Devin and I discuss our conflicted reactions to Master of None season two (0:00-26:45). Then we spar (as only we can) over The Americans season five (26:45-end).
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.
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.
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.
Also, be sure to read my Slant Magazine interview with the show’s executive producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields.
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.
2015 is shaping to be television’s most prolific year yet. A show just premiered on the PlayStation network, of all places. Netflix and Amazon have fully established themselves as networks to watch. And great television’s old haunts – basic cable, subscription services, even the broadcast networks – haven’t been slouching either. Here’s a look at four of my favorite shows so far this year.
Better Call Saul
When AMC announced that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould would be reuniting the Breaking Bad crew for a spinoff starring the huckster lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), the initial response was trepidatious at best. Why risk spoiling one of the greatest runs in TV history with a shameless cash grab? But such reactions, despite the wobbly creative fortunes of the parent network, proved unfounded. Far be it from me to question Gilligan and Gould’s narrative ambitions.
Listen to this week’s episode of The M&M Report here.
This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I tackled The Lego Movie and The Americans with special guest Heather Mongilio. All three of us loved the movie, and Heather and I are really digging the second season of FX’s romantic 80s spy thriller. Catch up on season two here.
Bonus: Devin Mitchell unleashed a rant against winter weather in the latest installment of Devin Doesn’t Like Things.
Tune in next time for discussion of The Good Wife and more.
Yesterday I offered an overview of the year in television. Today, check out my list of my ten favorite TV shows of 2013. A few caveats:
1. I haven’t seen everything. Here’s a partial list of shows I can’t include on this list because I haven’t watched them: The Good Wife. Game of Thrones. Enlightened. Bob’s Burgers. Girls.Veep. Eastbound and Down. Treme. Broadchurch. The Fall. Masters of Sex. Justified. Sons of Anarchy. Boardwalk Empire. I’m not paid to watch television. I’m doing the best I can.
2. I didn’t rank these ten shows because I didn’t have the energy. Why bother? They’re all great. I’d recommend any of them to people who love watching TV.
3. Making lists is fun but inevitably arbitrary. Tomorrow, I’ll post another list of shows that missed this list but still deserved recognition. Boiling things down to a list of ten is important for the purposes of making difficult judgment but meaningless for the pursuit of quality viewing.
And now, the list.