Monday, August 30, 2010

The 2010 Emmys: Anything Can Happen!

It was certainly one of the most surprising Emmy ceremonies in recent history. The awards were all over the place, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Bryan Cranston, Mad Men, and The Daily Show's streaks remained unbroken, while Glenn Close, The Amazing Race, and 30 Rock were finally dethroned. Several newcomers came out on top despite competing against Emmy veterans. Jim Parsons and Aaron Paul became Emmy winners after being robbed last year. Emmy Queen Edie Falco took home her fourth trophy, and the four-time loser Kyra Sedgwick finally won. As always, it was a night full of ups and downs, and that made it an entertaining three hours of television.

The Ups:

Jimmy Fallon & the Opening Sequence
Jimmy Fallon started off on the right foot last night. The show took advantage of the Glee hype and delivered an exciting musical number featuring the likes of Tina Fey, Jorge Garcia, and the hilarious Jon Hamm. Throughout the night, Fallon continued to liven up the awards (though with so many surprises, they didn't necessarily need it) with some clever jokes and a musical tribute to the shows we lost this year. He's no Neil Patrick Harris, but he proved that he can host the show almost as well.

Glee/Modern Family Awards Split
It was nice to see both freshman comedies earn the awards exactly where they deserved them. Modern Family, the more consistently written show, won Outstanding Writing for its pilot, while Glee's pilot, which was more of a visual spectacle, won Outstanding Directing. Then both shows' standout performers, Eric Stonestreet (Family) and Jane Lynch (Glee), won in their respective supporting categories. And in the end the better show, Modern Family, took home the trophy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Well done, Emmys.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Though I could easily argue that Terry O'Quinn deserved the award this year, he's already won for his role on Lost, and it's nice to see someone new win their first Emmy. I haven't seen season three of Breaking Bad yet, but Paul is excellent in the first two seasons, and it is so satisfying to see such a deserving actor accept his reward.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
It was great to see Jim Parsons take home the Emmy over his significantly weaker competition. He's developed an iconic character and single-handedly made The Big Bang Theory a success.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
For once, the Emmys rewarded a subtle performance instead of an over-the-top dramatic hissy fit. Very few people saw this coming, but it was a welcomed upset! I couldn't have been more excited when it happened. Panjabi's win was definitely the highlight of my night because she has created such a complex and memorable character on The Good Wife that I hope to enjoy for many years to come.

The Downs:

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
I'm not going to say that any particular series was more deserving than any other (though The Colbert Report is my favorite). I'm just upset that we all missed the opportunity to hear Conan O'Brien's acceptance speech, which most likely would have been full of clever quips made at NBC's expense.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Bryan Cranston is amazing and deserves every single Emmy his has, including the one he won last night. It's just a little disheartening to see him win his third in a row, when everyone else in the category is Emmy-less. This category was the most competitive of the night, and the other nominees are probably happy to know that Breaking Bad will be sitting the awards out next year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

I've never seen an episode of The Closer, so I'm not going to criticize Kyra Sedgwick's victory (plus, I've heard her episode submission was fantastic). Instead, I'm going to lament the losses of Juliana Margulies, Connie Britton, January Jones, and Glenn Close. All of these women are amazing, and it's hard to understand how any one of them didn't win. Margulies's snub was especially baffling, considering her track record, the buzz for The Good Wife, and her costar's victory. Just as I started rooting for her, she leaves an awards show empty-handed.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Steve Shill, Dexter, "The Getaway"
Lost left last night's ceremony without a single award. Its final season was definitely not its best, but the show's finale was robbed of this award, which it deserved more than anything else. Unanswered questions aside, the two and a half hour episode was an emotional masterpiece that was expertly directed by Jack Bender.

And now it's time to move on to the 2011 Emmys!

Currently watching:
Dexter Season 2
Episode 1 - It's Alive!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Official 2010 Emmy Predictions

The show is about to finally begin! I've given my insight into each category, so without further ado, here are my final predictions for tonight's ceremony.*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Spoiler: Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Personal Favorite: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Oustanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Winner: Matt Hubbard, 30 Rock, "Anna Howard Shaw Day"

Spoiler: Ryan Murphy, Bard Falchuk and Ian Brenna, Glee, "Pilot"

Personal Favorite: Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling, The Office, "Niagara"

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Winner: Jane Lynch, Glee

Spoiler: Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Personal Favorite: Jane Lynch, Glee

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Winner: Ryan Murphy, Glee, "Pilot"

Spoiler: Jason Winer, Modern Family, "Pilot"

Personal Favorite: Ryan Murphy, Glee, "Pilot"

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Spoiler: Tony Shalhoub, Monk

Personal Favorite: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Winner: Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Spoiler: Toni Collette, United States of Tara

Personal Favorite: Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Winner: Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat."

Spoiler: Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency"

Personal Favorite: Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat."

