Peak TV, y’all, amirite?
I have to admit, it feels a little weird to be launching our Tenth (!!!!!) Annual Feelies in the midst of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. But, in a way, it also feels fitting because these nominees represent what we think are the best of the best. These are the stories and the performances that are the fruits of the labors of those writers and actors on the picket lines. These are the stories and performances that they are fighting to protect, the stories and performances that will inspire the next generation of writers and actors, and the stories and performances that keep us subscribing to every single fucking streaming service there is just so we can consume them. We see their worth and we stand in solidarity with both unions in their fight for a fair and equal agreement. Thank you for honoring us with your work.
On to the nitpicky things!
Sage and I are but two middle aged women. We really do try our best to consume as much content as possible, but we can’t watch everything. We also can’t NOMINATE everything, so we really stuck to our guns this year as far as keeping the the number of nominees as tight as possible in each category. So if something isn’t nominated and you’re like “BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN,” you’re probably right. But these are OUR picks that we present to YOU to choose from. Everything that happens from here is entirely up to you.
Voting will be open until 5 PM EST on Sunday, August 6th 2023. You can vote every half hour, and we DO track IP addresses and remove any votes that are unfairly spammed. While we do encourage campaigning for your faves, we want a CLEAN race!
Also, please note that the poll plug-in has been a little finicky! If you get the error “You have already submitted a vote to this poll” and you haven’t, just hit submit again and it will go through, we promise.
Thank you for sticking with the Feelies for a whole ass decade, fam. We can’t wait to see who you pick this year. — Kim
And the nominees are…
Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul
For All Mankind
The Good Fight
The Last of Us
Sage: After a long hiatus, Stranger Things returned with an operatic fourth season that involved breaking Hopper out a Russian gulag, unmasking the monster who created the Upside Down, and a lot of gay angst. As epic as it’s gotten, the Netflix juggernaut keeps the focus on the messy relationships among its characters, telling a sci-fi fueled coming-of-age tale and introducing even more blorbos for us to fall for and then fall apart over when they’re inevitably killed off. Better Call Saul brought the train into the station in its final season, completing Jimmy McGill’s transition into Saul Goodman and staring straight into the human cost of that. Of course, its Breaking Bad DNA was on display every time a character met a violent – and seemingly cosmically foretold – end, but Jimmy’s story isn’t Walter White’s, and the contemplation of what making amends really looks like proves that BCS is a different – and even deeper – show.
So long also to Succession, which boldly brought the Roy family saga to a close right at the height of its popularity. Season Four will go down as a master class in every facet of TV-making, and we’ll never not be mourning the opportunity to see all of these artists and artisans collaborating at the top of their game. Still, we can’t fault them for going out on a run of banger after banger, proving that streaming didn’t entirely kill the idea of “appointment television.”
Kim: Last year’s co-winner Yellowjackets managed to get even darker and more intense in Season Two than it did in its first season. From dispensing with the will they/won’t they question about cannibalism by episode two (of course they did!) to the devastatingly tragic end in the present day timeline, it’s a white-knuckle thrill ride the entire time. The Last of Us may be a post-apocalyptic drama in which humanity battles a global pandemic where a fungus turns people into zombies, but it’s also a reminder that humans are often still the greatest threat to themselves. Beautifully led by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, it’s a master class in adaptation, leaving plenty of Easter eggs for fans of the video game while still being accessible to an entirely new audience.
The Good Fight’s final season was an exercise in dread and mounting anxiety in a post-COVID, post-Trump world. It was a cathartic exercise though as Diane and company took on just about every “ripped from the headlines” idea they could, from the NFL to the Supreme Court, all culminating in Trump announcing his re-election bid five whole days before he actually did IRL. Robert and Michelle King, tell me my future, you evil wizards! And finally, For All Mankind is the best show on television that most of y’all aren’t watching. This alt-history drama from genre wizard Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar, Outlander) imagines a world where the space race never stops, taking us all the way to Mars in Season Three. It’s thrilling, it’s devastating, it’s incredibly feminist, it’s Feelie worthy.
Best Comedy Series
What We Do in the Shadows
Kim: Abbott Elementary deftly avoided the sophomore season curse with a stellar run of twenty-two episodes (TWENTY-TWO! In this economy!) that only got better and better as the season progressed. Abbott’s whip-smart humor, giant beating heart, and incredibly cohesive ensemble definitely puts it at the top of the class. Over on CBS, Ghosts had a similarly strong second season filled with silly hijinx and surprising emotional resonance, all of it delivered by a superb and hilarious cast of characters. Network sitcoms aren’t dead, y’all!
The Bear really walks a fine line between comedy and drama, but what’s not up for debate is how spectacular its second season is. From spotlighting individual character journeys to the most stressful Christmas Eve dinner of all time to one of the greatest needle drops in the history of needle drops, every episode is a love letter to food and the service industry in general. Lastly, if you love Cougar Town or Scrubs, then Shrinking is for you. Bill Lawrence somehow manages to infuse his signature heart and humor into a psychologist’s struggle with losing his wife, while never shying away from the awkward and uncomfortable side of grief. Jason Segel has never been better and any show that has Harrison Fucking Ford embracing his inner comedian is definitely a winner in my book.
Sage: The final season of Barry didn’t pull a single punch, concluding the saga of Bill Hader’s already-damned hitman and all the innocent (and otherwise) people pulled into his orbit in explosive, yet also somehow quietly tragic fashion. Derry Girls also nailed its final chapter, offering us one more year of shenanigans, Catholic guilt, and unexpected maturation for the titular gang. Has any comedy ever captured the wild freedom of adolescence or the sobering encroachment of adulthood so bittersweetly?
Another group of friends we’ll always be down to hang out with is the Reservation Dogs, who are growing both together and apart in Season Two. This a series that deftly balances exquisitely specific slice-of-life comedy, magical realism, and tried and true coming-of-age storytelling to create something wholly original. And finally, What We Do in the Shadows isn’t doing anything to beat those “smartest stupid comedy on TV” allegations after another flawless season of vampire buffoonery and plot twists we didn’t see coming. From Guillermo’s coming out to Colin’s Robinson’s coming (back) into his own, this high-concept show continues to find character development in the most unexpected of places.
Best Leading Performance in a Female Role – Drama
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, The Good Fight
Betty Gilpin as Elizabeth Abbott, Mrs. Davis
Melanie Lynskey as Shauna Sadecki, Yellowjackets
Bella Ramsey as Ellie, The Last of Us
Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Better Call Saul
Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy, Succession
Kim: Melanie Lynskey continues to deliver the performance of her lifetime as Shauna Sadecki on Yellowjackets. Her monologue about what it’s like stripping the flesh from a human corpse is the kind of stuff Feelies are made of. Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart spent a good deal of the final season of The Good Fight in a ketamine induced haze, and quite frankly, she’s never been more enjoyable. There aren’t too many roles for women of a certain age like Diane and I’m going to miss her terribly.
