Friday, September 7, 2007

"Finally, I want to thank God, because God gave me this Dundie, and I feel God in this Chili's tonight..."

Emmy Awards Preview, Part One: The Dramas (Sunday, September 16th)

Oh, I'll just come right out and say it: these people are idiots. Absolute morons. That said, apparently this award show--which, I swear to God, gave more nominations to According to Jim (one) than The Wire (zero)...Google it if ye doubt the claim--is still relevant, so I shall preview it.

James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
Hugh Laurie,
Denis Leary,
Rescue Me
James Spader,
Boston Legal
Kiefer Sutherland,

Should Win:
With apologies to Matthew Fox, who was, once again, excellent on Lost, the clear winner here is: Michael C. Hall, Dexter. The best actor on TV hands down on what also happens to be the best show on TV. He's smart, he's funny, he's creepy, he's believable, he's got range, and he actually makes you sympathize with a serial killer. This one isn't even close. Next category.

Wait, what? He wasn't even fucking nominated?? How is that even possible? In what world is James Spader's performance on Boston Legal recognized over MCH's dazzling work? Science Dammit! That's impossible. Seriously, how senile do you have to be--how utterly mentally addled are you--to ignore a performance that is so incredibly riveting on a week to week basis that it makes every other actor look embarrassingly pedastrian? Fuck!! Forget it, I'm out. This is too stupid.
Should Win out of Those Nominated: I'm sorry. Seriously, watch one episode, just one episode of Dexter and tell me that he's not the best actor on TV. You can't. Every single person I've recommended this show to has become instantly hooked. Unbelievable.
OK, ok. Let's move on. 24 was dreadful this year, so Kiefer is out. And I don't watch RM or BL. So it comes down to Gandolfini and Laurie. I love Hugh Laurie and House is one of the most consistently well-written shows on TV, but this season felt a little flat to me and Laurie, while still great, was slightly too one-notey for me (I get it, you're a misanthrope!). That makes Gandolfini the pick.
Will Win: It makes sense for the Emmys to give it to JG since this was the final Sopranos season. Still, I get the feeling that it'll go to Laurie, since they're suckers for the Brits (and his speech is bound to be better than Gandolfini's).

Boston Legal
Grey's Anatomy
The Sopranos

Should Win (or Should Have Been Nominated):
Dexter. Also, snubbing Lost here is as inexplicable as it is unforgivable. Moving on...
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Groan...The Sopranos, I suppose.
Will Win: The Emmys--not unlike the Grammys (see: the year when the Oh Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack won Best Album. Yes, that did actually happen)--has a habit of trying to show how cool they are when they hand out awards. Note: this should not be confused with the nomination process, where the goal seems to be as lame as humanly possible. Anyway, this usually manifests itself with a new and "hip" show winning best series, typically in its first season. This, of course, means Heroes here. And, I have to say, if they insist of flexing their cool muscle, they could do a lot worse than this category. I really do enjoy Heroes. Even if the finale was wildly disappointing (the last ten minutes in particular) and even if the story advances. just. a. little. too. slowly. for. my. liking, it's still a very ambitious and (generally) impressive show. Plus the magic words: Kristen Bell joins the cast for Season 2! Heroes is the pick in what I'm nominating as the most hopelessly misrepresented category of the year.

Battlestar Galactica • Occupation/Precipice written by Ronald D. Moore
Lost • Through The Looking Glass written by David Lindelof and Carlton Cuse
The Sopranos • Kennedy And Heidi written by Matthew Weiner and David Chase
The Sopranos • The Second Coming written by Terrence Winter
The Sopranos • Made In America written by David Chase

