Monday, 29 July 2013

The Emmys

Sorry this post is late, right now in the UK we’re in the middle of a heat wave. I do not do well in heat so this week I don’t have the mental faculties to write anything in depth. Hopefully, if it stops being so insanely hot, next week will return to normal service (although Sunday is my 21st birthday so it may be a little late).

Today I want to talk about The Emmys. The nominations for this year’s Emmys were released this month to a decidedly unenthusiastic public and a lot of very angry Orphan Black fans. Here are my thoughts on the categories I care about:

Best Actress in a Drama Series:

Vera Farmiga for Bates Motel
Michelle Dockery for Downton Abbey
Claire Danes for Homeland
Robin Wright for House of Cards
Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men
Connie Britton for Nashville
Kerry Washington for Scandal

Who I think Will Win: Claire Danes for Homeland

Claire Danes is the predictable choice as she won for Homeland last year and the Emmys do like repeating themselves. She’s brilliant in Homeland and the show is great so the award would be deserved even if a little obvious. If they wanted to go a little more left field this year they might go with Kerry Washington who knocks it out of the park every week in Scandal. Out of all the nominees I’d love to see her win. As much as I adore Connie Britton and her magical hair, Nashville just isn’t great yet and the nomination seems like an apology for never recognising the genius that was Mrs Coach from Friday Night Lights. Elisabeth Moss is also a possibility; she’s been nominated twice before for Mad Men and this might be the year they finally give her her dues.  Bates Motel and House of Cards seem too obscure to win for their first seasons and I can’t see the Emmys giving an award to the British Downton Abby over their own homegrown talent.

Who Should Win: Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black

In yet another example of the Emmys completely ignoring science fiction, Tatiana Maslany was snubbed this year as the committee haven’t even acknowledged her extraordinary performance in BBC America’s breakout series Orphan Black with a nomination. In Orphan Black Maslany plays seven different characters, all clones whose various environments and upbringings have made their personalities different although their genetics are the same. Maslany not only plays these seven characters individually, she often plays them in the same scene opposite other characters who are also played by her. For a large portion of the series Maslany plays one character – Sarah – who is pretending to be another clone – Beth. This kind of multi-layered performance is common in Orphan Black where many of the clones pretend to be other characters throughout the series. Maslany’s performance is not only a technical marvel – requiring great skill and intelligence – but it’s also intensely likeable. She imbues even the deranged serial killer Helena with a sense of depth and charm rendering her endearing and sympathetic despite her violence. I can’t be the only one who really hopes Helena survived that finale. It’s an outrage that the Emmy’s ignored her performance(s) and if I was in charge I’d give this award to her and make sure she got seven statues.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:

Anna Gunn for Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski for The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin for Homeland
Christina Hendricks for Mad Men

Who I Think Will Win: Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey

Everyone loves Maggie Smith. In the words of Avery Bishop “She is a treasure!” And the US does seem to be obsessed with Downton Abbey. Though I’m not sure it will triumph over American shows in the other categories it’s nominated in, I think this might be where the Emmys gives it recognition.

Who Should Win: Christine Baranski for The Good Wife

I love all the characters in The Good Wife even the ones I’m supposed to hate. It’s just that good. Even amongst such stiff competition Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockheart is one of my favourites. She manages to be both formidable and lovable at the same time. She’s a powerful independent woman, a liberal feminist who sticks to her convictions and has a photograph of her with Hillary Clinton behind her desk. Baranski makes her seem like both someone you’d want on your side in a court case and someone you’d want to get day drunk with and rail against the patriarchy.

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series:

Margo Martindale for The Americans
Diana Rigg for Game of Thrones
Carrie Preston for The Good Wife
Linda Cardellini for Mad Men
Jane Fonda for The Newsroom
Joan Cusack for Shameless

I’d be happy for any of these actresses to win but my hopes are pinned on Carrie Preston for The Good Wife. I have loved Linda Cardellini since I first crushed on Nurse Sam Taggart in ER when I was about 14. This intensified when she played every bookish young lesbian’s hero Velma Dinkley in the Scooby Doo movies and I was completely head over heels by the time I finally got around to watching Freaks and Geeks last year. I’d be overjoyed if she won but I haven’t seen Mad Men yet so I can’t in good conscience root for someone whose performance I can’t evaluate for myself (although I’m sure she rocked it). So Carrie Preston. As aforementioned my love for The Good Wife knows no bounds. It’s horribly underrated and it’s one of the best drama shows on TV right now. Carrie Preston’s recurring guest role as eccentric but brilliant lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni is just one of its many, many delights. I’m always happy when I see her name in the opening credits as I know she’s going to be hilarious and something clever is going to happen. Preston gives her an otherworldly quality, like she’s functioning on a completely different plane to everyone else where all her oddities make sense. It takes a great performer to make an impact on a show with such a strong core ensemble and Carrie Preston is memorable even amongst the host of brilliant guest stars The Good Wife manages to wrangle. I’ll be cheering in her section.