All of the Roy Siblings are fucked up on Succession but Sarah Snook’s Shiv just might be the most tragic because she is always reaching for power that is eternally just out of her reach. She put us through the wringer this season, from her break-up and brief reconciliation with Tom to her trying to outscheme her brothers by teaming up with Matsson. I think the moment that illustrates Sarah’s brilliance the most though is the way she reacts when she learns that Logan is dying – the performance she delivers in that scene is nothing short of astonishing.
Sage: Her name may not be in the title, but Better Call Saul is as much about Kim Wexler’s gleeful downward spiral as it is Jimmy McGill’s. It is staggering that this is Rhea Seehorn’s first major TV role – at least in anything that ever got off the ground – because she’s got “leading lady” written all over her. There’s a reason why Bob Odenkirk dedicates a good chunk of every acceptance speech he makes for this show to singing her praises.
Count me in with the rest of the tastemakers who would happily watch Betty Gilpin read the phone book, let alone play a nun who’s married to the actual Jesus and tasked to find the Holy Grail in order to destroy an all-powerful AI that’s pissing off God. She remains the most dextrous and unpredictable of actors and an absolute coup in casting anything as weird as Mrs. Davis. Bella Ramsey made a splash as a flinty, pint-sized noblewoman in Game of Thrones, but taking on the role of Ellie in The Last of Us proves that it wasn’t the cunty dialogue and expensive costumes doing all the work there. Bella gets right to the root of Ellie’s boundless rage, which is as human as her growing attachment to Joel, especially in scenes like the violent climax of “When We Are in Need.”
Best Leading Performance in a Male Role – Drama
Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy, Succession
Joel Kinnamen as Ed Baldwin, For All Mankind
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Andor
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill, Better Call Saul
Pedro Pascal as Joel, The Last of Us
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, Succession
Sage: I have been begging for a Cassian Andor origin story since Rogue One hit theaters in 2016, and boy, was I not disappointed by the one we finally got. No princesses or Jedi here – Cassian is a totally different brand of Star Wars hero (when he murdered two people in the first 10 minutes of the premiere, I knew we were cookin’), because he’s living under the boot of the Empire, just like the rest of the expanded universe fleshed out here. Andor is Cassian’s radicalization by fire, and Diego Luna gives this earlier version of the character all the grit he requires.
The very real possibility that Bob Odenkirk will not win a single Emmy for Better Call Saul is something I’m still processing. Taking a character from what was essentially a mandate to provide some color and move along a few plot points and then guiding him through a full-blown Tony Soprano/Willy Loman-level arc is not something just any recurring cast member could pull off. And the man almost died doing it! We’ve loved him since Jump Street, but this season of Succession belonged to Kieran Culkin. Roman was always going to be the Roy most broken by his father’s death, and Kieran handled the depths of his grief beautifully, whether it was manifesting in a manic firing spree or a public panic attack. He earned that final martini, and a few dozen more.
Kim: So much has been written about Jeremy Strong’s acting process but no one can say that he doesn’t absolutely deliver as Kendall Roy. The final season of Succession was a roller coaster ride for our Number One Boy and Jeremy really makes us feel his highs and lows in the pit of our stomachs. What a joy it is to have Pedro Pascal in a role where he can actually show his beautiful face. His portrayal of Joel in The Last of Us solidifies him as THE man to go to when you need a reluctant dad who becomes the fiercest of protectors. Joel Kinnamen’s Ed Baldwin has always been the emotional center of For All Mankind even when the character was hella frustrating. Ed became the elder statesman in Season Three and that brought him a gravitas that he had never had before. What can I say? I’m always a sucker for a silver fox.
Best Leading Performance in a Female Role – Comedy
Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Abbott Elementary
Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin Quinn, Derry Girls
Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, Poker Face
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, Wednesday
Billie Piper as Suzie Pickles, I Hate Suzie Too
Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton, Ted Lasso
Kim: The success of Wednesday depends entirely on the casting of the titular character. Luckily for Netflix, they cast Jenna Ortega, whose dark pixie face, dry humor, and monotone delivery so fully embodies the role you’d completely forget Christina Ricci’s iconic performance if she wasn’t in the show too. Saoirse-Monica Jackson’s Erin is the heart of Derry Girls and a true icon for all us type-A and over-anxious girlies who just want to fit in and for everything to go exactly as they planned. Two-time Feelies winner Hannah Waddingham remains absolutely luminous on Ted Lasso, whether she’s falling in love on a boat in Amsterdam or absolutely schooling a group of good ole boy club owners about the true meaning of football. Richmond for all!
Sage: Janine Teagues is growing up, y’all! In this season of Abbott Elementary, Quinta Brunson continues Janine’s journey from idealistic, naive newbie about to be eaten alive by the public school system to seasoned educator who hasn’t lost her passion for the profession. Whether Janine was establishing boundaries with her mom or finally being honest with Gregory, we were cheering her on the whole way. Billie Piper is giving no less than a tour-de-force performance in I Hate Suzie Too, the second season of the sharp showbiz satire about a former A-lister crawling her way back into the public’s good graces. It’s a crime that other awards bodies haven’t recognized her absolutely fearless and un-self-conscious work here, but HOF is on it. Poker Face and its main character Charlie Cale were developed for Natasha Lyonne, so they were bound to jive with her strengths. Even so, she delivers above and beyond as a droll, good-hearted amateur detective on the run from Vegas gangsters in this colorful Rian Johnson procedural.
Best Leading Performance in a Male Role – Comedy
Bill Hader as Barry Berkman, Barry
Adam Scott as Henry Pollard, Party Down
Jason Segel as Jimmy Laird, Shrinking
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, Ted Lasso
Jeremy Allen White as Carmy Berzatto, The Bear
Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Abbott Elementary
Sage: Bill Hader followed Barry Berkman into hell without hesitation, showing us the angriest, most despairing version of this character yet as Barry entered its final chapter… and then he flipped his performance on its head again with that mid-season shocker. It’s a primal scream of a performance that expanded our understanding of what the former SNL cast member can do. Less of an anti-hero and more of a hero-in-the-making, Carmy Berzatto is the deeply damaged (but working on it!) soul of The Bear, and I can’t imagine anyone but Jeremy Allen White embodying the tortured chef of all our dreams. You can tell he just gets this guy, from the generational pain he carries to the way he believes in the people around him, and that work will only go deeper from here.
And finally the revival gods must have seen fit to bless us again, because Adam Scott returned to his breakout, pre-Parks role of Henry Pollard on Party Down and was just as charmingly disaffected as he was 14 years ago. As a version of the wry observer behind the bar who’s made the grown-up decision to give up on his dreams, Adam’s still more leading man than straight man, romancing Jennifer Garner and accidentally inspiring some high school kids.
Kim: Ted may have had a somewhat diminished presence in the final season of Ted Lasso, but that doesn’t mean Jason Sudeikis doesn’t deliver when it’s his turn to take center stage. The man can still deliver an inspirational speech with the best of them. What a delight it is to have Jason Segel back on the small screen in Shrinking, you guys. Jimmy is an amalgamation of all the best things about HIMYM’s Marshall Eriksen and Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Peter and his journey to healing throughout the season is just so incredibly rewarding. Like Ben Wyatt and Jim Halpert before him, Tyler James Williams’ Gregory Eddie is an absolute dreamboat. Abbott Elementary would not be the same without his pitch-perfect glances to the camera, all of his contrarian quirks, and his prickly demeanor with everyone other than Barbara and Janine.
