and I’m not one for hyperbole), and every character offers killer punchline after punchline. As good and popular as Veep is, Silicon Valley is as deserving, if not more worthy of a “Best Comedy” win.

Transparent (Amazon)

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Amazon has proved recently to be an excellent source for original comedy. Their tentpole, or at least the starting flag, is definitely Transparent. Where Veep hits the topical political satire, Transparent is at the forefront of representing the LGBT+ community and does so better than anyone else.

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)

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I’ll admit, I hadn’t checked out Mozart in the Jungle until after its Golden Globe success this past season. I’m so glad I did though…One of the easiest binge-watches ever with such charming characters and great music. I actually accidentally watched the 2nd season first, because I was new to the Amazon Prime platform, and it was the best mistake I ever made.

Master of None (Netflix)

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Netflix has been producing excellent programming for years now, but Aziz Ansari’s Master of None may have been it’s best true comedy. As funny and well-written as Orange is the New Black is, it’s really a drama. Master of None used an episodic formula that was similar to Louie, but eliminated the standup and awkwardness. Ansari’s storytelling and delivery was very natural and felt real, as were his relationships with characters on the show.

Broad City (Comedy Central)

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Broad City has made waves on Comedy Central for a few years now and the creator/star combo of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson deserve their recognition now. The Writers Guild gave it a “Best Comedy Series” nomination this year which leads me to believe the Emmys aren’t far from doing the same.

Modern Family (ABC)

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Before last year, this category BELONGED to Modern Family. They won “Best Comedy Series” 5 years in a row and the only show to ever pull that off was Frasier, from 1994-98. I believe new programming and other powerhouses have certainly caught up, in terms of content and creativity, but Modern Family is still good for the multiple belly-laughs each episode.

Also Consider:

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

It’s a favorite for many and definitely picks up from the middle to end, but I don’t believe the 2nd season grabbed you like the first. 

Black-ish

Black-ish became more than a half-hour family comedy this year, unafraid to tackle difficult issues in “special” episodes that haven’t been pulled off in years. 

Grace and Frankie

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson’s second season of relationship breaking and building was even better than the first. Sam Elliott as a love interest doesn’t hurt either. 

Outstanding Lead Actress

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

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There’s not much you can say when JLD has won this category four years in a row.

Gina Rodriguez, ‘Jane the Virgin’ (CW)

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Gina Rodriguez wasn’t nominated last year, after winning the Golden Globe for her role in the same same season. Her work on Jane The Virgin brought some serious legitimacy to the CW, and a nomination would right the wrong that was made a year ago for not recognizing it.

Rachel Bloom, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ (CW)

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Also giving the CW more credibility is Rachel Bloom, who won the Golden Globe this in the same category. The comedy/musical-hybrid series is much more of a delight than the title suggests and it’s carried by Bloom, whose character is as dynamic as any in the field.

Amy Schumer, ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ (Comedy Central)

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If have no problem saying that Amy Schumer’s brand of sketch comedy is doing laps around Saturday Night Live, and her show continues to do so its 4th season.

Ellie Kemper, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Netflix)

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All you need:

Constance Wu, ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ (ABC)

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While I’m still not very keen on the title of this show, Constance Wu is the anchor of this 90’s based comedy from ABC. The sooner she gets the recognition for it, the better.

Also Consider:

 

Lily Tomlin, ‘Grace and Frankie’

It’s very likely Lily Tomlin will taking a spot from anyone above. 

 

Ilana Glazer, ‘Broad City’

Yas…

Abbi Jacobson, ‘Broad City’

…Queen.

Outstanding Lead Actor

 

Jeffery Tambor, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)

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After winning a year ago, it’s easy to assume Jeffrey Tambor will be nominated again for his lead role in one of the most brilliantly titled programs on Television.

Gael Garcia Bernal, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)

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Gael Garcia Bernal’s character, Rodrigo, is one of the most fascinating and lovable ones on television. He oozes with a passion and love for his craft and orchestra that almost inspires the viewer…or at least makes you continue binge-watching his show.

Will Forte, ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (FOX)

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Will Forte took a concept that nobody knew could make it past the first pilot, and turned it into an a creative world that nobody expected. Post SNL/MacGruber life has been very good to him.

Aziz Ansari, ‘Master of None’ (Netflix)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 4.52.22 PM

As mentioned before, Aziz’s delivery in Masters of None is incredibly natural and previous Parks and Recreation fans a much chiller side than Tom Haverford ever had.

