2015 in Review: Great TV Episodes, January to June

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In an era of Peak TV, for which we need a new and less overused buzzword, a Top 10 list for the year’s best television simply isn’t enough. What follows is a collection of good-to-great shows that, for a variety of reasons, just missed my marquee year-end list. I’ve organized this two-part guide to TV’s wide range of greatness in 2015 through the lens of one key episode per show. Some of these episodes are the best of their respective seasons. Others are the most emblematic of their respective series’ strengths. All of them are worth watching, if you’re so inclined.

(Note: I didn’t include episodes of shows that appeared in my top 10. But if I had, I’d have included the Edward Snowden interview on¬†Last Week Tonight, the¬†Broad City finale “St. Marks” and the¬†Mad Men stunner “Time & Life.”)

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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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“Trainwreck”: Bumpy Ride to Stardom

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Judd Apatow’s filmmaking style is either generous or lazy, depending on your vantage point. To a one, his movies run too long, with individual scenes stretching past their comedy expiration time, zany supporting players and celebrity cameos filling out (or overstuffing) the ensemble, ideas and themes and conventions and subversions jockeying for space. You leave one of his movies feeling sated – sometimes satisfyingly so, but other times like the feeling you get when you eat a little too much, a little too fast.

This comedy of excess makes for an awkward fit with the simultaneous goal of launching a young up-and-comer’s career as a movie star. The rise of Amy Schumer – as an actress, a character, a persona and a brand – is one of the big stories of Trainwreck, Apatow’s fifth directorial feature.

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