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 Predicts the 2016 Emmys

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It’s safe to assume that Veep will be among the winners at tonight’s presentation of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards. But who will join them? Below, my podcast partner Devin Mitchell and I offer our predictions, which range from bold to conservative, optimistic to resigned.

We’ll regroup on a new episode of The M&M Report later this week to discuss takeaways from the ceremony and the outcomes of our predictions. Subscribe to the podcast in advance!

(Note: Devin and I wrote these predictions separately and combined them into a single post. We differ a lot!)

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The M&M Report: “Veep,” “BrainDead” and D.C. TV

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Devin and I welcomed returning guest Erin Vail for a discussion of D.C. TV shows, prompted by the series premiere of BrainDead and the excellent fifth season of Veep, which wraps up on Sunday.

Don’t forget, you can now 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. We’d greatly appreciate your support.

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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The M&M Report: “Veep” Season Four

Veep Election Night

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.

Call Me Emmy 2014: Series and Lead Performances

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Presenting the second half of my mock ballot for tomorrow’s Emmy nominations. I’m looking forward to seeing the majority of my hopes crushed in favor of mediocre or unsurprising choices. But that’s the game Emmy fans play. Check out the first part of my ballot for my thoughts on the supporting categories.

Without further ado, the nominations are…

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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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Tidal Wave: “Orange is the New Black” Season 2 Continues

Orange is the New Black

I’m just about to hit the halfway point in my journey through the second season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Before I go any further, a quick clarification:

These instant reactions are not meant to take the place of a thoughtful, well-reasoned “take” on the show as a whole. Rather, I use them as a way of reacting to specific moments in each episode, so that I can savor the show’s micro pleasures and remember them when I’m considering the season as a whole. None of these judgments are definitive, but that doesn’t make them invalid. Orange is the New Black was created with this kind of binge-watching strategy in mind – I’m just intermittently taking stock of the experience.

Think of these post-episode reviews as a means of collecting my thoughts, gathering my emotions and dropping anchor after each hour of character maneuvers and poignant flashbacks. This show has a lot of layers and almost as many characters. Writing about each episode is a means of striving for clarity, not passing judgment.

With that, on with the show. (Check my previous blog post for my thoughts on each of the first six episodes of season two.)

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Transcending Prison: Real-Time Reactions to “Orange is the New Black” Season 2

Orange is the New Black

Initial Post

When 2013 began, House of Cards was widely predicted to be the show that would make or break Netflix as a potential long-term player in the increasingly diverse business of producing television. The show debuted to much fanfare and knee-jerk critical praise, though some viewers soured on the show after realizing that it is arguably an unremarkable show dressed up in the trappings of a remarkable one.

At the peak of the House of Cards backlash, a new Netflix show quietly entered the ring. I’m not going to mince words: Orange is the New Black (one of my ten favorites shows of 2013) is superior to House of Cards, and to most of what’s on television.

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The M&M Report, Episode 21: Existentialism, Man

True Detective

Listen to Episode 21 of The M&M Report here.

This week on The M&M Report, Devin and I looked at the two shows that serve as bookends for Girls on HBO’s Sunday night lineup. True Detective and Looking are both worth your time if you’re looking for relatively new shows to start watching, and we discussed their merits as well some of the criticisms that have been leveled against each.

After that, we went to the movies to discuss Philomena, perhaps the most obscure of this year’s nine nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars. We both liked the film with some reservations, but we enjoyed discussing it nonetheless.

Next week, we’ll be tackling the subject that has had people at AU and around the nation buzzing with enthusiasm: the Netflix drama House of Cards. Special guest Leah Dolittle will join us to discuss what the show does right and wrong, and why it’s become so popular in such a short amount of time. Devin and I will also review the first week of Jimmy Fallon’s stint as host of The Tonight Show.

Until next time…thanks for listening!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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