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November 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm #1202400046
Without the novelty of season one, Stranger Things had a lot to prove with its second season. Would it be a fun, nostalgia-fueled fluke, or is this a real show?
Immediately, it becomes clear why Stranger Things works. First and foremost, its cast. The only other shows on television with comparable ensembles are The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I love these characters. I love their interplay. I care what happens to them, or at least I want to. The other thing that Stranger Things has going for it is the direction, which just wants to make a good show, darn it. More often than not, The Duffer Brothers overdo it, but it works. The editing here, especially, is gold. The way each scene leads perfectly with matching scene transitions, or dialogue cues fills my heart. Too few shows put this much work into making their show flow this well.
And yeah, some of it doesn’t work. The writing for Stranger Things is easily the weakest major element. Characters frequently make dumb choices just to force a tense moment. Mike has no arc whatsoever. Jonathan and Nancy are forced into a relationship that coasts on their leftover chemistry from the previous season, which is diminished by the beautiful elevation of Steve as the show’s best character. But nothing gets me quite as much as Eleven finding Mike and Max together, misconstruing their time with each other, which is never addressed. It’s sloppy stuff, but not enough to bring the season down.
Everything involving Will is terrific. Lucas and Max’s courtship is terrific. Steve and Dustin deserve their own spinoff. Eleven and Hopper’s Aliens relationship is terrific, while Eleven’s solo adventures are Emmy-worthy. Seriously, if Millie Bobby Brown doesn’t get another nomination for “Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister,” I’ll be totally fine, but I will pout. Also, I 100% cried at the ends of episodes eight and nine. Brown and Wolfhard barely have anything to do, but they have such a pure chemistry with each other that few actors of any age ever have.
Overall, I prefer this to season one. It’s its own story, but it still deepens the fundamentals established by its predecessor. I hope it receives the same Emmy love as its first season–especially considering Game of Thrones had one of the shittier runs of episodes in recent memory. Either way, I’m way happier to have Stranger Things back than I thought I would. This isn’t just nostalgia porn. It’s a legitimately affecting sci-fi drama, and I love it.October 6, 2017 at 10:08 am #1202231573
I mean, Radiohead is a gimme. They’re unquestionably the most important rock act of their era. How could you even argue that? From their constant reinvention, to their sonic innovation, to their game-changing pay-what-you-want model, there’s no reason they won’t make it in. This, to say nothing to the fact that they’re really, really, really, ridiculously good-sounding.
The Cars and Dire Straits seem safe, as well, given how bankable they were in their day–especially Dire Straits, whose 21x platinum Brothers in Arms seems impossibly successful today.
I’d love for Kate Bush to make it in, but she’s probably going to have to sit this one out. Same with Depeche Mode, whose critical and commercial appeal has always been abundant, but whose electronic leanings make a nomination feel like a miracle.October 4, 2017 at 10:11 pm #1202230437
That would be a good example if we knew who Fiona Apple was. Lorde is an established and acclaimed artist, she’s won a Grammy in the general field for a song from an acclaimed album that got snubbed otherwise, which a lot of people were upset about. They’re gonna nominate her, man. The numbers just add up.
Wait… Do you not know who Fiona Apple is? Or that she had a very prominent career before 2012? And that she not only had a slew of acclaimed albums starting from the mid 90s, but is already a Grammy winner? No?October 2, 2017 at 1:15 am #1202228077
This, in my mind, is one of those legendary runs of episodes. Up there with the third season of Parks and Recreation, or the second seasons of The Office and Review. Every episode was astonishingly inventive and insightful, each with some amount of genuine pathos that can only cut so deep if we’ve spent a long time with these characters. The only other season of a show that matches this season of Rick and Morty in terms of quality is Twin Peaks: The Return. Certainly, no other comedy examines existentialism, identity, family, morality, and intelligence with as much scope and simultaneous intimacy as Rick and Morty, and this season did that better than the two before it. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland spent a prolonged period in pursuit of perfection, and they just about captured it.July 20, 2017 at 12:17 am #1202159296
I almost forgot Kristen Schall on BoJack. Then I remembered. If voters watch the episodes, she’s a lock-and-a-half.
That ending…July 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm #1202150981
Billy Eichner. I can’t stand him!!! Listen to me when I say this: going up to people on the street and randomly asking them questions the way Billy Eichner does is not entertainment, it is harassment. If you’re seriously a fan of this guy, give me 5 legitimate reasons why he deserves his nomination. I dare you!!
I’m not a Billy Eichner fan, but I read your comment in his voice, and it made me enjoy what you had to say way more.July 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm #1202150980
Shannon Purser getting in actually made me laugh. Can’t even hate it. It’s just funny to me.July 9, 2017 at 10:48 pm #1202146851
I’ve seen quite a lot of love for Beetz from the industry, so I’d be a little shocked if she was snubbed, especially since she has an episode to herself almost, in a comedy series competitor.
If she’s nominated, “Value” would be a winning tape, no question. It’s her story. She’s great in the episode, with no shortage of terrific scenes. She could also do “Juneteenth,” because that one’s a little more dynamic, but “Value” would make more sense.July 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm #1202145929
Okay, this could get me in trouble, but… I think La La Land is *looks both ways, and leans in to whisper* just okay.July 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm #1202143772
Personally, I think American Horror Story: Asylum was much better than Murder House. The writing for that season is easily the best out of all six seasons (so far).
This is the first series that came to mind. Asylum had no right to go from “good for what it is” to just “good television.” The cast was at its best, the writing was mostly there, and they made a genuinely creepy, riveting run of episodes that the rest of the show has never matched.
