Monday, July 31, 2017

Rearranging The Chess Board

Some decent action and some decent talk in "The Queen's Justice"--episode three of this season's Game Of Thrones. It was maybe the weakest episode so far, but still pretty good. In any, case with only seven episodes in season seven (and six in season eight), things move fast.

We start at Dragonstone and, without ceremony, Jon Snow and Davos come ashore.  (I didn't expect them to have a big fleet--this is for a face-to-face meeting and Snow needs his forces to stick around the North, but still, wouldn't it have been easy for them to be picked off?  Especially seeing as how Dragonstone is just up the river from King's Landing.)

They're met by Tyrion (who finally gets some real lines this hour), Missandei and some Dothraki, who do look out of place in Westeros.  Snow and the Imp have a nice reunion, and everyone introduces themselves.  Snow and his small band also hand over their weapons.  Why not--it's not like they could fight their way out at this point.  They've committed themselves.

Davos is back in Dragonstone, by the way, but no one's going to talk about his past.  Tyrion promises he didn't touch Sansa, but Snow wasn't even going to ask.  And the newbies see the dragons--an impressive sight for anyone.

Meanwhile, over on a bluff, Varys and Melisandre talk.  Many wondered what would happen when Seaworth and the Red Lady met, but Mel knows she can't let that happen.  She knows she want too far to make it up to them.  So she's going to Volantis, though she says she'll be back to die in Westeros. And that Varys will die there, too.  A vision perhaps, but her visions have been wrong before (though this one sounds eerily correct).

We get to the throne room to have the first meeting of perhaps the two most significant players in this saga.  Snow and Dany don't really know each other well, so what will happen--above all, will he bend the knee.

Snow doesn't plan to.  Dany talks about the past--the Starks swore fealty to the Targaryens, though perhaps that ended when the Mad King started killing Starks.  Dany is sorry for her dad, even apologizes, but wants recognition of her queenship, and a new ally.  Otherwise, who is he to say he's King of the North?

Snow would rather talk about other things.  He doesn't care about these wars down south--it's the war up north against the dead that matters. (And we're once again reminded that Dany won't use her dragons to incinerate King's Landing, though that would lead to a quick victory.)

Snow is right, of course, but who believes him? No one's seen the dead down South, and they've got their own worries. (No one's seen dragons in a while, either.) Dany brings up King Robert trying to kill her, along with many others, but she kept chugging along, because she always believed she'd sit on the Iron Throne.  A stirring speech, but Snow still insists the Night King comes first.

Davos sticks up for Snow, almost letting it slip he came back to life at one point, but that's a no-no--if they don't believe in wights, how will they believe that?  (You know, here's one place it might be helpful to have Mel back to explain things, but I think she's gone for the rest of this season.)

So Snow won't bend the knee.  He doesn't care what happens in the South, and doesn't even know who this Dany character is.  His job is in the North, saving everyone. At this point Varys comes in with the news about Euron destroying Yara's fleet and taking Ellaria Sand--so much for those allies.  Snow is not a prisoner, but he can't leave.

We cut to Theon being picked up by a ship.  They know he must have run away.  Poor Theon.  We can tell fate has something in store for him, though.  To be continued.

Meanwhile, at King's Landing, Euron is enjoying his triumph, parading Ellaria, Tyrene and Yara through the streets and then into the throne room. He promised Cersei a gift, and here it is--the people who killed Myrcella. (Yara he gets to keep.) Euron might even get Cersei if he can win the war.  He also proves what a creep he is, speaking to Jaime about his sister in untoward ways.

Next we see Elleria and daughter Tyrene chained up in the dungeon.  How to punish them?  Cersei kisses Tyrene with poison--that's how they killed Myrcella (I think, though I can barely remember).  Now mom will watch as she dies painfully.  This is the queen's justice--at least on particular queen.  It's an ugly scene, and, while dramatically necessary, I suppose, I could have done without it.  The Sand Snakes (the Nikki and Paulo of this show) were never worth much, but they don't deserve this.

Now Jaime and Cersei have a love scene.  I was hoping he might give the women in the dungeon a merciful death, but that's not going to happen.  Cersei is getting brazen, not caring if a servant sees them sleeping together. (Jaime cared enough to almost kill Bran and start the whole show.)

She's got a meeting with the representatives of the Iron Bank.  For such allegedly smart investors, they seem pretty hapless.  All that money they bet on Stannis, down the drain.  They've lost a lot of money in Slaver's Bay, thanks to Dany freeing everyone.  And even if they demand gold back from Cersei, how can they force her to do it?  Anyway, she promises she'll pay the debt within a fortnight (though in the past it seemed like she didn't care).  I guess she's got a plan.

On the bluffs, Snow and Tyrion brood.  Things aren't going great for either.  Snow is a simple-spoken man, the opposite of Tyrion, but they seem to get along.  They talk about the White Walkers, and now it seems Tyrion believes--too many good men have seen them.  Tyrion says Dany's a pretty good gal, though, and maybe it's time to be reasonable with her--she can't go and fight a war up North, so ask for something that can be done.

Which leads to Tyrion telling Dany that Snow wants the dragonglass they've got.  It's nothing to her, and if she gives him something, perhaps he'll give her something. (Dany also notes that weird line about taking a knife in the heart, but Tyrion dismisses it.  I guess we'll learn about it later.) Dany goes to Snow and tells him to take the damn glass.  I'm a bit surprised she gives it up with getting a promise for something in return.  I guess that'll come next.  (I was also waiting for her to say "You know nothing, Jon Snow," but I guess that line's retired.)

Up in Winterfell, Sansa is leading.  She takes to it naturally.  Littlefinger has a talk with her.  Prepare for everything.  Everyone is your friend, everyone is your enemy--fight every battle in the North and South in your mind--everything is happening all at once--so no matter what happens, you'll be ready.  It's how he's always done things, and she seems taken with it.

