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.

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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 >>

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Piffcast: TV Character Madness Bracket – Selection Show

UPDATE: VOTING HAS BEGUN FOR THE 2016 TV CHARACTER MADNESS TOURNAMENT! 

Just a day after the NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday show, The Piffcast announces its own bracket for TV and sports fans alike…

TJ and I reveal the participants of our new TV Character Madness tournament. Voting will begin here on MichaelPiff.com Thursday morning (3/17), as the NCAA Tourney tips off, and YOU will decide who advances toward Television Supremacy.

Also, take a listen for how you can enter our TV Madness Contest and win a Piffcast Prize Pack (Trust us. It’s worth it). Below is the full bracket and you can get copies of your own to fill out on Facebook and Twitter

(Before you freak out about some of your favorites being left out, the bracket goes back to 2000.)

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For a closer look at each region…

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Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here. Again, voting begins Thursday morning, March 17th. Have a favorite character you want to win? Let your friends know, and follow along on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

The 2016 SAG Award Nominations and My Thoughts

The 2016 SAG Award nominations were announced Wednesday morning, and two things struck me:

  1. The Screen Actors Guild LOVED Trumbo, maybe a bit more than me.
  2. I don’t think they’ve seen Fargo yet on FX. Seriously…

This is just one of several award shows (which airs Jan. 30th on TNT and TBS), but it’s one of the few that gauges my interest more than others because it acknowledges both the film and TV world. Here are the nominees and some quick thoughts on each category.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Johnny Depp – Black Mass
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

I really have no problem with this category. I have yet to see Revenant or The Danish Girl, but I don’t doubt the performances of DiCaprio or Redmayne carry their films like the other nominees. If there was someone that I would like to see get more credit, it’s Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in End of the Tour. It didn’t take much transforming, aside from the obvious hair and glasses, but Segel’s performance is as engaging and natural as any from the summer…especially in his interactions with Jesse Eisenberg.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Helen Mirren – Woman In Gold
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back

I can’t get upset about this category because I think it’s Brie Larson’s award to lose, and hers alone. However, I’m surprised Jennifer Lawrence was left out after another highly anticipated David O’Russell  role. Of course the film hasn’t hit theaters yet, so I can’t really talk..Alicia Vikander deserves more love for Ex Machina because she still haunts my dreams for her performance.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room

This category is HEAVY. Even without Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Sylvester Stallone (Creed) or Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), it looks stacked…but I’d like to see them all in it.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren – Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Helen Mirren has 3 nominations here and I’m not sure she’s winning any of them. It will be fun to see what her batting average is though by the night’s end. I would be interested to see what kind of buzz Jennifer Jason Leigh gets after Hateful Eight is released.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Trumbo

Spotlight is my favorite film from this year and it deserves all the good things that come its way. I am surprised both The Martian or Steve Jobs were left out of this category, considering how star studded their casts were. Their performances didn’t disappoint either.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Idris Elba – Luther
  • Ben Kingsley – Tut
  • Ray Liotta – Texas Rising
  • Bill Murray – A Very Murray Christmas
  • Mark Rylance – Wolf Hall

I don’t have many thoughts on this other than (1) Luther rules, (2) I turned off A Very Murray Christmas after 10 minutes and (3) Where is Oscar Isaac for Show Me A Hero. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Nicole Kidman – Grace of Monaco
  • Queen Latifah – Bessie
  • Christina Ricci – The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
  • Susan Sarandon – The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • Kristen Wiig – The Spoils Before Dying

I literally have zero thoughts about this one, because I haven’t seen any of the nominated performances yet.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men
  • Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey – House of Cards

I’m happy to see Rami Malek get props for playing the best introvert on TV, but this is Don Draper’s victory lap and I don’t see anyone getting in his way. I’m also always shocked to not see Mads Mikkelsen ever nominated for Hannibal. I guess that’s for fringe loving types like me.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
  • Robin Wright –House of Cards

Viola Davis has the momentum from the Emmys but I will always maintain that the past two seasons of House of Cards have been great nearly because of Robin Wright as much as Spacey.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell – Modern Family
  • Louis C.K. – Louie
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Modern Family to me is “What Will Phil Dunphy Do Next?” because that’s all I watch for now, but Jeffrey Tambor holding a torch for the transgender community has become way more important.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
  • Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
  • Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation

Poehler Thug

That is all.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men

If you’ve been watching the second season of Fargo, you’re probably wondering if perhaps the actors didn’t know how to spell it filling out their nominations, considering every Monday night feels like the show’s best episode…If you’ve been watching Homeland this seasonyou might be wondering why it’s on here. The season finale is in a week and I still have no idea if it was good or not this year.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Key & Peele
  • Modern Family
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Transparent
  • Veep

I would love to see Key & Peele ride off into the sunset with some hardware.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

  • Everest
  • Furious 7
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Fury Road is one of the best films of this year and a modern classic. Pick against it and you lose.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

  • The Blacklist
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • Marvel’s Daredevil
  • The Walking Dead

I just watched end Episode 2 of the first season again. This is why I love Daredevil.

How are you pulling for this Awards season? Let me know on Facebook or 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. 

