‘Shōgun’ set to return ... and score with Emmy voters

Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga sitting with his fist out in front of a flag bearing a family crest
Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshii Toranaga in “Shōgun.”
(Katie Yu / FX)

One of the many great things about living in L.A. is that you don’t have to drive far to find a good taco. A mile or two, tops, and you’ll find a truck, a taquería or a street vendor offering a little slice of heaven wrapped in a corn tortilla.

But how far would you be willing to drive for a great taco? Ten miles? Twenty?

How about just under 2,000? The thought crossed my mind this morning after reading about El Califa de León, the modest Mexico City hole-in-the-wall that just became the first taquería in the world to earn a Michelin star.

Maybe I’m just hungry.

I’m Glenn Whipp, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. I’ve got a pitcher of agua de jamaica on ice. Pull up a chair and let’s catch up on the week’s news.

‘Shōgun’ is a drama, ‘The Bear’ is a comedy and other Emmy puzzlers

Is a television series really a comedy if you’re in tears at the end of nearly every episode?

Not the “I laughed so hard, I cried” kind of tears, either, but honest-to-God weeping at the emotional heartbreak unfolding before your eyes kind of tears.


Does the answer even matter?

For Emmy voters filling out their ballots last year — for a ceremony that, thanks to the actors’ and writers’ strikes, was delayed to January — the response was a resounding no. FX’s “The Bear” swept through the Emmys for its inaugural season, winning 10 prizes, including comedy series, writing and directing and honors for actors Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach.

This for a show that puts its characters in such stressful situations that one of the most common searches related to it is: “Should I watch ‘The Bear’ if I have anxiety?” (Short answer: Yes, chef!)

The day after the ceremony, my inbox was flooded with emails from readers asking a variation of the same question: How in the world is “The Bear” a comedy series?

The explanation, according to the Television Academy, can be boiled down to this: “The Bear” is a comedy because its creator, Christopher Storer, says it is.

And, as I noted in a recent column, “Shōgun,” FX’s 10-episode adaptation of James Clavell’s 1975 historical novel, will be competing in the Emmys’ drama categories this year after FX’s recent announcement that the show will return for another couple of seasons. (Actually, FX finally revealed that info a few hours after my column ran, a good week after the Emmys’ submission deadline.)

So even though the first season of “Shōgun” was conceived as a one-and-done thing and told the complete story of Clavell’s book, it’ll contend in drama because ... it’s coming back ... in a few years. Meaning: It’s no longer “limited.”


The Emmys’ category distinctions are becoming increasingly difficult to parse, as anyone knows who watched the four seasons of Bill Hader’s Emmy-nominated comedy series “Barry” unfold into bleak despair.

“It’s a comedy because it’s 30 minutes,” Hader told The Times a couple of years back, talking about the category placement of “Barry.” “I always just say I’m doing a story. Because I don’t find it any darker than what the news is, you know?”

And the way things are going on that front, the Emmys would have to add another category to keep up: horror.

A chef stands in a kitchen, hand on forehead, with many metal pans hanging behind and above him
Jeremy Allen White stars in “The Bear.”

Cannes festival coverage: Not feeling the FOMO

My colleagues Joshua Rothkopf and Matt Brennan have been in Cannes, France, for the past week or so, covering the famed film festival. And judging from their reporting, I’m mostly thinking, “Better them than me.”

Josh and Matt caught the new Kevin Costner western “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1” (three more parts are planned, though only one has been completely filmed) and thought Costner should have stuck to his original plan and turned the material into a TV series. Josh reviewed Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” which the director funded with $120 million of his own money, and found it wildly ambitious and overstuffed. But also kind of admirable? (I can’t wait to see it for myself.)


Josh didn’t much care for the new films from Andrea Arnold, Paul Schrader and Yorgos Lanthimos, though Matt appreciated Arnold’s “Bird” and loved the social drama “Armand,” particularly for Renate Reinsve’s (“The Worst Person in the World”) bravura lead performance. And, judging from Josh’s report (and others), I can’t wait to see Demi Moore’s star turn in the body-horror movie “The Substance.” (I can wait — maybe forever — on the Trump movie, though.) I’m still waiting to read their thoughts on Sean Baker’s latest, “Anora,” which seems to be the favorite to win the Palme d’Or.

A woman in a robe stands over a woman with a sewn-up back lying on the floor.
Margaret Qualley, left, and Demi Moore in the movie “The Substance.”
(Christine Tamalet / Mubi)

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‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ opens today

Josh also reviewed George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” from Cannes, and his thoughts mirrored my own: dutiful. OK, maybe I liked it a bit more than Josh because I love Miller’s “Mad Max” movies (particularly “Fury Road” and “The Road Warrior,” which I watched again for the umpteenth time recently), appreciating the spectacle, the car chases (and inevitable crashes) and the way he manages to find humor and beauty and, somehow, hope in his dystopian world. If you loved the earlier movies, you’re probably going to enjoy this, as it plays a bit like a greatest-hits album. The beats are familiar, but they still rock.

A woman with a rifle emerges from an armored vehicle.
Anya Taylor-Joy in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”
(Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures)


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