‘Fargo.’ ‘Ripley.’ ‘True Detective.’ What limited series did you binge?

A woman sitting at a bar chats with the bartender in "Baby Reindeer."
Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunn in “Baby Reindeer.”
(Ed Miller/Netflix)

If you’re taking 70 supplements in the morning in an effort to live forever, but you’re downing them all with decaf, is life actually worth living? And if you proclaim that “death may no longer be inevitable,” but you’re primarily subsisting on seeds and begin your day by collecting samples of your own poop, I have but one question:

Has the whole world gone crazy?

Maybe not the whole world. Clifton’s is reopening, so I’ll be able to see a redwood soon. Even if it’s not real, with a cocktail or two I might not be able to tell the difference. I’m Glenn Whipp, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. Let’s take a look at what’s happening, shall we?

Limited series Emmy races up for grabs

“Shōgun” began its life as a limited series, a new 10-part adaptation of James Clavell‘s novel. But audiences loved it (critics too), and FX decided to bring it back by popular demand, renewing the series for what looks to be two additional seasons.

Some naysayers think this is a bad idea, saying “Shōgun” told Clavell’s story from beginning to end and stuck the landing. Moving ahead would mean messing with perfection.


Me? I don’t hold these things sacred. I’m fine, for instance, that Francis Ford Coppola made “The Godfather Part III.” I wish that Winona Ryder hadn’t dropped out of the movie, and I’ve only watched it once since its 1990 premiere. But its imperfections in no way sully the two masterpieces that came before.

To put it another way: I’m still waiting for that second season of “Mare of Easttown.” If I love something, I want more. So bring back Lord Toranaga and John Blackthorne. A flashback episode with Lady Mariko? Risky. But it could work. And if it all crashes and burns, it’ll be years from now — perfect timing to rewatch Season 1.

But the renewal of “Shōgun” did throw a wrench into the 2024 Emmys. Instead of competing as a limited series, “Shōgun” now will annihilate any and all comers in the drama categories. That’s bad news for “The Crown” but an encouraging development for all the limited series contenders in what looks, for the moment, to be a wide-open race. I took a look at the crowded limited series categories in a recent column. There’s going to be some heartbreak when Emmy nominations are announced next month.

Montage of actors in black and white against a lavender background
Which of these stars headlined your favorite limited series this year?
(Staff illustration by Susana Sanchez; FX; Netflix; HBO; HBO; Netflix; FX)

Who doesn’t love a good ‘will-they-won’t-they’ story line?

Also: Who doesn’t love a good workplace sitcom? I’ve been watching them all my life. Hell, there have been occasions when I’ve lived in one. The time I hit a newspaper publisher in the head with an errant Nerf football pass while standing in the parking lot during a fire drill was hilarious, though opinions on that comedic moment varied at the time.

But I digress: Lisa Rosen spoke with Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams of “Abbott Elementary” about their characters’ classic will-they-won’t-they relationship, which culminated in the season finale with a resounding “oh, they most definitely will.”

“This is what their relationship is, which to me is so valuable and beautiful to have someone that you can be very truthful with, honest with, more than a friend, but a really deep part of who you trust with your conscience,” Brunson says. “I think it’s a fascinating relationship for them, so I really value that scene a lot because it shows where they are.”

Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson, stars of "Abbott Elementary."
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

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Classic ‘Curb’ cringe moments

There have been times over the years watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that I almost had to pause the episode and take a walk around the block before continuing to watch Larry David blunder into — or willfully embrace — another inappropriate misadventure.

Enough time has passed since the series finale though that I could read Chris Vognar’s delightful interview with three “Curb” writers — Carol Leifer, Steve Leff and Nathaniel Stein — where they share their favorite moments of infamy.

Leifer chose “The Doll” (Season 2, Episode 7), the one where a network exec’s daughter asks Larry to cut her doll’s hair and it’s later revealed that the girl believed the hair would grow back and that the doll was something of a collector’s item. Also: There are bathroom doors that won’t lock, contraband hidden in pants and well ... let’s just stop there.

“As a viewer watching the show, I was definitely thinking, ‘Oh, OK, we’re in very interesting territory now,’” Leifer says. “It is so incredibly edgy and wrong, but Larry gets away with it. If you pitch that in a room now, people would be like, ‘There’s no way you can do that.’ And it’s all turned into laughs, which is the genius of the show and the genius also of him as a character and an actor.”

An illustration of Larry David looking cringe.
Larry David caused more anxiety than any character on “The Bear.”
(Grand Chamaco / For The Times)


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