Thursday, June 10, 2010

Emmy Wish List: Writing

This is the first year that I've actually taken a close look at the Emmy submissions for writing, and it's interesting to see what epsiodes different shows submit for consideration. For example, Big Love submitted "Blood Atonement," the controversial Mexico episode that was the most prominent example of the show's weakness in its fourth season. Then The Office throws out "Scott's Tots" for consideration, which, in my opinion, may be the worst episode the series has ever aired. When selecting my favorites for the two categories, it pretty much came down to the episodes this TV season that stuck out in my mind the most. Unfortunately, a competitive comedy writing category prevented more than one episode of 3o Rock from making my list, but the one that did make the cut is certainly a standout even among a great season. The comedic strength this year also did not allow better episodes of The Big Bang Theory ("The Adhesive Duck Deficiency") and How I Met Your Mother ("The Playbook") to enter the category, because they come from weaker seasons that were unable to measure up to more powerful newcomers. My only regret is that there was no room for The United States of Tara's "Torando" or an episode from the hilarious second season of Parks & Recreation on my list. Also, it should be noted that I have not seen the fourth seasons of Dexter and Friday Night Lights or the third season of Breaking Bad, hence their absence from this list.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Glee, "Pilot" (Ryan Murhpy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan) - Glee has had its ups and downs in its first season, but it started off on the right foot. The pilot episode revealed the heart of the show, entertained us with exciting musical numbers, and introduced us to Sue Sylvester. Only a few episodes have been able to surpass the quality of the very first.

Modern Family, "Pilot" (Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd) - It was either this or "Fizbo." I decided on the pilot episode because I've seen it at least three times, and I still laugh in all the right places. From the very beginning Modern Family has proven that it's just as funny (if not funnier) than comedy champs 30 Rock and The Office.

The Office, "Niagara" (Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling) - I'm not just including this episode because I would love to hear the phrase "Emmy winner Mindy Kaling" in more than just my dreams. The hour-long wedding episode was the one highlight from the worst season The Office has ever endured. This great episode reminds us of everything we love about this show, even though it was part of such a poor season.

30 Rock, "Anna Howard Shaw Day" (Matt Hubbard) - I almost included the Tina Fey-penned "Lee Marvin Vs. Derek Jeter" but decided that although I have an undying love for Tina, this was a funnier episode. This Valentine's Day special had me laughing from beginning to end and sticks out as one of my favorite 30 Rock episodes of all time.

Ugly Betty, "Hello Goodbye" (Silvio Horta) - This is probably the only atypical spot on my ballot. All of the other episodes/series have a chance of getting noticed, while Ugly Betty will go unrewarded. Unfortunately, the series finale ("Hello Goodbye") was not even the creatively resurged fourth season's strongest episode, but I would still consider it one of the best. It tied together several dangling plot lines and the brought forth the laughter and emotions that one can expect from Betty. Afterward I felt emotionally satisfied but realized I was going to miss this show very much.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Damages, "The Next One's Gonna Go In Your Throat" (Todd Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman) - Damages finales are usually the best episode of the season, and the third season was no exception. As always, the future and present stories came together and solved the mysteries with several shocking twists along the way. The fact that this may be the last episode of Damages ever is upsetting, but at least the series went out with a bang.

Grey's Anatomy, "Sanctuary" (Shonda Rhimes) - No matter how much any given season of Grey's Anatomy disappoints its viewers, Shonda Rhimes never fails to deliver on her finales. This finale especially. It was probably the most intense two hours of my life; I sat on the edge of my seat and was shaking the entire time as many characters' lives hung in the balance. Definitely the best finale of the year that had everyone (even non-Grey's viewers) talking.

Lost, "The Substitute" (Elizabeth Sarnoff, Melinda Hsu Taylor) - The series finale was too divisive to make my list. Though it delivered emotionally, "The End" lacked several mythological details that fans desired. Instead, I included "The Substitute," which was probably my favorite episode of the show's final season. Locke-centric episodes ("Walkabout" for example) are always among the strongest in any season. This episode revealed the secret behind The Numbers and showed an interesting juxtaposition of the on-island and off-island forms of John Locke.

Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat." (Matthew Weiner, Erin Levy) - Mad Men is the only series to earn multiple spots on my list, and it's deservedly so. The third season surpassed all high expectations and produced one of the strongest dramatic seasons I have ever seen. All the drama came to a head in the season finale when Betty left Don, and Don created his own advertising agency. It left us all wanting more and eagerly anticipating season four.

Mad Men, "The Gypsy and the Hobo" (Marti Noxon, Cathryn Humphris, Matthew Weiner) - Without a doubt, this was the best episode of the season. Jon Hamm and January Jones delivered the performances of their lifetimes. And of course there was the infamous incident of Joan and the vase...

Coming Soon: My picks for the Guest Acting categories

Currently watching:
Breaking Bad Season 1
Episode 4 - Cancer Man

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