2016 Golden Globe Predictions: Television

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I’m going to miss these guys. Image courtesy of HFPA.

The Golden Globes is the first big awards ceremony to kick off the awards season when it comes to film. The problem here is that approximately 1% of the films that have been nominated have been released in Australia. Last year I used a randomiser to predict the film winners, but this year I’m going to leave my film predictions for the Oscars. There are still distribution issues with television in Australia, but it’s slowly getting better, and I think I’ve seen most of the nominated shows that I actually want to watch. It’s been a good year in television, and I like the complete unpredictability of the Hollywood Foreign Press, so every prediction I make will be worth a grain of salt.

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Premiere Roundup: The Americans Season 3, and Silicon Valley Season 2

They don’t call it the April-pocalypse for nothing. I was really relieved to be able to ‘slow down’ on my television viewing now that Justified is over, but when I was watching Outlander yesterday morning, I saw that season 3 of The Americans was premiering in Australia at the exact same time as season 2 of Silicon Valley. Given that my dad has his programmes on Wednesday nights and I was free all day today, I was comfortable that I’d be able to watch them in the middle of the day because the good thing about having cable is that you don’t need to worry too much about missing anything. I haven’t watched this week’s episode of The Good Wife yet, so instead I’m going to write some short reviews of the premieres.

The Americans:
Television critics in the United States have been calling the third season of The Americans one of the best shows on television (the season finale is airing over there on FX next week). I loved the first season of the show, but found it difficult to watch the second season on a week to week basis, but by the end of the season I loved it. As far as premieres go for this show, this was the most subdued; the first season had that brilliant scene set to ‘Tusk’, and the second had Phillip and Elizabeth finding two of their friends, also undercover Russian spies shot dead in their hotel room. This season opened on an episode that seemed fairly conventional (Elizabeth is working a CIA informant who then backs out and calls the FBI at the bar, while Phillip is off with their FBI neighbour Stan at an EST meeting), but the ending was a gut punch. Phillip watched a man murder one of his assets, who was once in love with him, and then tried to recruit the man, saying that the USSR were the only ones who could help him now. The reason that packed a punch is because Annalise has been around since the first season, and once asked ‘Scott’ to run away with her. He played on her loveless marriage and her emotions to recruit her to get her to do this, and in the end he lets her die to recruit an asset. This show is very good at getting the audience to sympathise with Phillip and Elizabeth, then reminding them that these people are murderers. Above anything else, this is a show about a fake marriage that became real, and two parents who want the best for their children. Isn’t that something we can all relate to?

Silicon Valley:
I watched the first season of Silicon Valley last year when I was house sitting at some point and all the episodes were on Foxtel. I had particular desire to see the show, but when critics were griping over Louie beating it for the “Outstanding Writing” Emmy, I decided to check it out. It’s funny, and I like it more than I expected to. The first episode wasn’t partiuclarly interesting, but then in the second episode, Alby from Big Love tried to steal Middleditch’s idea (I’m so bad at character names on this show) and hired his best friend to help him do it. I was also really happy to see Ben Feldman (aka Ginsberg from Mad Men) make a guest appearance. I don’t love this show, but the writing is snappy and funny enough that I’m going to keep watching, even if it isn’t high on my priority list. Also the thought that Hooli is going to sue Pied Piper provides an intriguing focus for the season. I can’t imagine this going any other way. The sendoff for Christopher Evan Welch was also handled quite nicely, and deserves to be more than a footnote at the end of my review.

Other thoughts:

  • Elizabeth had a close run-in with Stan’s boss, Agent Gaad at the beginning of the episode, and some other FBI agent as well. When the other agent says he’s put all the hospitals on notice, Stan looks quite pensive, having seen Elizabeth’s injuries the night before. On the other hand, he just learned that the CIA arrested Nina, so I’m not too sure.
  • Elizabeth’s mother is dying, and Kerry Russel once again gave a fantastic performance just with her eyes as she listened to her mother’s tape.
  • Elizabeth has been attending Paige’s church group to try and get closer to her, but also let the Centre know that she’s making steps towards recruiting Paige. Phillip is understandably not too happy about this.
  • I was briefly confused that FX Australia was putting the Justified series finale on at the same time as The Americans season premiere before remembering that The Americans is on SoHo. It’s already confusing enough that FX Australia airs The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad reruns.
  • Now that Justified is over, I’ll be moving my reviews of The Good Wife to Wednesdays and writing about The Americans on Thursdays. After this week, Community will be moving to Tuesdays (these notes are mainly for my own benefit).