Favorite 35 TV Shows of 2016

The Golden Age of Television lives on, even after Walter White and Don Draper. Storytellers and innovators are finding new and exciting ways to keep us at the edge of our seats, wanting more after the closing credits of every episode. Sometimes we have to wait a week. Sometimes we just hit “next episode” until we’re met with the disappointment of the season being over.

I listed out every TV show I watched in the last year and it came out to being upwards of 50 (yes I watch a lot of television). It wasn’t easy cutting the list to only 35. I also say “Favorite” instead of “Top” because I’m just not that full of myself…I

t also may come as a surprise, but I haven’t watched EVERY TV show that aired this past year. So recommendations are more than welcome on the Facebooks or Twitters.

35. The OA

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Netflix – Brit Marling, Emory Cohen and Jason Isaacs

The OA is a very weird show. It’s complicated, hard to follow, strange, and sometimes fights you when you want to keep spending time on it. Somehow, someway though, every episode gives you a reason to continue binge-watching. The last 5 minutes of the first season make it all worth it, on an emotional level. Emory Cohen also gives a performance that makes you wonder why he wasn’t chosen to be “Young Han Solo”, with an excellent follow up to his part in Brooklyn.

34. Banshee

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Cinemax – Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic and Ulrich Thomsen

I have to admit, I was pretty late to Banshee but I did binge watch the entire series in nearly a month’s time. I wouldn’t call it a “good show” but it’s so absurd that you can’t look away. Banshee is like a lovechild of True Blood and Into The Badlands, and it’s supremely more fun than both.

33. Orange is the New Black

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Netflix – Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew and Taylor Schilling

So far I’ve felt that OITNB’s best season was their 2nd, but their latest certainly knew how to throw the haymakers to your emotions. Some of your favorite characters became easy to turn on. Others became more important than the original stars, including Piper. And then there was the one that completely tore your heart out…

32. Ash vs. Evil Dead

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STARZ – Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless and Ray Santiago

This show is gross, cheesy, and kinda REALLY dumb…but that’s also why it’s so much fun. It’s hard to deny that when Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi team up on either big or small screen. Warning: There is blood…LOTS OF BLOOD (That’s for the kids who didn’t like how gory The Walking Dead premiere was).

31. Supergirl

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The CW – Melissa Benoist, David Harewood and Mehcad Brooks

If there was a Most Improved Player category for TV shows, Supergirl could be at the top of the list. The move from CBS to CW was more than necessary for its tone and overall quality.  The show hasn’t held back on it’s commentary of topical social issues and it did something that the DC films have failed to as of late…make Superman likable.

30. Vice Principals

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HBO – Danny McBride, Walton Goggins and Kimberly Hebert Gregory

It should be noted that our two stars play absolutely terrible people on this show. Danny McBride is an expert at making bad guys almost worth rooting for (i.e. Kenny Powers) and Walton Goggins is simply one of the best actors in television today (watch Justified, if you don’t believe me). The under-the-radar sweetness of Shea Whigham, which is a complete opposite of McBride’s character, is reason enough alone to watch this show.

29. House of Cards

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Netflix – Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Michael Kelly

House of Cards lost a bit of mojo once Frank Underwood made it to the oval office. Once he became president, he was no longer hunter but rather playing survivor instead. Robin Wright carries the 4th season much more than her male counterpart and Joel Kinnaman makes for an awesome heel as the adversary candidate in their race for reelection. What makes me hopeful for the 5th season is how scary both Francis and Claire are by the end of 4th.

28. Preacher

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AMC – Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Jackie Earle Haley

Preacher had of the best pilots of the year, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It matched the crazy and action that’s packed in the comic series, and set the tone for what should be a wild ride of a series. The season itself had its ups and downs, sometimes standing in place and other times with the pedal to metal. It never lacked suspense or humor though, due to the unpredictable nature and writing of the characters.

27. The Crown

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Netflix – Claire Foy, Matt Smith and John Lithgow

The Crown is absolutely stunning. The cinematography, the costumes, the pageantry, and the acting are all top notch. The real life story of Queen Elizabeth and her royal family are fascinating too but there was a disconnect for me…It’s hard to be emotionally invested and sympathetic in the problems of British Hierarchy. But Lithgow as Winston Churchill is inspiring.