TV Guide: 2015 Summer Recommendations

For a while, people used to say that Summer Television was weak on options…Reality shows, Major League Baseball, and a handful of decent premium channel programs…

Thanks to networks like FX, AMC and streaming platforms like Netflix, that simply is not the case anymore.

Tyrion & Jamie Lannister

We’ll go network by network with premiere dates, but first…

Now Playing

Netflix

Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen

Very entertaining and original. The love-square (get it, because there’s 4 of them?) between the award winning acting veterans and Sorkin TV alums is an excellent watch for those who want what’s next after The Odd Couple and Modern Family…and Sam Waterston is adorable.

The Chef’s Table

Chef's Table

If you need inspiration to play around in the kitchen, ideas for a new a restaurant to checkout, or need a docu-series to make you hungry, this is the one for you. Beautiful cinematography, moving music selection, and I highly recommend pouring a glass of wine while you watch.

HBO/HBO GO (streaming)

Game of Thrones

Thrones S5

Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Emilia Clarke

Believe it or not, some people haven’t watched this show yet…The 5th season has been slow, and even offensive at times, but there are a lot of power moves being made that seem to be leading to fireworks!…Or Dragons fire, whatever your preference is.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley S2

Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods

From the beautifully messed up mind of Beavis & Butthead/Office Space creator Mike Judge, Silicon Valley is a breath of fresh air to comedy television. If you’ve ever worked for a startup or in tech, you’ll actually be able to relate. If not, you’ll just laugh your ass off.

Veep

Veep S4

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh, Tony Hale

I have to admit, I’m catching up on this show myself…but I get why people like it. It’s that mix of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and MAYBE Seinfeld kind of humor (not West Wing by any degree)…and House fans should be interested in Hugh Laurie being included in the fourth season.

Showtime/Showtime Anytime (streaming)

Penny Dreadful

Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway

Are you one of those people who hate-watched True Blood all the way through but feel like there’s now a void where monsters, drama, and sex used to be? This show’s for you…Josh Hartnett’s acting chops are on full display. Eva Green will haunt your dreams (in good ways and bad), and it’s terrifyingly elegant.

Happyish

Happyish S1

Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Bradley Whitford

All honesty, I plan to check this show out this holiday weekend to see what’s up. The cast is stellar but could have been as Phillip Seymour Hoffman was set to play the lead.

AMC

TURN: Washington’s Spies

TURN Season 2

Jamie Bell, Seth Numrich, Daniel Henshall, Heather Lind

I liked when the show was just called “TURN”, but it’s still very good and gripping. You don’t have to be a history buff (although it doesn’t hurt if you are) to appreciate this spy story. The chess game between Great Britain, the colony rebels, and their counter intelligence “divisions” is too much to not get caught up in…and at times you forget who you’re rooting for.

FX

The Comedians

The Comedians S1

Billy Crystal, Josh Gad, Stephnie Weir 

I’m not totally sure what the hype was on this show before it premiered, but I am very sure The Comedians has met it. As themselves, Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are natural and hilarious…like in real life. The guest appearances and cameos are top-notch as well.

Louie

Louie S5

Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon

I may have stepped away from Louie for a little bit, but then I came back for season 5 and I didn’t miss a thing. I think that’s the beauty of this show. Maybe someday it will play in reruns on every network like Seinfeld and Friends….nawwwww.

Louie headshake

Coming soon…

CBS

Under The Dome

Head's Will Roll

Dean Norris, Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch

WHY!? WHY WAS THIS SHOW RENEWED!?…Because jerks like me got suckered into watching the first episode, which led to the whole first season, which led to the even weirder second season…It’s really dumb, but every episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes you curious of what’s next.

Season 3 Premiere: Thursday, June 25th – 8:00 PM CT

Zoo

Zoo S1

James Wolk, Nonso Anozie, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder

“We really want the whole world to fear their schnauzers,” said producer Scott Rosenberg. This adaptation from James Patterson has animals everywhere turning on humankind…I say NOPE, but you might be interested. There will be blood. At least Bob Benson’s in it.

…which may be how I feel about Zoo.

Season 1 Premiere: Tuesday, June 31st – 8:00 CT

NBC

Hannibal

Hannibal - Season 1

Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson

If there is a show I’m looking forward to returning the most, it’s Hannibal. This is the show you wish Dexter was in the final two seasons. It’s 1,000 times gorier than you would have ever expected to find on network television yet so elegant. And it’s visually the coolest thing you could find on a Friday night, but now NBC will run it on Thursdays.

Season 3 Premiere: Thursday, June 4th – 9:00 PM CT

Aquarius

Aquarius NBC

David Duchovny, Claire Holt, Emma Dumont, Gethin Anthony

David Duchovny returns to network television on the same channel and evening as his X-Files partner, Gillian Anderson. While Anderson’s character will be married to a serial killer (Hannibal), Duchovny will be hunting a famous one…Charles Manson

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, May 28th – 8:00 PM CT

Mr. Robinson

Mr Robinson NBC

Craig Robinson, Tim Bagley, Peri Gilpin

NBC has been on quite the comedy slump after The Office and Parks and Recreation went off the air. So they give Office alum Craig Robinson his own show as a middle school music teacher…The show is called Mr. Robinson, yet his character’s name is Craig Rice…Okay.