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Winner: Terry O'Quinn, Lost

Spoiler: Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age

Personal Favorite: Terry O'Quinn, Lost (but only because I haven't gotten to see Aaron Paul in season three of Breaking Bad yet)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Sharon Gless, Burn Notice

Spoiler: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Favorite: Arhie Panjabi, The Good Wife

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Winner: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Spoiler: Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Personal Favorite: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Winner: Jack Bender, Lost, "The End"

Spoiler: Lesli Linka Glatter, Mad Men, "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency"

Personal Favorite: Jack Bender, Lost, "The End"

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Spoiler: Glenn Close, Damages

Personal Favorite: January Jones, Mad Men

Outstanding Drama Series

Winner: Mad Men

Spoiler: Lost

Personal Favorite: Mad Men

Outstanding Comedy Series

Winner: Modern Family

Spoiler: Glee

Personal Favorite: Modern Family

*I make no guarantees on my predictions. I may act like an expert, but this show is often times impossible to predict.

Currently watching:
The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy Nominee Analysis: Series

Tonight! The Emmy festivities will begin shortly, so before I post my final predictions, it's time to look a little more closely at the shows that will be competing for the title of Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Modern Family - When competing for an award for the best comedy series on television, it helps to be the best comedy series currently on television. The freshman series puts a twist on the traditional family sitcom, meaning that Emmy voters can vote for something safe and comfortable, while still feeling hip and cool.
- The series has already proved itself to be a strong competitor at all the previous award shows. Even though it's first season has received mixed reviews, clearly Glee is a force to be reckoned with.
30 Rock - Never underestimate a show about TV with a three year Emmy streak. Voters have proven they love 3o Rock over and over again. Despite a "weaker" fourth season, the series could still come out on top.

The Rest:
Nurse Jackie - It may have been a surprise nominee, but a directing nomination means that Edie Falco isn't the only thing Emmy voters love about this series.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Emmys loved Seinfeld, and the reunion on this season of Curb gives the series a small chance at victory. Even with that help, the show lacks the buzz of the three newcomers and the previous wins of 3o Rock.
The Office - There is no way this show could win after such an awful season. Even the Emmys aren't that cruel.

Outstanding Drama Series

Mad Men - The series has won for the past two years, and it certainly hasn't dwindled in quality. In fact, season three of Mad Men was probably the show's best. If Mad Men loses tonight, it would not be a reflection of the show's performance this year. Rather, it would be in order to honor a finished series (Lost) or congratulate a new one (The Good Wife).
Lost - The final season of this epic series was not the best, but it probably had the most buzz. Everyone seemed to be talking about Lost this year. Season six was not on par with the Emmy-winning first season, but it could still win as a final farewell and a general celebration of the series as a whole.

Dark Horse:
The Good Wife - The network drama has certainly proven itself worthy of being listed among its cable competition. Five acting nominations and a writing nomination means that The Good Wife is more than just a nominee. It's a serious player in this category and could be one of the biggest surprises of the night.

The Rest:
Dexter - Lots of buzz surrounded Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow this season, which could push the series into the winner's circle. But most likely the show will have to settle for the acting victories (Lithgow has already won Guest Actor, while Hall remains a serious competitor in Lead), while Mad Men reigns for another year.
Breaking Bad - Unfortunately, this brilliant drama series will always be in competition with the other AMC series, Mad Men. They are both so well done, but besides Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad seems to always get overlooked.
True Blood - The melodramatic and campy series should just be thankful it was able to break the Emmy nomination curse for vampire shows. It may be popular and addictive television, but it is certainly not on the same level of quality as its competitors.

Coming Soon: My official prediction list!

Currently watching:
Sons of Anarchy Season 1
Episode 3 - Fun Town

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Emmy Nominee Analysis: Lead

The Emmys are almost here! It's time for some final analysis before the awards are handed out tomorrow evening. The lead actors seem to have no clear winner yet, while the lead actress categories are all but locked up. Only time can tell who the final victors will be.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock ("Don Geiss, America, and Hope") - He's won for the past two years, but this year may be the year another actor can end Baldwin's streak. His episode isn't as strong as his previous two but never count a 30 Rock contender out of the race.
Tony Shalhoub, Monk ("Mr. Monk and the End") - Shalhoub already has three Emmys for playing Monk, and this year's two hour series finale could easily bring him a fourth.

Dark Horse:
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory ("The Pants Alternative") - The man has to win an Emmy eventually. His work is brilliant, and this year he's entered the competition with another very funny episode. Perhaps with 30 Rock buzz dying a little and a lack of other strong competitors, Parsons could take home the trophy tomorrow night.