Best Supporting Performance in a Female Role – Drama
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, House of the Dragon
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, House of the Dragon
Audra McDonald as Liz Reddick, The Good Fight
Sophie Nélisse as Shauna Shipman, Yellowjackets
Christina Ricci as Misty Quigley, Yellowjackets
Wrenn Schmidt as Margo Madison, For All Mankind
Kim: Sophie Nélisse does some serious heavy lifting in Season Two of Yellowjackets as teenage Shauna. From grieving and literally consuming her best friend to giving birth in the wilderness to her deep well of postpartum rage, the only word I can think of to describe her performance is visceral. Wrenn Schmidt’s Margo Madison has always been one of For All Mankind’s most complicated characters. Season Three saw Margo become both the head of NASA and an unwitting Soviet informant which was a frustrating yet compelling journey thanks to Wrenn’s steely performance.
As Alicent Hightower, Olivia Cooke already has the deck stacked against her with the audience, since we’re obviously meant to root for Rhaenyra to take the throne. Olivia does such a great job portraying all the rage and frustration simmering just below Alicent’s surface as she tries to navigate the game of thrones (see what I did there) that you can’t help but simply admire her determination in the end. (Plus, she looks amazing in green!)
Sage: Rock-solid performances like Audra McDonald’s are what enabled The Good Fight to be increasingly surrealist and generally cuckoo-bananas as the series went on. In Season Six, Liz’s storylines included having late-night reality show gab sessions with Ginni Thomas, coming to terms with her trailblazing father’s complicated legacy, keeping a law firm running while a 24/7 riot raged just outside their building, and assisting a tech billionaire in his bid to literally purchase the Democratic party. But we love her best in her scenes with her sometimes-confidante, sometimes-rival, Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart – just two theater queens going head to head and looking fabulous doing it.
Rhaenyra Targaryen was born into a rigid set of expectations, and watching her defy them at every turn is part of what makes House of the Dragon so much more fun to watch than Game of Thrones. Emma D’Arcy gives her the steeliness she needs to survive and fight for her birthright, but allows flashes of regret, grief, and vulnerability to shine through. Is there anyone having more fun doing fucked-up shit on TV right now than Christina Ricci? Season Two of Yellowjackets reunited her with ‘90s co-star Elijah Wood, sent her into a trippy hallucination starring a lifesize, crooning version of Misty’s pet parrot Caligula, and gave her some more chilling backstory to reckon with, given what teen Misty did in that snowstorm back in the Rockies. As twisted as Misty’s moral code is, however, she’s not a villain, and that’s all down to Christina’s performance.
Best Supporting Performance in a Male Role – Drama
Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen, House of the Dragon
Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgams, Succession
Alan Ruck as Connor Roy, Succession
Alexander Skarsgard as Lukas Matsson, Succession
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, House of the Dragon
Antony Starr as Homelander, The Boys
Sage: “Good” rulers don’t tend to be all that interesting in the George R.R. Martin universe – hence there being so few of them. But Paddy Considine’s rapidly deteriorating King Viserys has a dignity about him in House of the Dragon that persists even when he’s quite literally falling apart. Tom Wambsgans long ago was inducted into the pantheon of all-time great TV characters, so this last season of Succession was more of a victory lap for Matthew Macfadyen. Tom may live to serve, but he was still looking out for number one up until the very end, and it’s been an absolute pleasure watching the quintessential company man beat the Roy kids at their own game.
While Connor Roy is an afterthought, Alan Ruck certainly is not. Logan’s actual eldest boy blessed us again with his oblivious narcissism and questionable political aspirations in this season of Succession, but he also spoke some painful truths to his “needy love sponge” siblings and made a rare show of self-awareness, re: the transactional relationship that is his marriage. Maybe the Conheads were onto something after all.
Kim: Matt Smith is clearly having the time of his life on House of the Dragon, whether he’s swinging his big sword around or murdering his wife or seducing his own niece. If loving Daemon Targaryen is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Alexander Skarsgard is perfectly cast as Lukas Matsson on Succession. His natural energy as an actor has a raw and unpredictable quality which makes him a perfect adversary because you never quite know what kind of shit he’s going to pull. Speaking of adversaries, Antony Starr is terrifyingly good on The Boys. Homelander is vindictive and insensitive and drunk on power and Antony is so good at portraying rage and toxic masculinity that I would totally cross the street if I saw him on the sidewalk. (Apologies, I am sure he’s probably a cupcake!!)
Best Supporting Performance in a Female Role – Comedy
Natasia Demetriou as Nadja, What We Do in the Shadows
Ayo Edebiri as Sydney Adame, The Bear
Sarah Goldberg as Sally Reed, Barry
Janelle James as Ava Coleman, Abbott Elementary
Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard, Abbott Elementary
Jessica Williams as Gaby, Shrinking
Rebecca Wisocky as Hetty, Ghosts
Kim: Janelle James continues to deliver both lewks and one-liners as principal Ava Coleman on Abbott Elementary. While I’ll always live for Ava’s schemes and shenanigans, I think my favorite moments are when Ava actually proves that she can be very good at her job when she wants to be. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Ghosts’ Lady of the Manor Rebecca Wisocky has some of the best comic timing on television today. No one can deliver a line with double entendre like she does.
Carmy may be the titular “Bear” of The Bear, but the story of the show belongs to Ayo Edebiri’s Sydney just as much as it does Carmy, if not more so. While we were watching Season Two, Sage sent me a tweet comparing Sydney to Mad Men’s Peggy Olson and I haven’t been able to get that comparison out of my head ever since – she’s going to eventually eclipse him, and rightly so!
Sage: Sally goes full-enabler on Season Four of Barry, and it’s actually insane to me that the Emmys didn’t acknowledge Sarah Goldberg’s work this year. In another performer’s hands, Sally would be a sketch character – the needy, hopelessly insecure actor – and while she is all of those things too, Sarah always found the feral-ness and scrappy, trauma-informed survival instinct at the heart of her. Sheryl Lee Ralph is the reason that Barbara Howard is the mentor and mother figure we all wish we had. But it’s not just the poise and professionalism she brings to Abbott Elementary that we love about her – Barbara is the eternal dark horse, coming through with the right biting comment at the right time and always ready to get turnt with her work wife Melissa at the teachers’ conference.
Shrinking is a delight, due in no small part to the epically good vibes put off by Jessica Williams’ Gaby. There’s so much warmth and easy joy to her performance, whether she’s holding her own with Harrison freaking Ford or eviscerating line reading after reading. If she’s accepting new clients, I am there. Meanwhile, Nadja of Antipaxos is always doing the most, and therefore so is Natasia Demetriou. This season of What We Do in the Shadows saw Nadja trying to find her way as a business woman, with disastrous and typically hilarious results.
