Thursday, July 17, 2008

2008 Emmy Nominees

Well, the list is finally out. I'll do predictions and such at a later date:

"Boston Legal," ABC
"Damages," FX
"Dexter," Showtime
"House," Fox
"Lost," ABC
"Mad Men," AMC

Thoughts: I'm glad the Emmy voters bent the rules and expanded the list to six nominees. I'm disappointed that they did so in order to include "Boston Legal." Putting that show in the same group as the other shows listed is downright laughable. It was also surprising that they left the critically acclaimed "The Wire" off this list for its final season.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO
"Entourage," HBO
"The Office," NBC
"30 Rock," NBC
"Two and a Half Men," CBS

Thoughts: No big surprises here, just disappointment that the voters didn't have the foresight to include "Pushing Daisies."

Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment"
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
James Spader, "Boston Legal"

Thoughts: Again, what the hell is this obsession with "Boston Legal?" Great, great list until you get down to James Spader. If you are going to expand the nominees, why not include Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights?" But I'll stomach Spader's inclusion since the voters had the foresight to include Bryan Cranston's remarkable performance.

Glenn Close, "Damages"
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit"
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"

Thoughts: Emmy voters nearly had it perfect with "Battlestar Galactica's" Mary McDonnell making the semifinals list. Instead, the voters proffer Mariska Hargitay. Jerks.

Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"

Thoughts: Disappointed with the omission of Anna Friel of "Pushing Daisies" and a little surprised at the omission of the "Desperate Housewives" actresses.

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"

Thoughts: No surprises here.

Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
Kevin Dillon, "Entourage"
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
Rainn Wilson, "The Office"

Thoughts: Woo-hoo! Neil Patrick Harris! Unfortunately, Macon's own Jack McBrayer, very deserving on "30 Rock," misses the cut.

Ted Danson, "Damages"
Michael Emerson, "Lost"
Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages"
William Shatner, "Boston Legal"
John Slattery, "Mad Men"

Thoughts: You know, I love William Shatner as Capt. Kirk and in the Priceline commercials as much as the next guy, but seriously, putting him on the list is just about the biggest joke around. Meanwhile, the remaining four-way battle should be one of the most interesting of the awards show. Great list (otherwise!), Emmys.

Candice Bergen, "Boston Legal"
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers and Sisters"
Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy"
Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment"
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy"

Thoughts: Surely the omission of "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks, one of the breakout stars on TV this year, was a typo.

Kristin Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies"
Amy Poehler, "Saturday Night Live"
Jean Smart, "Samantha Who?
Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men"
Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty"

Thoughts: Poehler remains a very interesting nomination choice by the voters, and the delightful Chenoweth ought to be a shoo-in to win, but this being the Emmy voters, who the hell knows?

Gazing the lists of some of the other categories, "John Adams" and "Recount" both got a tremendous amount of Emmy love, which seemed fairly logical. A few disappointments, though: both Sarah Chalke ("How I Met Your Mother") and Amy Ryan ("The Office") were left off the Best Guest Star Actress, Comedy category. And Phil Keoghan ("The Amazing Race") should have been on the list for Best Reality host.

We'll have more as the Emmys draw closer at the end of the summer, including predictions and another online poll. Which were the choices you liked and didn't like? Is there a "Boston Legal" fan out there who can explain its appeal to me?

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Whew, on top of all the Emmy madness is a pretty good night of TV.

Pick of the night is "VH-1 Rock Honors" which pays tribute to one of the greatest bands of all time, The Who. (VH-1, 9 p.m.)

Also highly recommended is the delightful "Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.), in which you actually do get to see Tricia Helfer this time around.

"Swingtown," (CBS, 10 p.m.), which somehow missed out on the Emmys this year, airs a new episode. It's opposite "Fear Itself" (NBC, 10 p.m.), which continues to decline on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, "My Boys" (TBS, 9:30 p.m.) continues to delight on a weekly basis. It follows a new "Bill Engvall" at 9 p.m.


zodin2008 said...

Prepare for a LONG response when it's a day that the Emmy list is announced.