Then at the gate...Bran.  Almost forgot about him.  Thought he still at Castle Black.  A tearful reunion, though I was surprised Sansa could recognize him. In Greek drama, when you have these sorts of scenes (say Orestes and Electra), there's usually some sort of recognition scene where they check out old scars, or stuff like that.

He says he can't be in charge at Winterfell because he's the Three-Eyed Raven.  He tries to explain what it means--seeing everything at once.  Hey, wasn't that just what Littlefinger said Sansa should do?  He also mentions (as I was hoping he would) he'd like to speak to Jon Snow.  So he isn't going to tell Sansa, and certainly didn't spill the beans at Castle Black.  Actually, it's pretty good gossip--shouldn't Sansa know?

At the Citadel, a suspicious Ebrose looks at the completely cured Mormont.  Ser Jorah claims it was spontaneous, but I don't think Samwell believes anyone would buy that.  Jorah is now free to go, and tells Samwell he'll leave to seek Dany--guess word still hasn't reached the Citadel that she's at Dragonstone, though you think that would be the top news around.  Anyway, we'll get some sort of reunion, I assume.  And Jorah even thinks he may meet Sam again. Okay.

They shake hands, and Jorah puts his left hand on top.  Really?  Did Samwell say that's okay?

In Ebrose's study, he knows Samwell broke the rules and treated Mormont.  He's impressed enough that it worked that he'll let Sam stay--but he's still gonna have to do all the scut work.  Actually, I don't know why Sam would stick around at this point. He's gotten everything out of the institution that he could. (Like Arya in Braavos--we don't see her in this episode, by the way.  I guess her reunion at Winterfell comes next, and it better be bigger than the somewhat muted moment with Bran, who seems too otherworldly.)

At the strategy room in Dragonstone, Dany wants to destroy Euron's fleet.  With dragons.  Finally, a good use for them. But she can't leave, too great a risk.  As for the Unsullied, they're now attacking Casterly Rock, even though the enemy now knows it's going to happen.

Tyrion explains the attack, and how hard it will be.  While he explains, we see what he's saying, though the first, direct attack, is a fake-out.  Tyrion was put in charge of the sewers by Tywin, so a few Unsullied will sneak in and open the front door. (Didn't they do this in Slaver's Bay already?)

Sure enough, the strategy works, though Grey Worm--unsullied and unharmed--doesn't understand why so few Lannister soldiers are there (even as Euron sets fire to his fleet).  Actually, I was surprised Tyrion thought there'd be so many.  Cersei has King's Landing, and that's where she wants to remain.  She was horrified at the thought of returning home, so why bother to defend it when you need your soldiers elsewhere?

I thought these soldiers might be moving to King's Landing, or even Dragonstone (though that would probably mean incineration even before hitting the Dothraki), but instead the troops, led by Jaime, move against Highgarden. A skeleton force in Casterly Rock was a trick he learned from Robb Stark.

Jaime and his gang take out the Tyrell stronghold pretty easily--fighting is not the Tyrell specialty.  He meets Olenna in her castle.  Cersei wanted her tortured, but Jaime talked her down to a simply, painless poison. Olenna takes it immediately (who's got her in the death pool?), but before perishing gets her little revenge, telling Jaime she killed--or had killed--Joffrey, and please let Cersei know.  A nice moment, and we're done. (A bit like Walter White letting Jesse know about Jane's death, though that was a bigger deal, Breaking Bad had less characters and less secrets.)

For someone who played her hand badly in the past, Cersei has turned into a brilliant tactician.  Dany looked so powerful it almost seemed she didn't even need her army or dragons. But now her three allies are all but vanquished, another ally she was counting on hasn't come across yet, and the Unsullied seem stranded.  But I'd watch out--when you back someone with dragons into a corner, there's likely to be trouble. (Though Cersei also seems confident Qyburn can deal with that.)

So the fight for King's Landing continues, everywhere but in King's Landing, and the fear of the Night King is hanging over it all. The circles are closing, and options getting fewer.  They better, since after next week, we'll be more than halfway done with the season.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday, Sunday

For some reason, Sunday has become the best TV day. I remember, in the pre-cable era, when other days, such as Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday, were the best days--but for about a generation now, it's been Sunday.

And starting tonight, I'll be getting my favorite drama and my favorite comedy.  Readers of this blog probably know which shows, but in case there's any doubt, I mean Game Of Thrones and, finally, season three of Rick And Morty.

(And that's not all.  There's still the new Twin Peaks, for example.)

This state of affairs will only last until the end of August.  In September, there'll be other shows to take their place, but it won't be quite the same.  So better live it up while I can.

Though I've often wondered if I couldn't just record these shows and dole them out over the rest of the year.  Probably wouldn't work.  The spoilage probably alone would ruin a lot of the fun.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Up On The Farm

I often get my groceries at Bristol Farms.  It's a little more expensive than most other places not named Whole Foods, but it's got quality produce, so why not treat yourself?

At checkout, recently, the guy in front of my had a fair amount of stuff--I think it was five or six bags' worth.

Guess how much the bill was?  If I recall correctly, $746.28.

I know, new times, new prices.  But still, I don't think I've ever seen anyone pay more than a couple hundred bucks at the grocery.  That was breathtaking.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Neil Appeal

Earlier this month, Neil Simon turned 90.  Since it happened on July 4th, you can understand why I was busy with other things at the time.

I don't know what he's been doing lately.  He stopped writing (as far as I can tell) a bit over ten years ago.  He certainly doesn't need the money.

I've posted about Simon before.  He's got my vote for best comedy writer in the second half of the 20th century. (Who could compare?  Woody Allen?)

He's probably the most commercially successful Broadway playwright ever.  From the early 1960s to the early 1990s, he had a new show produced almost every year (if you include musicals), and about two out of three were hits.