Thomas Middleditch, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)

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What Rami Malek does for Mr. Robot, Thomas Middleditch sort of does for Silicon Valley. While not needing to carry the show of a great supporting cast, he still nails the introverted mad genius thing. He also handles most social situations like many of us would probably like to admit.

Jim Parsons, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (CBS)

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Jim Parsons didn’t receive a nomination last year, but won 4 out of the 6 years before. For as long as Big Bang Theory continues to run, Sheldon Cooper remains to be the most interesting part of the show. In this past season, we saw him develop well beyond the way he had before and that should bode well for Parsons come nomination time.

Also Consider:

 

Andy Daly, ‘Review’

Awesome and underrated concept show on Comedy Central, where Andy Daly plays a sweet and lovable character…forced to do horrible things.

Bruce Campbell, ‘Ash vs. Evil’

Fans of the cult classic franchise were not disappointed by the sequel series. Not one bit. 

Billy Eichner, ‘Difficult People’

Because we all want to see Billy Eichner with a chance to win. He’s America’s sweetheart.

Outstanding Supporting Actress

 

Anna Chlumsky, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.52.07 PM

Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, castmate Ann Chlumsky is regular nominee. Unlike JLD, she hasn’t won yet. It’s a ridiculously tough category, but her performances consistently warrant a win.

Allison Janney, ‘Mom’ (CBS)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.54.29 PM

Alison Janney is a TV Powerhouse. She has 6 Emmy wins from 3 different roles (The West Wing, Masters of Sex, and Mom). She’s the reigning champ for now and it will be interesting to see if she can repeat.  

Julie Bowen, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.57.55 PM

Julie Bowen has come a long way since Happy Gilmore…Her 2 Emmy wins and nominations for each of the past 6 years is a serious testament to her work and role on Modern Family. 

Sofia Vergara, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)

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Sofia Vergara hasn’t been nominated since 2013, but she still delivers the biggest punchlines on Modern Family.

Judith Light, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)

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Tambor and Bradley Whitford won Emmys a year ago and it’s time for Judith Light to join her castmates in nominations, at the very least.

Chelsea Peretti, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.07.03 PM

Chelsea Peretti is considered more of a darkhorse contender, but she’s a huge reason I tune into Brooklyn Nine-Nine as often as I can. I would also be most interested in hearing an acceptance speech from her than anyone else.

Also Consider:

Kate MicKinnon, ‘Saturday Night Live’

I imagine she’ll be nominated over at least 2 of the above hopefuls, because she’s the best thing Saturday Night Live has going. 

Mayim Bialik, ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Like Sheldon Cooper, you can never count out Amy Farafaler.

Amanda Peete, ‘Togetherness’

Although Togetherness is no longer on the air, Amanda Peete was great on it and needs something better to talk about Late Night talk shows than her husband’s work on Game of Thrones. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor

Tony Hale, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

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Despite never being nominated for his awesome work as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, Tony Hale has done very well for himself on Veep with 2 wins in the last 3 years. His character, Gary Walsh, is the ultimate kiss-ass and has been key for years of awesome punchlines.

T.J. Miller, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)

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TJ Miller is having a very awesome run of late, scoring big in Deadpool and being casted in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of ‘Ready Player One’. As Silicon Valley continues to rack up critical acclaim, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear his name called when nominees are announced. His Erlich Bachman character continues to evolve and surprise audiences, episode to episode.

Louie Anderson, ‘Baskets’ (FX)

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As a former producer who was flaked out on by Louie Anderson for a radio interview, it takes a lot for me to say he was brilliant on Baskets as Zach Galifianakis’ mother…He really was. It would be a great story to recognize the veteran comedian’s comeback too.

Ty Burrell, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC) 

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Ty Burrell has become an institution when it comes to Emmys and Modern Family. From the pilot thru 7 seasons of the ABC comedy, his energy and performance has lasted like the Energizer Bunny. The category would feel a little empty without him.

Andre Braugher, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)

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Nobody does straight-face/deadpan better than Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Malcolm McDowell, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)

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Whether it’s a Rob Zombie film, a TNT bro comedy (Franklin & Bash) or series about the New York symphony orchestra, Malcom McDowell brings such a fun fascination and elegance to whatever he’s working on. Playing the old maestro trying to finish his masterpiece in Mozart in the Jungle, McDowell is a big reason I couldn’t turn this show off for an entire weekend.

