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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2020-09-19 16:55:52
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I am utterly confident that the fourth season of "Insecure" which racked up eight Emmy nominations is seriously its best yet. Among many other things, the latest batch of episodes charts the gradual fracturing of a years long friendship, a unique kind of loss that most of us know all too well. And it's so authentically illustrated thanks to brilliantly lean writing, thoughtful cinematography, insightful music supervision and understated performances by Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, both of whom nabbed nominations this year. Streaming these 10 half hour episodes in one sitting is pre Emmys time well spent. Ashley Lee

To make that task easier, The Times TV team has recommended seven series we love from the pool of nominees and though several of the most nominated shows, including "Watchmen" (HBO), "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon Prime) and "Ozark" (Netflix) didn't make the list, it might be prudent to catch up on those before you enter your (virtual) office pool. Wink, wink. That is, of course, a testament to the talent and range of the stars Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Gabrielle Dennis who exemplify the revolutionary possibilities of a show that includes more than one (token) funny Black woman. On top of the humor, there is a tangible sense that everybody involved relished bringing each sketch to life. The six episode first season was packed with standout sketches; my favorites include "Invisible Spy," "The Basic Ball," "Courtroom Kiki" and "Dance Biter." Additional "A Black Lady Sketch Show" nominations include directing in a variety series for Dime Davis and guest actress in a comedy series for Angela Bassett. Tracy Brown

To make that task easier, The Times TV team has recommended seven series we love from the pool of nominees and though several of the most nominated shows, including "Watchmen" (HBO), "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon Prime) and "Ozark" (Netflix) didn't make the list, it might be prudent to catch up on those before you enter your (virtual) office pool. Wink, wink. That is, of course, a testament to the talent and range of the stars Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Gabrielle Dennis who exemplify the revolutionary possibilities of a show that includes more than one (token) funny Black woman. On top of the humor, there is a tangible sense that everybody involved relished bringing each sketch to life. The six episode first season was packed with standout sketches; my favorites include "Invisible Spy," "The Basic Ball," "Courtroom Kiki" and "Dance Biter." Additional "A Black Lady Sketch Show" nominations include directing in a variety series for Dime Davis and guest actress in a comedy series for Angela Bassett. Tracy Brown

"Ramy" should have been nominated for comedy series, but perhaps the omission of streaming's sharpest show in the top humor category makes sense. Now in its second season, the Hulu series about a misguided Muslim American millennial (played by series creator and star Ramy Youssef) who's looking for spiritual guidance and affirmation in suburban New Jersey dives deeper than most dramas into themes of identity, assimilation and good ol' American self loathing. Youssef is up for comedy director and performer. Mahershala Ali (who plays Sheikh Ali Malik in Season 2) is up for his supporting performance. Taboos are tackled with humor and insight across both seasons, inside a narrative that constantly challenges the norms of series TV. If you want something entirely fresh, brilliant and somewhat twisted to get you through yet another Emmy season, watch "Ramy." Lorraine Ali

As my colleague Meredith Blake wrote shortly after its premiere in September 2019, Netflix's limited series, co created by Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon, offers a revolutionary portrait of rape. Based on a true story, "Unbelievable" presages more recent series like "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" and "I May Destroy You" by de centering the perpetrator and instead turning its careful, empathic energies to the survivor. It also turns the case's complex narrative, with two investigations in two states on two distinct timelines, into a forceful portrait of the additional trauma inflicted when we fail to believe those who come forward about being sexually assaulted. One focuses on Marie (played by the tremendous Kaitlyn Dever), a young woman in the Seattle area who is charged with filing a false police report after being raped by a home invader, the other on a pair of tenacious Colorado cops (Merritt Wever and Emmy nominee Toni Collette) in pursuit of a serial rapist, but it is their deft intertwining, equal parts brutal and brilliant, that makes "Unbelievable" unforgettable. And even though she was passed over in a notoriously tough category, I can't help but think Wever was robbed. Matt Brennan


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