A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Game of Thrones’ from Samuel L. Jackson

Game of Thrones scored big Thursday with 23 Emmys nominations, the most of any television show this year.

Hearing such news may make you interested in binge watching the entire badass 6th season, which we did weekly power rankings for this year. Maybe you want to start from the very beginning, when Ned Stark as making examples of deserters and Daenerys had a jerk brother. Perhaps you’re one of the very brand new people to the wild world of Westeros all together…

Fear not, young Thrones n00b (that’s gamer speak, I think), Samuel L. Jackson has you covered.

 

He’s not necessarily reciting Ezekiel 25:17 like in Pulp Fiction, or telling you why they called him Mr. Glass, but he’s doing us all a great favor by giving one of the biggest shows on television the Snakes on a Plane treatment.

For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

Piffcast: The Legend of Zelda and Cody Gough

Following the big news and exciting events from E3 2016 in Los Angeles, Cody Gough joined the show to discuss all the gaming highlights and lowlights. He tells you why Nintendo and Zelda blew everyone away, how he got into gaming, the consoles he grew up with and much more. You can hear Cody on WGN Radio and his podcast, ‘Game/Life Balance U.S.‘ (14:16 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

 

TJ and Michael also get into Fitbits, Wisconsin hangouts, illegal fireworks, Seinfeld tidbits, chord cutting, possible Emmy nominees and news on our “special” episode next week!

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

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!

The 2015 Emmys Nominations and My Way Too Early Picks

The 67th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced Thursday morning and without Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul or Anna Gunn to be seen, the “Post-Breaking Bad” Era has officially begun.

Cranston speechless gif

This year, the Emmys recognize the best programs and performances on both television and streaming services between June 1st, 2014 and May 31st, 2015. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” leads the field with 24 nominations.

Along with the official list of nominees, I’ll make my WAY TOO EARLY picks to win. During the week of the actual awards show, September 20th, I’ll revisit the picks, see if my mind has changed, and further explain my picks.

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

(This may flip to Mad Men for Final Season)

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 

Who are you pulling for this year? Let me on Facebook or Twitter.

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.