Best Supporting Performance in a Male Role – Comedy
Matt Berry as Laszlo Cravensworth, What We Do in the Shadows
Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank, Barry
Phil Dunster as Jamie Tartt, Ted Lasso
Harrison Ford as Dr. Paul Rhoades, Shrinking
Asher Grodman as Trevor, Ghosts
Ken Marino as Ron Donald, Party Down
Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Richie Jerimovich, The Bear
Sage: Anthony Carrigan deserves the lion’s share of the credit for not making it complete category fraud that Barry is still classified as a comedy. Even so, our beloved goofball Noho Hank’s rise to the top comes with a major cost, and Anthony carried the tragic part of his story just as deftly as his reaction to a very handsome man’s severed head in a box. Ken Marino’s Ron Donald is the king of middle management bosses who are out of their depth, but you really can’t help but root for the poor guy. Party Down’s return gave him renewed purpose – and more opportunities to totally humiliate himself.
One thing Ted Lasso did get right this season was the final leg of Jamie Tartt’s journey from fuckboy bully to rogue with a heart of gold. Give Phil Dunster his flowers for grounding that arc, even when AFC Richmond’s star asshole seemed almost too good to be true. Laszlo had a lot to deal with in this season of What We Do the Shadows after essentially becoming a single dad overnight. From raising baby Colin Robinson (and becoming his agent/manager) to besting the Jersey Devil to tangling again with Simon the Devious, Matt Berry again brought the goods – and introduced some new pronunciations that have forever changed the way we say certain words.
Kim: For a character who has to spend eternity without any pants on, so many of the big emotional beats of Ghosts land in Trevor-centric episodes. I chalk that up entirely to Asher Grodman’s performance which somehow manages to be both smarmy and painfully earnest all at the same time. I feel so blessed to be living in Harrison Ford’s TV star era, you guys. He brings such gravitas and sly humor to Shrinking and you can just TELL that every single one of his costars is absolutely giddy about sharing a scene with him. Ebon Moss-Bachrach was already good in Season One of The Bear but he really takes it to the next level in Season Two as Richie searches for his purpose and place in the world of fine dining. His spotlight episode “Forks” is an absolute tour de force – you literally see the exact moment everything clicks in for Richie and it’s fucking beautiful.
Best Limited or Anthology Series
The White Lotus
Kim: After taking on the Golden Age of musicals in Season One, Schmigadoon! became Schmicago in season two, taking on the darker musicals of the 60s and 70s and parodying everything from Chicago (natch) to Hair to Sweeney Todd. The returning ensemble really took it to the next level as everyone from the first season shuffled roles and newcomers like the great Tituss Burgess and Patrick Page slid into the ensemble seamlessly. Plus, the songs were absolute bangers!
I have to admit that my expectations were low for Obi-Wan Kenobi mainly because I wasn’t sure what more story there was left to tell in the Skywalker saga. Imagine my surprise and delight when the show was centered around an adventure Obi-Wan had with little Princess Leia and not Luke, as we had all expected. Vivien Lyra Blair eerily channels the late Carrie Fisher and Ewan’s performance is perfectly world-weary, creating a bridge between the prequels and Sir Alec Guinness’s performance in A New Hope. Hello there indeed.
Sage: No sophomore slump for The White Lotus, which migrated to Sicily for an addictive and highly watchable (admit it, Season One was rough sometimes) Season Two. Not a weak link in the cast, from newcomers like Simona Tabasco and Beatrice Grannò (our enterprising Italian sex workers) to HBO legend Michael Imperioli to deadpan queen Aubrey Plaza. The main mystery is even more engrossing too, especially since it’s surrounded by so many other bits of intrigue and dishonesty, mostly of the relationship kind. Mike White’s anthology series proved in its second outing that it’s the rare watercooler show that actually satisfies, even when it leaves questions unanswered.
Rachel Weisz plays two freaky identical twins obsessed with making grotesque new strides in the field of obstetrics and the Television Academy didn’t even nominate her?? Dead Ringers, adapted both loosely and faithfully from the David Cronenberg film, benefits brilliantly from the gender swap of its main characters and has plenty of new nightmares to offer to anyone who gets a little anxious stepping into the ol’ gynecological stirrups. In Beef, a road rage incident is the Sliding Doors moment that reverberates through the lives of Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong), both too full of latent, seething anger to just let it go. Their ensuing blood feud has tragic and absurd consequences for them and others, but it also weirdly brings them together. Amy and Danny deserve each other, for better or for the absolute worst.
Finally, true crime buffs got a gift in Black Bird starring Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene, a drug dealer and natural talker who’s offered a deal to befriend serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), who the cops suspect of killing many more women than have already landed him in prison, so he can further incriminate himself. (True story.) There are shades of Mindhunter in the Dennis Lehane show’s talky approach to murder, and damning insight in its exploration of what this assignment does to an untrained, non-violent offender.
Best Leading Performance in a Limited or Anthology Series
Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid-Hunt, The White Lotus
Taron Egerton as James Keene, Black Bird
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi
Keegan-Michael Key as Josh Skinner, Schmicago
Cecily Strong as Melissa Gimble, Schmicago
Rachel Weisz as Beverly and Elliot Mantle, Dead Ringers
Sage: I won’t say that Black Bird is far and away Taron Egerton’s most impressive performance (justice for Rocketman!), but Jimmy Keene is absolutely his meatiest character. Used by the authorities, Jimmy, a complete amateur, has to dive into the depths of a psyche so vicious and degenerate that it would keep most psychologists up at night. The scene in which he returns to his cell after encouraging his serial rapist mark to brag about his exploits as though he were a frat brother and immediately breaks down stayed with me a long time, and I hope we see more from him in this genre.
We thought it was Stifler’s Mom, but no – Tayna McQuoid is the role of Jennifer Coolidge’s lifetime, and Season Two of The White Lotus officially solidified her as an icon. Batty and dangerously self-absorbed, Tayna is still somehow sympathetic – the doomed diva in Mike White’s opera. As specific as Jennifer’s public persona is, I wonder sometimes if she gets all the credit she deserves for the multitude of choices she makes in this role. Mama is a comic genius, and our chaotic Tanya will be missed.
In Dead Ringers, Rachel Weisz plays both Beverly and Elliot Mantle, twin ob-gyns who are at the top of their game and blatantly (i.e. like men) enjoying every minute of it. The brilliance of her performance is that she creates two distinct characters with richly and differently fucked-up inner lives but also weaves those characters together so tightly that they can switch places or even morph into one when the story requires it. If you can stomach the blood and bodily fluids, it’s like watching a magic trick.
Kim: We last saw Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in 2005 but you’d never know it watching him in his very own mini-series. His portrayal of Obi-Wan was always the best part of the prequels, and Ewan steps back into the role with ease, only now Obi-Wan is much more world weary and a bit jaded and cynical, which, quite frankly, is how we like our heroes.
Thank GOD they finally let Keegan-Michael Key finally start singing his heart’s song in Schmicago. Josh spent most of the season hanging with the Hair and Godspell hippies and he fit in there so well that I’ll be mad if he’s not featured in the next revival. Meanwhile, Cecily Strong continues to prove her impressive musical chops as Schmicago’s Melissa. She was good in Season One, but the musical stylings of Kander and Ebb showcase her voice so much better and her performance of “Maybe It’s My Turn Now” had me sitting right up on my couch. She can really SANG, y’all!
