The Best TV Performances of the Year So Far

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

The Best TV Performances of the Year So Far

It is halfway through the year. On the one hand: What? Really?! How?!! Wow, time flies, my friends. Tempus fugit, amiright? On the other: 2022 has been a slow march of torture; a painful slog progressing at a pace that defies the physics of time.

The middle of summer is a Big Deal in the world of television for its bevy of traditions. People who belong to the “Not Kevin Fallon, Apparently” segment of the population find themselves with more time on their hands. That’s truer than ever now that the most devoted among us are following the Gospel of Beyoncé in her new release “Break My Soul” and quitting our jobs. (A fun lyric, serious life advice, or a musical middle finger to Kim Kardashian’s infamous “nobody wants to work” monologue…Who can say?)

Especially at a time when there is so much content being produced, it’s the perfect occasion for critics and entertainment writers to publish their reminders of the best TV shows that have been released in the year so far, in case you’ve missed them and might want to catch up. (Somebody Somewhere! severity! Better Thingsfor the love of God, Better Things!)

Because it’s the time of year when Emmy voting happens, it’s also become somewhat of an FYC and awards hub. Organizations like the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics and the Television Critics Association recently announced their nominations, and both are abundant with taste. Great job, critics!

On the off chance that even one Emmy voter reads this piece, here are my desperate pleas for performances to be considered. I don’t want to toot my own horn when it comes to an eye for good TV, but toot-toot, beep-beep you should all listen to me.

A crucial reminder that Molly Shannon could and should have three Emmy nominations this year for I Love That For You, The Other Twoand The White Lotus.

Renée Elise Goldsberry gave the funniest performance on TV this year in Girls5eva. Nicholas Hoult in The Great was a close second.

Kaley Cuoco and Sharon Stone had the best-acted scene of the year in The Flight Attendant.

Say what you want about And Just Like That…but Sarah Jessica Parker was as brilliant as ever in it.

There will be attention paid, I hope, to bigger names like Patricia Arquette, Adam Scott, Christopher Walken, and John Turturro for severity. But Britt Lower’s performance was why that show worked as well as it did. Nominate her!

Similarly, what if standouts like Park Hae-soo and Kim Joo-ryeong from Squid Game or Sydney Sweeney from euphoria joined their predicted cast members?

Don’t forget about Pachinko! Or The Good Fight! Or Evil! Or Search Party! Or PEN15!

The final season of insecure is eligible for these Emmys. Give it its due and, most importantly, give that Best Supporting Actress nomination to Natasha Rothwell, dammit!

If the entire main cast of Abbott Elementary isn’t nominated, we ride at dawn.

The second battalion is dispatched if Station Eleven and Mackenzie Davis are ignored, too.

Repeat after me: Kristin Chenoweth, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nominee for Schmigadoon!

Lily James was legitimately brilliant as Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy.

MidnightMass may be the series I’ve thought about most this year, especially Zach Gilford’s performance. Give Matt Saracen his flowers from him!

The acting in maid from Margaret Qualley and Andie MacDowell was stunning, but don’t forget about Anika Noni Rose’s pitch-perfect supporting turn, too.

If we can get Bridgett Everett and Jeff Hiller their nominations for Somebody SomewhereI will make out with all of you.

It’s Called Art, Sweetie

They say that Hollywood’s overreliance on mining existing intellectual property, brands, and franchises is destroying cinema and art as we know it. They say that our taste level is being neutralized by the endless feedback loop of cynical, meaningless content. They say that Hollywood is where original ideas go to die.

I say to all of them: Have you even seen the trailer for Lyle, Lyle Crocodile?

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

No two-minute teaser for an upcoming feature film has thrilled me to the extent that this trailer does for a movie in which Shawn Mendes is a singing crocodile with a heart of gold who is discovered in the bathtub of a new home that Constance Wu and her family moves into.

This film, based on a children’s book, is promising hijinks. There will be madcap humour, folks! To create Lyle, it is serving up the most sophisticated visual effects of the year 1999. We are getting Javier Bardem in a bowler hat and wily lil’ mustache giving energy that can only be described as “just did some hits of poppers and then did some acting in this family film.” It is titillating us with the promise of a large-scale international press tour in which Shawn Mendes has to answer serious questions about his journey from pop star to cinematic crocodile.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile hits theaters this October. Event of the season. Of the year. Of our lifetime.

I Am Only Living For “Break My Soul” Memes

In mere hours, I will be living the life that God intended: Long past losing count of how many vodka sodas I ordered while on the dance floor of a Pride party struggling to lift my feet off the sticky drink-stained floor to do my trademark shuffle-step signature (tragic) dance move while mouthing along to Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” as if I’ve actually learned a single lyric to it beyond the words “break my soul.”

Until then, I have been living for all the memes of the song playing over iconic, equally tragic dance sequences from pop culture’s past. Charlotte, Carrie, and Miranda at a Staten Island bar in Sex and the City. Hilary Duff performing on the Today Show. Lindsay Lohan in Mykonos. Goldie Hawn in her living room. The Real Housewives of New York in a fever dream.

I’m the world’s easiest target. I laughed hysterically at each and every one of these memes. It’s the same joke every time. Doesn’t matter. I lost it with each one.

I Would Like for You to Enjoy This Photo of Anne Hathaway

I can’t exactly explain it, but this photo of Anne Hathaway swinging from a rope in an Interview magazine photo shoot is the most important image of the year.

What to watch this week:

Chloé: A great, disturbing new series and a public service: It will make you want to quit social media. (Fri. on Amazon)

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: If you have about seven hours of free time this weekend, that might be enough for me to finish telling you how much I loved this movie. (Fri. in theaters)

Only Murders in the Building: The iconic comedy trio of Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez (?) return! (Tue. on Hulu)

What to skip this week:

Westworld: We should stop encouraging this show! (Sun. on HBO)

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.

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