The Rest:
Steve Carell, The Office ("The Cover Up") - He's never won an Emmy before, so I don't see why the academy would choose to finally award him now after the worst season in The Office's history. Expect him to be a frontrunner next year when he finishes his final season on the show.
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm ("Seinfeld") - Since he's playing himself, he's not really seen as much of an "actor" on his show. However, his episode, featuring the cast of Seinfeld, boosts his chances a little bit.
Matthew Morrison, Glee ("Mash-Up") - His episode submission is absolutely terrible (it includes two rap numbers), he's overshadowed by the younger actors, and he's not very funny. Unless the Emmys go absolutely crazy over Glee this year, he has no chance.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie ("Pilot") - She has been predicted to win this Emmy since Showtime announced that Falco would be headlining a new comedy series. Emmy voters loved her on The Sopranos, and that love will carry over to Nurse Jackie.
Toni Collette, United States of Tara ("Torando!") - Collette scored a very deserving win last year and has come back for more. Her episode is probably the strongest of the group, as she rapidly transitions into all of her multiple personalities during a tornado. She could easily take the award from Falco.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock ("Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001") - As long as she's in the running, Tina Fey will always have a solid chance to win. This year she submitted one of her funniest performances ever on a show that the academy has shown lots of love for in the past.

Dark Horse:
Lea Michele, Glee ("Sectionals") - Michele still has a chance to win, since this category has recently seemed to favor newcomers (Felicity Huffman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, America Ferrera, Toni Collette). Also, Glee has received a lot of attention this year, which could help the award go in Michele's favor.

The Rest:
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation ("Telethon") - Perhaps voters just don't "get" Parks, since they failed to nominate the series, even though it was one of the strongest comedies on television this season. Unlike the other contenders, Poehler doesn't have the necessary support to come out victorious in this race.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, New Adventures of Old Christine ("I Love What You Do For Me") - She's already been rewarded for this role, and it's unlikely that Emmy voters will choose her canceled series over her strong competitors.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad ("Full Measure") - Cranston is undefeated at the Emmys for his role on Breaking Bad. He could easily pull off a threepeat this year with another strong season under his belt.
Michael C. Hall, Dexter ("The Getaway") - He won at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards for this season of Dexter. It looks like this could finally be the year that Hall wins the Emmy he's deserved since the first season of Six Feet Under.
Jon Hamm, Mad Men ("The Gypsy and the Hobo") - Somehow Mad Men has won Outstanding Drama Series two years in a row without ever winning an acting award. Hamm has definitely performed well, but he always gets bested by Cranston. Perhaps his intense episode submission will seal the deal this year.

Dark Horse:
Hugh Laurie, House ("Broken") - Laurie is long overdue, and the dramatic two hour season premiere (which takes places in a mental hospital) is probably his best shot at finally winning.

The Rest:
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights ("East of Dillon") - The man certainly deserves the award, but it seems unlikely to happen since it took the academy four seasons to finally give him a nomination. But we can still hope for a surprise upset!
Matthew Fox, Lost ("The End") - Fox does a great job in the series finale, but the episode is two and a half hours long. His performance could easily be overlooked because of everything else going on in the episode.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife ("Threesome") - The woman has it all. She has the buzz. She has the Golden Globe. She has the SAG. She has an Emmy from ER. And most importantly, she deserves all of it.
Glenn Close, Damages ("Your Secrets Are Safe") - Close has dominated this category for the past two years. She's won every year she's been eligible for Damages. This year she faces her toughest competition with a weak episode and a less buzzed about season of Damages. But the woman is unstoppable and could easily take home her third consecutive Emmy.

Dark Horse:
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer ("Maternal Instincts") - Many people believe Sedwick is long overdue for an Emmy, and apparently (I don't watch The Closer) her episode submission this year is her best yet.

Wild Card:
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights ("After the Fall") - Britton has never competed in the Emmys before. Now that the voters will have to watch her in an episode of Friday Night Lights, they won't be able to deny that she talent. Unfortunately, she was nominated in the season that didn't show case her abilities as well as the previous ones. She most likely won't be able to defeat the likes of Margulies and Close, but she still has a chance.

The Rest:
January Jones, Mad Men ("The Gypsy and the Hobo") - Her episode is fantastic and really showcases her abilities as an actress. Still, opinions about her performance are very divided, which prevents her from being as strong of a contender as she should be.
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU ("Perverted") - Hargitay has already won and isn't as popular as she used to be. Several critics question her nomination and believe that she has overstayed her welcome in this category.

Coming Soon: My thoughts on the nominees for Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series

Currently watching:
Sons of Anarchy Season 1
Episode 2 - Seeds

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emmy Nominee Analysis: Supporting

Emmy week is finally upon us! The winners will be announced Sunday night, but until then I'll be providing a little insight into all of the major categories. Keep reading to find out who's in the lead and who doesn't even have a chance.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family ("Fizbo") - At this point, it seems to be a battle between the men of Modern Family. Stonestreet's stronger episode puts him slightly ahead of Ty Burrell.
Ty Burrell, Modern Family ("Up All Night") - But it would be no surprise to see the hilarious Burrell take the trophy on Sunday night. He's definitely earned it as one of the breakout stars on the hit comedy series.