No one has a batting average like that over so long a period.  And at the same time he was wrote 20+ movies, some originals, some based on his plays, and many quite successful.

But then it seemed to slip away.  He still got plays produced, but they didn't run as long.  His last big hit, Lost In Yonkers--which won him the Pulitzer--opened in 1991.  After that, he wrote eight original works, and none of them came close to 500 performances.

Perhaps even worse, Broadway revivals of his blockbusters--such as Barefoot In The Park and Brighton Beach Memoirs--flopped.  He had lived long enough to see himself no longer in vogue.

I wonder if he wonders about posterity.  Or does he just figure he had a good run, it couldn't last forever.  No one can see into the future, but I like to think--even as some of his references and even his style gets  a bit dated--that his material is so well done that his plays will be revived, and make audiences laugh, well into the next century.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


June Foray has died.  You may not know her name, but you know her voice.

She was one of the top voice artists around.  For example, she was Nell in Dudley Do-Right, Cindy Lou Who in How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Granny in the Tweety and Sylvester cartoons.

But I'd say her crowning glory was the work she did on the The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show, where she voiced both Rocket J. Squirrel and Natasha.

Ready for the robots

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lovely GLOW

I've finally gotten around to watching GLOW, the new Netflix comedy.  Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, with some help from Jenji Cohan, it's a (highly) fictionalized version of the original 1980s GLOW TV show--"Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling."

The main character is Ruth Wilder, an out-of-work actress desperate to get any gig, even a TV show that features wrestling.  There's also Sam Sylvia, a exploitation film director, who's in charge of getting the show on the air.

Most of the rest of the cast are the other women of GLOW, each with their own personality, each who will have to take on a new wrestling personality.

A few episodes in, I like it.  I like Alison Brie, who plays Ruth, in anything, though her odd, 80s-appropriate hairstyle, doesn't show her off at her best.  And Marc Maron as the cynical, sad director, almost steals the show.

As Brie has noted in interviews, a lot of people don't realize there was such a show back the 1980s.  It was an odd time, when professional wresting was a big deal, and so it only made sense that the women would get their chance.

I was never much into wrestling, but I do remember the original GLOW.  I don't remember too many of the characters, but I do remember it was more a comedy show than a sports show. But I guess that's all professional wrestling.

Is that the correct use of "avoid"?

The most common reasons for men avoiding sex [include] . . . lack of opportunity.

True dat.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mamet, Dammit

Playwright David Mamet is involved in a bit of a brouhaha.  His new deal for putting on one of his lays involves a heavy fine if there's any official "talk-back" within two hours of the performance.

Talk-backs are often quite popular discussions and analysis of the play just seen, led by someone who represent the theatre that put on the production, often someone with certain expertise.

I'm with Mamet.  He's been criticized as stifling free speech, but that's got nothing to do with it.  You could just as easily say a playwright stifles free speech during the two hours his play is performed.  Mamet simply wants the show he wrote to be the end of it, not part of a night where the second act is a discussion.  It's as if before he wrote "The End" he put in "The curtain falls and nothing else happens afterwards."

People are still free to talk about his play as much as they want, even immediately afterwards--but in bar, or restaurant, or a car, or on the street--just not part of the theatrical experience.  Even if many find these talk-back edifying, or a perk of play-going, it's Mamet's call if he has them or not.  And if he doesn't want them, then it's the theatres decision whether or not to put on his play.

I'm reminded, in a way, of a rerelease of the Richard Lester film A Hard Day's Night some years ago, starring, of course, The Beatles.  There was one song Lennon and McCartney wrote for the movie that didn't make it in--"I'll Cry Instead."

So the people who rereleased the film decided to make a video of the song, using photos from the film, and tack it on to the start in every theatre showing the film.  I have no doubt Richard Lester, if he heard of this, must have hated the idea.  The original film has a great beginning, an outburst of energy scored by the title tune.  Now, the audience would get a preview of another Beatles' song, with all sorts of shots they're about to see, weakening the effect of the opening, and perhaps the entire film.

If Lester had the legal power (which I assume he didn't), he would have put a stop to it.  Playwrights have a lot of power in the theatre.  They can demand none of their lines be changed, and have certain other specifications.  Mamet is just extending that a bit to make sure the play has the effect he hopes for.

Monday, July 24, 2017

She Stops Before Conquering

"Stormborn," the second episode of this season of Game Of Thrones, offers lots of fun as new combinations of people meet and make plans.

A lot of the best stuff is at Dragonstone, where the action starts. There's a big storm, just like the night Dany was born.  She's with her advisors and they talk about how Cersei isn't so popular.  But, as Dany and Tyrion understand, that's not enough.  And they don't want to win by using their dragons and turning Westeros into a slaughterhouse. (Not only is it bad for the people, but it would turn the public against her, and look how the Mad King did, even with dragons.)  Fans have been wondering why she doesn't just conquer immediately, and this is part of the explanation.

Which leads to a great confrontation with Varys, who served the Mad King but also Robert--and helped in the plan to assassinate Dany.  Varys faces her down, explaining he's always served the people, and will support her because she's the best chance they've got.  She makes him swear if he doesn't like what she's doing, tell it to her face--and if she discovers he's betrayed her, he'll be burnt to death. They can both live with that.

Meanwhile, the Red Woman has come to meet Dany. (I guess Melisandre gets the news fast, and gets around even faster.) She believes Dany is the one who will save them during the long winter.  Varys notes Mel recently followed a different king, but, as Dany notes, this is get-off-free-for-treason day.

Then Mel brings up Jon Snow--that name rings a bell for Tyrion. Mel says they should see him and hear his stories about what he's seen, so they send for him by raven. (Just wait till they find out Jon and Dany are related.)

