The M&M Report: “Master of None” and “The Americans”

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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).

Listen here. And please subscribe!

 

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 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: “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 M&M Report: Devin Returns

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Devin’s back! And so is the M&M Report, with a wide-ranging discussion that frequently touches on pop culture subjects.


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!

Timecodes for this episode:

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The M&M Report: 2015 in Review

On this episode of The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I look back on our favorite movies, TV, music, cultural moments and more from the past year. Listen for Devin’s passionate-ish defense of Ballers and my emotional reaction to the triumphant rise of Oscar Isaac, as well as our choices for favorite movie, SNL episode and late-night TV development.


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 and on iTunes within a day or two of release. Subscribe away!

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

Emmy Nominations 2015: A List with Good and Bad Qualities

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

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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Winter Has Come: TV in 2015

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Photo by Ursula Coyote, AMC

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.
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2014 in Review: Television is a Beautiful Mess

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When Breaking Bad departed from television in a trail of crystal blue persuasion last September, television lost its center of gravity. At the time, this development seemed troubling. Without a consensus show around which to rally on social media, television fans and critics alike had to search elsewhere to find a show worthy of their devoted attention and undying affection. But a year removed from Walter White’s final blaze of glory, the loss of Breaking Bad seems more like a gift.

The consensus about this year’s television is that there is no consensus. Continue reading