Drama Series: I am with you wholeheartedly...why in God's name does this crapfest known as "Boston Legal" keep getting included? I want one person in America to look at me straight in the eye and say Legal is better than "Battlestar", "Friday Night Lights" or "The Wire". Impossible.

On the flipside, I am beyond thrilled that "Lost" is back in. Hallelujah! But I really only agree with the picks of "Mad Men" (which I think will and should win) and "Lost".

Comedy Series: Yeah, no surprises but again, why do they keep nominating that stupid Charlie Sheen series. Just dumb.

Instead, reward the continuing brilliance that is "How I Met Your Mother" or even an unknown enjoyable comedy like "My Boys". "Pushing Daisies" could have earned a spot for at least being very creative.

Actor, Drama:

Again with James Effing Spader. Does he dirty photos of the Emmy voters that he keeps not only getting nominated, but winning? Jon hamm was a revelation on "Mad Men" but Cranston was downright impressive as well on "Breaking Bad". I'd be happy with either. The rest of the list is fairly average or below average.

Actress, Drama:

You have 4 Oscar winners (Close, Field, Sedgewick and Holly Hunter and MARISKA HARGITAY, the actress who once singlehadedly ruined a season of "er" as an annoying desk clerk lousting after Mark Greene.

I am rooting for Field but I think it's Glenn's year. Thank GOODNESS they removed Minnie Driver, who should get a RAZZIE for worst performance on the unwatchable "The Riches".

But what really stands out for me here is the omission of the two BEST lead actress performances on Television: Connie Britton on "Friday Night Lights" who lights up the screen, and Mary McDonnell on "Battlestar", who is criminally overlooked despite her Oscar acclaim.

Actress, Comedy:

Go, Tina Fey, go. I am rooting for her - she deserves it, and she has a shot. They always seem to like Louis Dreyfuss, who's fine, but Fey is so much more interesting.

Ferrerra was the darling last year but "Betty" had an uneven second season and Ferrerra maybe a one & done.

Actor, Comedy: I was pleasantly surprised to see the warm performance of Lee Pace included - but Alec Baldwin has to win this year. His performance as Jack Donaghy has created possibly one of the best and funniest TV characters in Television history. Yes, I stand by that bold statement.

I love Carrell and Shalhoub's performance is universally lauded on an increasingly tiresome show "Monk", but it has to be Baldwin.

Supporting Actor, Comedy:

Phillip, I agree 100% about the scene stealing Jack McBrayer. I think it's a strong list with Rainn Wilson, Dillon, Piven and NPH, but c'mon, Jon Cryer? He needs to go and McBrayer in his place, and then you'd have a very strong list.

Of course, I like to make mention every year of the littany of scene stealing supporting players on "Scrubs" including John McGinley, Ken Jenkins, Neil Flynn and others.

And speaking of "Pushing Daisies" (and it would have an even more diverse list), Chi McBride was fantastic as the Private Detective.

Supporting Actor, Drama:

4 actors and Captain Kirk. It's even more of an embarrassment than Hargitay on the actress list.

Shatner is hilarious & I am a big Trek fan, but c'mon, you relaly put Shatner in there over a range of far superior supporting actors including Zack Gilford & Brad Leland (both of "Friday Night Lights"), James Callis (Battlestar), Terry O'Quinn (Lost - who won last year!), Naveen Andrews (Lost), Clarke Peters and/or Michael K. Williams (both of "The Wire"), Walton Goggins (Shane on "The Shield") and on and on.

I can easily name another 10 actors a 1,000X more deserving than Bill Shatner.

As for the group nominated, my Emmy would go to Michael Emerson in a heartbeat, and not just because he's a friend of this Blog, it's because in the character he's created in Benjamin Linus, it's one of the most complicated and compelling characters EVER on a Dramatic series.

I also love John Slattery on "Mad Men" (I love ANYTHING on "Mad Men") and though I wasn't a fan of the show, Zelko Ivanek is always a terrific performer.

My prediction is that Ted Danson will win and steal Michael's emmy. Danson is so known as a comedy guy, that to give a performance like this, garnered lots of industry attention.