Best Supporting Performance in a Limited or Anthology Series
Dove Cameron as Jenny Banks, Schmicago
Alan Cumming as Dooley Blight, Schmicago
Meghann Fahey as Daphne Sullivan, The White Lotus
Paul Walter Hauser as Larry Hall, Black Bird
Moses Ingram as Reva Sevander, Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jane Krakowski as Bobby Flanagan, Schmicago
Kim: Dove Cameron continued to prove that she is THE musical theatre actress to watch by doing her best Liza Minnelli as Schmicago!’s Jenny Banks. “Kaput,” her big number spoofing “Mein Herr,” is an absolute showstopper and sets the tone for the entire season. Frankly, I am mystified that she’s not at the top of the list of potential Sallys for the Cabaret revival. Meanwhile, whoever it was on the Schmicago! team that decided to genderswap Chicago’s Billy Flynn and cast Broadway royalty Jane Krakowski in the role of Bobby Flanagan deserves a freaking medal. This woman is fifty-four years old and she is doing the splits like it’s NOTHING.
On a show that also features one of pop culture’s most notorious villains of all time, it’s amazing that Moses Ingram makes the impact that she does on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Of course, not everything is as it seems with Reva Sevander, but that’s why Moses’ performance is so incredibly sublime because every single move she makes you really go, “Well, she had REASONS.” That’s my favorite kind of villain, folks!
Sage: I’d say it’s too bad for Paul Walter Hauser that he plays so many thugs, villains, and creeps, but he’s so damn good at it. (And he seems lovely IRL, to be clear!) The real-life serial killer he portrays in Black Bird, Larry Hall, will likely take the total number of women he murdered to his grave, having confessed and subsequently recanted so many times. Paul finds what’s so chilling about his friendly affect, shocking Taron Egerton’s Jimmy with his nonchalance at the depths of his own depravity. Even better, he’s said that he pulled himself out of repulsive scenes by “improvising songs” and “tap-dancing” on set – we stan an anti-Method king!
Narrowing down the list of ensemble members who knocked it out of the park this season of The White Lotus was not an easy business, but we’d be remiss to overlook this breakout moment for Broadway baby Meghann Fahy. There’s so much more to Daphne than her stylishly mild exterior. As her interactions with Aubrey Plaza’s Harper and Will Sharpe’s Ethan especially prove, she has shrewdly shaped her own personality so that she can get what she wants with minimal conflict. Even so, Meghann ensures that the audience only gets a glimpse at the jealousy and hunger roiling under Daphne’s perfect skin, abiding to the showbiz maxim of “always leave ‘em wanting more.”
Has the current Broadway production of Sweeney Todd tapped a replacement for Josh Groban yet? Because Alan Cumming gives excellent demon barber – oops, I mean butcher – on Schmicago!, teaming up with Kristin Chenoweth’s evil Miss Codwell to turn her precious little singing orphans into sausage. Camping up his Len Cariou impression, Alan is a major reason why this homage to musical theater history works so freaking well.
Best Shipper Moment
Janine and Gregory kiss in the living classroom, Abbott Elementary
Trevor and Hetty are doing it, Ghosts
Daemon and Rhaenyra’s night of debauchery, House of the Dragon
Carson and Greta’s Goodbye, A League of Their Own
Matt and Jen hook up, She-Hulk
Joyce and Hopper finally kiss, Stranger Things
Shiv and Tom play Bitey, Succession
Sage: We finally had liftoff on the slow-burn romance of Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, and I’m going to argue that it was worth the wait. Joyce risks her life to rescue Hopper after he smuggles secret messages to her from the Russian work camp where he’s being held (romance!), so all hurt feelings from that disastrous almost-date in Season Three are forgotten. They basically jump each other at the first available opportunity, and while I don’t like to think about the filth and the smell and whatever else Hopper might have caught in the gulag, the sexual height difference more than makes up for it. GOOD FOR THEM.
There’s nothing like an off-site professional event to get things moving with your work crush, especially if that event involves signature cocktails and a room made of flowers. Janine and Gregory have their first kiss on Abbott Elementary in classic sitcom fashion (Jim and Pam on “Casino Night,” anyone?) after flirting all night and sneaking away from the crowd to explore a closed exhibit. The chemistry between Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams is so good, and the tension builds so beautifully, I was screaming long before Janine pulled him in by his lanyard (!!) for another one. As a Netflix Daredevil stan, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Disney-fied version of Matt Murdock guesting on She-Hulk. I shouldn’t have worried, because Matt remains his slutty, Catholic self, going home with Jen after a round of sexy-crimefighting and doing the stride of pride (with his boots in his hand!) the next day. That is the female gaze, my friends.
Kim: The best ships are the ones you don’t ever see coming. Ghosts’ Trevor and Hetty weren’t even on my radar. I mean, for 95% of the Christmas two-parter, Trevor was trying to possess someone so he could sleep with Sam’s sister, but of course, he got denied. Cut to the TWO MINUTE long episode tag where Trevor and Hetty trade barbs about how sexually frustrated they are as they drift closer and closer together. Finally, Trevor thinks he’s gone too far and Hetty says, “Not nearly far enough, you pantless son of a bitch, come over here.” Cue the face grabbing and kissing that is the very definition of an Enemies to Lovers ship. We could have chosen any moment from Carson and Greta’s tempestuous and sexy romance in A League of Their Own, but we’re going with their final goodbye. It’s VERY the end of The Bodyguard “I Will Always Love You” swelling in the background as Carson kisses Greta passionately before telling her she can’t go with her, but that doesn’t mean Greta didn’t change her life. The fact that it all happened unknowingly right in front of Carson’s husband’s salad? That’s just a bonus.
The difference between Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon is that the majority of the sex scenes are shot by female directors and focus on the female character’s gaze. And boy, what a WORLD of difference that perspective change makes. I’m not saying the night where Daemon takes Rhaenyra out on the town for a night of debauchery that culminates in an attempted seduction at a brothel is RIGHT. I’m saying Westeros isn’t real and the scene is incredibly SEXY and it’s what finally made me go all in on the show.
I never knew how invested I was in Tom and Shiv’s relationship actually working out until Succession dangled the idea of them reconciling for like 2.5 episodes of the final season. The high point of this almost reconciliation comes at a party where they banter back and forth about who fucked the other up more. Shiv gets this LOOK in her eyes, turning to Tom and asking him if he wants to play “Bitey,” a game that simply consists of “you bite me, I bite you and we see who can take it.” They lock arms like they are doing a fucking wedding toast or something and they just…bite each other as hard as they can. Finally, Shiv cries uncle saying, “Tom Wambsgams. Finally made me feel something.” NO SHIT, SHIV, ME FUCKING TOO.
