Television is Much Better than the 2017 Emmy Nominations Would Have You Believe

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For the Emmy nominations to “get it right” in 2017 — when there has never been more television shows or places to find them — they must reflect the landscape’s diverse options by rewarding shows that expand the boundaries of the medium or innovate within it.

With so much to choose from, it’s never been harder for the Emmy nominations to get it completely right. But it’s still not that hard for them to get it wrong. Case in point: Yesterday!

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The M&M Report: Reflections on the 2016 Emmys

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Devin and I took to our microphones right after the 2016 Emmy Awards ended for a discussion of a surprisingly enjoyable telecast. We also reveal the winner of our 2016 Emmy pool, a race more hotly contested than any on the Emmys themselves.

Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well.

The M&M Report: “The Americans”

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Devin and I return to a topic to which we’ve only alluded in podcasts past: FX’s The Americans, starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as KGB agents living among Americans in the United States at the height of the Cold War. Spoiler-y thoughts on the most recent season abound.

Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. New episodes should show up on your feed immediately. Subscribe away!

Also, be sure to read my Slant Magazine interview with the show’s executive producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields.

“The Jinx”: Mic Drop

The phrase “mic drop” was invented for the last three minutes of HBO’s six-episode documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. For five episodes and most of the sixth, the New York real-estate magnate Durst spent the majority of his screentime reasserting his innocence in the three separate murder allegations that have been dogging him for more than a decade. Then the screen goes black, a title card explains that Bob is headed to the bathroom, and all hell breaks loose.

Viewers watching The Jinx as it unspooled over six weeks last February and March got to see that moment without knowing what would happen. I didn’t have that luxury, as I didn’t start the series when it originally aired and then couldn’t avoid the barrage of spoilers and interview coverage in the days following the finale. Had I not known what was coming, I might have had nightmares about the final sequence. Even with the foreknowledge, the moment took my breath away.

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Emmy Predictions 2015: Don’t Hold Your Breath

This post took ten minutes to write. I went down this list of Emmy nominations, thought for a moment and then picked the nominee I could most easily imagine winning the award on tonight’s Andy Samberg-hosted telecast, which airs at 8pm on Fox. I didn’t double back and reconsider my choices, and I don’t apologize for any outlandish or unlikely picks. If I had to do it all over again, I might make different predictions. But I don’t, so I won’t.

See you back here tomorrow when we find out how well I did.

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Emmy Nominations 2015: A List with Good and Bad Qualities

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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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Emmy Nominations 2015: Forget Me Not

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Here’s an admittedly incomplete, scattered list of shows and performances I’d love to hear on Emmy nomination morning, tomorrow at 11:30am Eastern. If it’s not on here, I either haven’t seen it, don’t like it, or like it but think it’s so likely to get a nomination that writing about it now is just superfluous.

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The M&M Report: “Veep” Season Four

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This week on the M&M Report, Devin and I welcomed returning guest Kevin Werner to discuss the fourth season of Veep, which ended its ten-episode run on HBO this past Sunday at 10:30.

We talked about the highs (Jonah and Richard, the cult of Tom James, the plight of Catherine Meyer) and the lows (fuzzy electoral math, overly dense finale plots) of this season, and we touched on our expectations for the next one, the first under replacement showrunner David Mandel.

The show’s creator Armando Iannucci is moving on from the show. He explained why in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Another piece worth your time: former senior adviser to the president Dan Pfeiffer argues on Grantland that Veep is America’s most realistic show about politics.

Last time Kevin joined us, we talked House of Cards (or rather, Kevin and Devin talked House of Cards while I frowned in the corner).

Devin and I last discussed Veep during its third season in 2014.

Note: Devin and I are testing out a new M&M Report approach: one topic per episode. This week’s entire podcast is about Veep, with spoilers aplenty. Tune in next time for more.

Five Quick Reactions to the 2014 Emmy Nominations

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After an entire TV season of speculation, the 2014 Primetime Emmy nominations were finally announced at the ungodly hour of 5:30am Pacific Thursday morning. (Perks of being on the East coast: waking up was no big deal!) As usual, the nominations provoked a mixture of reactions: surprise, resignation, disapproval, even bitterness. As Alan Sepinwall put it in his pessimistic but reasoned analysis, the television business is evolving too quickly for the Emmys to keep up, especially given that the TV Academy has a history of being slow to adjust to major changes in the industry. With a higher volume and wider array of TV shows than ever before, some quality shows are always going to get left behind. But when the Emmys continue to make apologies for shows that they previously loved, it’s worth wondering how long these awards can stay relevant.

Below, here are five of my thoughts about the nominations list. For more on the list’s weirder surprises, here’s my USA Today article from Thursday. For my dream ballots, click here and here.

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Call Me Emmy: The Best in Supporting Performances

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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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