Also Consider:

Titus Burgess, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Voters love Titus Burgess and with good reason. I have no doubt he’ll replace one of my favorites above.

 

Tim Robbins, ‘The Brink’ 

One of the most underrated performances in the last year. Tim Robbins made The Brink appointment television for me last summer.

Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, ‘Key and Peele’

These are the funniest people on TV and should great as much credit as possible for the great work they did on their now former sketch show.

Stay Tuned for “Part III – Limited Series” coming soon. Checkout Part I (Drama) here.

Follow for more on Facebook or Twitter. You can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

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TV Character Madness: Round 1 – Part II

<< Previously on TV Madness

Some close calls, upsets, and absolute dominance. 

Now for the second half of the Round 1 showdowns.

PiffBracketTV-02 (1)

Matchup #17 (Antiheroes)

(4) Omar Little – The Wire

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vs.

(13) Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul

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Matchup #18 (Comedy)

(8) Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother

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vs.

(9) Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

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Matchup #19 (Sidekicks)

(7) Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

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vs.

(10) Crazy Eyes – Orange is the New Black

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Matchup #20 (Heroes)

(2) Dr. Gregory House – House M.D.

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vs.

(15) Coach Eric Taylor – Friday Night Lights

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Matchup #21 (Antiheroes)

(6) Frank Underwood – House of Cards

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vs.

(11) Ray Donovan – Ray Donovan

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Matchup #22 (Comedy)

(3) Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

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vs.

(14) Selina Meyer – Veep

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Matchup #23 (Sidekicks)

(1) Dwight Schrute – The Office

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vs.

(16) Gary Walsh – Veep

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Matchup #24 (Heroes)

(5) Jack Bauer – 24

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vs.

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

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Matchup #25 (Comedy)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

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vs.

(13) Tina Belcher – Bob’s Burgers

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Matchup #26 (Antiheroes)

(8) Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal

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vs.

(9) Vic Mackey – The Shield

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Matchup #27 (Heroes)

(7) Jimmy McNulty – The Wire

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vs.

(10) The Doctor – Doctor Who

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Matchup #28 (Sidekicks)

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

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vs.

(15) John Watson – Sherlock

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Matchup #29 (Comedy)

(6) Dr. Frasier Crane

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vs.

(11) Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

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Matchup #30 (Antiheroes)

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

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vs.

(14) Thomas Shelby – Peaky Blinders

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Matchup #31 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

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vs.

(16) Mal Reynolds – Firefly

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Matchup #32 (Sidekicks)

(5) Joey Tribbiani – Friends

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vs.

(12) Saul Berenson – Homeland

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Round 2 begins Saturday, March 19th. Hear our breakdown of the bracket on the latest Piffcast.

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next on TV Madness >>

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

Pairing Beer With TV Shows

A Friday night spent with Netflix, instead of at a bar, is becoming more and more socially acceptable…and I love it.

I love television

I also love a good beer and have been more conscientious about what I drink while watching TV. No, not by moderating my drinking or counting the calories, but by drinking a brew that fits well with what I’m viewing.

Here are some recommendations I have for beers to pair with your favorite shows, whether they are running live, in reruns, or waiting for you to binge watch on Netflix…These suggestions are based on themes, characters, settings, and the overall mood you get from watching the show.

If you have your own recommendations (You will. Everybody does.) feel free to Tweet them to @Mike_PiFF03.

The Office

 

“Gonna go home, get my beer on, get my Lost on. What are you doing later? You wanna hang out?” – Andy to Michael Scott

Ever since May 16th, 2013, The Office has served as a perfect pick-me-up for fans who need a Jim Halpert wink at the camera or a Michael Scott one-liner. If you think about it, The Office is almost like a great beer after work, in that sense. It helps you forget about work while ironically taking place in an office.

  • Based on location, my first thought was Yuengling. Scranton, PA is only an hour and a half from Pottsville, PA, where the Yuengling brewery is.
  • Lionshead Deluxe Pilsner from Lion Brewery is actually a very fitting choice. It’s a standard American Lager Crisp, which would make it refreshing after a long day at the office or even have at your desk (if you have one of those “cool boss” environments). And it’s only a 4.5% ABV, suitable for the binge watching occasions.

dwight-lionshead

Parks and Recreation

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to endorse 10 beers into my mouth…because this has been an incredibly stressful day.” – Leslie Knope

Similar to The Office, Parks and Recreation is an excellent pick-me-up show. UnlikeThe Office, Parks is a bit more worldly than what happens at the workplace. Each character brings their own dynamic, especially when it comes to booze. From sage drinking advice from Ron Swanson to how NOT to consume alcohol, despite Tom Haverford’s best efforts….

