Things I Loved This Year: Women Dominate Prestige Dramas

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: on three of the best “prestige” dramas, women rule the roost.

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Better Call Saul and Mr. Robot are as driven by their respective leading men as shows can be, a fact the titles make abundantly clear. The Americans has a dual focus on its central couple. But on new seasons of each this year, the MVPs were the women.

Nothing against Bob Odenkirk or his character Saul Goodman, a slippery con man who’s constantly caught between good intentions and material desires. Nothing against Rami Malek, who brings aching vulnerability and disaffected sensitivity to the role of Elliott Alderson, a hacker struggling with mental illness and revolutionary impulses. And nothing against Matthew Rhys, who deserves far more than the one Emmy nomination he secured this year for the shape-shifting masterstrokes on display as Philip Jennings, the KGB operative who always has going straight deep in the back of his mind.

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The M&M Report: “The End of the Tour”

On this M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I discussed James Ponsoldt’s drama The End of the Tour, starring Jason Segel as the author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky. We both enjoyed the movie, even though we were uncomfortable with the idea of a mainstream movie about a man who likely would have abhorred the concept of a mainstream movie about himself!

Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening!