Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's Starting...

Today is the first day of August and even though summer is still going strong, another season is right around the corner. No, not fall,  awards season you silly!

I know, I can't believe it either. Didn't the Oscars just happen?

Just over a couple weeks ago, the nominations were announced for the upcoming Emmy Awards. Like always there are the surprises and the upsets, but I'm trying not to focus so much on that this year (well, only a little).

Instead of being obsessed with those who were left off the lists, I've been spending too much time confused over which season of each show the nominations are connected to.

In the old days, TV shows ran from September to May, with the summer off in between. Now with some shows starting in every season, how does anyone even keep track of that mess? Breaking Bad's final season ended in October 2013, but it still qualifies against, say, Fargo that started in April 2014? I need to do more research.

I'm babbling, so let's get to the point -  these are just some thoughts on a few of the nominees.

Where Is The Love?

Don Draper and Peggy Olson (and the countless other brilliant performers from this show ) can't get no respect, but this year especially that applies to Ms. Olson and the actress that plays her, Elisabeth Moss.

I'm partial, since Moss is one of my favorite actresses, but Peggy has become a driving character for Mad Men. Her layered performance makes much of the story worthwhile.

Olivia Pope screams a lot, which Kerry Washington does REALLY well, but being nominated over Moss is quite absurd. That might just be because Scandal (while addicting) is too ridiculous to take seriously when put in the same category as the brilliant, well crafted story telling that Mad Men delivers each season.

Janney Jewels

The rest of the world was also feeling like it was quite the Allison Janney year! She received not just one, but two nominations, and from both sides of the spectrum - drama (Guest Star in Masters Of Sex) and comedy (Supporting Actress for Mom). Her performance on Masters Of Sex is quietly marvelous - definitely a stand out role from this past television season.

Adored equally by "the people" and fancy Hollywood types means that Janney has a very good chance of winning both awards. Hell, I'd vote for her if she starred in something that was just her sitting in a room all alone. Odds are, performance wise she would bring it anyway, and it would be a better show than half he crap on TV. You've seen that there is a show called Dating Naked, right? I rest my case.

This American treasure just keeps getting better and better.

Lucky Lannister

Game Of Thrones is an unsettling world where (unless you have read the books) it is never really clear who will live or die.

In a season that found Peter Dinklage delivering countless triumphant monologues, he has cemented himself as the Daryl of the show. As in, you (the writer) kill him, we (the audience) riot in the streets.

Rust & Cohle

Out of all the categories, the Lead Actor in a Drama Series is the most outrageous race. Where to begin? It's like a trick.

Each of the actors are A-list quality talent. Heck, just hand all these dudes an award. Oh yeah, most of them already have plenty of awards...Oscars and such.

Spacey, Cranston, McConaughey, Harrelson, Daniels, and Hamm - just typing out that list of names makes me break out into a cool sweat.

Here's the dilemma - it's Cranston's last time to win for Breaking Bad, but McConaughey and Harrelson also really triumphed on True Detective. Also, another tough question; will Hamm pull a Steve Carrell and never be recognized for playing what could be his most famous role, the elusive Don Draper? Then there is Spacey, who, even with an uneven season 2 of House Of Cards, is still Kevin Spacey. The Spaceman is on a whole other level.

It's a toss up, but which ever way the dice rolls, it will be to a truly deserving actor.

Still with the Downton.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some PBS and all that refined British drama.  What I don't really understand is how Downton Abbey ends up with such a high amount of nominations. As the seasons continue on, with the increasing amount of soap opera-y drama, the show is turning more into a guilty pleasure than awards bonanza showstopper.

Downton has the best costumes, sets, and cinematography, that's a no brainer, and everything else about the show is enjoyable, but it's just not absolutely the best television has to offer.

Comedy, huh? 

Awards shows always help me evaluate my viewing habits. The list this year is screaming at me, "Comedy is lacking in your heart!"

When the drama nominees were announced, I was actually embarrassed by the fact that I was up to date on all of those shows. On the comedy side, I'm more 50/50.

Louis C.K. will definitely win Best Actor in a comedy series. Even if the winner seems a sure thing, I still love seeing people who aren't normally nominated get recognized, like William H. Macy, even if I haven't watched his show Shameless in years.

All the nominees can also give you ideas about new shows to watch. Currently available free on Netflix and since Ricky Gervais is also nominated in the Best Actor category, I think Derek is next on my list to check out. Maybe it will add a few more laughs to my life.

Brainiac's Unite

I may watch more drama than comedy, but one new HBO show with a hilarious cast (look it's Kamal Nanjiani and Bill from Freaks and Geeks!) did catch my eye earlier this year.

Next to teenage girls, "nerds" are probably the most important entity to pop culture right now. The obvious progression was making a show completely focused on a group of people that would closely resemble that title.  Silicon Valley tapped into the world of computer wizards and made a wonderfully wacky show that is packed with jokes and witty banter.

It is focused on a group of guys as they develop their own fancy software compression program (don't ask me to explain it more, because I will make an ass out of myself). What is great about the show is how it spends time to make intelligent people into someone to idolize and not to look down on and judge.

Silicon Valley is nominated for Best Writing and Best Comedy Series and might give Veep a run for their money. Those two casts combined would be unstoppable.

Orange Is The New Nominees

Orange Is The New Black swept the Comedy categories which still feels odd, but this is one of those programs that is somewhere in the middle - it's really a drama with comedic moments.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a OITNB hater. I really enjoy watching this show, but sometimes the story lines go in directions that aren't the best and the writing drops the ball on some plot points. However, what is dependable are the fantastic characters and  the strong actors always save the day.

All the acting nominations are well deserved, but as a swap, I'd much rather see Parks and Recreation as Best Comedy. That gem will never get enough love.

Ladies and Gents of Fargo

Besides True Detective, the best new drama of 2014 is Fargo.  It is still amazing to me the type of high quality entertainment people can pull together and slap on cable television.

This show had it all - gorgeous cinematic level production quality, a mysterious plot that slowly built with dramatic surprises, and pulling it all together, an entire cast of wonderful actors. Loveable Martin Freeman traded in Watson's dreamy British accent to play a meek Minnesotan, eh, who totes around in bulky winter sweaters - you're darn tootin - and Billy Bob Thornton, of course, was the perfect person to depict the creepy, yet charismatic, villain.

Out of everyone though, Allison Tolman is the scene stealer. Every step of the way, her police officer character is outsmarting all of her superiors and she soon becomes the only one seeking the truth.

Quickly, you realize her character is the one to root for all season. Even more so when Colin Hanks comes into the picture. They make for a perfect crime solving pair. I always found Hanks to be a charismatic guy and wished he would find some interesting project. Fargo is definitely the show for him.

There are many more terrific actors featured in each of the episodes, but at least the four listed above received nominations. I will be rooting for them all.

For those just starting the series, look out for the little ways that elements of the movie are tied in. It is done brilliantly and made me fall for the show even more.

The Normal Heart

Just like every year, the miniseries/movie category is jam packed with excellent entertainment. Fargo and American Horror Story filled up most of the list, plus the addition of one heart-wrenching HBO movie.

When The Normal Heart was released, all the press and general talk was about how it is guaranteed to make you ball your eyes out. That is no understatement, but most impressive is the story reads like an important historical document.

The fear people experienced when HIV was a mystery is truly terrifying. People were dying in an instant and no one knew why. Trying to even imagine what that felt like is impossible.

Almost all of the actors are nominated, with Matt Bomer already guaranteed a win. His character definitely has the biggest struggles and most dramatic moments.

Sad, upsetting, frustrating, and also enlightening in how the story is a huge reminder that even though the unknown is scary, we're all people, and everyone deserves the same equal treatment.

Give Tim Gunn An EMMY

How long as there been a category for Best Host of a Reality Show? As long as Project Runway is on the air the correct answer to this question is Tim Gunn. Just retire the category and automatically give him the award.

All the other nominees just stand around, where Tim Gunn gives advice, wonderfully presents all the weekly challenges, has impeccable vocabulary, but most importantly, he gets attached to the contestants like they are his children. He cries when they leave! Come on, that is a true host, and a great human being.

What do you think are the most exciting nominees?  There are so many more that I didn't even touch on, but no one has time to read that extensive of a document.

If you have been out of the loop on TV these days, perusing the nominees list for idea is a great place to start.

Tune in to the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards on August 25th, hosted by Seth Meyers.

Until next time.

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