26. Black Mirror

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Netflix – Bryce Dallas Howard and Michael Kelly

This British anthology series is the modern Twilight Zone, with technology, and it’s terrifying. Excellent and recognizable actors in each story/episode and themes that make you question your own behavior when it comes to, well, everything…

25. The Flash

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The CW – Grant Gustin, Candice Patton and Tom Cavanaugh

Everyday I wonder why Warner Bros. doesn’t just let the TV DC universe carry over to their film universe…Grant Gustin belongs there and they are making a big mistake by not capitalizing on the charm, fun and popularity he has brought with Barry Allen.

24. Insecure

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HBO – Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji and Jay Ellis

Issa Rae is awesome. The show is comfortable and honest. It doesn’t try hard to speak on behalf of its audience yet is still relatable. It was also refreshing after every half hour following Westworld episode trying to blow your mind.

23. Grace and Frankie

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Netflix – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen

I love Grace and Frankie. Ever since Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen chose to come out to their wives (Fonda and Tomlin) in the show’s first episode, it’s been an absolute delight. Can’t wait for the third season.

22. Veep

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HBO – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky

It shouldn’t be news to anyone at this point that Veep is really good, and will probably be especially relevant in the next couple years. When you have Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Diedrich Bader and HUGH LAURIE as recurring supporting characters, what’s not to love?

21. BoJack Horseman

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Netflix – Will Arnett, Alison Brie and Aaron Paul

BoJack is Netflix’s best comedy and that’s really saying a lot. All I have to do is point to the episode that was set in 2007 (WOW, TEN YEARS AGO NOW) and how effective every episode specific to that year was.

20. Last Chance U

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Netflix

It’s the one docu-series that I have listed here but it’s a great one. Following a junior college school of student athletes trying to overcome their personal and academic issues and catch the eye of D1 programs (while also dealing with their egotistical head coach) is some of the most compelling television you’ll find in the last year.

19. Bosch

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Amazon – Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector and Lance Reddick

Related to the Lincoln Lawyer universe of novels, Bosch is an adapted Michael Connelly detective series that plays like a modern noir. Titus Welliver has always been “that guy” on TV shows, usually a supporting or guest villain, but shines when given the spotlight as the title character. If you were a fan of The Wire, then you are going to LOVE all the alums who star and appear on the show.

18. Mozart in the Jungle

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Amazon – Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell and Lola Kirke

How this series hasn’t received love from the Emmys is beyond me (at least on thing the Golden Globes gets right). One of the easiest binge watches you could ask for, with great writing and soul-searching music. Bernal is also one of the best actors you’ll find on television today and makes you feel as romantic the maestro he portrays.

17. Ray Donovan

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Showtime – Liev Schreiber, John Voight and Steven Bauer

Now that we’re moved on from Bryan Cranston’s Walter White and Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, it’s time to start recognizing Liev Schreiber’s Ray Donovan as one of the most complex and well-acted characters on current running series. It took a few years, but the show is now hitting its stride in writing, acting, and casting…while the soundtrack to Season 4 could be pound-for-pound as good as any.

16. Billions

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Showtime – Damian Lewis, Paul Giamati and Maggie Siff

Maggie Siff is the x-factor to a show that already features two heavyweight lead actors. Don’t get me wrong, Lewis and Giamati definitely fit the bill. But Siff goes well beyond what we remember from her character, Tara, on Sons of Anarchy, and deserves as many nominations as she can get. The show itself is like if The Big Short didn’t treat its audience like a bunch of idiots and faster paced. Great Metallica appearance too.

15. The Americans

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FX – Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich

I’ll be honest, I’m still catching up on The Americans. It’s well-regarded as being one of the best shows today, if not THEE BEST, but it took me a while to get interested enough to check it out. I’m sure by next year it will be significantly higher on the list.

14. Silicon Valley

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HBO – Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller and Kumail Nanjiani

I don’t know if there is a show that has a better sense of humor than Silicon Valley. Every episode oozes with Mike Judge’s cynicism, nature and experience in the industry and it’s fantastic. Is it a little exhausting that guys of Pied Piper continue to get crapped on after they find success? Yes…but that’s the heart of its story: overcoming the continuous struggle.

13. The People vs. OJ Simpson

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FX – Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta and Courtney B. Vance 

The very first episode of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson reminded us how great Ryan Murphy can be as a director and storyteller. You knew what was going to happen, but the suspense was absolutely killer and he let the evidence tell the story. The acting was superb by a great cast, but then Murphy couldn’t get out of his own way. Yes, Robert Kardashian’s friendship was significant to Simpson, but did they have to be so gratuitous with the attention to his ex wife and daughters? And why was every extra or background actor more annoying and awful than the next? Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown and John Travolta made the miniseries every bit as compelling as it was though.