Best Right in the Feels Moment
Hank sacrifices Cristobal, Barry
The voting montage, Derry Girls
Companion support group, Doctor Who
Viserys’ last stand, House of the Dragon
Taking Daniel to the beach, Reservation Dogs
Eddie’s death, Stranger Things
Bill and Frank’s last day, The Last of Us
Colin Robinson doesn’t remember Laszlo raising him, What We Do in the Shadows
Kim: I don’t know about you, but I ugly cried for the last fifteen minutes of The Last of Us episode three. “Long, Long Time” is a fucking gorgeous episode, telling the unlikely love story of survivalist Bill (please God future Emmy winner Nick Offerman) and his partner Frank (Murray Bartlett), who stumbled upon his farm four years into the pandemic looking for a hot meal and a shower and then just…never left. They are together for three years and then the last act of the episode jumps forward a decade and it’s impossible not to just lose it at the life Frank and Bill created together, even among so much death and desolation. It gets worse when we find out Frank has a degenerative disease and he asks Bill for just one more perfect day before he helps him die. They put on their best suits, they marry, they enjoy a wonderful meal. Bill laces Frank’s wine with sleeping pills and then does the same with his own, because he doesn’t want to be without Frank and then they get in bed together for the last time, holding each other until the very end. It’s devastating, it’s beautiful, and FUCK, I thought this show was just supposed to be about ZOMBIES, okay???
As Sage said earlier, Eddie is Stranger Things’ ultimate Blorbo, put in the fourth season specifically for all of us to fall in love with him before they kill him off in spectacular fashion. At least Eddie goes out like a hero, sacrificing himself to the monsters of the Upside Down to buy the others more time, facing them head on instead of running away like he did in the first episode. The scene is very reminiscent of Boromir fighting the Uruk-hai in Fellowship of the Ring, taking arrow after arrow trying to protect Merry and Pippin. Gaten Matarazzo and Joseph Quinn sell the fuck out of the script, and just because we knew Eddie was always marked for death doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Part of what makes Derry Girls so great is that even with all the shenanigans and small town hilarity, it never lets you forget that these girls are growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s, facing unspeakable horrors on the daily. The referendum of Good Friday Agreement coinciding with all of our girls turning 18 delivers a gorgeous montage where all of our beloved characters exercise their right to vote, all of it scored to “Dreams” by The Cranberries and intercut with stock footage and a voiceover from Erin. It’s the end of a chapter, both for Northern Ireland and our Derry Girls, and it shows why voting can be one of the most powerful choices a human being can make.
The tension between Viserys Targayen and his brother Daemon is one of the driving forces of House of the Dragon’s first season which makes the moment they come together in the throne room in episode eight all the more powerful. Viserys is dying, everyone knows he’s dying and Otto Hightower has been keeping him doped up on milk of the poppy, sitting on the Iron Throne in his stead. Viserys will not go down without a fight though, showing up to a hearing about Prince Lucerys’ legitimacy in his best Phantom of the Opera garb, a gold mask on his rotting face as he hobbles towards the throne. The steps prove to almost be too much for him, his head bowing and the crown falling off his head with a clatter. Daemon steps in to help preserve his brother’s dignity, picking up the crown and whispering “come on” as he helps him up the stairs. It’s even better knowing this moment was entirely improvised by Matt Smith, as the crown falling off Viserys’ head was a complete accident.
Finally, our Patreon sponsor KatyBeth nominates the companion support group scene from Doctor Who’s centenary special and it’s very easy to see why. Can be what happens to the companions after their time with the Doctor can often be one of the biggest causes of discourse in the fandom. “The Power of the Doctor” answers that question beautifully as Dan and Graham bring Yaz to a support group that’s FULL of past companions from Ace all the way back to Ian fucking Chesterton. “Maybe this is where we share stories about the Doc,” Graham says as he opens the meeting, really enforcing the idea that none of them are alone anymore. When Doctor Who does fan service, it does fan service with its whole chest. “Special” doesn’t even really begin to describe that gathering of actors and the care they had for not only their characters but for the family they are a part of. While I may have had issues with the Chibnall era as a whole, I am just so grateful for the parting gift he gave us in this scene.
Sage: Since Season One, the Reservation Dogs have been trying to find a way to complete their late friend Daniel’s mission in his too-short life: to get to California and see the ocean. They finally do in the Season Two finale, but not without major setbacks (losing their car and all their belongings, for example) and some divine intervention (thank you, White Jesus). In the final scene, they make it to the coastline, putting their feet in the sand and communing with the presence of the person they lost. Soon, their group hug of four grows by one member, because following in the footsteps of what could have been his future is all it takes for them to find Daniel again.
What We Do in the Shadows has a knack for tugging at your heartstrings via the most bizarre of plotlines, and Laszlo stepping up as a father figure to “the creature that crawled out of the chest cavity of our dear friend Colin Robinson” is one of those instances. Laszlo sincerely does his best to help baby Colin grow up to be interesting and well-rounded, even though he’s also happy to be making money out of his affinity for classic movie musicals. When, despite those efforts, Colin inevitably comes full circle back to his energy-draining self and has no memory of being parented by Laz, it is genuinely devastating.
The bleak moral of Barry is that you can never not be who you are, and that goes for Noho Hank as much as any other character. Up until “it takes a psycho,” his and Cristobal’s relationship seemed like the healthiest and most equal one on the show – but when Cristobal becomes disgusted with Hank’s deadly (and successful) bid for more power, that love can’t save him. Episode director Bill Hader shoots the death sentence of a break-up for maximum pain – even though we don’t see Cristobal’s murder happen, we watch it all play out on Hank’s anguished face.
Best YAS!!!! Moment
The entire school turns on Draemond, Abbott Elementary
Maarva’s speech, Andor
Nacho’s last stand, Better Call Saul
NASA’s Pirate Spaceship, For All Mankind
Miranda Bailey wins the Catherine Fox Award, Grey’s Anatomy
Logan Roy’s wives and mistresses unite, Succession
Tanya kills everybody on the boat, The White Lotus
Sage: “Today, you are going to die,” Juan Bolsa says to Nacho in Better Call Saul’s “Rock and a Hard Place.” “But, there are good deaths, and there are bad deaths.” He neglects to mention blaze of glory deaths, which is what Nacho ensures he gets. To save his father from a life of being under Gus and Hector’s thumb, Nacho surrenders, but he won’t give them the satisfaction of putting him down. After a ferocious monologue in which Nacho passes judgment on all of them and makes sure that Hector knows that it was the man kneeling in front of him who put him in his chair, he takes himself off the board. A stunning last stand and a mic drop of a final episode for Michael Mando.
Predatory charter schools are the villain in this season of Abbott Elementary, oh-so-dapperly embodied by the handsome and charming Draemond, played by Leslie Odom Jr. And it seems for a time that he’s successfully wooing the community’s parents with his promises of structural improvements and brand-new curriculum. But he miscalculates when he smugly crashes an Abbott event only to be run out by families who don’t want to see their lower-performing kids kicked out or their favorite teachers fired. The town hall sequence is punctuated by Mr. Johnson literally sweeping Draemond off the stage and unlikely school hero Tariq playing him out with his hot new track, because it’s always going to be Abbott on Abbott on Abbott.
