Season 3 of “Kimmy” hit Netflix earlier this month, but season 1’s song by Titus is still one of the highlights of the series. The song technically isn’t about wine, but actor Tituss Burgess does now have his own line of wines.
HBO is airing the season premier of “Silicon Valley” on Sunday (April 23).
Wednesday evening, series co-creator Mike Judge joined actors Martin Starr (the terminally acid Gilfoyle) and Zach Woods (the doe-eyed Jared Dunn) for a brief red carpet at the Alamo Drafthouse South. This was followed by a screening of the first two episodes and a 30-minute Q and A session.
Judge is notoriously press shy and always looks very business as usual at press events, somewhere between a kind of Zen offensive coordinator and maybe a guy giving you bad legal news. He also talks very softly.
So it was genuinely awesome to see him laugh long and hard at his actors cracking wise during the Q and A afterwards. It was similarly cool to see Starr — best known for his career-making performance as Bill in “Freaks and Geeks” (17 years ago!) and for Gilfoyle’s brutal, dead-eyed sarcasm — bust out a wide smile (not pictured) when talking to reporters. Woods, on the other hand, seems very much like Jared, with maybe more penis jokes.
Women are rumored for later in the year, but not on these episodes
HBO and the Alamo Drafthouse screened two episodes. The first one sets the table: Everyone is still in the house owned by Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), the company has pivoted a bit into a video chat app largely invented by Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), which is driving Richard (Thomas Middleditch) nuts. He hates being the CEO of a video chat company, especially one essentially co-owned by Big Head’s father.
So he quits. Plot ensues.
The second episode (mild spoilers) develops the video chat plot kind of ingeniously and features some of the most (intentionally) obnoxious hair Kumail Nanjiani has ever worn, anywhere.
This was about 60 minutes of filmed entertainment, much of it sharp and funny and canny. There was a woman on-screen for less than five of those minutes, a conversation between Richard and Monica Hall (Amanda Crew). Unless I am misremembering something, and I don’t think I am, that was IT.
Woods is the most like his character, though all of them are apparently sweet people
“When it’s a lot of young comedy guys, it can kind of be a sort of feral environment,” Woods said during the Q and A. “But everyone’s really kind to each other, it’s not competitive. People pitch each other jokes. It’s nice to be with other people that are equally delicate flowers.”
That said, when Woods was discussing the first time he met Miller, he (Woods) was sitting “on a yoga mat reading a journal of reassuring quotes with a bunch of scented candles lit” while Indigo Girls was on in the background.
Which seems awfully Jared.
A time in the Dinesh/Gilfoyle relationship that stands out for Starr
“The jacket episode,” Starr says. “I had a lot of fun berating him in front of strangers at that Starbucks. I don’t know why, but I really enjoyed it. It went a little off the rails sometimes.”
There isn’t a lot of improvisation on set that makes it into the final product. However….
The line “Sizzler buffet for the sexually deranged” (nope, not giving you the context) was all Woods.
The show is famous enough that hip-hop acts will debut tracks as end credits music
Look for Nas and DJ Shadow’s “Systematic” to close out the first episode.
What makes Mike Judge lose it
The “creepy extra” in the back of the room at the very end of episode two. You’ll know it when you see it (on April 30). “The way it works is you get a bunch of extras and they line ’em up, and I picked that guy,” Judge said. “And I said, ‘Put him in a sweater,’ and when he came out in that sweater and sat him down, I couldn’t stop laughing. Luckily there was no dialogue in the scene. It was good to see (the audience) laughing at it because me and Tim Suhrstedt, the DP, could not stop laughing.”
“There’s something archetypal and so American about the man,” Brosnan says. “He’s a mythic hero, and that appeals to me enormously. I was brought up on the banks of the River Boyne in Ireland, on a staple of cowboys and Indians, and when I left to go to London with my mother, our Sundays were always filled with Westerns after we had lunch. So I love looking back at Westerns.”
Remember “Alias,” the show that launched Jennifer Garner and creator J.J. Abrams, brought us Victor Garber as a concerned dad/CIA lifer, substituted someone called Milo Rambaldi for Leonardo da Vinci and acted as a fun allegory for how women have to do it all (grad student/maintain a relationship/ special agent)? Yes, that one.
The writers room, including Ken Olin, Lawrence Trilling, Sarah Caplan, Monica Breen and more, will reunite for the ATX Television Festival, it was announced today. No word as to whether Abrams will attend the fest, which will take place June 8-11.
This year’s community screening (which is open to badgeholders and non-badgeholders alike) will feature “Parks and Recreation.” It’s slated to take place June 9 at Hotel San Jose. The event will include live music, food and drink and additional activities inspired by Pawnee’s annual Harvest Festival. (Will a miniature horse play Li’l Sebastian? One would hope.)