Dark Horse:
Chris Colfer, Glee ("Laryngitis") - Colfer gives a great dramatic performance, but his episode lacks the comedic elements that put the Family men in the lead. Still, the Emmy love for Glee this year could carry over in a victory for the young actor.

Wild Card:
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men ("Captain Terry's Spray-On Hair") - I only count him as a wild card because he was a major surprise win last year. Everyone predicted last year's host, Neil Patrick Harris, to take home the trophy, but Cryer stole it from him. There's always a chance he could do it again this year to the men of Modern Family.

The Rest:
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother ("Girls vs. Suits") - He's already won two trophies at this year's Creative Arts Emmys. Perhaps voters will feel they've rewarded him enough for one year and don't need to honor him for a lackluster season of Mother.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family ("Family Portrait") - He's comically overshadowed by most of his show's cast, and he has virtually no chance this year.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Jane Lynch, Glee ("Power of Madonna") - This category is probably the biggest lock of the night. Lynch gave one of the funniest and most buzzed about performances of the year, and she will be rewarded for that.

Dark Horse:
Julie Bowen, Modern Family ("My Funky Valentine") - If anyone could take down Lynch this year, it's Bowen. She had a good year and submitted her best episode, but it's still not going to happen. Maybe next year, Julie.

The Rest:
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock ("Black Light Attack") - She's definitely deserving of the award, but too many strong newcomers kick Krakowski out of the running this year.
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family ("Not in My House") - If she had submitted a different episode, she might have had a fighting chance.
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men ("Give Me Your Thumb") - It was a surprise to see Taylor return to the race this year, and it would be an even bigger surprise to see her win over the other much more deserving actresses.
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live ("Host James Franco") - I doubt the Emmys will reward a variety series performance over the rest of the competition, especially in such a weak season of SNL.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Terry O'Quinn, Lost ("The Substitute") - In the show's final season O'Quinn gave the standout performance as the show's ultimate villain. He's already won for the role of John Locke, and this season a whole new element was added to his character(s). Lost has received a great amount of attention this year as the series came to its grand finale, and this could push O'Quinn towards another deserving victory.
Aarol Paul, Breaking Bad ("Half Measures") - Paul was predicted to come out on top last year but failed to beat Michael Emerson. This year he still has a legitimate shot; he gives a critically acclaimed performance on one of the best dramas on television, and it would be fantastic to see him win. He certainly deserves it.

Wild Card:
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age ("Powerless") - The man already has a few Emmys under his belt as well as a few more nominations. It would be no surprise to see his barely noticed, yet highly praised performance win him another trophy.

The Rest:
Michael Emerson, Lost ("Dr. Linus") - Emerson submitted a great episode, so he still has a pretty good chance of winning. Looking at the final season of Lost as whole though, Locke's storyline clearly overshadows Ben's, which is why Emerson lacks O'Quinn's frontrunner status.
Martin Short, Damages ("You Haven't Replaced Me Yet") - Short is a respected comic actor who truly excelled in his dramatic role on Damages. However, he will most likely be overlooked for much more buzzed about roles from much more buzzed about shows.
John Slattery, Mad Men ("The Gypsy and the Hobo") - Slattery is great, but his performance is not quite on the same level of drama as the other contenders.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men ("Love Among the Ruins") - She was able to break into the Lead Actress category for the same role last year, which is something the rest of these women haven't done. She could be the first actor on Mad Men to earn an Emmy. Finally.
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife ("Bang") - She may not be the best actress on the show, but she is the oldest and most respected. She gives a strong performance, and the Emmys love veteran actors, lawyers, and The Good Wife.

Wild Card:
Sharon Gless, Burn Notice ("Devil You Know") - Burn Notice may not seem like typical Emmy material, but Gless is another respected veteran actress. She's a previous Emmy winner for Cagney & Lacey, so she could definitely steal this category based on that alone.

Dark Horse:
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men ("Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency") - Several critics have her picked to win, but I see her more as an underdog in this category. It still stuns me that Hendricks got recognized in a season where she was absent for a significant amount of time but not for season two, where she had her strongest material ever.

The Rest:
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife ("Hi") - Unfortunately, her acting is too subtle to be recognized by Emmy voters, no matter how much everyone else loves her.
Rose Byrne, Damages ("Your Secrets Are Safe") - She could have been very competitive in this category, but her episode submission was weak. Plus, Emmy love for Damages has dwindled this year.

Coming Soon: My analysis for comedy and drama leads

Currently watching:
Dead Like Me Season 2
Episode 5 - Hurry