It wasn’t looking good for Tanya in this season of The White Lotus from the moment she decided to jet off with a group of “high-end gays” paying her the attention she craves. The fan theories that Greg was the straight American “cowboy” Quentin fell for proved to be correct, though, unfortunately, Portia’s warning reaches Tanya just a little bit too late. What Tanya lacks in capability, however, she makes up for in pure pandemonium. Somehow, our vision in Peppa Pig pink takes out every last man conspiring to kill her on that yacht before she manages to brain herself in the process of escaping. A win is a win.
Kim: The first half of the third season of For All Mankind focuses on the three-way race to Mars between NASA, the Soviets, and the definitely not skewering SpaceX and Elon Musk corporation Helios. For a good while it seems like Helios’ ship Phoenix, captained by Ed Baldwin, is going to win, their lead insurmountable.
Elon Dev is giving inspirational speeches in the mission control room and Ed is doing his best William Shatner recline in his captain’s chair, apologizing to his old buddy Danielle Poole and his daughter Kelly on a video chat to NASA’s Sojourner. Once they hang up, Danielle grins in satisfaction, turning to Kelly and calling out for a shanty. “Yo, Ho! (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” for me plays over the radio comms as Sojourner unfurls giant SOLAR SAILS, the power of which catapult them into the lead by a whopping eight days. Yo-fucking-ho!!
Andor very nearly became the first Star Wars property to drop an F-bomb in its first season finale “Rix Road,” thanks to a stirring speech from Maarva Andor delivered via hologram at her own funeral. (DAMN YOU DISNEY!) We see seeds of the rebellion all throughout the season, but it’s clandestine and in the shadows. Maarva blasts it all into the open though, and Fiona Shaw delivers the monologue with such blazing intensity that my television nearly caught fire. “It’s easy for the dead to tell you to fight, and maybe it’s true, maybe fighting is useless. Perhaps it’s too late. But I’ll tell you this… If I could do it again, I’d wake up early and be fighting these bastards from the start. Fight the Empire!” I mean…if that’s not a YAS!!! Moment, I don’t know what is.
Miranda Bailey has always been the unsung hero of Grey’s Anatomy. As a general surgeon and administrative manager, Miranda isn’t the one doing flashy surgeries or getting nominated for awards, but she shows up and does her job every day. It was a tough season for Miranda as she ferociously fought for reproductive rights and trained legions of doctors in abortion care only to be doxxed and threatened repeatedly. Imagine my YASSSSS when the Fox Foundation not only saw her struggle but rewarded it with a Catherine Fox Award. I bawled my eyes out right along with Miranda – it’s what she deserved!
After the way Marcia gloriously annihilated Kerry at Logan’s wake, I wasn’t sure we’d ever see her face again on Succession. (“We’re calling Kerry a taxi to the subway so that she can go home to her little apartment.” is one of the best takedowns of the entire series, full stop.) It would have been a fantastic exit, but Jesse Armstrong had an even better one in store for her and all of us. Kerry tries to sneak in and stay hidden at the funeral, but Caroline finds her and waltzes her right down the aisle, picking up another woman named Sally-Anne along the way. She taps Marcia on the shoulder and introduces her to Sally-Anne saying “She was my Kerry,” before ushering them all into the front pew together. “Logan would have hated this,” she says smugly. “At least he won’t be grinding his teeth tonight,” Marcia adds. Kerry’s laughter quickly turns to tears and Marcia, in an act of compassion I NEVER expected, takes her hand and squeezes it. Solidarity for the Wives and Mistresses who survived. It’s like a reverse version of Six.
Best Warm Fuzzy Moment
Jimmy turns himself in, Better Call Saul
Baby Rollisi, Law & Order: SVU
Paul goes to Mason’s play, Shrinking
A meal fit for a king, Succession
Jamie teaches Roy to ride a bike, Ted Lasso
Richie finds his purpose, The Bear
The family accepting Viktor, The Umbrella Academy
Kim: One of the biggest questions going into Season Three of The Umbrella Academy was how the show would integrate Elliot Page’s transition, as Season Two had already been out for five months when he came out publicly. They immediately changed the credits on Netflix, but Elliot was still playing a character who was AFAB. While the premiere had to deal with the fallout of the Season Two cliffhanger and introduce all of the Sparrows, episode two immediately addressed Vanya’s transition into Viktor where, after looking up what happened to Sissy, a soft smile outside a barbershop tells us everything we need to know. Freshly shorn, Viktor goes to meet his brothers. When Diego calls him Vanya, he takes a deep breath and corrects him, saying his name is Viktor. “Who’s Viktor?” Diego asks, confused as Klaus and Five look on, realization on their faces. “I am,” Viktor says. “It’s who I’ve always been.” It’s a gorgeous performance by Page, showing both the bravery it takes to announce your true self and the fear that comes along with the potential rejection of that self. My heart burst as Viktor’s brothers immediately accepted him, getting right back to the business of plotting against the Sparrows. Five’s reaction captures it perfectly: “I’m truly happy for you, Viktor. But last I checked, you don’t speak for this family.”
The biggest pressure point between Paul and his daughter Meg (the always welcome Lily Rabe) throughout the first season of Shrinking is his tendency to prioritize his work over his family. This all comes to a head in episode nine when Paul is faced with the choice of accepting a lifetime achievement award in Las Vegas or going to his grandson Mason’s school play. They do a great job of making you think Paul chooses Vegas, but who are we kidding? This is a Bill Lawrence show and Paul and his new girlfriend Julie (Wendie Malick, looking amazing) get dressed to the nines, arriving just in time for the curtain to go up.
The grumpy/sunshine love story between Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent is what Ted Lasso got the most right in its third (final?) season. It starts with Roy offering to train Jamie in the wake of Zava joining the team and what happens next is basically the plot of any rivals to lovers fic you might find on AO3 with Roy and Jamie spending more and more time together, their relationship deepening without them even realizing it. “Sunflowers” takes things to a new level when Jamie and Roy spend the entire night together under the guise of “training” but it really just becomes a night of bonding, culminating in Jamie (a grown ass man-boy!) teaching Roy (a grown ass man!) how to ride a bike. I dare you to watch the scene without a smile on your face. It’s sweet, it’s pure, and it’s the very reason Phoebe eventually invites Jamie to her tea party because he’s her Uncle Roy’s very best friend.
Sage: Everybody knows that Carisi is and has been dad to Rollins’ two little girls on Law & Order: SVU, even before they got it together romantically. And he was born to be one, too. Back when he was in unrequited love with his partner, Carisi was already resentful of her baby daddies, because he knew if it were him, he’d be there every single step of the way. (He is a Staten Island Italian; he wants a brood!) Well, now he gets a chance to. Baby Rollisi is coming, and the fandom reacted pretty much the same way Olivia did when she found out. All the happy tears for this growing family that started forming long before Rollisi themselves finally caught up.
There were way too many minutes left in the Succession finale when the siblings took over Caroline’s neglected Barbados kitchen to make Kendall a “meal fit for a king,” but then again, that overwhelming sense of dread is why these moments among the kids feel so special. They spend so much time pushing each other and bouncing off of each other that it’s inevitable that they will have these fleeting periods of connection where they share the same emotional space. In their celebration of the mutually agreed upon (for the time being) crowning of Kendall, you can see them as actual kids again, taking solace and joy in each other amid a privileged but profoundly unhealthy upbringing. The fact that this was the last scene of the entire series to be filmed gives it even more significance; the Roy family may be torn apart for good, but Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, and Kieran Culkin got to leave their characters on this note (Peter’s cheese!), and I think that’s beautiful.