Up at Winterfell, they get the message--join us to fight Cersei.  Snow believes she'd be a great ally with those fire-breathing dragons killing wights.  But Sansa and Davos understand you can't just be sending the King out on such a mission.

Back at King's Landing, Cersei speaks to the Lords of Westeros, playing to their prejudices--Dany has brought savages (Dothraki and Unsullied) whom they need to fight against.  Don't worry about your loyalty to the Tyrell's, protect the land.  Dany crucified noblemen--that could be you.  They (like fans of the show) want to know how they'll defeat the dragons (word sure gets around).  Qyburn comes out and says they're working on it.

Jaime chases down Lord Tarly--Samwell's nasty dad--and says if he fights for Cersei (though he's pledged to House Tyrell) he'll be put in charge of the South if they win.  Olenna is too angry to get the Dothraki (who we haven't seen much of, actually) need to be defeated.

Down at the Citadel, Samwell and Archmaester Ebrose look at the advanced greyscale of Ser Jorah.  Too late to do anything, and oh yeah, his mind will go in six months. Tarly saw Shireen get cured, but that means nothing to Ebrose. Sam finds out this is a Mormont--a name that means something to him as a member of the Night's Watch.

Down in one of the basements in King's Landing, where Robert kept the skulls of defeated dragons, we see the massive crossbow they've been working on.  Dragons can be wounded, and dragons can be defeated.

Back at Dragonstone, Dany meets witha couple of allies--Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell (and Yara Greyjoy is there, too--real female empowerment). They want to know why she doesn't just unleash the dragons and attack  Dany explains her reasons again, including not riling up the Lords of Westeros by fighting them with Essos "savages." She wants the Dornish and the Tyrells to lay siege to the King's Landing.  Meanwhile, the Unsullied will take Casterly Rock and the Lannisters will lose their base.  Sounds good?

Missandei and Grey Worm have a leavetaking scene.  I've never been much for their relationship, but just as I was waiting for it to end, Missandei stripped.  And then she had Grey Worm strip (though we don't get to see what he doesn't have). They make love as best they can.

Back at the Citadel Samwell tries to bring up curing greyscale, but once again, Ebrose will have none of it.  Luckily, Samwell doesn't give up easily, and tries an old (unproven) technique on Jorah.  It's painful--he's got to cut away the greyscale--but there's no choice (and no anesthesia).  This is not unlike what Qyburn did to Jaime, though we didn't see as much of that, and this is on a bigger scale, as it were. Jorah has trouble not screaming. I thought he might be made of sterner stuff, but then, I've never had greyscale. Anyway, good luck to Mormont.

Now Arya stops at an inn, and there's Hot Pie.  Who doesn't love Hot Pie?  He certainly has found his calling as a baker.  But Arya has become a remorseless killing machine, and isn't showing as much emotion as might be expected.  But Hot Pie does pass on some important info--the Boltons have been defeated and Jon Snow is ruling Winterfell.  I'm not sure how she hasn't heard this yet, but I suppose Arya has been laying low since she got to Westeros.

There's not much question she'll be going to Winterfell.  And that's where we go now.  Snow has got all the Lords in the room (and Sansa and Brienne and Littlefinger and Davos) and tells them about Samwell's message (about dragonglass at Dragonstone) and Tyrion's message.  He's decided to go to Dragonstone with Davos.  Everyone objects.  The King of the North can't abandon the North, and, as they say in Star Wars, it's a trap.

Snow, who's made a career out of trusting people (and it's only got him killed once), explains why it has to be done. He's seen the army of the dead, and knows he'll need a lot of help to wage the war.  He's going. Now that's something to look forward to. (And when will Bran get to Winterfell with his big news about Snow's parentage?  He's not in this episode.) When Sansa objects, Snow explains she'll be in charge, which shuts her up fast.

Down in the crypt, Snow looks at his (alleged) dad's bones.  Littlefinger comes down and talks about his relations with the Starks.  He certainly liked the women (and Catelyn didn't think much of Snow). Snow goes after him, almost choking him, saying stay away from my kid sister.

It's not clear why Littlefinger decided to say what he said here. He's usually more sly.  He's been mostly flatfooted this season. Is he just a fool in love?  Or is he playing a long game?  No one likes him, but his army did save Snow in the Battle of the Bastards, so they can't just kick him out.  Anyway, Snow and Davos leave for Dragonstone, so we'll see what happens with the people left behind.

Arya is camped out when suddenly she's surrounded by a wolf pack.  Will the magic she learns in Bravos help her here?  She can't put on a wolf mask, after all.  Turns out the pack leader--as many expected--is Nymeria, abandoned by Arya in Season 1.  She wants Nymie to return with her to Winterfell, but the wolf just walks away.  She says "that's not you." I guess she understands you can't abandon a direwolf for years and years and not expect it to change.

Finally, we're on a boat with the Sand Snakes, as well as Ellaria and Yara and Theon.  To no viewer's surprise, Euron attacks. The fight is at night, illuminated only by fire, so it's hard to make out what's happening, though some (all?) of the Sand Snakes are killed and Ellaria is captured (this is the prize for Cersei?).  The Sand Snakes died as they lived--pointlessly.

Then Yara and Euron fight.  So Euron really likes to fight women, I guess.  He's got Yara and it's time for her "protector" Theon to do something.  Theon, who I thought was past this, decides to jump in the water instead. (Note that Theon is the third eunuch to have a big scene this episode.  Wouldn't it be funny if he ended up on the Iron Throne?) You sort of knew she was gonna lose as soon as Euron got there--they're not going to build him up in episode one to kill him off in episode two.  (I thought she was killed, by the way, but perhaps she was just taken hostage--that's how confusing I found this sequence.)

And that's where we end.  A lot of fun, though I wasn't thrilled with the battle at the end. (On this show I tend to find the conversations more thrilling than the fighting.)  Dany has decided to move slowly and may pay for it.  Cersei's odds are looking better, having cut off the head of the Dornish.  But Dany still has the most power.