12. Daredevil

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Netflix – Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal and Deborah Ann Woll

Season 1 of Daredevil was an absolute adrenaline rush that was capable of doing what the Marvel Cinematic Universe hadn’t accomplished yet: like give us a memorable and even sympathetic villain (Vincent D’onofrio). This time, it was an antihero that took The Defenders series to the next level…Jon Bernthal’s variation of The Punisher is dark, brooding, heartbreaking, badass, and even more interesting than the title character.

11. This Is Us

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NBC – Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia

One of the best new shows on television, This Is Us has this uncanny ability to make you laugh, cry and repeat over and over every episode. It’s honest, it’s smart, and it’s one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. The show also never ceases to keep you on your toes.

10. The Night Manager

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AMC – Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Elizabeth Debicki

Sexy, suspenseful and super unpredictable, The Night Manager was unbelievably good, even by AMC’s standards. If it was an audition for Tom Hiddleston to play James Bond, he passed. If Hugh Laurie was trying out to be a Bond villain, he’d be way better than most…Rather than go with the obvious Bond girl comp, I’ll just say Elizabeth Debicki is my new TV crush and I feared for her life the entire miniseries.

9. Narcos

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Netflix – Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal

The best way I can describe how good Narcos S2 was, I literally couldn’t close my laptop while streaming it…I actually let it play on top of my washer while I did my laundry because I couldn’t hit pause on the action that was cranked to 11, compared to season 1. Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar is more than award worthy as well.

8. Atlanta

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FX – Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry and Keith Stanfield

Donald Glover is making a really strong case for coolest dude on the planet. Even cooler might be Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Straight Outta Compton) and everything his character does on Atlanta. Every episode is different in its own way but they are all consistently real and also surreal at the same time.

7. Better Call Saul

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AMC – Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks and Michael McKean

Better Call Saul is proof of 2 things: Vince Gilligan is a genius and comedic actors are brilliant in dramatic settings. It’s incredible to see how enthralling the stories can be of Breaking Bad’s supporting characters. The shows are very different in tone, but the suspense, cinematography and classic Gilligan wit are all there…sometimes better. Oh, and it look’s like Gus is coming next season.

6. Luke Cage

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Netflix – Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson and Theo Rossi

While watching Luke Cage, I couldn’t help but think it was my favorite of The Defenders  series. Mike Colter’s Luke Cage isn’t afraid to be the hero, nor does he hide behind an alias and that avoids the unnecessary drama that you find in Daredevil. The show doesn’t hold back on facing social issues and the women on the show are all complete badasses in their own way. Also love the music and how Harlem is treated like a character itself.

5. Westworld

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HBO – Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins

The mystery of Westworld’s end game throughout the first season was so enthralling that you couldn’t help but keep watching until it came to fruition. Every twist kept you on your toes, the setting was gorgeous, and the music was haunting. Almost every character was dynamic, man or machine, and whom you were rooting for was entirely up to you.

4. Stranger Things

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Netflix – David Harbour, Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown

Stranger Things was the new show that many of us geeks needed over the summer. Sci-fi, horror, 80’s references, adventure, action and all the wonderment through the eyes of kids of that era made this show worth binge watching over an entire weekend.

3. Game of Thrones

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HBO – Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey

Television’s most talked about show gave us its biggest payoff of a season. Every episode gave fans a win, whether it was characters being reunited, the advancement of a few others, or the death of a few hated ones…Don’t forget, I had Power Rankings for the entire season too.

2. The Night Of

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HBO – Riz Ahmed, John Turturro and Bill Camp

After every episode, week to week, I couldn’t help but say that The Night Of was the best show of the summer. It was. From the premiere, which made you scream “NO NO NO NO NO!” with everything Riz Ahmed did, to John Turturro’s amazing performance, to the back-and-forth “Serial Podcast” style guessing of who-done-it…every episode was worth the wait. Would have loved to see what the first one would have been like with James Gandolfini in Turturro’s role.

1. Goliath

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Amazon – Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt and Maria Bello

I haven’t seen it on many year-end lists, but here I have it as my #1. Why? If you’re a Billy Bob Thornton fan, everything you like about him is on display in Goliath. He’s funny, commanding, and unbelievably easy to root for. The battle between a giant corporation and the “little guy” victims was too good to pause during a weekend to myself. It was also the most fulfilling of any series I have listed above. It’s the first thing I suggest to anyone who asks for a recommendation too.

