Things I Loved This Year: Schur Thing

Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: praise for a TV creator who’s doing all the right things.

GoodPlace.jpg

Michael Schur earned an express pass to the TV Pantheon on the strength of Parks and Recreation, the NBC sitcom he created with Greg Daniels of The Office. But his subsequent efforts have only strengthened his claim to the title of one of the century’s most influential, successful and inventive creators.

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Emmy Nominations 2015: A List with Good and Bad Qualities

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

It’s impossible to have a unified “take” (hot or otherwise) on the Emmy nominations. Anyone who says differently is lying or deluded. This year’s nominations are not only good or only bad, only surprising or only disappointing. Some of the biggest “disappointments” can be read as disappointments only if you expected the Academy would radically alter its modus operandi this year. Some of the biggest pleasant surprises are probably more accidental than intentional. As with every year, the Emmy nominations are a list to be plundered, commented upon, regarded from a safe distance and with a reasonable proportion of salt grains.

With that perspective in mind, here’s a list of my thoughts on the Emmy nominations, in no particular order and with varying degrees of sophistication and seriousness. (And here’s my list from yesterday of wish-list nominees. A few made it to the actual list!)

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“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”: Cop Rock

Holt

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a consistently good sitcom that’s almost always just shy of greatness. Two seasons in, executive producers Michael Schur and Dan Goor haven’t quite re-created the magic of Parks and Recreation season 2, even with many of the same structural elements in place. But they’ve created a fun world that retains the potential to grow into something more profound. If it doesn’t, it’s still really funny, especially when Andre Braugher is onscreen.

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Thanks

Thanksgiving

The world gives us lots to be cynical about every day. But today’s Thanksgiving, so I want to take a brief pause from frustration, indifference and indignation to marvel at the treasures on our massive pop culture landscape. Here’s a look at some of the pop culture (and pop culture criticism) that I’m thankful for right now:

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Call Me Emmy: The Best in Supporting Performances

Dean Norris

The 68th annual Emmy nominations will be announced at 8:30am Eastern/5:30 Pacific this Thursday, July 10. As I did last year, I’ll be formulating my own ballots in this space in the days leading up to the big announcement.

A few caveats:

1. (Copied from my 2013 Call Me Emmy posts) I’m not paid to watch television. I can only watch what I have time to watch, so I can’t nominate undoubtedly high-quality shows like Game of Thrones, Scandal, The Good Wife, Masters of Sex, Shameless, Girls and Veep, just to name a few. In other cases, I can’t nominate a particular show because I haven’t seen the current season, as with Homeland, Downton Abbey and Modern Family.

2. Boiling down a remarkable season of television into just twenty-four commendable supporting performances is a fool’s errand. I’ve done my best to choose my favorites, but if you ask me tomorrow, I might choose slightly different groups. These awards, as much as they have weight in the industry, don’t dictate my tastes, and they should exist primarily to shine a spotlight on the best that television has to offer in a given year.

Without any further ado, the nominees…

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The M&M Report, Episode 12: Here a Cat, There a Cat

Inside Llewyn Davis

Listen to Episode 12 here.

Welcome to the M&M Report once again! This week, Devin Mitchell and I are experimenting with a new recording format in preparation for our monthlong break from the rigors of academia. I went to one room, Devin went to the next, and we recorded a nice Skype conversation. Next week, we’ll do the same – from opposite sides of the country. (No pressure.)

We started out this week summing up our thoughts on roughly the first half of the 2013-2014 TV season. Between the two of us, we’re watching Trophy Wife, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Sleepy Hollow. Most of the other new shows failed to strike our fancy.

After that, we talked about how the broadcast networks can survive in the rapidly evolving television landscape. This season’s new shows have been largely unsuccessful in the ratings, but we don’t think networks are dead just yet.

Finally, we’re unveiling a conversation we recorded a few weeks ago: an in-depth review of the Coen Brothers’ new musical drama Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s a terrific movie and we had thoughts about Oscar Isaac, folk music and cats.

Keep an eye out for discussions of the best pop culture of 2013 in future podcasts. Until then…thanks for listening!

Keep reading for the time breakdown.

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The M&M Report, Episode #3: The Adventures of Soy-Soy

Hostages

Devin Mitchell and I are back with another lively episode of The M&M Report. This week, we briefly talked about the terrible Emmy awards. After Devin was too traumatized about Jeff Daniels to continue on that subject, we dissected six new fall shows, from the pretty good Brooklyn Nine-Nine to the awful Dads. Be sure to watch out for our discussion of the CBS drama Hostages, which inspired genuine fits of uncontrollable laughter from both of us.

Best of all, we kept it efficient this week, at least in comparison to our mammoth overrun last week.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to comment or let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or criticisms.

Also, an update from last week: Devin won our Emmy Predictions contest! Granted, he did it with only six correct guesses out of fourteen categories, but it beats my paltry score of 4 out of 14. I grudgingly admit that Devin is better at predicting the Emmys than I am…until next year.

See below for a breakdown of our topics:

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