I'm looking forward to next week when, presumably, Snow and Dany meet.  With only seven episodes this season, they can't put that off too long.

Also lots more reunion to come.  Arya, Sansa and Bran (and Snow) should all get together, even though none of them are aware most of the others are alive.  Then there's the Hound and Arya.  And certainly, sooner or later, Tyrion have to face his siblings.  Also I expect Varys and Littlefinger will meet again, if they live long enough.  And perhaps Jorah will get another chance to fight for Dany.  Stay tuned for these and other exciting moments in your next installment of Game Of Thrones.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

No Longer New

Happy birthday, John Hall.  He served in Congress for a few years, but who cares?  He founded the band Orleans, that's what matters.

It's hard to believe nowadays there was ever a time the kind of soft rock put out by Orleans was highly popular, but if you listened to top 40 radio in the 1970s, it was unavoidable.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


John Heard has died.  To my surprise, he's being most often identified as the father in Home Alone, even in Variety, the show biz Bible.

I suppose that was the biggest film he was in, but it wasn't a significant role.  I didn't even remember he was in it.

I remember him much better for starring roles in his early films, such as Between The Lines (his film debut), Chilly Scenes Of WinterCutter's Way, Cat People and Heaven Help Us.

He was also memorable in lots of supporting work, such as his frustrated executive in Big, or his corrupt detective on The Sopranos.

Heard was a guy who worked regularly in movies and TV, a true pro. I assumed he worked so much because everyone knew he always delivered.

He'll be remembered, and I don't think just for Home Alone.

Whatever Lola Sings

I missed that Lola Albright passed on earlier this year.  You think I would have heard about it somehow.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Throne For A Loss

This Sunday is the second episode of season 7 of Game Of Thrones.  We are definitely in the home stretch.  There are only 12 episodes left in the entire run of the show.

This means that characters previously thought untouchable can be killed off. In fact, that'll be a necessity for big moments the producers will want.

The question now is will any of the "big moments" come before this season, with six episodes left, is over.

Let's just look at the character who have been around since the first season:  Tyrion, Jaime, Cersei, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Jon Snow, Daenerys, Littlefinger, Jorah, Theon, The Hound, Varys, Samwell and Bronn.

For good measure, let's throw in some major characters we got in seasons 2 or 3:  Davos, Melisandre, Brienne, Gilly and Tormund.

Of these, certain seem to have strong enough destinies that I can't see them dying this season:  Tyrion, Cersei, Sansa, Jon Snow, Daenerys, The Hound and Davos.

The rest I can see buying it--any of them dying would be a big deal. Some almost as big as the death of Ned Stark (though, perhaps, not as shocking).

Jaime is second-in-command in King's Landing, but he has misgivings.  It'd be easy to imagine him dying when he doesn't know what to do, or even decides to redeem himself and fight against his own sister.

Arya is quite powerful now, perhaps too powerful.  And as an independent agent, she could die without disturbing the bigger fight.  Her death would really be a big deal.

Bran can see things, and has useful information.  But after he lets Jon Snow know who his real parents are, he doesn't necessarily have any function (though he might be pretty good at fighting the Night King).

I think Littlefinger, who's behind all the chaos, will likely last until the final season, but even though he's always been too smart to die, his luck could run out any day.

Jorah is already at death's door.  I imagine he'll see Dany before he dies, or who knows, maybe the maesters will cure him.  But he could bow out any moment.

Theon will likely last a while--he's been saved from death a number of times, so he probably has something important to do.  Though that thing may be sacrificing himself for Dany.

The Hound is having visions, so I imagine he'll be fighting the White Walkers eventually.  Also, I would think he'll be reunited with Arya.  So he's got a while, but not necessarily beyond this season.

Varys is a wild card, who could die today or last till the end.

Samwell has to get information to Jon, but after that, he could go any time.  Same for wife Gilly.

Bronn is the kind of guy who would stay out of a fight if there's no money involved, but events may conspire to force him into battle.

Davos will stick around for a while--he's the guy who gives good advice.  But there's no guarantee he'll last forever, so maybe at some point this season he'll say goodbye.

Melisandre has more to do--she has to find a hero and do some magic.  But we know she's vulnerable, and not loved by many, so this season may do her in.

Brienne is another highly popular character, but she doesn't have much to do in her arc but fight, and any fight may mean death.  (Though I expect she'll meet Jaime at least once more.)

Tormund is a fun guy, but he, like anyone else, could die fighting the White Walkers.

Speaking of Dick Windsor

Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation

Looking forward to another one of those columns on government workers being so neutral and valuable. I suppose this one writes itself: "Hey, she could have kept Trump out of office." QED.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The W

Last night the Jimmy Fallon show had The Who.  Well, that's what Jimmy called them.  Actually, it was Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.  Needless to say, John Entwistle and Keith Moon couldn't make it.

They sang one of my favorite Who tunes, "I Can See For Miles." There were other musicians, but no one cared who they were.

So is it fair to call them The Who?  I mean, if they had Paul and Ringo do a song, would anyone call it The Beatles?

I suppose there's a difference. It's easy enough to argue Roger and Pete are the two main members of the band--its voice and its songwriter.

But still, what if it had worked out that John and Paul were the only Beatles left?  If they performed, it would be an amazing thing, but I can't imagine anyone would call it The Beatles, even if they did Beatle favorites.

You can't argue with the math

Study finds that generous acts make you happy, irrespective whether it is small or large act.

To which the always right Professor Reynolds says, "So go with small, I guess."

Now that's cost benefit analysis. Make this guy Dick Windsor!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gun Play

I've been watching Snowfall, the new series on FX about the crack epidemic in 1980s Los Angeles.