  • The beer that consistently made “cameo” appearances throughout the series appropriately comes from IndianaUpland Brewery has a number of brews on their list that seem to pair nicely like the Barrel Chested Barleywine and the Campside Session IPA. The Easy Chair Amber Ale seems like the best pair for sitting back and enjoying multiple episodes, given its 5.3% ABV and the fact it matches Andy Dwyer’s hair color.

Burt Macklin

Big Bang Theory

“The only thing I’ve learned in the last two hours is that American men love drinking beer, pee too often, and have trouble getting erections…I’m just saying, maybe if you people cut back on the beer, you could get out of the bathroom and satisfy your women without pharmaceutical help.” – Rajesh Koothrappali

Love it or hate it, Big Bang Theory is the highest rated comedy currently running. It is also an excellent outlet for geeks who enjoy snappy comebacks that involve Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and comic book references…and Kaley Cuoco. I have come up with a pair of beers that would have certainly helped early-series Raj find the confidence to talk to women.

Raj six pack

  • Brewed specifically for Chicago’s Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Galaxy-Hero IPA from Revolution Brewing is described as a “raygun blast of Galaxy and Zythos hops into your mouth for a crisp, dry finish.” I can attest to this…Bazinga.
  • And speaking of Galaxy hops, the Galactic Double Pale Ale from Daisy Cutter pairs nicely and will help you get through the next time Leonard blows it with Penny.

Silicon Valley

“Did you just sip from an empty cup?…Why did you do that?” – Peter Gregory to Richard

I love Silicon Valley. It’s new, it’s original, and most importantly…it’s hilarious. And if you’ve worked for a startup and possibly in tech, you’re nodding your head A LOT…Silicon Valley is one episode away from wrapping up its 2nd season, so what drink works best for the finale?

One beer and one beer only comes to mind that would take care of you for a half hour of Mike Judge’s smart and tastefully crude humor.

  • Like “Pied Piper”, Not Your Father’s Root Beer beer from Small Town Brewery is innovative, it’s sweet, and it works fast with ABVs ranging from 10% to 19.5%. Perfect for a half hour episode and it’s up and coming, just like Pied Piper.

How doe it tast Silicon Valley

Game of Thrones

“Drinking and lust…No man can match me in these things.” – Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones is as complex and layered a show as you’ll find on television today. So many characters and storylines with moving pieces, you can’t help but theorize and contemplate what will happen next…

  • While it’s easy to go with any of Ommegang Brewery’s Game of Thrones themed brews (Iron Throne Blonde Ale, Fire and Blood Amber Ale, Three Eyed Raven Saison), which are all very good and fitting…I recommend another Ommegang brew.
  • The Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale has all the layers and flavors that fit Game of Thrones perfectly

The Walking Dead

“Your first drink ain’t gonna be no damn schnapps.” – Daryl to Beth

There really isn’t much time for having a drink during the zombie apocalypse. If we recall, booze can get people killed (Looking at you, Bob!). One thing I DON’T recommend doing is eating dinner while watching The Walking Dead. But while Rick Grimes and his people can’t enjoy a cold one, you certainly can.

  • A personal favorite of mine and extremely appropriate to the Walking Dead theme would be Zombie Dust from Three Floyds. Described on the brewery’s website as a “gushing undead Pale Ale that will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry.” An ABV of 6.2% also makes having a six pack during a good binge watch leading up to season 6 more than alright.

True Detective

“…sorry, I drift… sometimes when I’ve had a few, that’s why I like to drink alone, one of the reasons anyway.” – Rust Cohle

You’re not drinking alone, Rust. At least not while we’re watching…The incredible anthology series is so close to premiering its highly anticipated second season, unfortunately without either Matthew McConaughey or Woody Harrelson.

Marty Middle Finger

The new cast includes Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch. From the promos we’ve seen the last couple months, Farrell seems like the “best” drinking buddy of the bunch, but we’ll find out more later.

  • Raise your hand if you recently ordered a Lone Star because that’s what Rust Cohle would do? I wouldn’t blame you if you killed a six-pack while binge watching the first season preparing for the second.
  • With the show’s setting moving to southern California, I recommend going with a personal favorite of mine from the region. Sculpin from Ballast Point has one of the best finishes I’ve had drinking an IPA. “…hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.” Sounds like any True Detective character.