These panels and programs join such previously announced events as the “Designing Women” 30th anniversary reunion, a cast/creative reunion of the iconic series “Northern Exposure” and retrospectives for Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s series “Evening Shade” and “Hearts Afire,”
Creator/executive producer Mara Brock Akil (“Being Mary Jane,” “The Game”), and “Sweet/Vicious” creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and showrunner Amanda Lasher will join this year’s lineup as first-time panelists for a variety of conversations, along with returning ATX advisory board members David Hudgins (“Shut Eye,” “Parenthood”), Liz Tigelaar (“Casual”), Graham Yost (“Sneaky Pete,” “Justified”), Michael Rauch (“Royal Pains”) and Kathleen McCaffrey (vice president of programming at HBO).
Advisory board member Glen Mazzara (“The Shield,” “The Walking Dead”) will present a panel titled “The Anti Hero: History of an American Myth,” an in-depth look at pop culture’s revered and reviled male anti-hero, from its origin in colonial storytelling to its well-documented presence in TV’s golden age and its current impact on society.
Paul Scheer (“Human Giant,” “The League”) will host a screening and panel conversation about the independent pilot process, discussing the intricacies and decisions behind the departure from the traditional “pitch, pilot, pick up” model.
Co-creator/executive producer Marta Kauffman will return to the festival with fellow Okay Goodnight! producers Robbie Rowe Tollin and Hannah K.S. Canter for a discussion with the creative team behind the original series “Grace & Frankie,” among other panels.
The Golden Globes is, outside of the Emmys, television’s most significant prize-giving event and, not unexpectedly, streaming services and cable TV cleaned up while traditional broadcast shows went away with exactly one (well-deserved) award.
Here’s what won and how you can watch:
Best drama series went to the first season of the Netflix series “The Crown,” all of which is currently streaming on the ever-increasingly-powerful service. (Claire Foy also won best actress in a drama for her role as Queen Elizabeth in the show.)
The stunning first season of the FX comedy “Atlanta” won for best comedy, and its insanely talented creator Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) picked up a best actor in a comedy trophy.
Sadly, the whole thing can not longer be seen on the FXNow app (cable login required). Nor can “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which won best television movie or miniseries. (Sarah Paulson won best actress in a miniseries in her role as Marcia Clarke for “O.J.,” for which she also picked up an Emmy). Both can now be purchased on Amazon.
The AMC miniseries “The Night Manager,” based on the John le Carré novel of the same name, picked up three acting awards: best actor in a mini for Tom Hiddleston, best supporting actress for the perpetually underrated Olivia Colman and best supporting actor for Hugh Laurie. The totally excellent thriller can be found on Amazon Prime.
Amazon is also the home of “Goliath,” for which Billy Bob Thornton picked up lead actor in a drama.
And last but very much not least, we come to Tracee Ellis Ross, who won best actress in a comedy or musical for her role as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the wonderful ABC comedy “Black-ish,” which deserves absolutely every viewer it gets. It’s in the middle of its third season, and its writing has never been stronger. Check out all three seasons on Hulu.
In case you missed it: on Saturday Mindy Kaling gave a one-on-one interview with Sarah Pitre of Alamo Drafthouse and Forever YA Book Club for the Texas Teen Book Festival, hosted by St. Edward’s University.
The writer and star of Hulu’s The Mindy Project talked about childhood influences, the start of her writing career, and her upcoming role in the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay. When asked to describe her teenage self as a YA protagonist, Kaling said that at fourteen years old, she was bookish, awkward, and an underdog.
“[I was] painfully shy, acneic, overweight–to the extent where you’re not worried about health but just shy of that,” Kaling listed. “I think I was just a friendly, chubby kid.”
Kaling also said she was ignored in school, which encouraged her writing abilities.
“I liked talking to people but was largely overlooked in school, so I found solace in books,” Kaling said. “I think fairly early on, when I was being ignored largely, I was left alone a lot because both my parents worked. You could either read or you could write. I think I always knew I wanted to write but it wasn’t until I was eight or nine years old that I learned that you could write for television.”
Kaling, who was at the festival promoting her books Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me? said that when she was younger she started writing comedy skits for SNL.
“I was starting to write some short plays,” Kaling said. “I’ve realized that writing fiction felt, for me, so different, and so much harder than writing dialogue, which I’ve been doing for the past fifteen years. The reason I like writing essays so much is because I feel like I’m talking to a friend.”
When asked about the glamour of Hollywood, Kaling credited The Office for teaching her about the aesthetics of writing television shows.
“In order to find happiness for me, I just have to find situations where what is real is beautiful,” Kaling said. “In The Office, the most important thing is not everyone being beautiful. I like comedies where nobody cares about looks, where being funny is what’s most important.”
Kaling said that when she was a teenager, the book that affected her the most was House of Mirth by Edith Warton, and it still influences her writing choices today.
“I went through the whole Jane Austin canon, and then after that Charlotte Bronte, and then I read House of Mirth,” Kaling said. “In this book there was this lead who was stuck in her time, but also wanted selfish things and discovered her sexuality. Especially looking at all of these shows nowadays, that character’s still in my mind. I love flawed characters.”
Kaling also talked about her upbringing and how it influences her material.