 

If you have any thoughts or recommendations for next year’s list, let me know on Twitter or Facebook. Stay tuned for the Favorites of 2016 Movie List. 

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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) 

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.18.22 PM

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)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.26.22 PM

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

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.29.07 PM

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.

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 8.56.30 PM

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.28.07 PM

 

Matchup #19 (Sidekicks)

(7) Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

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vs.

(10) Crazy Eyes – Orange is the New Black

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.43.20 PM

 

Matchup #20 (Heroes)

(2) Dr. Gregory House – House M.D.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.47.39 PM

vs.

(15) Coach Eric Taylor – Friday Night Lights

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.49.42 PM

 

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.05.32 PM

 

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.25.48 PM

vs.

(12) Jessica Jones – Jessica Jones

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.28.57 PM

 

Matchup #25 (Comedy)

(4) Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.33.49 PM

vs.

(13) Tina Belcher – Bob’s Burgers

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.37.35 PM

 

Matchup #26 (Antiheroes)

(8) Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.44.10 PM

vs.

(9) Vic Mackey – The Shield

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.47.45 PM

 

Matchup #27 (Heroes)

(7) Jimmy McNulty – The Wire

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.55.24 PM

vs.

(10) The Doctor – Doctor Who

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.57.03 PM

 

Matchup #28 (Sidekicks)

(2) Josh Lyman – The West Wing

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.01.39 AM

vs.

(15) John Watson – Sherlock

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.05.20 AM

 

Matchup #29 (Comedy)

(6) Dr. Frasier Crane

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.09.45 AM

vs.

(11) Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.14.56 AM

 

Matchup #30 (Antiheroes)

(3) Dexter Morgan – Dexter

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.19.29 AM

vs.

(14) Thomas Shelby – Peaky Blinders

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.21.30 AM

 

Matchup #31 (Heroes)

(1) Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.26.30 AM

vs.

(16) Mal Reynolds – Firefly

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.28.46 AM

 

Matchup #32 (Sidekicks)

(5) Joey Tribbiani – Friends

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.33.48 AM

vs.

(12) Saul Berenson – Homeland

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.36.15 AM

 

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 >>

Which TV President Would You Vote For?

House of Cards Season 4 is up on Netflix (it starts off severely weird), and this year seems to be the most relevant for it to air for obvious reasons.

Underwood glare

Without getting into any real politics, let’s take a look at some of the more prominent faces to serve as Commander in Chief on our televisions. Then you can VOTE on your favorite?

President Francis Underwood, House of Cards 

Kevin Spacey (2013-)

Caddy Underwood

He’s a real sweetheart, isn’t he? Frank Underwood made his rise to power swiftly, with backdoor politics and blood. It took him just 2 seasons to go from Democratic Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, to Vice President and then President by the end of Season 2. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, has both a badass First Lady and an ambiguous sexuality, and breaks the fourth wall in sharing all his secrets with you…the viewer (and voter). Unfortunately, the only way to go after reaching the top is down…

 

President David Palmer, 24

Dennis Haysbert (2001-2007)

President Palmer

President Palmer was a solid moral center for 24, and one of the few characters worth rallying around for Jack Bauer. He weathered a lot of storms politically, professionally and personally while accomplishing an immense deal over 96 hours (24 hours x 4 seasons). The only thing that really stopped him was sniper to open the 5th season. The show, and nation, was never the same without his calming presence.

 

President Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing

Martin Sheen (1999-2006)

President Josiah Bartlett

President Bartlet had the longest tenure in office, serving 2 full terms, and is the smartest of everyone on this list…Seriously, the guy is a Nobel Laureate in economics. His accomplishments in office were also remarkable:

  • Appointing the first Supreme Court Justice
  • Appointing the first woman as Chief Justice
  • Negotiating a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine
  • Creating millions of jobs
  • Orchestrating a Social Security reform plan.

 

President Selina Meyer, Veep

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2012-)

President Selina Meyer

The role has won Julia Louis-Dreyfus four Primetime Emmys. Meyer took over as the 45th president when the commander in chief suddenly stepped down. Snarky and awesome, she’s worked most of her time in public office to improve situations for all Americans, form the disenfranchised, and create jobs. She’s also tied her opponent by the end of the excellent Season 4 finale, ‘Election Night’.

So who are you voting for?

 

Let me know on either 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.

 

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.