I don't have much to say about it, but let me know that six times in the first two episodes there's a meeting or confrontation where--surprise--someone pulls out a gun and aims it at another person's head.  The target tends to stay calm and no one gets shots.

A lot of people things guns solve any problem in a drama. (Some people think the same thing of guns in real life.)

I'm not denying pointing a gun at someone can be dramatically effective.  But you can't overdo it.

I'd suggest they keep it down to, say, once per episode.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Game On

The first episode of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones, "Dragonstone," puts us right in the thick of things.  There was a lot of downsizing, as it were, last season, and now we've got a clear group of characters circling each other, all based in Westeros.  Some complained there wasn't enough action, but I've always felt the best scenes tend to be a few characters just talking, not necessarily cutting off heads.

We start with old business.  In a pre-credits scene that could have been the ending of last season (but was probably too much for it), we get Arya, disguised as Walder Frey, killing off the entire House.  That's what he deserves for murdering people he invited in (though Arya is probably offended not due to his lack of hospitality, but for the fact he did it to his mother and brother, and she was there when it happened).  We didn't quite know that Arya was so good at changing faces--she can look exactly like anyone, and even do vocal impressions.

Anyway, the new Arya is at large in Westeros, and anything is possible.  Note she doesn't have the methods of the other killers from the House of Black--she doesn't do assignments, she's free lance.  You'd think she might want to meet her family, though it's not clear if she knows any of them are still alive.

After the credits, we get a vision of White Walkers on the march.  And now Meera (tough gal) has brought Bran to the gate of the Wall.  Edd let's him in.  Where will Bran go next?  Boy does he have a lot to say--especially to Jon Snow.

Speaking of whom, we watch Jon--the new King in the North--running a meeting at Winterfell.  Quite an interesting group collected there.  Not only all the heads of Northern families (including everyone's favorite, Lyanna Mormont), but also Sansa, Brienne, Pod, Tormund, Littlefinger and Davos.  A fun group, though I doubt they'll all be together for much longer.

Snow will allow the families who turned against the Starks to keep their ancestral homes, against the importuning of Sansa.  Snow learned his tactics fighting in the north, where being merciful to the wildlings was a good idea.  Sansa learned her tactics in King's Landing, where being merciless was more common, and being too honorable gets you killed.

Later, along with Sansa, Snow asks her not to undermine him in public.  A sensible request, though it's clear Sansa isn't quite happy with the power arrangements.  Will they end up completely at odds?  Will one of the leave to make room for the other.  (Cersei has asked Snow to come to King's Landing, but would he be so stupid?)

Anyway, Snow knows the real problem is in the North, but we can see there are plenty of problems down South.  And down South, in King's Landing, the finishing touches are being put on a floor map of Westeros, so Cersei can keep track of things more easily.  She and Jaime have a conversation about where they stand.  (Why is Jaime still there, you may ask, though he seems to have nowhere else to go.)

They are the last of the Lannisters (so have some more babies, then).  They've seen all their kids die, though Cersei doesn't really want to talk about it.  Cersei is too consumed with the enemies in every direction.  To the east, Daenery's sails to take over.  To the south are the Dornish, who want revenge.  To the west are the Tyrells, who also want revenge (and have all the food).  To the north is Snow and snow.

They need allies, who are in short supply.  Even the rotten Frey's are gone.  Which is why Cersei has invited Euron Greyjoy, who looks to play a large role this season.  The Iron Islanders don't impress anyone--certainly not the Lannisters.  They rebelled, which is bad enough, but they also were put down easily.  Who can trust them.  But they've got a lot of ships and Euron has a lot of practice on the seas.

He comes in to meet with Cersei (though can't get too close, thanks to the Mountain), and would like to join up with her.  While it's clear there's plenty of mistrust, he says he'll prove himself and bring her something.  Dany's head?  Tyrion?  The Sand Snakes? Guess we'll find out.

Now we go to the Citadel, where Samwell is in training, if training means doing nothing but scut work.  In a montage that lasts maybe a bit too long, we see him perform his duties, which includes a lot of cleaning out bedpans.  But he was sent there for a mission--to learn about the White Walkers and help Jon Snow. Though at this rate they'll all be engulfed before he even gets to read one of the books locked up in the special area.

For his eagerness and presumption he gets a speech from an Archmaester, played by Jim Broadbent, about how there are always problems, but the maesters work apart from that, guiding mankind. Broadbent is sure the wall will always be standing, but will it?

So Samwell, who has learned to steal things he think he's owed, gets the keys to get to the books he needs.

Back at Winterfell, Pod is in training with Brienne, while Tormund pants at the thought.  Watching them is Littlefinger and Sansa. Sansa is quite dismissive, as is Brienne, of Baelish. I don't like this diminished Littlefinger, who seems to be so in love with Sansa that he's lost his senses.  This is the man, don't forget, who plunged the Seven Kingdoms into chaos, and saw to it that Joffrey was assassinated.  And now Sansa easily bests him in repartee?  Perhaps he's biding his time, and perhaps Sansa will come around, though. (But let's get to it--this is fan service and not much else.  So Sansa had a rough wedding night.  Theon Greyjoy had his penis cut off and he's stopped whining about it.)

Now Arya is riding through the Riverlands.  It's a new Arya.  Up till now, she's always had a mentor, teaching her things.  Now she knows what she needs to know (she thinks).  When she rode through this area earlier, she couldn't have survived without the Hound.  Now she's the master killer.

She meets up with some soldiers, and while there is some tension, they tend to be good sorts, and she enjoys their hospitality.  She even tells them she's going to Kings Landing to kill the queen, though they take it as a joke.  I think Arya has the ability to get to Cersei, though will something get in her way?  Will she meet up with some family members?  With the Hound?  There are a lot of reunions in her future.