Supporting Actress, Drama:

Enough with the silly nominations for "Grey's Anatomy".

This again exploits the fact that a lot of times, the Emmy folks vote for their own personal favorites (Boston legal) or what's popular ("Grey's") rather than what are the best things on Television such as "The Wire", "Lost", "Mad Men" or "Friday Night Lights" and any actors associated with those shows.

So, no, I would not remotely consider Emmys for Wilson or Sandra Oh. The only performance I enjoy of the five women nominated here is Rachel Griffiths from "Brothers & Sisters".

But here's where I would make a case for a minimum of three actresses from "Battlestar Galactica" - Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff and Grace Park. And the other supporting actress performance I love is Juliet from "Lost", though this year, I'd make a case for Adrianne Palicki on "Friday Night Lights", as she turned the Tyra character completely on her ear.

Supporting Actress, Comedy:

Holland Taylor? A fine actress but an over the top performance on a show that's not funny, but ratehr inexplicably popular, "two and a Half Men".

Where is "The Office's" Jenna Fisher? Or even funnier than Vanessa Williams' Wilhemina Slater is co-star Becki Newton as the hilariously backstabbing Amanda.

Still, a pretty good list and my only complaint is Holland Taylor.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, I limited my criticisms of the Emmy voters to the nominees who were left off the finals list after making it to the semifinals.

Boston Legal boggles my mind. I'm guessing David E. Kelley has illicit photos of members of the Emmy committee, because there's no other way to justify the selections. And if the show and actors actually win, it would be a travesty.

My biggest disappointment was Pushing Daisies mostly getting shut out, with the exceptions of Pace and Chenoweth. To see it lose spots to the the pedestrian 2 1/2 men is more galling.

On the drama side, there are so many quality actors and shows out there, there's always going to be something I like that's omitted.

Do I want to see Emmy love for Friday Night Lights? Of course. Was it as good this year as it was last year? Not quite. So I can live with the disappointment because something like Mad Men comes in and takes up the various slots.

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing was that the Emmys largely ignored popular network drama such as Grey's and Desperate Housewives in favor of more and more cable drama. That's not a complaint; FX, Showtime and especially AMC are producing most of the best stuff on TV right now, so they deserve the accolades.

As I've noted before, I also rarely like it when multiple actors from one show take up the slots. On the one hand, yes, I'd love to see half the cast of Lost get nominations. But, ultimately, the voters have to pick one person anyway, so why not do it at the semifinal stage and keep the categories as diverse as possible. Especially since several picks from one show often cancel each other out anyway (Katherine Heigl's win over two other Grey's actresses last year not withstanding).

I'll get into the predictions at a later date, but I'm guessing Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in drama to be the most competitive fields (especially if the voters are considering Boston Legal to be a viable contender).

Jonathan said...

What's really strange about "Boston Legal," and maybe I don't have all my facts straight, but for the last two seasons it has been near cancellation from everything I understand. In fact, if it wasn't for the writer's strike causing delays in new programming, I have a feeling it would have been gone this year. They've retooled the cast completely sans Spader and Shatner over the last two seasons; that can't be a good sign.

So, with that in mind, "Boston Legal" essentially becomes a dark horse nominee which makes it even more undeserving. If it was actually a hit series, I could somewhat understand its inclusion, but it's neither a ratings or critical hit, so I am beyond confused. Much like "What is the meaning of life," this is an interesting question with miles of intrigue associated with it, but alas it will never be answered.

That being said, there were a lot of interesting additions this year. Amy Pohler, while I don't think she's even the best actress on SNL (That would be Kristen Wiig), I applaud the originality of the choice. Has an SNL member ever been nominated for this major of an emmy? Still hate that there is no love for "Friday Night Lights" and "The Wire."

While I do enjoy "BSG," I've given up on serious minded science fiction shows ever getting nominated. "Stark Trek: TNG" got a token nod in its final season, which was also its worst season. But maybe "BSG" will get the love next year. Although, "The Shield" will be eligible for a token final season nod as well, so it might get sideswiped yet again.

zodin2008 said...

