My Top 10 Law & Order Episodes of All Time (from the first 20 seasons)

On September 13, 1990, a show premiered that would change the face of television. Law & Order would come to define the police and legal procedural and would spawn a multitude of spinoffs, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which, currently in its twenty-third season, is the longest-running primetime U.S. live-action series in the history of television. It is undeniable that the multitude of police and lawyer dramas—not just in the Law & Order universe– that have existed in the past twenty years and continue to exist now owe their existence and success to some degree to L&O creator Dick Wolf’s original vision.

Although many would try to fill the void left when the original series went off the air in 2010 after twenty seasons (and six Emmys), no show could truly recapture the special something Law & Order had. Whether it was the formula, the format, the characters, or the stories, there was something unique in that original show that no other show could truly match. This is probably why, after a twelve-year hiatus, Wolf is bringing back the original series with all-new episodes this February.

N.B.C. will premiere the twenty-first season of Law & Order on February 24, following their Winter Olympics coverage. While everyone is pretty tight-lipped about details of the series, we do know that it will be a continuation, not a reboot, and it will have the same format as the beloved original series, focusing the spotlight equally on “the police who investigate crime, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” Sam Waterston will be returning as Law & Order legend, D.A. Jack McCoy, and Anthony Anderson will reprise his role as Detective Kevin Bernard.

But before we jump into this new old world again, we thought it might be worthwhile to take a moment to reflect on the brilliance of the original twenty seasons. Yes, we’ve culled through all 456 episodes to narrow it down to the absolute ten best, the ten episodes that best capture the essence of Law & Order and are the most memorable, the most re-watchable. Whether you have never seen a single episode or you are a die-hard fan, these ten hours will kindle or re-kindle your love of the show that launched an empire, and remind the world of the days when network television was still king.

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Death on the Nile

Twentieth Century Studios
You can’t go wrong with a classic murder mystery, and it doesn’t get more classic than author Agatha Christie, the certified queen of the genre. There’s a reason why Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the world, still packing in audiences in London’s West End in its 70th year. The formula which Christie practically invented, in which a clever detective identifies a murderer from a group of suspects who have equally legitimate motives, has been replicated for decades in popular culture, in everything from the board game Clue to the popular television show Murder, She Wrote to the recent box office smash Knives Out. If there’s one thing audiences just don’t tire of, it’s a whodunit.

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Where to watch every Oscar-nominated film

Where to watch every Oscar-nominated film (excluding the shorts). You have until March 27 to get caught up!

Ascension: Paramount+
Attica: Prime Video (free to members) or rent for $9.99 for non-members
Being the Ricardos: Prime Video (included for members)
Belfast: buy on Prime Video $19.99
CODA: Apple TV+
Coming 2 America: Prime Video (included for members)
Cruella: Disney+
Cyrano: only in theaters, will be opening wider on 2/24
Don’t Look Up: Netflix
Drive My Car: only in theaters, will be on HBO MAX starting 3/2
Dune: rent on Prime Video $5.99
Encanto: Disney+ or rent on Prime Video for $5.99
The Eyes of Tammy Faye: HBO Max or rent on Prime Video for $3.99
Flee: Hulu or rent on Prime Video for $5.99
Four Good Days: Hulu
Free Guy: rent on Prime Video $3.99
The Hand of God: Netflix
House of Gucci: buy on Prime Video $19.99
King Richard: buy on Prime Video $19.99
Licorice Pizza: only in theaters
The Lost Daughter: Netflix
Luca: Disney+ or buy on Prime Video for $19.99
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom: only in theaters
The Mitchells vs the Machines: Netflix
Nightmare Alley: Hulu or HBO Max
No Time to Die: rent on Prime Video $5.99
Parallel Mothers: only in theaters
The Power of the Dog: Netflix
Raya and the Last Dragon: Disney+ or rent on Prime Video for $3.99
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Disney+
Spencer: rent on Prime Video $2.99
Spider-Man: No Way Home: only in theaters
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised): Hulu or Disney+, rent on Prime Video for $5.99
Tick, Tick…BOOM!: Netflix
The Tragedy of Macbeth: Apple TV+
West Side Story: only in theaters now, will be on Disney+ on March 2
The Worst Person in the World: in theaters
Writing with Fire: currently unavailable; coming to PBS on March 28

My Oscar Nominations Reactions

Don’t want to get too deep here, but wanted to share some quick thoughts about this morning’s Oscar nominations. I’ll break down my reactions into four categories:

DISAPPOINTMENTS:

-Peter Dinklage missing for Best Actor. I would have loved him to be in the top 5, certainly in place of Will Smith or Javier Bardem. What Dinklage did in Cyrano was exquisite. By the way, Cyrano comes to theaters on February 28, so go, so you can see for yourself.

-Jared Leto missing for Best Supporting Actor. Yes, there are most definitely two camps on this outrageous performance, and most critics agree he is much more deserving of his Razzie nomination than an Oscar, but I personally really enjoyed his performance, he truly disappeared in his role in House of Gucci and I would have loved to have seen everyone’s head explode. Ha.

A Hero missing for Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film. This quiet but enormously powerful film from Iran deserved to be included, especially for screenplay over King Richard.

-Speaking of King Richard, I have no clue what everybody loves so much about the film, and its inclusion in Best Picture and the likely scenario where Will Smith wins the Oscar for Best Actor truly confounds me.

-I’m equally disappointed to see Don’t Look Up included in Best Picture, especially when The Tragedy of Macbeth was right there. I just don’t understand how it could be considered one of the year’s 10 best films. Here’s a graphic illustration that sums it up perfectly:

Courtesy Rotten Tomatoes

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My Oscar Nominations Predictions

Hold onto your hats, the nominations for the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, and all indications are that everything is up for grabs. Most critics have no idea what’s going to happen, other than Jane Campion walking away with Best Director, so it should be a lot of fun!

That being said, here are my predictions for the major categories.

BEST PICTURE:
Being the Ricardos
Belfast
CODA
Dune
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

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Pam & Tommy, Episodes 1-3

Hulu
For anyone thinking that Hulu’s new limited series, Pam & Tommy, is a gratuitous attempt to capitalize on our society’s twisted celebrity culture by aiming a lens at two of the most notoriously glorified tabloid-bait fame whores of the past thirty years, you would be absolutely right. However, in the hands of Craig Gillespie, the director of such recent bravura genre-bending extravaganzas as I, Tonya and Cruella, Pam & Tommy is not only every bit as irreverent as you’d hope it to be but is also a most intoxicating blend of parody and social commentary, delivered with an adrenaline rush of raunchiness that makes it one of the most exciting things seen on television in a very long time.

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Ozark, Season 4 (Part I)

Netflix
A friend once described Ozark as “Breaking Bad, but faster and more insane.” It’s a fitting description for the Netflix drama, created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, which premiered in July 2017 and has gained a rabid following as its audience has fallen in love with the Byrdes, a family forced to move from Chicago to the Ozarks to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. While the show does have some similarities to the Vince Gilligan-created Breaking Bad, which ended in 2013, also about an otherwise average family man who lives a double life as a drug kingpin, Ozark does part ways in several key areas, notably its pace, its darkness and its much wider galaxy of fascinating characters. But Ozark does follow Breaking Bad’s lead in one very significant way. Much like the final season of Breaking Bad, which was split into two mini-seasons, Ozark is also dividing its finale season, releasing the fourteen episodes of season four in two batches of seven, with the first half currently streaming on Netflix, with as of yet no date announced for the second.

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