Speaking of the Hound, he's marching with the Brotherhood Without Banners.  Just like Arya, we've got a new Hound.  He's still got a smart mouth, but is more easily moved--he's been hanging out with religious people for a while now.  The group comes upon the farm where he hurt the farmer and stole his silver.  The Hound finds two corpses--the father realized they were going to starve and killed his daughter and himself.  That night the Hound digs them a grave, which is the best he can do at this point.  Earlier, he looks into the fire and sees a vision of Whit Walkers coming around the Wall by the sea. Is this where he'll be heading?

At the Citadel, with his stolen books, Samwell makes a discovery. (Pretty easily.  All those nasty maesters were sure slowing him down.)  You can get all the dragon glass you need at Dragonstone. Makes sense, I guess.  He'll inform Jon.  We'll this lead to some confrontations?

Meanwhile, Samwell, on his duties, is feeding the quarantined.  An arm comes out to him, full of greyscale.  It's Jorah, of course.  Jorah was ordered by Daenerys to cure himself, so it would make sense he came to the seat of learning to see if there was a way.  He's not looking too well, but he wants to know if Dany has landed.

We cut to Dany's fleet, and they sail smoothly into her ancestral home of Dragonstone.  Too smoothly.  Cersei and Aegon know she's coming here--why don't they try to cut her off at the pass (even with her dragons about)?

Dany and her retinue, including Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm, don't do much more than open the gates and walk in.  This is the moment she's been waiting for all her life--her return to Westeros. But it's just the beginning.  Now that she's here, she's got to move on King's Landing to the real throne she wants.  But they're going to need a strategy, presumably.  The former occupant of Dragonstone tried a full assault and it didn't go well.

So that's where we stand.  We get to see most of the characters, and they've all got clear goals.  There are only so many episode left, so the clashes, and the reunions, are going to start piling up pretty fast.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Men Who Started It All

Night Of The Living Dead (1968) was a low budget film shot in Pennsylvania that became a huge hit.  It was considered outrageous at the time, but has held up quite nicely.

Also, it spawned not one, but two revolutions--the low-budget horror film becoming a big deal, and a spate of zombie movies and TV shows, which are as big as ever almost fifty years later.

The film was written and directed by George Romero, who just died.  He would go on to make other films, generally horror (including the fine sequel to NOTLD, Dawn Of The Dead), but none would equal the impact of his first big hit.

So here's to George.  I'm sure there are many in Hollywood who know the difference he made.

In more bad news, Martin Landau died.

Years ago I met him at a party (yes, I occasionally get invited to those kinds of parties).  He said "hi, I'm Marty" as if he weren't world-famous.

He had an offbeat look that, when he was starting out, put him on the character actor track.  Early on he did the occasional movie, such as his memorable turn as James Mason's henchman in North By Northwest, but through the 50s, 60s and 70s, was mostly in television.

The role he was best known for then was Rollin Hand, part of the Mission: Impossible team. In the mid-70s, he played the lead on Space: 1999.  By 1981, he was playing a mad scientist in the TV movie The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan's Island.

So there he was, in his 50s, making a decent living as an actor, but not really getting the parts he wanted.

Then, in 1988, he was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar in Tucker: The Man And His Dream.  So now, at 60, he became one of the top character actors in movies.

He'd go on to appear in Crimes And Misdemeanors (Oscar nomination), Mistress, Rounders, and his greatest role, Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, for which he won an Oscar.

Not many actors manage a second act, but he got it, and made the most of it.

How is he at Potions?

Sigh. Was there ever a time when the Times could be taken seriously?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm Telling You For The Seventh Time

Today is the big day--the premiere of Game Of Thrones, season 7.  The first episode is entitled "Dragonstone"

I don't want to go out on a limb here, but I'm guessing it'll have something to do with the return of Daenerys to her ancestral home Dragonstone. It's hard to say how that works out, story-wise, but it symbolized something important--the show, after years of expanding, is finally starting to contract.

Dany spent seasons after season gaining her army and learning harsh lessons in Essos. Now she's finally returning to Westeros to take back what's hers (she thinks).

Meanwhile, Cersei is holding King's Landing, Jon Snow has the Night King to worry about, and the Stark kids--Sansa, Arya, Bran--are all free agents, moving about on their own quests.

But with only two seasons left to go--really a season and a half by episode count--the stories are all converging and the end is in sight. This should lead to interesting clashes, as we get combinations of characters we haven't seen yet.

The last new episode was aired June 2016.  It's been a long wait.  Which makes fans excited, but also has them saying "it better be worth it."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dutch Master

It's July 15th, which, of course, means it's Rembrandt's birthday.  Perhaps the most famous painter in history.  What John Hancock is to signatures, Rembrandt is to paintings.

Stop us before we compete again

I'm guessing they oppose interstate sales of insurance, too.

It really gives the whole game away. Talk about collusion.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bang A Gong

I watched the new Gong Show last night.  It's one of a number of supersized, prime time revivals of old game shows on ABC.  I'm not sure why this trend is happening--maybe because such shows are so cheap to produce.

This latest is hosted by British entertainer Tommy Maitland, who's actually a disguised Mike Myers.  The whole bit adds little to the show, so I'm not sure why this is happening either.  I guess it was the only way they could get Myers to sign on.

But that's neither here nor there.  Is the show any good?  Well, it's mostly the gong show you'd expect, where amateurs come on and do their acts while celebrity judges rate them or gong them.

That's why I don't like it.  I remember watching the Chuck Barris Gong Show, which was a bit of a phenomenon in its day.  And it created a whole attitude toward entertainment that I hated.

It's hard enough to go out in front of an audience in the best circumstances. But once the crowd has the gong mentality, they're just frothing at the mouth, waiting for you to slip up so they can hate you.  It took years after the Barris Gong Show left the air for things to go back to normal.