Actually, Jonathan, if you are a TNG fan, you know that Season 1 of TNG was BY FAR, it's worst. 7 was fairly enjoyable, though nothing tops season 3-5. Honestly, I could even live without the other 4 seasons, to just sit and re-watch Seasons 3-5. The height of TNG's greatness.

Season 1 was a blatant and cheesy ripoff of The Original series with a re-make of the cheesy classic, "The Naked Time" and even calling the episode, "The Naked Now".

Good points you made about "Boston Legal". A ratings dog, critics MOSTLY hate it - and yet Emmy love galore. It's kind of like the no-name roster of the Florida Marlins winning again this year, despite all the personnel departures. Makes basically no sense but it just happens every year, anyway.

"The Shield" ignorance really hurts, big time.

I still maintain that the performance Forest Whitaker delivered 2 years ago as Detective John Kavanaugh on "The Shield" was maybe the best single season dramatic acting performance in Television history. And yet Whitaker, an Oscar WINNER for "The Last King of Scotland", didn't even get a sniff.

The year before? Glenn Close, possibly one of the most beloved and famous American actresses in history, maybe right behind Meryl Streep, delivered an out of this world acting performance on Season 4 of "The Shield", in a year where Edie Falco wasn't even elgible (because "The Sopranos" had been on an ungodly, 18 month hiatus) and the rest of the actress choices weren't even in the same stratosphere with Close's performance - and she wasn't even nominated.

(Hence was the far inferior "Damages" is getting her a nod...they may have realized how incredibly stupid they looked for dissing Glenn Freaking Close).

Last year, though a relative unknown, Walton Goggins delievered one of the most compelling supporting TV performances, anywhere, anytime, as the enotionally conflicted bad boy cop, Shane Vendrell. No nomination.

The amazing thing is that "The Shield" is on a channel (FX) where they know it exists and it's not even like "Battlestar" (meaning sci fi) - it's a cop show (and the best one on Television by miles) so it should get more love.

That's what makes me laugh. Not only the ridiculous nominations like "Boston legal", but a piece of trash show like "CSI: Miami" is a top ten ratings hit and the best cop show on Television and one of the best of all time, "The Shield", can't even get a sniff from emmy voters.

To say there's no justice is an understatement.

Jonathan said...

I have always been slightly forgiving to Season 1 of "TNG," since it was trying to find its legs. However, as far as its overall presentation goes, I guess it was worse than Season 7.

But Season 7 was more dissapointing; especially when they decided to spend the second half of the season bringing back a bunch of former characters and tie up supposed loose ends. Did we really need to know what was going on with Ensign Ro and The Traveler? Or Damon Bok?

They almost made up for it with the excellent series finale, "All Good Things," but I have a feeling if that episode had been tacked on to the end of Season Six and just ended the show there; we would have been no worse for wear. It would have saved us from that terrible two parter, "Descent" (End of 6 and beginning of 7) where the Borg were turned into the Lost Boys from "Peter Pan." The thought of that still makes me sick.

Of course I'm also a much bigger fan of the Original Series and especially "DS9," so maybe I'm not the most biased person to be listening to.

Phillip Ramati said...

Lost is the closest thing any sci-fi genre show is going to get to a nomination. Shows like BSG, Buffy, TNG, etc can get critical praise, but rarely get love from the Emmys.

Best example: no writing nominations for Joss Whedon for Buffy episodes like Hush or Once More With Feeling.

I actually did think Mary McDonnell might crack the best actress category, especially with the pedigrees of most of the other actresses who did get nominted, but no such luck.

Re: Boston Legal - the other annoying thing about that series is that the first several years, it was nominated as a comedy. As a drama, the performances of Shatner and Spader are even more farcical and even less deserving of nominations.

Anonymous said...

I just bought myself a can of Play-doh and made my own Emmy. It's much more valuable than the sh*t they actually give out.

zodin2008 said...

Jonathan, you'll get NO argument from that DS9 was the very best of Trek!

Chus said...

This is what I think: Emmy 2008 And... what's your favorite?

Phillip Ramati said...

Chus, my picks and thoughts are over on the new blog,