Best Drama Series:

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

This category seemed notable to me because I usually have an opinion on the big awards and this year I honestly couldn’t care less. Every choice here seems predictable, like a list you’d come up with if asked what the most obvious choices for the Emmys would be. There’s nothing inspiring here, nothing which I want to root for. Breaking Bad – although I’m sure it’s technically very good – bored me intensely, so much that I barely made it through the first season. Downton Abbey seems to only be nominated because of the US’ bizarre obsession with British period dramas which seems to stem from a lack of their own more distant history to explore. Sure, people here in the UK like it too but it airs on ITV, a channel renowned for being completely average and barely registers on my radar. If the Emmys wanted to award some quality period drama they should have looked to Canada’s Bomb Girls which is quite frankly amazing, gave the world the sheer brilliance that was Betty McRae and will be sorely missed. Again, I’m sure Game of Thrones is still as good as its first season (the only season I’ve managed to watch so far) but it’s somewhat dismaying to see that the only genre show to get Emmy recognition is made, of course, by HBO. It gives the impression that the Emmys only see quality in genre programming when it goes out of its way to seem “adult”. Game of Thrones definitely deserves its nomination but it’s a shame that it seems like it’s the only fantasy show that will ever be taken seriously by the committee. Homeland is also a solid show which I really enjoyed but I don’t feel like it did anything particularly new this past season. Season two was good, Claire Danes is brilliant and they managed to retain the tension they built up in the first season – which seemed like an impossibility seen as the main plot “Is Brody a terrorist?” was concluded in the first season’s finale. Homeland is a good show but I’m just not raving about it anymore. I haven’t yet seen either House of Cards or Mad Men but from what I have seen they both seem to fit the mould of programmes the Emmys take seriously and neither premise has me all that enthused. I’m glad that House Of Cards’ nomination shows that Netflix’s original series are being taken seriously as it gives me hope for Orange Is The New Black to get some recognition next year, but overall I’d have loved to see shows like The Good Wife and Orphan Black on that list.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series:

Laura Dern for Enlightened
Lena Dunham for Girls
Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey for 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep

Here is another category where I’ll be happy whoever wins. I never got into Enlightened but I’m told it improved vastly from the godawful pilot I saw and I know its fans will be happy with the nomination especially considering its cancellation earlier in the year. I love Girls (insert lesbian joke here) and Lena Dunham is a major hero for me. Her speech at the Golden Globes last year made me cry and I’m happy to see her get recognition for her truly original work despite the misogynistic backlash she’s received. I devoured the first two seasons of Nurse Jackie and am waiting impatiently until I have enough money to buy the others on DVD. Edie Falco is brilliant and the character of Jackie Peyton is a brilliant and sadly rare example of a rounded female anti-hero on TV. I’d love to see Tina Fey win again for the last season of 30 Rock and although I’m yet to discover most of Veep’s brilliance for myself, all the gifs I’ve seen on Tumblr suggest it’s every bit as good as I’ve heard. My choice for the win though is of course Amy Poehler. It’s insane that Parks hasn’t been nominated for best comedy and it would be insulting if she didn’t win after they’ve snubbed her so many times. Her Leslie Knope is a shining beacon of joy amongst the rabid cynicism which runs through most sitcoms today and she really deserves an award.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:

Mayim Bialik for The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch for Glee
Sofia Vergara for Modern Family
Julie Bowen for Modern Family
Merritt Wever for Nurse Jackie
Jane Krakowski for 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky for Veep

For me the only winner here is Jane Krakowski. She’s owned Jenna Maroney for seven seasons and her performance in the final season was stunning. She’s the only person who could make me cry over the line “these were the best days of my flerm” and it’s insane that she hasn’t been awarded for Jenna before. I’ll miss Liz Lemon terribly now 30 Rock has gone but part of me will miss Jenna and her Mickey Rourke anecdotes even more (even if she’s really never met him). I love Merrit Wever in Nurse Jackie and I’m pleased she’s nominated but if I’m honest I’ll be incredibly disappointed if anyone other than Jane Krakowski wins.

Best Comedy Series:

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
30 Rock

Who I Think Will Win: 30 Rock

30 Rock is one of the best comedies of the past decade and it would be ridiculous if the Emmys didn’t recognise its final season. The last thirteen episodes were 30 Rock on top form and the double finale episode was a masterpiece. They should go out on a win.

Who Should Win: Parks and Recreation

Words are not adequate to describe the sheer ire I felt when I saw The Big Bang Theory had been nominated for best comedy and Parks and Recreation had not. Parks is the best comedy on television hands down, there’s no argument against it. This travesty is enough to call into question any judgement made by the Emmys for me. They clearly have no idea what they’re talking about.

In the words of Ron Swanson “Awards are stupid.”

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday! I know it's a little late but still...