Should Win (or Should Have Been Nominated): Hey, hey, it's only taken 3 categories for the Emmys to actually get something right! Through the Looking Glass (aka the season finale) was, hands-down, the best two hours on TV all year. It was so good that it actually improved the entire series, allowed me to forgive it for some lesser episodes (the one where we learn about Jack's tattoo, the one about Hurley and the van, the one...), and put it on a super-cool track for the final 48 episodes (hurry, February). Any number of Dexter episodes could and should have been nominated, along with the "Five Years Gone" Heroes episode.
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Lost.
Will Win: Way too logical for the show that deserves to win to actually win, so let's throw Lost out right now. That leaves 4. I don't watch BG--although I continue to hear great things and may have to watch it on DVD--so I can't really comment, but the episode that's nominated is the two-part season premiere. Let's be honest, this is a "we're just happy to be here" nomination--they have no chance of winning. So it comes down to one of the three Sopranos episodes. Now...don't get me wrong, I love the show, but am I really supposed to believe that the show is worthy of 60% of the writing nominations? Really?? They couldn't have added a sixth nominee? I hate when they do stuff like this. That said, here's the breakdown (spoilers): Kennedy & Heidl is the one where Tony kills Christopher after the car crash. The Second Coming is the one where A.J. tries to off himself. Made in America is the polarizing series finale (you know, the one where the show didn't so much end as just...stop.) MiH is absolutely out of the running for me because I think it was a perfect example of lazy writing. Make up your fucking mind, David Chase! Oh, you're worried that no matter which ending you pick, some people will be upset? That's too damned bad. (By the way: what are you, 8?) I'm sure your millions and millions of dollars will comfort you. The brother of one of my co-workers put it to me this way: "look, if a really famous writer closed his masterpiece with 'and the verdict is' and just ended it there, would he be hailed as a genius? No way. People would want to murder him." And that's totally true. (Fun fact: David Foster Wallace actually did this--see The Broom of the System). My other major beef with the finale is that Chase wasted so much time following storylines that no one cared (or could ever care) about: stupid AJ and his girlfriend, Meadow's boyfriend's parents (wtf?), that mysterious stray cat (we get it, it's Adrianna--when did this show turn into Ghost Whisperer?). So, that's a no for me. Turning to K&H, as amazing and as jarring as the opening scene was (you kinda got the feeling that Christopher was going to get it, but like that? No way), the rest of the episode was surprisingly weak, especially the entirely needless segment with Tony in Las Vegas. If I ever need to watch someone get fucked up on peyote, I can always rent Fear and Lo--scratch that, I'm never going to need to watch that. That leaves The Second Coming--which was, admittedly, awesome--which I'm fine with.

Patricia Arquette, Medium
Minnie Driver, The Riches
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Should Win (or Should Have Been Nominated): Hmmm...I really liked Connie Britton's work on Friday Night Lights (though the show itself is a bit plodding, to the point where I kind of gave up on it. Kathryn Morris from Cold Case is also underrated, as is the whole show. It's a cool concept and the episodes are uniformly strong. Even the theme episodes (Dylan music only, Springsteen only) which, in lesser hands, could be very lame, are generally very well done. And, of course, Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars. I won't pretend that Veronica, the character, is even remotely likeable at this stage (nor is there any sense in denying that the show dropped off considerably in its third and final season) but no one can dispute that Bell acted the shit out of that role. For her not to be recognized once (no, Saturn Awards don't count) is almost monstrous, but also completely predictable.
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Yikes! I've caught a little bit of The Riches (maybe it's supposed to be surreal, but I have another, better description for it: "unrealistic"; plus, I've always kind of hated Minnie Driver), The Closer (good enough), SVU (not my thing), Brothers & Sisters (my mom swears by this show), and heartly mocked Medium on numerous occasions, but, aside from The Sopranos, I don't regularly watch any of these shows. But I'm not going to let that stop me from passing judgment. Falco submitted the aforementioned "The Second Coming" for her nomination, which makes sense, as the episode contains an epic knock-down-drag-out between Carmela and Tony, rivalling their all-time best fight in Season 5, which was the one time I actually thought that Tony was going to hit her. That scene alone is probably worthy of a statue.
Will Win: Kristen Kreuk, Smallville. Just kidding! Almost assuredly: Falco.

Michael Emerson, Lost
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Masi Oka, Heroes
William Shatner, Boston Legal

Should Win (or Should Have Been Nominated):
Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond on Lost) should absolutely have been nominated for "Flashes Before Your Eyes" (the ep where he re-lives his life with Penny) and, in my books, is the clear winner. Other than that, no real complaints. I'm tempted to throw an honorary nomination Michael Rosenbaum's way. Smallville has definitely fallen off quite a bit, and Lex now seems to go swirly in Lana even looks at him the wrong way, but, once upon a time, his portrayal of a damaged and conflicted super-villain-in-the-making was both chilling (because we knew what he was bound to become) and heartbreaking (because he didn't). Oh, Smallville. How did you go so catastrophically off the rails? Also, Peter MacNicol was pretty good (Powers Boothe, too) on 24 this year, but, given that that whole season is best forgotten altogether, I refuse to get worked up about any sort of perceived snub. Finally, Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars was first-rate, as ever, this season, but, again, wasn't even among the 100 or so actors that submitted a tape--ditto for Jason Dohring as Logan. Have some respect for yourself, CW Network!
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Hmmm...good category. Knight and Shatner are both out--I have my reasons. So it's really a four horse race. There's no denying that O'Quinn acts the shit out of everything he's in, but this season Locke strayed a bit too far from the "man of faith" angle and a bit too close to "I'm a creepy psycho" territory, so I don't think this is his year--though the episode he's nominated for is outstanding, as was his performance. Oka deserves a lot of credit for pulling double duty in his submitted episode--"Five Years Gone"--as he plays young and goofy Hiro, as well as older and jaded Hiro with aplomb. Imperioli has always been great, and this year was no exception (his seething conversation with Carmela in his chosen ep, along with all the Godfather parallels, made it one of the season's best), but I feel like he's kind of done this before, so he gets few points for originality. Emerson's Ben, moreso than any of the other nominees, is a character you just love to hate (if you didn't cheer when Jack beat the hell out of him in the finale, you should just stop watching TV altogether). He's just so delightfully unsettling in his role that I think he takes it here. Oka, however, would be a close second.
Will Win: Emerson. I think they might actually get this one right. Or it'll be Shatner--that's equally as likely.

Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Aida Turturro, The Sopranos
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy

Should Win (or Should be Nominated): Again, Lost gets totally jobbed here. Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliette) is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone by virtue of her work in "One Of Us." I'm quickly running out of synonyms for "silly" and "crazy" here. Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Cuddy) also deserves some recognition for her solid work on House. And, since I really dislike who has been nominated, let's throw in Hayden Panettiere from Heroes.
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Oh, come on!! This is a terrible category. I won't even deal with the GA crew, since I think it's so dumb that three of them were nominated from what was, by nearly every account, a subpar season. I liked Griffiths' work on Six Feet Under (though I hated Brenda), but, not being a regular viewer of B&S, I'm not sure what to make of her nomination--care to weigh in, mom? However, the one that makes me angriest is Bracco's nomination. What year is this? I'll admit, at first her therapy scenes with Gandolfini were excellent (and the episode where she gets raped but somehow resists asking Tony to retaliate--"Employee of the Month"--is an example of the show at its very finest). But now? Now? The therapy scenes are bland and uninspired, and--were it not for Bracco's evidently truly prodigious food intake off-camera, thus resulting in, I assume, a contractual stipulation that the craft services tent be less than ten paces from her trailer--I would suspect that she was literally phoning her lines in. She's like a shell of her former self, provided that shell is wrapped in blubber. Tuturro as Janice, on the other hand, always delivers the goods, and I think she's the most deserving here.
Will Win: No clue. One of the Grey's girls would be my guess. Let's go with Heigl, since I enjoyed her in Knocked Up.

Tim Daly, The Sopranos
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
John Goodman, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
David Morse, House
Eli Wallach, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Forest Whitaker, ER

Should Win (or Should Have Been Nominated):
Tough one, as there are so many potential nominees. I would probably leave off Clemenson, Morse, Goodman, and Wallach, and throw in George Itzen as President Logan on 24, Kevin Tighe as Anthony Cooper (aka Locke's villainous father) on Lost, Macolm McDowell as Linderman (also evil) on Heroes, and Paul Rudd as washed-up rocker Desmond Fellows in the superb "Debasement Tapes" ep of Veronica Mars. (Inexplicably, this also wasn't even submitted by the show for consideration. To put that into perspective, Law & Order: SVU had 11 guest actor submissions.) Tighe, by virtue of his truly chilling performance (dude pushed his own kid out of a third story window!), would get the nod if it were up to me. Alas...
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Morse, who is a terrific actor, was unfortunately stuck with a rather one-dimensional character and an utterly tedious storyline that took six episodes to resolve itself and accomplished absolutely nothing. So...not him. Goodman was grating, Wallach unnecessary, and I know nothing about Clemenson. That leaves Daly and Whitaker. There's no doubt that Whitaker is technically superior, but I enjoyed Daly's performance more. He's the pick.
Will Win: Whitaker. I'm almost certain here.

Kate Burton, Grey's Anatomy
Leslie Caron, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Marcia Gay Harden, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Elizabeth Reaser, Grey's Anatomy
Jean Smart, 24

Should Win (or Should be Nominated):
Totally drawing a blank here. I scanned the list of 50 or so submissions for this category and couldn't find anything noteworthy. Annabella Sciorra was pretty good as a terminal patient on ER, but if you gave me 100 chances, I couldn't guess her character's name, which isn't the best of signs...
Should Win out of Those Nominated: Smart, I guess. Again: who are these people?
Will Win: Um....MGH? I liked her in Pollack. Seriously, they may want to strongly consider discontinuing this category.

If you can bear it, stay tuned for Part Two (The Comedies), which will include my three biggest beefs with the Emmy process.


RT Murphy said...

If there was a Lost awards show, open only to things pertaining directly to Lost, would that even be enough Lost nominations for you? ;-)

Mark P said...

Hey, I'd watch that show.

Kyle Wasko said...

Ryan: possibly.

Shuk: me too!