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black Beer pairing

I’m going to be honest, this one is a real challenge. The ladies are in prison and not really drinking much throughout the series…because they’re in prison.

However, you’re likely going to have a glass filled while binge watching Season 3, which premiers Friday, June 12th on Netflix. Yep, I already know what you’re doing with your Friday night.

  • Wine might be the more popular drinking companion for many of you while watching OITNB, so perhaps a great Barleywine will do. Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine is a bittersweet malt but packed with flavor to carry you through a good 3 episodes of the show.
  • If Barleywine isn’t your jam, I recommend a theme worthy sour called “Troublesome” from Off Color Brewing in Chicago. It has a nice lemon finish that’s perfect for those of you who want to bring your laptop outside to watch OITNB on the patio in summer time.

These are just a few favorite shows of mine and probably yours. If you have some more TV shows in mind, Tweet me @Mike_PiFF03 and I’ll try to pair it with another beer for you. 

Piff’s Picks: The 66th Primetime Emmys

The VMA’s may have taken place last night but for me, the Emmys mark the true start of Award season. (No offense to MTV…wait, all offense to MTV). The Emmys are a celebration of America’s favorite pass time, Television. This is an evening to remind us why we keep coming back for more, week-to-week. Performances that keep us up late at night, binge watching full seasons because we can’t get enough. Storytelling that forces a society hung up on technology to put the phone down.

Tonight’s Emmys, as much as any, boast a field of nominees that would kill in any other year. Unfortunately, only one nominee can win from each category. Looking at a few of the major categories, I’ll make my picks to win and trust me…it won’t be easy.

 

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – 2014

– Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison (Homeland)

– Robin Wright as Claire Underwood (House of Cards)

– Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawly (Downton Abbey)

– Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson (Masters of Sex)

– Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope (Scandal)

– Juliana Margulies as Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife)

Winner: Robin Wright

Why: House of Cards is one of the few shows that you don’t have to wait week-to-week for every episode, thanks to Netflix. In season 2, we see the rise of Spacey’s Francis Underwood continue in true anti-hero fashion. Instead of the typical push back for morality that you see in other series, Frank’s persona is fueled by his better half, Claire. Robin Wright’s portrayal of Claire Underwood is Godfather-esque. She is complicated, shrewd, compelling, sexy, and terrifying all at once…and I love it.

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

– Bryan Cranston as Walter White (Breaking Bad)

– Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood (House of Cards)

– Jon Hamm as Don Draper (Mad Men)

– Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy (Newsroom)

– Woody Harrelson as Marty Hart (True Detective)

– Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle (True Detective)

Winner: Matthew McConaughey

Why: This is the toughest category of the night, and it’s more than the two-man race that most people are calling it. Jon Hamm RESURRECTED Don Draper and I believe he will get his due next year when Mad Men finally wraps up. Bryan Cranston has an opportunity to tie Dennis Franz for the most Lead Actor wins with 4, and is more than deserving after giving Walter White his much deserved final bow. But the performance McConaughey gave was too good to deny. The True Detective audience felt every emotion possible while following Rust Cohle track down the “Yellow King” and I think his partner, Marty Hart, put it best:

“You are like the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch.”

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Anna Gunn as Skyler White (Breaking Bad)

– Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess of Grantham/Violet (Downton Abbey)

– Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates (Downton Abbey)

– Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)

– Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris (Mad Men)

– Christine Baranski as Dianne Lockart (The Good Wife)

Winner: Anna Gunn

Why: The final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad were a roller coaster like no other and that was thanks to the raw human emotion we found in its characters, especially Skyler White. Anna Gunn ended Maggie Smith’s reign of terror in the category last year and rightfully so. That level of performance did not waiver in the follow up and that’s why Gunn seems like the clear winner. If there is an upset candidate, it’s Lena Headey who received her first nomination. Cersei is the Queen we love to hate, and she made the most of her appearances this season on Game of Thrones.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

– Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad)

– Jim Carter as Mr. Carson (Downton Abbey)

– Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)

– Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson (Homeland)

– Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan (Ray Donovan)

– Josh Charles as Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

Winner: Aaron Paul

Why: This is another loaded category for Drama actors and further evidence to how good TV has been in recent years. Game of Thrones fans are going to get firmly behind their champion, Peter Dinklage, and they should. Tyrion Lannister was about as punk rock a character as you could find in the Thrones 4th season. Mandy Patinkin is good in everything. EVERYTHING. Saul Berenson was why I watched Homeland last year. And Jon Voight’s Mickey Donovan is always a party. But when we talk about someone “leaving it all on the field”, that was Aaron Paul in the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad. Jesse Pinkman will forever be one of TV’s great characters and I can say that without hesitation because of the effort Paul gave over the course of the entire series. “Yeah, bitch!”

