Aaron Paul

Emmy Hopes and Predictions: Drama

After lots of internal dilemmas, I’ve come up with my predictions for the Emmy nominees for this year’s drama categories. I think I’d just be happier if the Academy would give out like 3 awards for some categories, because sometimes choosing one person is just too tough. Look out for upcoming posts about my feelings on the comedy and miniseries/movie categories.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards
  • Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
  • Kerry Washington, Scandal
  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Kerry Washington

As I mentioned in my introduction, picking one person is hard, especially because I’m a fan of four of these actresses. Since I didn’t enjoy House of Cards when I tried watching it and I’ve never seen The Good Wife, I’ve knocked Robin Wright and Julianna Margulies out of my running, but that of course doesn’t mean they’re unlikely to win. Claire Danes is always great, but I don’t think she’s as likely to win this year. My gut says Kerry Washington is going to be victorious, unless it goes to Margulies after what many have said was the show’s best season. And for the record, Michelle and Lizzy are both winners in my heart. (I’m also still mourning the fact that Vera Farmiga wasn’t nominated this year, so there’s that).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Woody Harrelson, True Detective
  • Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Bryan Cranston

Let’s just get this out in the open right now: I will not be pleased if True Detective sweeps the drama categories. I thought the show was good, but not nearly as great as everyone else made it out to be. Needless to say, I do not want Harrelson or McConaghey to win, though they both gave great performances. Bryan Cranston undoubtedly deserves a prize for the final season of Breaking Bad, and I really hope he gets it. If anyone else wins, I’m expecting it to be one of the True Detective men, and my guess is that McConaughey has the stronger chance of the two.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Lena Headey

Another tough category, because I watched five of these performances (sorry, Christine Baranski), and they’re all award-worthy. Since Anna Gunn won last year, I’m not sure she’ll do it again, especially since her role was smaller in the final episodes of Breaking Bad. I don’t really think Maggie Smith would win again, though to be clear, she’s only won in this category once, in 2012. She also won in 2011 when Downton Abbey was still considered a miniseries. As much as I like Christina Hendricks, I don’t think she had the screen time or narrative relevance to win. And though I love Joanne Froggatt and she gave a great performance this season, I don’t think it’s very likely she’ll win. So I guess that leaves me with Lena Headey! I think she’s got a good shot, especially for her first nomination, and I’d be happy to see her win. But really, any of these ladies could win and I’d be supportive. Whatever.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
  • Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Aaron Paul Mandy Patinkin

My emotions are confused yet again. Though I’ve not seen Jon Voight’s or Josh Charles’s performances, I think Charles has a good shot at an award from what I’ve heard of this season of The Good Wife. But when I look at the shows I do watch, I’m again perplexed. Even though Aaron Paul has won several times before, I think he again has a great shot for the final episodes of Breaking Bad. I adore Jim Carter, but there’s no way he’ll win. Peter Dinklage definitely has a solid chance, especially considering his great performance in what was a very difficult season for Tyrion. Personally, though, I think I’d vote for Mandy Patinkin, mostly because I love him and I don’t know if he’ll ever win for Homeland. Emotions aside, I think the two strongest contenders are Aaron Paul and Josh Charles.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
  • Kate Mara, House of Cards
  • Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
  • Kate Burton, Scandal
  • Margo Martindale, The Americans
  • Jane Fonda, The Newsroom

Allison Janney

I really hope Allison Janney has this one in the bag, but I can’t be sure. She’s absolutely who I’d vote for; she’s amazing as the sweet, charming, and pitiful Margaret Scully, and totally deserves an award for her performance. I don’t even want to talk about the other nominees, so I won’t.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
  • Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
  • Robert Morse, Mad Men
  • Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
  • Joe Morton, Scandal
  • Dylan Baker, The Good Wife

Joe Morton

I’ve seen four of these performances and think this category is pretty wide open. My personal vote would be for Joe Morton because he’s so deliciously evil as Olivia Pope’s dad. His character is the definition of “love to hate him.” However, this is the last chance for Robert Morse to win (even though it’s weird that he’s always been considered a guest and not a supporting actor), and Beau Bridges is great on Masters of Sex. Paul Giamatti was perfectly sleazy on Downton Abbey, but again, I don’t think he’s got a real shot. This category could be a bit of a surprise.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Breaking Bad, AMC
  • Mad Men, AMC
  • House of Cards, Netflix
  • Downton Abbey, PBS
  • Game of Thrones, HBO
  • True Detective, HBO

Breaking Bad

I really, really hope that Breaking Bad repeats its win from last year. The win would be completely and absolutely deserved, but I’m afraid that True Detective will sneak up and take the cake. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no question about which show deserves to win, and I hope voters feel the same as I do.


Sundance 2014: The Most Magical Time of My Life


This is me, standing in front of the Egyptian Theater at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

You know how there are those milestone events that every person needs to experience in life? Like graduating from college, getting married, having kids, or even just reading a really great book? Well, the Sundance Film Festival was one of my milestones. I’m only 22-years-old, so I haven’t really had the chance to experience many of those other things (though I have lived a pretty amazingly privileged life), but Sundance was the kind of thing I never thought I’d have done by this age. However, I attended a presentation in February of 2013 on my college campus about the Oscars, and when the presenter (one of my former professors) mentioned after the presentation that he was working on organization a Study Away course to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, I made the decision to do everything possible to make myself a part of that program.

Flash forward eleven months to January 14, 2014, when I boarded an airplane headed to Salt Lake City, en route to Park City, Utah, the location of the annual Sundance Film Festival. From that moment through the following ten days, my life was nothing short of extraordinary. If you know anything about me, you probably know that I like celebrities and all things pop culture (it is my major, after all), so Sundance was a mecca of sorts for me. My ten days in Park City resulted in me seeing 14 feature-length films, 2 short films, and nearly 60 celebrities. These statistics, in my mind, represent ten days very well spent. So here is my little way of trying to cram all the gloriousness that was Sundance into a few words in one small blog post. In the following paragraphs, you’ll find my reviews of the films I saw, lists of the celebrities I met, and any small tidbits I can try to fit in, though there’s no way I can do the reality justice. If you’d like to know more, trust me, you’d only be indulging me by asking, so feel free.

Celebrities I Saw at Sundance:

  • Mark Ruffalo, Christina Hendricks, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Olsen, Mark Duplass, Bob Odenkirk, Bill Hader, Mandy Patinkin, Donald Faison, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Schwartz, Karen Gillan, Emily Browning, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Stuart Murdoch, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Jason Momoa, Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe, Anne Hathaway, Mary Steenburgen, Shiloh Fernandez, Billy Crudup, Lilly Collins, Mark Indelicato, Joe Swanberg, Steve Coogan, Matt Walsh, Ted Danson, Michael C. Hall, William H. Macy

Celebrities I Interacted With at Sundance:

  • Joe Manganiello, Aaron and Lauren Paul. John Slattery (who spent a few minutes with my friends and me discussing our lives), Richard Ayoade, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell (with whom I discussed my fear of him since seeing him in The Green Mile), Dan Stevens, Jorge Garcia, Elijah Wood, Richard Schiff, Miles Teller, John Carroll Lynch, Mark Webber, Cameron Monaghan, Jason Ritter (who wished me a happy 13th birthday), Melanie Lynskey, Olly Alexander, Jim O’Heir, Shailene Woodley, Josh Wiggins, Deke Gardner, and Amy Poehler (the queen of my life)


Aaron Paul entering the world premiere of his film, Hellion.


My friend Kaitlynn and me with Jason Ritter.


My friend Kaitlynn and me with Jim O’Heir, star of Parks and Recreation.


Jorge Garcia, star of Lost, and me at the world premiere of The Guest.

Movies I Saw at Sundance:

  • The Double — This was definitely a successful way to start of my Sundance viewings. The Double had its premiere last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, but it was still exciting to see it much earlier than the general public. The plot can be a bit confusing, and there’s no real sense of setting (a conscious choice on the director’s part), but the story is compelling and weird enough to keep you hooked. Jesse Eisenberg stars, playing two different characters who are essentially people with opposite personalities but identical appearances. If you’re into cerebral dramas (with a strong infusion of comedy), this is a movie for you.
  • The Guest — Putting my feelings about this movie into words has been a serious struggle. The Guest stars Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame as “David,” a man who’s just returned from a military tour in the Middle East and heads straight to the family of a fallen comrade. From the opening scenes, The Guest is clearly a spoof of sorts, making fun of the conventions of horror and thriller films. The movie is never exactly scary, but it does follow the same formula of many horror films. It’s very fun to watch, especially if you pick up on the multitude of references to Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter, and Quentin Tarantino that the film makes. My only warning to my fellow Downton fanatics: Dan Stevens is playing someone completely, 100% different from Matthew Crawley. Be warned. You’re bound to have some serious emotions about this.



Dan Stevens, star of The Guest and Downton Abbey, with me at the world premiere of The Guest.


  • Laggies — Laggies is the kind of movie that is almost certain to find success with “indie” summer audiences. This is the story of Megan (Keira Knightley), a twenty-eight-year-old experiencing a quarter-life crisis, who befriends Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz), a sixteen-year-old high school rebel. The movie is cute, funny, and sweet, but never really challenges the audience in any way. I would’ve preferred if it had been a bit edgier, but it was enjoyable as is, and I’m sure it will delight mass audiences upon its theatrical release.
  • God’s Pocket — God’s Pocket, John Slattery’s feature film directorial debut, is the story of several seedy characters in the late 1970s in New York. Despite its star-studded cast (which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, and Richard Jenkins), I didn’t really feel like this one hit the mark. I wasn’t entirely interested in the story, and it felt like the film was trying to cover too many plot lines in 90 minutes. The story was adapted from a novel, so I would like to think the the stories might be more flushed out on the page than they were on screen. Unfortunately, this ranked among my least favorite films I saw.



My friends Kaitlynn and Lendee and me with John Slattery, director of the Sundance film God’s Pocket and star of Mad Men.

  • God Help the Girl — We now move to one of my very favorite films I saw at Sundance, a musical written by Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian. God Help the Girl is 111 minutes of pure, unadulterated joy, enhanced by a talented young cast who exemplify the therapeutic abilities of music. I cannot wait for this film to be released in some capacity where I can see it again and listen to the soundtrack over and over and over. I’m obsessed, which you might be able to tell from the glee on my face in the following picture.



Olly Alexander, star of God Help the Girl and the cutest person ever, with me after the world premiere of his film.

  • Somewhere in the Valley… — This was the first short film I saw, and one I’m more than happy to forget. The plot line and jokes felt very forced, and the story was entirely unbelievable (though, according to the director, the story was based on something that really happened in Europe. Go figure.). I was very unimpressed by this film, but, thankfully, it was no indication of the quality of the film it preceded: La Bare.
  • La Bare — A documentary about male strippers directed by an actor from Magic Mike? What more can you want? (Okay, just kidding. Kind of.) La Bare is indeed a documentary about male strippers in Texas directed by Joe Manganiello of Magic Mike and True Blood fame, but it isn’t really the movie it sounds like. Just like Magic Mike, La Bare is about much more than male strippers, and I think Manganiello did a fantastic job in his directorial debut of capturing the nuances of the men he profiled, making them something much more than just caricatures of themselves. This shows that Manganiello might have a more promising future in entertainment that you’d expect, so watch out for him.


Joe Manganiello, director of La Bare and star of Magic Mike and True Blood, with me after the world premiere of his film.

  • Hellion — Hellion is the kind of movie that sticks with you. This film tells the story of a young family in Texas, broken by the loss of the two young sons’ mother. Josh Wiggins and Deke Gardner play these boys and deliver standout performances as kids caught between wrong and right, and they are certainly young actors you should look out for. Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis also give great performances as the only, semi-present adults in these kids’ lives. The final scenes in the film are both heartbreaking and frightening, and will certainly leave audiences with much to ponder for a long time after it ends.



Aaron Paul, Josh Wiggins, and Deke Gardner during the Q&A after a screening of their film, Hellion.

  • Song One — Song One is the kind of movie that I can’t stop thinking about, but not in a good way. One of the first things I said after seeing it (the same point that was made by a critic from Variety) was that if the setting of this movie was moved south a few states to North Carolina, it’d be the story straight from the pages of Nicholas Sparks. Anne Hathaway stars as Franny, a doctoral student who returns home upon hearing that her (somewhat estranged) brother is in a coma after being hit by a car. The brother, Henry, is an aspiring musician, which leads Franny to contact his favorite singer, with whom she starts a romantic relationship. See the Nicholas Sparks happening? Overall, the movie was fine, nothing more, nothing less. Mary Steenburgen was the film’s highlight as Franny and Henry’s scene-stealing mother. Kind of a forgettable movie, though, and one I’m not likely to recommend.



The cast (featuring Mary Steenburgen and Anne Hathaway) and director of Song One.

  • White Bird in a Blizzard — I didn’t really know what to expect from this film, but I’m very glad I saw it. Shailene Woodley stars as Kat, a girl trying to move on after her mother disappears. Though the movie sounds like a drama, it’s much funnier than you’d expect, and the comedy paired with the stylized cinematography make for a very entertaining movie experience. Also, watch out for a twist ending. It’s totally worth it.


The director and cast (including Gabourey Sidibe, Shailene Woodley, and Christopher Meloni) of White Bird in a Blizzard.

  • Funnel — This was the second short film I saw, presented before our screening of Happy Christmas. Based on our first short film experience, I was a little wary of this one, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Funnel was hilariously funny and entertaining, with a deceptively simple plot focused on a man walking back to his car from a gas station after his car has stopped working. If you have a chance to see this, you should.
  • Happy Christmas — After recently watching Drinking Buddies, Joe Swanberg’s last film, I was very excited to see Happy Christmas, a movie starring Anna Kendrick as a somewhat lost twentysomething. The entire cast is great, and features a breakout performance by Swanberg’s two-year-old son, Jude (seriously, this baby is talented). The most surprising and impressive aspect of the film came in the Q&A following the screening, when Swanberg revealed to the audience that his cast improvised the entire movie from a twelve-page outline he’d written. This knowledge will give viewers a whole new perspective on this smart and entertaining film. I look forward to more work from Swanberg in the near future.


Joe Swanberg, director and star of Happy Christmas, during a Q&A after a screening of his film.

  • The Skeleton Twins — This has been one of the most talked about films of Sundance this year, noted for Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig’s unexpectedly great performances in dramatic roles. In that regard, it’s satisfying to see that Hader and Wiig won’t be disappearing from fame after their respective departures from Saturday Night Live. This is a smart, well-acted, relatable family drama that’s sure to attract audiences, and one that will hopefully solidify Hader’s and Wiig’s roles as respected Hollywood actors.
  • Listen Up Philip — Listen Up Philip was the only Sundance film that I actively disliked. Despite the cast that I was very excited about (Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter), I found this film exhausting, sexist, and annoying. Philip, played by Schwartzman, is completely unlikeable as a floundering writer; I never felt an ounce of sympathy toward him. The women in the film were the only slightly likelable characters, but their portrayal as victims of the men in their lives made them all seem dependent and pathetic, and I couldn’t really identify with them either. It should also be noted that I found the film’s director Alex Ross Perry to be kind of repulsive in the Q&A following the screening. He clearly put the worst of himself onscreen in the characters of Philip and Ike (Jonathan Price), and I didn’t find it at all enjoyable.
  • Whiplash — Thankfully, in light of the experience of Listen Up Philip, my next film was the most (deservedly) buzzed about film of Sundance: the opening night film, Whiplash. Whiplash is a movie about an aspiring jazz drummer (played by the fantastic Miles Teller) and his formidable teacher Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). The plot line is simple, but the movie is executed brilliantly, including sharp editing that only serves to enhance the strong musical elements of the film. If the final sequence of the film doesn’t leave you feeling surprised, breathless, and inspired, you’ve done something wrong. I really hope this film’s longevity plays out to keep in on the awards circuit radar for 2015, because it’s definitely deserving.


My friend Kaitlynn and me with Miles Teller, star of Whiplash, on Main Street in Park City.

  • Freedom Summer — My final film at Sundance was a documentary about the summer of 1964 in Mississippi and the movement known as Freedom Summer in which primarily white college students traveled south to attempt to shed light on the racial injustices in the state. Though the subject matter was great, I didn’t feel like the film was executed as perfectly as it could have been, but it was still an interesting experience. The film was made in collaboration with PBS, and I think that’s quite clear in the way it’s put together; it felt much more like a TV documentary than one made for theaters. Despite these small qualms, I think this is an important film for Americans to see, especially since this is a relatively unknown movement in our not-so-distant past that should be a source of inspiration for the continuing social injustices in America today.

So, in a nutshell, these were the highlights of my Sundance experience. I’ve now returned to the real world, where I’m two days into my final semester as an undergraduate student (whaaat?). Here’s hoping that the buzz of Sundance doesn’t wear off until graduation! Sundance, I’ll see you in 2015.


Year in Review: Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2013

For this list, I’ll just be sticking to the shows I have on my TV Bucket List, because if I attempted to cover all the shows I watch regularly, I’d probably be here for days. 2013 was a year of eclectic TV watching for me, so this will be a rather varied list. Here goes nothing!

Bates Motel

1. Bates Motel, A&E, completed May 2013

I’m a huge advocate for this show, so be prepared for some fangirling here. Bates Motel is a modern-day prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho, and, though that may seem a daunting challenge, the show certainly lives up to its predecessor. Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga give fantastic performances as Norman and Norma Bates, who are probably the most compellingly dysfunctional mother-son pairing since Oedipus and Jocasta. This shows moves easily from creepy to sad to hilarious and pulls riveted viewers through lots of twists and turns. Season two premieres in 2014, and I’ll anxiously be waiting for that moment until it happens.

Breaking Bad

2. Breaking Bad, AMC, completed January 2013

I really only watched a season-and-a-half of Breaking Bad in 2013 if you don’t count the final eight episodes, but that certainly doesn’t diminish its status as one of the greatest shows of the year, and probably in TV history. There isn’t much to say about it except that I’m still reeling over the final episodes, and so very happy with the show’s conclusion. In essence, this is a perfect show, despite its many terribly dark and disturbing moments. You’d be surprised how quickly you think meth dealing might be a viable career option.

Dawson's Creek

3. Dawson’s Creek, Netflix, completed December 2013

I’m kind of stretching the truth on my completion date as I’ve still got one season to go, but at the rate I’ve sped through the past three seasons, it’s safe to say I’ll be done before the end of the month. I was looking for an easy and fun show to balance out some of the dramas and comedies I’d been watching, so I turned to Dawson’s Creek on a whim, and I’m very happy with the decision I made. First of all, the show has totally changed my feelings about Katie Holmes (the moment when someone FINALLY happened tp mention Tom Cruise’s name to Joey was probably the highlight of my week) and I’ve developed such a crush on Joshua Jackson (or maybe just Pacey Witter… it’s kind of hard to say). Though the stories can get a bit dramatic, I’ve really enjoyed watching the show, especially because of the varied and well-developed teenage females that are somewhat rare in television. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic for the 1990s, this is a must-see.


4. Downton Abbey, PBS, completed March 2013

Even though I do a lot of binge-watching, there are only a few shows that with which I become truly obsessed, and Downton Abbey has earned its place among the chosen few. Watching Downton is kind of the equivalent of snuggling up on the coach with a hot tea and a good book on a winter day. It’s comforting, heartbreaking, and hilarious, and just British enough to make Americans feel somehow more cultured. It’s safe to say I’ve never cried harder for TV than I did watching Sybil’s death, largely because Tom Branson is basically my favorite fictional human ever (okay, that may not be true, but I just have a lot of favorites). This is perfect for binge-watching over the holidays, especially since the fourth season premieres in the US in January.

