WHAT TO WATCH: MAY 2014

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Well kids, here we are back again for another month of TV (this year is kind of going by incredibly fast, right?). May is an interesting month. Not nearly as busy as September, January or April, but significantly more interesting than used to be May. Traditionally, May would be the time when your network shows would be wrapping up their seasons, and the networks would be moving into summer reruns or limited run summer series. That’s not as much the case in today’s changed TV landscape.

May through August will likely not be as stacked as some months, but they will likely be very top heavy, with some cable networks premiering some truly excellent works (mainly HBO and FX, but AMC also has some interesting things coming up this summer).

So let’s get to the list:

10. The Americans: Season 2 finale (FX, May 21) — I’m starting with three shows that I absolutely adore at the bottom of this list. Shows that will almost definitely be in my top 10 (if not top 5) for the year. I do this just because they are finales, and the main purpose of this list is to make our readers aware of premiering shows. If you want to know about The Americans, you can refer back to our February list, where it was the number 2 entry for the month. Its inclusion here hopefully will be taken by our readers to mean that the season has lived up to any and all incredibly high expectations, and has been an excellent, likely improved, follow up to the sensational season 1.

9. Hannibal: Season 2 finale (NBC, May 23) — And, the number 1 entry on our February list was Hannibal. This is a show that surprised the hell out of me in its debut season. I had incredibly low expectations, was surprised to hear early reviews of its greatness, and loved the season overall. Season 2 did not have such benefit. I went into this season expecting, if not demanding, brilliance out of Fuller, Mikkelsen, Dancy and co. The season has turned what we know of this world on its head, and has been one of the fullest and richest experiences on TV in recent memory.

8. Mad Men: Season 7A finale (AMC, May 25) — Speaking of full and rich experiences…We just posted my review of the early season within the last week, so I won’t go on too much about Mad Men. But one thing that was not mentioned in that post was continued excellent guest casting for season 7A, with the additions of Not-Dog Travis (Dan Byrd), 90’s crush Neve Campbell, and Veronica Mars’s own Jessy Schram (who I just adore).

7. Rosemary’s Baby (NBC, May 11) — The networks are starting to figure out, the best way to get an audience is with miniseries and limited run series. This modern day telling of the Ira Levin novel is only 4 hours, and stars Zoe Saldana and Jason Isaacs. If we are going to continue to be lazy and refuse to come up with new and novel ideas, your best chance at getting me to watch is keeping it short (4 hours) and casting actors I’m interested in seeing (Saldana and the always excellent Isaacs). I’m making no long-term commitment NBC, but I’ll at least watch Night One.

6. Crossbones (NBC, May 30) — So, it seems like NBC is in the summer show business, doesn’t it? A pirates show starring John Malkovich. Oh, and brought to you by Michael Bay, did I forget to mention that part? Everything about this tells us it is going to be hideously awful, yet, I can’t help but be oddly intrigued. Let me also add, as I was doing my research, I noticed a strange name with the writing credits, Neil Cross. This is the man that brought us Idris Elba’s Luther, one of the finest shows of the last 5 years. Also, David Slade is credited as a director for the series (it appears he directed the pilot, as he did for Awake and Hannibal, which set amazing tones). With these guys involved, there has to be something there, right?

5. The Normal Heart (HBO, May 25) — I’m not going to pretend to know a great deal about this HBO movie, other than the fact that I’ve heard people talk about the fact that it’s an HBO movie. And, by just knowing that fact, I know that it’s going to win all the Emmy’s. Plus, with a cast including Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo, Denis O’Hare, and Joe Zaso, even the fact that it is directed by Ryan Murphy can’t necessarily deter me. Based on a 2011 Broadway play, and dealing with HIV/AIDS activism in the 1980s…Again…All the Emmy’s.

4. Gang Related (FOX, May 20) — Our first look at FOX’s summer programming. I’m not sure I know why I’m interested in Gang Related, other than maybe to just say I love Terry O’Quinn (obviously), and the guy that plays Alvarez on Sons of Anarchy is also in this show. I guess it could be good, or it could be absolutely dreadful. Only time will tell I suppose.

3. In the Flesh (BBC America, May 10) — So this is a show that sat on my DVR from last summer until early this year. I believe it is even a show I pointed out in my top TV of last year as a show I had missed which may have been included. Having watched the first season, yeah, it probably would have been. In the Flesh, not unlike The Returned, is a zombie show without a lot of “zombies.” Set in the UK after a zombie outbreak, a cure of sorts has been found, and those that have been infected are attempting to re-integrate into society. It is clear that they are infected, but their symptoms are kept in check. Many people in the small town which the show is set in are unsurprisingly uncomfortable with these people being allowed back home. It’s a slow, thoughtful show. Season 1 was only 3 episodes, but they’ve upped it to 6 for season 2.

2. Penny Dreadful (Showtime, May 11) — The next Showtime show has probably the most impressive pedigree yet. Created by John Logan and being exec produced by Sam Mendes, and starring names such as Josh Hartnett, Helen McCrory, Timothy Dalton and the perfect Eva Green, it has all the makings of a great one. The show appears to be a mix and match horror anthology type show set in Victorian London and involving the likes Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and Dracula. I love it when shows take big swings, and with the brain trust of Skyfall on board, I will be too.

 1. Louie (FX, May 5) — It’s so good to have this show back.

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Alright, that’s it for this month.  We will see you again in June.