I’d also throw in Fargo, whose first season is excellent, but does not reach the cinematic aplomb of its second outing.July 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm #1202142001
I don’t think they’re going to cancel Love. It has done reasonably well in terms of viewership, and there’s no way it costs that much to make–especially compared to The Get Down or The Crown, or any of their Marvel fare. Marco Polo and even Bojack Horseman are far more vulnerable. Flaked will probably go.July 3, 2017 at 8:34 pm #1202141023
As a huge fan of Bong Joon-ho, Okja is easily his worst movie–his best is Memories of Murder. With that in mind, anyone whose worst film is Okja is one of the great living filmmakers.
Okja is shaggy, uneven, and scattered, but the strong performances, stunning set pieces, and deeply poignant arc that carries the story all work. Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t quite work for me, and the fact that his character is at the center of the film’s most chilling moment is really rough.That scene should work much better than it does, but his performance is so distracting that I can’t get into it.
Otherwise, there are some really knockout moments–that cliffhanger at the beginning, Mija fighting with her grandpa about going to get Okja, the chase sequence, the parade, and that haunting ending. Okja is only superficially about meat consumption. It’s mostly about how little we can do against the system that oppresses us. In that way, it’s sort of a spiritual or thematic prequel to Snowpiercer, whose philosophy is to burn everything down to make anything better.
The gold pig thing is a great moment, though. Her grandpa gets it for her because it’s something given to brides as a wedding tradition. Mija’s grandpa says he wants her to meet a boy and have a future, and that pig is a symbol of that. By giving up her pig, Mija is giving a future to Okja–as well as the other superpigs she saves–that she can’t have anymore. That’s the film’s ethos: We can’t just look out for ourselves as humans. We can’t be greedy or tribal. We need everyone. In that sense, Okja works, even if the path there is a little rough.June 30, 2017 at 10:43 pm #1202138656
The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards ballot for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series lists 195 episodes from 101 series, up from 191 episodes from 90 series last year, when the nominees were:
Catastrophe seasons 1 & 2
“Episode 1” (Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan)
Master of None season 1
WINNER: “Parents” (Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang)
Silicon Valley season 3
“The Uptick” (Alec Berg)
“Founder Friendly” (Dan O’Keefe)
Veep season 5
“Morning After” (David Mandel)
“Mother” (Dale Stern)
The winning episode of Master of None was its only submission last year; two episodes are on the ballot this year. Veep won the year before and has also submitted two episodes this year, which is how many were nominated last year, although they submitted three. One of their submissions is the season finale, which aired in the last twenty-four hours that voting was open, which was almost two weeks after voting opened—two weeks after some voters might have turned in their ballots.
Silicon Valley has only one episode on the ballot for the first time, after submitting both the premiere and finale for each of its first three seasons. The finales by co-showrunner Alec Berg were nominated each time; last year was the first time that the premiere (varying writers) was also nominated. Shifting down to a single submission is a savvy move that will help Silicon Valley when it comes to competing for the win by avoiding vote-splitting, which was not a factor before last year when the Emmys switched from ranked to plurality voting for the winners phase.
Girls has also submitted only one episode this year, for its sixth and final season. The last time that Girls submitted only one in this category was the only time that it was nominated, for its pilot. Girls entered five episodes for each of its second, third and fourth seasons, then six episodes last year for its fifth season.
Keeping to a single submission was not enough for black-ish last year, despite the show being popular enough for an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination. black-ish initially had two episodes on the ballot this year; the one that has been removed was fictitious from its title to its airdate to its description.
Other contenders include Atlanta (Writers Guild of America Award winner for Best Comedy Series and Best New Series), Better Things (WGA nominee for Best New Series), Catastrophe (incumbent nominee in this category) Fleabag (BAFTA nominee for Best Writing), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (WGA winner for Best Comedy Episode) and two new comedies from this spring: Dear White People and I Love Dick.
Submissions from top contenders:
Atlanta season 1
“B.A.N.” (Donald Glover)
“Streets on Lock” (Stephen Glover)
Better Things season 1
“Woman is the Something of the Something” (Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K.)
“Future Fever” (Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. & Cindy Chupack)
black-ish season 3
“Lemons” (Kenya Barris)
Catastrophe season 3
“Episode 5” (Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan)
Dear White People season 1
“Chapter I” (Justin Simien)
Fleabag season 1
“Episode 1” (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)
Girls season 6
“Latching” (Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner & Judd Apatow)
I Love Dick season 1
“Pilot” (Sarah Gubbins)
Master of None season 2
New York, I Love You (Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang & Cord Jefferson)
“Thanksgiving” (Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe)
Silicon Valley season 4
“Success Failure” (Alec Berg)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3
“Kimmy Gets Divorced?!” (Robert Carlock & Meredith Scardino)
“Kimmy’s Roommate Lemonades!” (Tina Fey & Sam Means)
Veep season 6
“Georgia” (Billy Kimball)
“Groundbreaking” (David Mandel)
Catastrophe could have won if they’d gone with “Episode 6,” but “Episode 5” is fine, I suppose.June 28, 2017 at 2:51 am #1202135349
For the same reason I don’t like the regular Razzies, none. So many dozens and dozens of people work on a given series. To give them an anti-award for how much they suck is like telling hundreds of people that the very hard work that goes into even the worst shows is worth nothing.June 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm #1202134049
FYC: Trial & Error
Without question, the best comedy all season, and having seen The Staircase, which Trial & Error riffs on the most, I’ve no doubt that we were spoiled with a truly great run of episodes. Just in terms of what a joke machine the show is, nearing Arrested Development-levels of speed and consistency, nothing else like Trial & Error is on the air. This, to say nothing of the cast or narrative strengths driving the show. Trial & Error is, if nothing else, the next cult comedy waiting to happen. Beat history to the punch. Consider this brilliant, brilliant show.