Season 1 Premiere Date: Wednesday, August 5th – 8:00 PM CT

ABC

The Whispers

LILY RABE, KYLE HARRISON BREITKOPF

Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia

Lily Rabe is starting to fit well in horror and suspense TV shows. The American Horror Story actress now has to deal with possessed creepy children and a mysterious force that threatens all of humanity…Nothing too dramatic.

Season 1 Premiere: Monday, June 1st – 9:01 PM CT

The Astronaut Wives Club

Astronaut Wives Club

Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annabelle, Evan Handler, Desmond Harrington 

With Mad Men now off the air, The Astronaut Wives Club fills in as the new 60’s period piece. Astronauts were America’s heroes during that time, which makes this look at the women who stood by them, watched them launch, and waited for them to land safely all the more intriguing. And more Yvonne Strahovski is never a bad thing.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, June 18th – 7:00 PM

USA

Mr. Robot

Mr Robot

Rami Malek, Christian Slater

Following the very recent and very famous Sony hack, USA produces a TV show about hacking…Super antisocial Rami Malek is recruited by an anarchist named ‘Mr. Robot’, and connects with people through hacking them.

Season 1 Premiere: Wednesday, June 24th – 9:00 PM

Complications

Complications - Pilot

Jason O’Mara, Jessica Szohr

Jason O’Mara plays a doctor who is reeling from the death of his daughter, starts a gang war trying to save someone from a drive-by shooting, and it carries over to his hospital…Yep, complications.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, June 18th – 8:00 PM

TNT

The Last Ship

The Last Ship

Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, 

I really didn’t know how far they could stretch a show where everyone on Earth is dying from a pandemic, except those on US Naval ship…but it IS very entertaining.

Season 2 Premiere – Sunday, June 21st – 8:00 PM (2 hours)

FX

Tyrant

Tyrant S2

I found Tyrant to be one of the great TV surprises of last summer. It’s a roller coaster of suspense and power plays with a corrupt family run government in the Middle East…You could compare the Al-Fayeeds to the Lannisters from Game of Thrones, but even more dysfunctional.

Season 2 Premiere: Tuesday, June 16th – 9:00 PM CT

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

Denis Leary, John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies

I don’t know if this show will be any good or not, but Denis Leary as a washed up rockstar in an FX comedy is something worth rolling the dice on.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, July 16th – 9:00 PM

The Strain

The Strain S2

Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, Kevin Durand

Guillermo del Toro’s brutal and original take on vampires is like nothing else. Along with TyrantThe Strain was another great surprise from last summer and was one of the best new TV shows as well.

Season 2 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 9:00 PM CT

HBO

True Detective

True Detective S2

Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

The long awaited follow up to Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s incredible first season is almost here. A new cast, a new crime, a new location…but let’s hope for the same dark and great writing that made the first so successful.

Season 2 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 8:00 PM CT

Ballers

Ballers S1

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rob Corddry, Omar Benson Miller

The hardest working man in showbiz, The Rock, has a new TV show about life after pro sports and “what’s next”. It feels like a beefed up sequel to Entourage but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Season 1 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 9:00 CT

The Brink

The Brink HBO

Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Aasif Mandvi, Pablo Schreiber

Have you noticed how AMC has been running Shawshank Redemption like crazy lately? That may be because of this Tim Robbins dark comedy about diplomacy to prevent World War 3…Yeah, that doesn’t seem too dramatic or anything…

Season 1 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 9:30 CT

Showtime

Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan S3

Liev Schreiber, John Voight, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan

Everyone has their show that not everyone watches…This one is mine. Liev Schreiber is a badass as Ray Donovan, leading one of the best casts you’ll find on TV. The show also adds Ian McShane and Katie Holmes for season 3, which will be very interesting to see play out.

Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 8:00 PM CT

Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex S3

Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan

I have been meaning to get caught up on this show. It’s remarkably smart and sexy. And if you’re drawn to period pieces and the pop culture of the past, it’s hard not to be intrigued.

Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 9:00 PM CT

Netflix

Orange is the New Black

OITNB S3

Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba

Loved how season 2 ended and it has my psyched to see what’s next…What I’m not psyched for is more Piper and Alex drama, because that’s what it all seems to be. I do look forward to how everyone else’s stories progress.

Season 3 Premiere: Friday, June 12th

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Wet Hot American Summer Netflix

Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni

It’s a prequel, so I don’t think you have to have seen the classic film…but you should anyway. The cast is stellar and they have added Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Jason Schwartzman, Richard Schiff and Josh Charles. It’s going to be ridiculous…ridiculously good.

Premiere: Friday, July 17th 

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Allison Brie

This show is dumb. Really dumb. But it’s the kind of show that once you pop, you just can’t stop. Yes, BoJack Horseman is the Pringles of TV shows. You’re welcome.

Season 2 Premiere: Friday, July 12th 

Did I miss anything? What TV shows are you looking forward to the most? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

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.