Game of Thrones

5. Game of Thrones, HBO, completed March 2013

I have to admit, I was a bit slow on the uptake with this one, but I’m very glad I persevered. After watching the first two episodes in January and feeling underwhelmed, I decided to give it another try in March before the premiere of season three. After overcoming the difficulty of attempting to remember all the characters’ names, I became totally enraptured with the many layered stories in the show. Nerd culture is cool largely in part to this show, so give it a chance if you haven’t. But be warned, the “it’s not porn, it’s HBO” slogan could basically just be applied to just this one show. A word to the wise: this isn’t the kind of show you want to stream in a public place unless you’re looking for some serious embarrassment.


6. Scandal, ABC, completed October 2013

I was very reluctant to start Scandal, but when my roommate started watching it, I decided to join in, and it ended up being totally worth it. The first season, which is only seven episodes long, drove me a little crazy, but it still kept enough of my attention to keep me moving with the show. Then, at some point in season two, it just got better; the stories got more interesting and less episodic, the characters developed in unexpected ways, and the chemistry between Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant is too hot to ignore. As an added bonus, Jeff Perry and Joshua Malina are fantastic in two secondary roles that can almost always be relied on for a few laughs during tense episodes. This is a total guilty pleasure show, and since it’s only in season three, it isn’t hard to catch up if you’re interested. On an unhappy note, the show’s last new episode for the fall airs this week and it won’t return until February 27, and they recently cut season three’s total run from 22 to 18 episodes. A serious bummer, but still totally worth a watch.

Top of the Lake

7. Top of the Lake, Sundance Channel/Netflix, completed August 2013

Top of the Lake is perfect if you’re looking for an quick and enticing show to stream over the holidays. It’s a miniseries that premiered last year at the Sundance Film Festival and is now available on Netflix, and with only seven episodes, you can easily cruise through it in a day or two. Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss stars as a cop searching for a pregnant 12-year-old who goes missing at the end of episode one, and the series follows this search and the lives of the strange characters who populate a small New Zealand town. The show at times is both dark and violent, but the story is so interesting you won’t be deterred. Also, Holly Hunter gives a great performance as a total weirdo, so that’s always a plus.

Twin Peaks

8. Twin Peaks, Netflix, completed June 2013

Twin Peaks is a show I’ve heard my mom talk about for years, so this summer, I finally decided to sit down and watch the 30-episode show on Netflix, and it was definitely worth it. (Side note: it’s interesting to watch this before Bates Motel or Top of the Lake, because you’ll see definite similarities in these newer programs). Twin Peaks is about a small community near the Canadian border in Washington that’s populated by a rather eclectic group of people. When a high school sweetheart’s body washes is found in the pilot episode, an FBI agent is brought in to investigate the case. I would say that some of the show’s intrigue wanes toward the end of season two, but there are many moments that will both freak you out completely (I’m serious) and will haunt your nightmares (there are a few images that I still see every time I wake up in the middle of the night, and it isn’t pleasant). This is a bizarre show, but it’s very fun to watch, especially since it plays with various aspects of comedy, horror, and melodrama in a way that keeps viewers guessing.


9. Veep, HBO, completed June 2013

If you’re interested in watching Veep, the best advice I can give you is to stick it out through season one to get to season two. On the plus side, season one is only eight episodes, so it’s easy to cruise through the opening season when it appears the show was still figuring itself out. Season two, however, flows perfectly, and viewers will certainly see why Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale took home top awards at the Emmys this year for their performances. One line I repeat over and over is that I think the role of Vice President Selina Meyer was absolutely written for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, because she has an uncanny talent for making unlikeable characters intensely likeable. If you’re looking for something smart and funny, this is the show for you.