-CJ

 

LOUIE UPDATE: SEASON 4 PREMIERE DATE

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FX announced today that “Louie” season 4 will premiere on Monday, May 5th at 10 p.m. (Eastern).  This comes 19 months after the show’s last episode.  FX will air two episodes each Monday night, at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and there will be 14 total episodes.  I do not watch the show (although I have seen Louis C.K. do standup, which was fantastic), but CJ is a big fan.  This is what he has to say:

“Finally. After 19 long months without being in Louis C.K.’s weird little world, Louie is back on FX this May. It would be nice to say we should know what to expect, but that’s what’s great about Louie, you never know what you’re gonna get. Always original, always thoughtful, often hilarious and sometimes devastatingly sad, Louie is FX’s most daring and original program, and I, for one, can’t wait to have it back. If we get anything even remotely as good as ‘Duckling,’ ‘Miami,’ ‘Daddy’s Girlfriend,’ or ‘Late Show,’ we are in for a real treat that is well worth the wait.”

-LJ & CJ

THE YBTV EMMYS: IF WE WERE IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD

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The 65th Annual Primetime Television Emmy Awards are set to air this Sunday, September 22 on CBS.  Thus, like everyone else in the TV blogging world, we will be doing our own list of winners.  These are not predictions.  It is who we think should win based on the list of nominees for each category.  Do we agree with the nominations in each category…definitely not.  But, we have decided to work within these shackles and come up with our favorites.  One thing should become clear, we (CJ and LJ), unsurprisingly, watch a lot of the same shows.  Apologies for any repetitiveness.

BIGGEST NOMINATION OVERSIGHT:

CJ’s pick:  Walton Goggins, Justified

LJ’s pick:  Emmy Rossum, Shameless (*not only should she be nominated, but she should win)

WIN THAT WILL HURT THE MOST:

CJ’s pick: Damian Lewis, Homeland

LJ’s pick: Anything from Homeland.  Also, anyone from Downton Abbey (*I actually like Downton, but this year, it just can’t win)

DRAMA SERIES:

Breaking Bad, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
Homeland, Showtime
Game of Thrones, HBO
House of Cards, Netflix
Mad Men, AMC

CJ’s pick: Mad Men

LJ’s pick: Breaking Bad

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey, PBS
Bryan Cranston, Breaking  Bad, AMC
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO
Jon Hamm,  Mad Men, AMC
Damian Lewis, Homeland, Showtime
Kevin  Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix

CJ’s pick: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

LJ’s pick:  Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC
Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, PBS
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel, A&E
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC
Kerry Washington, Scandal, ABC
Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix

CJ’s pick: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

LJ’s pick:  Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (*This close to picking Kerry Washington)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire, HBO
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad, AMC
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad, AMC
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey, PBS
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland, Showtime

CJ’s pick: Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad

LJ’s pick:  I am emotionally torn between Aaron Paul and Jonathan Banks.  Ok, Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, AMC
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey, PBS
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, HBO
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, CBS
Morena Baccarin, Homeland, Showtime
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, AMC

CJ’s pick: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

LJ’s pick: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

COMEDY SERIES:

The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Girls, HBO
Louie, FX
Modern Family, ABC
30 Rock, NBC
Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Veep

LJ’s pick:  Veep

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Netflix
Louis C.K., Louie, FX
Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory, CBS
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC

CJ’s pick: Louis C.K., Louie

LJ’s pick:  Full disclosure.  I watch none of these shows.  So, I abstain.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO
Laura Dern, Enlightened, HBO
Tiny Fey, 30 Rock, NBC
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime

CJ’s pick: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

LJ’s pick:  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Adam Driver, Girls, HBO
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family, ABC
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family, ABC
Ty Burrell, Modern Family, ABC
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live, NBC
Tony Hale, Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Adam Driver, Girls

LJ’s pick: Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Jane Lynch, Glee, Fox
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family, ABC
Julie Bowen, Modern Family, ABC
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie, Showtime
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock, NBC
Anna Chlumsky, Veep, HBO

CJ’s pick: Anna Chlumsky, Veep

LJ’s pick: Anna Chlumsky, Veep

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES:

George Mastras, Breaking Bad, “Dead Freight”
Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad, “Say My Name”
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “The Rains of Castamere”
Henry Bromell, Homeland, “Q&A”

CJ’s pick: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “The Rains of Castamere”

LJ’s pick: George Mastras, Breaking Bad, “Dead Freight”

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES:

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “Margate Sands”
Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”
Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, “Q&A”
David Fincher, House Of Cards, “Chapter 1”

CJ’s pick: Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”

LJ’s pick: Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All” (*The one and only time I considered something from Homeland)

WRITING FOR COMEDY SERIES:

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes, “Episode 209”
Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie, “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)”
Greg Daniels, The Office, “Finale”
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock, “Hogcock!”
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock, “Last Lunch”

CJ’s pick: Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie, “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)”

LJ’s pick: Once again, I abstain.  Womp, womp.

DIRECTING FOR COMEDY SERIES:

Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”
Paris Barclay, Glee, “Diva”
Louis C.K., Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family, “Arrested”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock, “Hogcock! / Last Lunch”

CJ’s pick: Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”

LJ’s pick: Lena Dunham, Girls, “On All Fours”

**All selections were made independently and at separate locations.  We take this stuff seriously (probably too seriously).