“[My parents] were extremely strict but also very chatty. So I couldn’t go out or do a lot of things, but we’d sit inside and watch episodes of Seinfeld and talk a lot about why we liked them. Or we would listen to music on long car rides to Niagara Falls and talk about why it worked for us…people think the best quality in children is being expressive. In my house, it was much more important to be perceptive.”
“What is so cool is that the director, Ava DuVernay, has picked a really inclusive cast,” Kaling said. “And there’s a really interesting thing where she doesn’t want to say ‘diverse’, she thinks that’s a word that turns people off and doesn’t represent the same thing as ‘inclusive’, which I really agree with.”
When asked for more details about the movie, Kaling teased that the movie would be set in Los Angeles.
“If you’ve read the book, you know it takes place in England. If you’re not Caucasian, you feel like you love the book but you feel outside of it, like you’re admiring it in a really anthropological way,” Kaling said. “What’s great about [DuVernay’s] interpretation is just how inclusive it is.”
The nominations for the 68th Emmy Awards are out and, to the surprise of exactly nobody, “Game of Thrones” picked up 23 nods.
The completely amazing “The People v. O.J. Simpson” picked up 22 noms, “Fargo” has 18 and “Veep” has 17 nominations.
It’s outstanding to see “The Americans” and “Mr. Robot,” the two smartest live action series on TV, given best drama nods. Even with the 23 nominations, I am not completely convinced “Game of Thrones” should be there for season five, which I found a little rambling (thought I thought this season was just stunningly entertaining). “Better Call Saul,” another best drama hopeful, is often brilliant. I would love to see either “The Americans” “or “Mr. Robot” win.
Unlike the drama nods, nearly half of the best comedy nods – “Master of None” (Hulu), “Transparent” (Amazon) and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt” (Netflix) – are streaming shows.
Also in best comedy, the often excellent and usually family-friendly”Black-ish” (which my kids love) and “Modern Family” (which should be put out of its misery rather than be nominated again) are on ABC; “Silicon Valley” and “Veep,” both terrific, are on HBO.
So much for comedy programming on CBS, Fox or NBC. Ouch.
For my money, the lead actor in a drama Emmy should go to Rami Malek (“Mr Robot”) in a walk. His performance is like nothing else on television — complex, weird and 21st century.
Matthew Rhys and his perma-frown are essential parts of what make “The Americans” great. Nominees Kyle Chandler, Bob Odenkirk, Liev Schreiber and Kevin Spacey are all excellent, but Malek and Rhys feel like something new.
As far as actor in a comedy goes, Jeffrey Tambor is obviously brilliant in “Transparent, but he’s already feted (and the drama often works better than the comedy on that show). As much as I like Anthony Anderson and Aziz Ansari, I am pulling for Thomas Middleditch’s note-perfect programmer on “Silicon Valley.” (I am mystified as to why T.J. Miller didn’t get a best supporting actor in a comedy nod for “Silicon Valley.” His bluster is brilliant.)
The lead actress in a drama category is a game of inches: Keri Russell’s mission-first vibe on “The Americans” becomes more complicated by the second. (Also, will she ever stop doing laundry?) But Tatiana Maslany on “Orphan Black” is a tour de force, every episode, where, as various clones of her character, she is often playing three or four or five parts an episode. It’s nuts.
Lead actress in a comedy should probably go to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep,” but here’s the thing:
The Playhouse-90-on-the-web format of “Horace and Pete” felt exciting and daring, one of the few times this past year that something appeared in front of your eyeballs that made anything seem possible.
Metcalfe, who was terrific for years on “Roseanne,” also picked up a nomination for a guest spot on “The Big Bang Theory.” Three noms in three different acting categories is an Emmy first. She certainly deserves it.
Interesting to see the total absence of David Simon’s HBO mini “Show Me A Hero” from the limited series category, whose nominees included the Austin-filmed “American Crime”; “Fargo,” from Austin’s Noah Hawley; “The Night Manager”; “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”; and the History Channel’s remake of “Roots.”
As much as I loved “Fargo,” whose second season was cracklingly alive, my vote has to go to “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” which managed to be dramatic, funny, timely, campy, dark and incredibly weird, often all at the same time.
Speaking of, Courtney B. Vance should win lead actor in a movie or limited series for embodying but not copying Johnnie Cochran in “The People.” He is up against Cuba Gooding Jr. in this category as well.
I feel exactly the same way about Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark in “The People.” In fact, it would be kind of great to see “The People” sweep the acting for limited series or movie. Jesse Plemons was wonderful in”Fargo,” as was Bokeem Woodbine, but I would love to see Sterling K. Brown (as the somewhat doomed Christopher Darden) or David Schwimmer (as the Cassandra-like Robert Kardashian) take the supporting actor for a limited series.
Most unjust snub? “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” one of the year’s breakout shows, wasn’t nominated for variety/talk, while “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” were.
One sentimental favorite: I would love love love to see Jonathan Banks finally grab a supporting actor win for his incredible performance as Mike Ehrmantraut on “Better Call Saul,” a prize he should have won for the same character on “Breaking Bad.”