Listen up, lizards. Richie Jerimovich has found his purpose, and my man is thriving. Anytime someone tells me that they’ve just finished the “Fishes” episode of Season Two of The Bear and are shook the fuck up, I tell them to forge ahead, because all those wounds are about to be healed. “Forks” is for anyone who’s feeling stuck or unsure of their place, and Feelies nominee Ebon Moss-Bachrach fills out every inch of this spotlight, in which Richie shows up for fine dining training because Carmy wants him to and leaves inspired by the world he’s been invited into and certain that he has something remarkable to offer to it. Of course, the apex of his journey happens when he’s driving home from work, blasting the Taylor Swift music we thought he was only telling his daughter he loves just to be nice and literally screaming along. It’s a love story, Richie, just say yes!
Better Call Saul would not be as compelling or worthy of discussion if Kim Wexler were an innocent, caught up in Jimmy McGill’s escalating series of cons. The truth is that she pushes him as much as he pushes her; they’re good at it, and it makes her feel alive (and closer to him). The difference is that Kim knows when it’s gone too far, and that’s what breaks them. Saul tries his best to leave Jimmy behind, because it makes living with the consequences of his actions easier, but Kim remains his human credential, even though she’s moved on to the boring husband and life she was once so afraid of. Jimmy turning himself in is an act of love for her that anticipates no reciprocation or reward. Only, if you believe in that kind of thing, it might just save his soul.
Best WTF?! Moment
The time jump, Barry
Lalo’s return, Better Call Saul
Someone got sucked off, Ghosts
Alina does the cut, Shadow and Bone
The entirety of “Fishes,” The Bear
Nandor “steals” Guillermo’s boyfriend, What We Do in the Shadows
Bacchanal Feast, Yellowjackets
Sage: Barry had plenty of plates spinning by the time Season Four got off the ground: Hank and Cristobal’s attempt to go straight, Fuches taking over the prison, Gene’s growing paranoia, Sally’s foundering career, Barry’s escape… which is why it was so shocking when the end of “it takes a psycho” skipped the action forward eight years. Picking up with Sally and Barry in hiding (and with a son!!) just as so many elements seemed poised to collide was a ballsy move, adding epic scope to an already one-of-a-kind series.
The final scene of Better Call Saul’s midseason finale is a genuine face-melter pulled off with classic Breaking Bad universe panache. In their dimly lit apartment, Howard finally confronts Jimmy and Kim, who’ve been making his life hell through a series of elaborate pranks. He may have finally gotten their number, but it’s Howard, and he was never going to come out on top. A gust of wine flickers a candle, and Lalo, who neither Jimmy nor Kim have seen since he lit out to Mexico with Nacho in Season Five, steps out of the shadows. With his lawyers watching, Lalo shoots Howard in the head, mid-sentence, at point blank range: the final consequence of him being the target of Jimmy and Kim’s adrenaline-chasing cons.
There was a lot of theorizing in the fandom about how Nandor would react when he found out about Guillermo’s English boyfriend, Freddie. But in standard What We Do in the Shadows fashion, the writers came up with something much more warped than any of us could imagine. Yes, Nandor was jealous when Freddie came to visit, as the shippers among us hoped—but he was jealous of the wrong guy. Asking the Djinn to turn his wife Marwa into Freddie so that he could have his own is easily the most insane and egomaniacal thing Nandor has ever done, and that’s really saying something.
In Season One, The Bear gave us a wholesome family flashback of Sugar, Carmy, and Richie in the kitchen with Mikey, who’s happy and oozing charisma, animatedly telling them a story. Memories can only tell part of the truth however, and this season’s “Fishes” gives us a fuller picture of the Berzatto family and their demons fleshed out with a seriously stacked guest cast. We’re in a pressure cooker the entire episode, with most of the stress emanating from matriarch Donna (Jamie Lee Curtis), who’s chain smoking, knocking back vodka after vodka, and complaining about being underappreciated as she prepares the traditional holiday feast. Mikey isn’t doing much better, his self-hatred and resentment bubbling up at the dinner table and directed at Donna’s boyfriend (Bob Odenkirk). Just as a fork-throwing tantrum crosses over into an honest to goodness brawl, a car crashes into the living room with Donna behind the wheel. And suddenly, the way all of these characters are (or are not) in the present makes a lot more sense.
Kim: Season Two of Shadow and Bone deviated so much from the books that at a certain point I just had to let go of canon entirely and just go with the story the show was trying to tell. (That’s what happens when you are cramming two books of a trilogy and the second book of a duology into eight episodes all while teasing the more iconic first book of that duology PLUS an entirely separate duology.) I enjoyed the hell out of the season though and was really into many of the choices they made. The one that made me sit straight up on my couch came in the final moments of the finale, where a Grisha strung out on jurda parem (a highly addictive drug that amplifies powers) tries to kill the entire crowd gathered for Nikolai’s coronation. Out of nowhere, Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner and our HERO, unleashes The Cut, which was the Darkling’s signature dark magic murder move, slicing the assailant in half. If that wasn’t shocking enough, she looks SATISFIED after doing it. Dark!Alina rise for Season Three, give us that renewal, Netflix!!!
The big question surrounding the Season Two of Yellowjackets was not IF they were going to eat someone but WHEN they were going to eat someone. We got our answer in the second episode, brilliantly titled “Edible Complex.” After Tai insists that they finally dispose of Jackie’s body, mainly to save Shauna from her own delusions, the team builds a funeral pyre. They say their goodbyes and light the fire, but overnight the pyre gets buried under a mound of snow, basically creating a slow cooker. The girls wake up to the delicious smell of roasting flesh, their hunger driving them to seek the source. “It’s okay,” Shauna whispers, having already tasted Jackie’s ear in the previous episode. “She wants us to.” Thus, the girls feast, literally ripping their former queen bee apart, limb by limb. Their reality is all intercut with a dreamy and grotesque fantasy of the girls at an ancient Grecian Bacchanal Feast, complete with togas and laurel wreaths, all of them absolutely destroying their dinner. It’s horrifying, it’s compelling, it’s Yellowjackets at its WTF best.
After teasing it for two full seasons, the finale of Ghosts ended on the mother of all cliffhangers. Sam and Jay are sitting outside in their car after they almost lost the B&B to a fake heiress scam, talking about how much the ghosts mean to them when a bright beam of white light hits the house. Someone has gotten sucked off…but who?? Is it Alberta, who has finally found out who was behind her murder? Is it Hetty who had just let something go and genuinely asked for forgiveness for the first time in her long afterlife? Is it Nigel and/or Isaac who are newly betrothed?? We won’t know until studios actually pay their actors and writers fair wages. #WGAStrong #SAGAFTRAStrong
And that’s a wrap on the nominees! Who will emerge victorious? That’s entirely up to you, team. Good luck!!!