 

Outstanding Drama Series 

– Breaking Bad (AMC)

– Downton Abbey (PBS)

– Game Of Thrones (HBO)

– House of Cards (Netflix)

– Mad Men (AMC)

– True Detective (HBO)

Winner: Breaking Bad

Why: You’ve heard it for months now. Breaking Bad or True Detective? While I do think that will be the case tonight, I think credit is due for Mad Men. By giving it the Breaking Bad treatment, splitting the final season into two separate 8-episode runs, I get the feeling Don Draper and his colleagues will be popping a lot of champagne next year. True Detective really is a mini-series, an open-and-closed case that heightened our senses for each one of its 8 episodes. That won’t take away from the show and it shouldn’t. The acting was flawless. But try and remember those feelings you had watching the end of Breaking.

Some may call it a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for Vince Gillian, but it’s much more than that. You were sucked into the story, hanging onto its every word and genuinely scared of how it will end. True Detective vs. Breaking Bad is really “Good Guys vs. Bad Guys”…and this time, it’s good to be Bad.

 

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

– Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath (Girls)

– Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn (Mike & Molly)

– Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton (Nurse Jackie)

– Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman (Orange is the New Black)

– Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)

– Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer (Veep)

Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Why: I won’t deny it, I am actually rooting for Amy Poehler here. 12 nominations and nothing to show for it? That’s not right. Being the central character for one of TVs true comedies needs to be awarded before its end. Critics LOVE Julia Louis-Dreyfus though and why not? Veep is sharp as hell and Louis-Dreyfus fits her role as well as anybody could. However, I’ve learned to not count anyone out ever again after the Jeff Daniels upset of 2013. That was awesome.

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Ricky Gervais as Derek (Derek)

– Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)

– Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan (House of Lies)

– Louis C.K. as Louie (Louie)

– William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher (Shameless)

– Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

Winner: Ricky Gervais

Why? I think most people assume Jim Parsons is taking home his 4th Emmys win. I’d vote for him too…if I hadn’t seen Derek. Derek is a show that will make you laugh, cry, laugh again, then repeat every episode. Ricky Gervais’ title character is the sole reason for that, and that could be enough to dethrone Sheldon Cooper.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

– Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy (Modern Family)

– Allison Janney as Bonnie (Mom)

– Kate Mulgrew as Red (Orange Is The New Black)

– Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

– Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler (The Big Bang Theory)

– Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer (Veep)

Winner: Kate Mulgrew

 Why: Critics love Allison Janney. I don’t. If I can’t watch you show (because I didn’t like it), then I can’t pick you. Kate Mulgrew may be getting discounted because of how “new” OINTB is, but I don’t think that will be the case tonight. Red is a character that owns the room every scene she is in. I have trouble saying that about the other characters in this category (and Kate McKinnon in general).

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

– Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

– Adam Driver as Adam Sackler (Girls)

– Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy (Modern Family)

– Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitch Pritchett (Modern Family)

– Fred Armisen (Portlandia)

– Tony Hale as Gary Walsh (Veep)

Winner: Ty Burrell

Why: Phil Dunphy. That is all.

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

– Louie (FX)

– Modern Family (ABC)

– Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

– Silicon Valley (HBO)

– The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

– Veep (HBO) 

Winner: Modern Family

This category can go in many directions. Orange Is The New Black and Veep have a ton of momentum going into the night with boatloads of nominations. Big Bang Theory is still getting the best ratings of any comedy on TV. Louie feels like it’s on the cusp of winning and Silicon Valley is a show that should put everyone on upset alert. But Modern Family continues to be the comedy I can’t wait for week-to-week, with a guaranteed belly laugh every episode. If Modern Family wins tonight, the show will tie Frasier for winning 5 straight “Best Comedy” Emmys in its first 5 years.

 

If you’re keeping score, follow along tonight on Twitter @Mike_Piff03 and we can have some fun at Hollywood’s expense.