Let's not return to those days.  We don't need it. (There are also too many shows that feature judges rating amateur performers, but that's a separate issue.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tell A Vision

It's harder to discuss the Emmy nominations than the Oscars or the Tonys, because there are so many damn categories.  And I've seen most of the movies around, and none of the plays, so I have complete knowledge of complete ignorance, whereas no one can keep up with all the TV shows no matter how much you watch.

But the Emmy nods were announced today, so let's look at some of them:

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Foy, The Crown
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Elisabeth Moss, Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Robin Wright, House of Cards

I watch almost none of these. I liked Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld, but the show is sort of silly, despite all the nominations it got.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
The hot new show This Is Us gets two nominations--will that split the vote. (And how do the other costars feel about this?)
I guess it's nice to see Bob Odenkirk get nominated, but I don't think he'll win. 
A lot of good shows get nothing, of course,  I guess it was never in the cards that The Leftovers would see any nominations
Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Carrie Coon, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette & Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette & Joan
Nice to see Carrie Coon here, though I preferred her work in The Leftovers.  A lot of big movie names here (women of a certain age apparently can get better roles on television).  I was more impressed with Lange and Sarandon in Feud than Kidman and Witherspoon in Big Little Lies.
Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Robert DeNiro, The Wizard of Lies
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
John Turturro, The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Quite a few big names.  The Emmys, as always, have Oscar envy.
The other guy who played the younger Einstein in Genius had a lot more to do than Geoffrey Rush, but he's not an Oscar-winning actor.
Turturro was fine, as was Riz Ahmed in The Night Of, though they'll likely split the vote (and Bill Camp was the performance to see in that show).
De Niro is here because he's a huge name, not because his movie was anything special.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Allison Janney, Mom
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
I'd like to see Ellie Kemper win, though Louis-Dreyfus seems to take it every year (and she is great in Veep)--has she broken he record for most Emmys yet?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
William H. Macy, Shameless
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Zach Galifianakis, Baskets
Interesting mix, though I don't know if any of them deserve it.  Note most of these are not network shows--no Big Bang Theory, for example.  Be interesting to see if Glover takes it--I like his show (which is as much a surreal drama as comedy at points).
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Voice
Top Chef
The Amazing Race
Project Runway
American Ninja Warrior
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Don't care.
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Don't care.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late, Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time with Bill Maher
Looks like they're picking on Fallon the same way they picked on Leno.
I think both Corden and Oliver have carved out their own niches and it would be fine if either get the Emmy.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Master of None
They're still nominating Modern Family--it's like a reflex.  But Big Bang Theory is out.  Most of these are pretty good. Maybe they'll go for the new and shiny Atlanta, though Silicon Valley, even not quite a full strength, is still pretty good, and Kimmy Schmidt is for those who miss 30 Rock.
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
House of Cards
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Crown
This Is Us
Stranger Things
A bunch of new, still-trending names here, like This Is Us, Stranger Things, Westworld (undeservedly) and The Handmaid's Tale.  Maybe the most interesting contest.  I hope the winner won't feel the need to make a political speech (I hope this everywhere, though this category seems likely to bring it out).
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, SNL
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
Modern Family used to get three of these.  I don't think Anderson deserves it, though he's probably the favorite.  T.J. Miller is fine, though hasn't Zach Woods become the guy on Silicon Valley?  Baldwin's situation is odd--a continuing bit on SNL, not a sitcom.  Tony Hale is always fine, as are others on Veep, but time for something new.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the best regular sitcoms around and doesn't get enough love.  If I were voting, I'd pick Brian Tyree Henry, who is reliably great on Atlanta.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Judith Light, Transparent
Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time
Just how many people are they allowed to nominate?  A number of these I haven't seen, but most of them I like.  Like Alec Baldwin above (who's not even a regularly member of SNL), Kate McKinnon seems to be the odd person out here.  But she's been amazing and it would be great if she won.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Hank Azaria, The Wizard of Lies
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette & Joan
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo
Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette & Joan
I'd prefer Molina or Tucci for Feud.  Thewlis seemed odd at first, but in the long ran, I think he gave the top performance in Fargo, and I'd vote for him.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Gerald McRaney, This Is Us
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
BD Wong, Mr. Robot
Denis O’Hare, This Is Us
Brian Tyree Henry, This Is Us
Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
A second nod to Brian Tyree Henry--quite a year for him.  The three nominations for This Is Us show you the TV Academy really likes the show.  Maybe McRaney, playing a different sort of role, deserves to take it. (Certainly not Bridges or Wong, who aren't even particularly good.)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers
Carrie Preston, The Good Fight
Gillian Anderson, American Gods
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder
Alison Wright, The Americans
Finally, a nomination for The Leftovers, and it's the wrong one.  It wasn't even Dowd's season--that was last year in The Leftovers.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Matthew Rhys, Girls
Riz Ahmed, Girls
Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live
Aziz Ansari, Saturday Night Live
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Saturday Night Live
Tom Hanks, Saturday Night Live
Hugh Laurie, Veep
Peter McNicol, Veep
Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
A second nod for Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari.  Some people must be feeling really good today.  Two decent performances from Veep, but where were all the regular guys in the supporting category.
Four Saturday Night Live hosts, most of whom did fine work, though Hanks should win for David S. Pumpkins alone.
Hamm was great on Kimmy Schmidt, so it would be fine if he won.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Carrie Fisher, Catastrophe
Laurie Metcalf, The Big Bang Theory
Maya Rudolph, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Laura Dern, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Angela Bassett, Master of None
A bunch of double nominations here.  Don't know who I'd pick.  I didn't see Catastrophe, though I wouldn't be surprised if Fisher got a sentimental nod.
Outstanding TV Movie
Black Mirror
Churchill’s Secret
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Sherlock: The Lying Detective
The Wizard of Lies
Only saw The Wizard Of Lies, which I'll be rooting against.

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