10. The Wonder Years, Netflix, completed August 2013

Aside from Dawson’s CreekThe Wonder Years is the longest show I completed this year (I’m still watching Seinfeld and Cheers, so those don’t really count). This is the kind of show to watch with your family; it has endearing characters, moments of happiness and sorrow, and an historical context that adds a layer of complexity to an often lighthearted show. Watching Kevin Arnold and his friends grow up in often funny, sweet, and sad, especially when you get to the final season and realize how much the actors changed over the show’s course. This is an easy show to stream while you’re doing other things since the plot lines are never very complicated, and it’s a pretty comforting way to spend your time. Also, if you’re at all a fan of the new ABC comedy The Goldbergs, you should absolutely watch The Wonder Years since they’re basically the same show, just set in different decades.

What new shows did you discover in 2013? What are you looking forward to next year?

Emmy Awards Part 2: My Predictions/Hopes for the Drama Categories

If you read my earlier post about my picks for the nominees in the drama categories at the Emmy Awards, then you get the gist. If not, it’s pretty basic. Here are my thoughts about this years Emmy-nominated dramas.

Outstanding Drama Series

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

This category gives me a lot of feelings because I care about all of these shows except for House of Cards (Sorry, world. I watched three episodes and was super annoyed the whole time. Oh well.). However, I can definitely eliminate Mad Men from my top choices, because I think this was their weakest season, and as much as I love Downton Abbey (which is just so, so much), I don’t really see it fitting into this category. My top pick this year is Breaking Bad, but I’d also be happy seeing either Homeland or Game of Thrones winning. All three of these shows tell great stories, but the originality of Breaking Bad makes it my top choice.

Breaking Bad

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bryan Cranston • Breaking Bad
  • Hugh Bonneville • Downton Abbey
  • Damian Lewis • Homeland
  • Kevin Spacey • House of Cards
  • Jon Hamm • Mad Men
  • Jeff Daniels • The Newsroom

Again, I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS. But here, I’m also ruling out Jon Hamm, as sad as I am that he’s yet to win for this role (the real showdown will happen next year when Hamm and Cranston will presumably face off for the final seasons of their respective shows). I’m so happy to see Hugh Bonneville nominated, but the same goes for this show as I mentioned above. My top pick here is Bryan Cranston, who never ceases to amaze me. However, I would also be happy to see Damian Lewis win it again this year. If you don’t think “Q&A” is one of the best-acted episodes on TV from this past year, you’re crazy.

Bryan Cranston

Episode 212

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Vera Farmiga • Bates Motel
  • Michelle Dockery • Downton Abbey
  • Claire Danes • Homeland
  • Robin Wright • House of Cards
  • Elisabeth Moss • Mad Men
  • Connie Britton • Nashville
  • Kerry Washington • Scandal

I’m really, really, REALLY rooting for Vera Farmiga on this one. I had such high hopes that Bates Motel would receive a smattering of Emmy nominations, but at least the nomination it did receive was its most deserved. Farmiga plays Norma Bates in a way that makes audiences relate to her, feel wary of her, and empathize with her all at the same time. She’s also incredibly funny, so she’s my favorite in this category. However, I’d also be pleased to see Claire Danes win it again (see “Q&A” comment above), and of the Downton Abbey acting nominations, I think Dockery is most deserving of a win, but she’s got some tough competition here. (Side note: if you’ve followed my recent posts, you’ll know that I’m rooting for Elisabeth Moss for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.)

Vera Farmiga

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bobby Cannavale • Boardwalk Empire
  • Jonathan Banks • Breaking Bad
  • Aaron Paul • Breaking Bad
  • Jim Carter • Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage • Game of Thrones
  • Mandy Patinkin • Homeland

And, once again, this category gives me some internal conflict, because I’m a big fan of all these shows (apart from Boardwalk Empire). However, in my attempts to narrow the playing field, I think I’d first eliminate Aaron Paul. He’s fantastic as Jesse Pinkman, and I’d be happy to see him win, but his two past wins and his diminished role this season make me root for others here over him, and I’d prefer Jonathan Banks to win if it goes to a Breaking Bad actor. I’d also eliminate Jim Carter for the same reasons as the other Downton nominees, and Peter Dinklage’s past win makes me more inclined to root for Mandy Patinkin here. Let’s face it, Saul is such a wonderful character, and his calm, reasonable character is a great balance to all of Carrie’s crazy.

Mandy Patinkin

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn • Breaking Bad
  • Maggie Smith • Downton Abbey
  • Emilia Clarke • Game of Thrones
  • Christine Baranski • The Good Wife
  • Morena Baccarin • Homeland
  • Christina Hendricks • Mad Men

This category is again difficult for me, but in a bit of a different way than the other categories. While I again have issues because I watch all of these shows apart from The Good Wife, I’m having a hard time trying to say if one of these actresses really impressed me more than the others. Maggie Smith is always a voter favorite, but I’d be happy to see the award go to someone else this year. I’m not sure I’d root for Christina Hendricks this year, either, due to a smaller role this season for Joan. I could also say the same for Anna Gunn. However, Gunn did give a great monologue (her “I’m just waiting for your cancer to come back” moment), but she still does a lot that drives me insane (i.e. brushing her hair, putting on lotion, doing that dumb thing with her upper lip). Overall, I think I’m rooting most for Emilia Clarke, but I really do think I could be happy no matter who wins. I think my problem with this category is that, apart from Clarke, each of these women’s respective characters didn’t have their best seasons. (Side note: based on the preview for the upcoming season of Homeland, I’m wondering if Baccarin might be able to shine with the new developments for her character this season.)

Emilia Clarke

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nathan Lane • The Good Wife
  • Michael J. Fox • The Good Wife
  • Rupert Friend • Homeland
  • Robert Morse • Mad Men
  • Harry Hamlin • Mad Men
  • Dan Bucatinsky • Scandal

Okay, my opinions in these last two categories probably aren’t as trustworthy because I watch fewer of the nominated shows, but I do feel strongly about my choices here. Because I only watch Homeland and Mad Men out of the nominees here, it’s a no brainer for me to support Rupert Friend in this category. Friend is hilarious as Peter Quinn, but he also gave the character the necessary intrigue as it became revealed that Quinn may not be who he seems. I can’t wait to see his return in season three. I was never overly impressed (or even very interested) in Hamlin, and I’m honestly a bit confused how it’s possible for Morse to be nominated here, since he’s been a part of the show since the very beginning. Regardless, I give my full support to Friend.

Episode 204

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Margo Martindale • The Americans
  • Diana Rigg • Game of Thrones
  • Carrie Preston • The Good Wife
  • Linda Cardellini • Mad Men
  • Jane Fonda • The Newsroom
  • Joan Cusack • Shameless

Again, I don’t have the greatest background for this category, but I am very confident in my support of Diana Rigg for her role as the hilarious Olenna Tyrell. The only other actress I know much about here is Linda Cardellini, but, in this case, I felt like her character’s most intriguing characteristic was her effect on Don Draper, rather than anything about herself. It doesn’t take much thought for me to support Rigg in this scenario. (Side note: Though I don’t watch The Good Wife, I really love Carrie Preston on True Blood, so I’d be fine if she won as well.)

Dianna Rigg

Breaking Bad‘s 8 Most Bitchin’ and Bold Twists!

So excited for the final eight episodes!


Breaking Bad Plot TwistsFiery graves and poisonous plants and gunshots gone awry are just a few of the things that make AMC’s Breaking Bad(which kicks off its final run this Sunday at 9/8c) the most deliciously dark, addictively twisted series on TV today.

They’re also a major reason why we’ll miss following the saga of Walter White and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman when their meth-fueled misadventures come to an (inevitably) tragic end in just eight short weeks.

RELATED |Breaking Bad Series Finale Spoilers, Spin-Off Update

As such, we’ve compiled a tight collection (with the caveat that the options for this one are endless) of Bad‘s eight most bitchin’ twists from the past five seasons. (We’re pretty sure Jesse would approve of the title.)

From moments that defined the series to those that broke our hearts and crushed the characters, our picks  take fans down a pretty devastating — but enjoyable! —…

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