Thursday, July 17, 2008

TV: My 2008 Emmy Award Picks

I'm a TV fanatic, who watches almost 50 shows religiously, so the Primetime Emmy's should be a big deal for me. It usually isn't, because the categories are so distinct that they tend to make it hard for other shows to be nominated. There should be an action series category ("Burn Notice") and a teen drama/comedy ("Gossip Girl") category, and even a Breakout Star category. But, I'm going to make an effort to see if my favorite actors, series, and characters get what they deserve this year. Here's my winners wish list:

Outstanding Drama Series
+ Boston Legal
+ Damages
+ Dexter
+ House
+ Lost
+ Mad Men
"Mad Men" is probably going to win since it's the most talked about new series, and I love "Dexter," but the twist that "Lost" introduced this season--jumping into the future--was just jaw-droppingly awesome.
Which Shows are Missing?: "Friday Night Lights" has a tough break with the ratings, but the story lines are genuinely heartbreaking and very well delivered even by the young cast. "The Closer" managed to make an entire series around the most interesting part of an investigation: getting a confession.

Outstanding Comedy Series
+ 30 Rock
+ Curb Your Enthusiasm
+ Entourage
+ The Office
+ Two and a Half Men
Two months ago I would've said "30 Rock," but I wouldn't rewatch every single episode of that series like I would "The Office."
Which Shows are Missing?: "New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Samantha Who?" both female-driven shows that reinvent the feminine persona.

Outstanding Children's Program

+ Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show (HBO)
+ Hannah Montana (Disney)
+ High School Musical 2 (Disney)
+ Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: The Untouchable Kids of India (Nick)
+ The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (Disney)
Wow! Nickelodeon is really falling short in this category. Hmm, I think it would be pretty interesting if HSM2 beat out "Hannah Montana." But since I preferred the first HSM and was surprised to discover how funny "Hannah Montana" actually is, I'll vote for Miley.
Which Shows are Missing?: "iCarly" should be commended for how topical and funny it is and "Wizards of Waverly Place" managed to find a new take on what is essentially the "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" model.

Outstanding Animated Program (less than an hour)
+ Creature Comforts America
+ King of the Hill
+ Robot Chicken
+ SpongeBob Square Pants
+ The Simpsons
I choose Seth Green's stop motion animation because...well, I never realized how annoying Jar Jar Binks could be until I watched this.
Which Series is Missing?: After going to NYC's Comic Con this year, I can assure you, "Avatar" deserves a nomination. These fans dedicated.

Outstanding Animated Program (more than an hour)
+ Family Guy's "Blue Harvest"
+ South Park's "Imagination Land"
+ Justice League: The New Frontier
There seems to be a Star Wars trend here, but Family Guy's spoof was just too hilarious--Stewie as Darth Vader, come on?--to not award, even though the Justice League looks pretty damn good too.

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series
+ Late Show with David Letterman
+ Real Time With Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live
+ The Colbert Report
+ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
I live for the Saturday night Weekend Update with Amy Poehler and Seth Myers...
Who's Missing?: but Jimmy Kimmel's "I F*cked Ben Affleck" antics and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" are pretty funny too.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
+ American Idol
+ Dancing with the Stars
+ Project Runway
+ The Amazing Race
+ Top Chef
People have really gotten into "Project Runway" this year and it's winner has added a word to the pop culture vernacular, "Fierce," but "DWTS" is just too damn addictive.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
+ Alec Baldwin "30 Rock"
+ Tony Shalhoub "Monk"
+ Lee Pace "Pushing Daisies"
+ Steve Carell "The Office"
+ Charlie Sheen "Two and a Half Men"
This was a tough choice. I just started to love "The Office," but I have to say that Michael annoys me more than he amuses me. Jack, on the other hand, is a laugh riot every time.
Who's Missing?: John Krasinski ("The Office"), whose facial expressions are hilarious, Dule Hill ("Psych"), whose the smoothest pansy on TV, and Ray Wise ("Reaper"), who pulls off being a funny, yet creepy incarnation of the Devil.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
+ Tina Fey "30 Rock"
+ Christina Applegate "Samantha Who?"
+ Julia Louis-Dreyfus "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
+ America Ferrara "Ugly Betty"
+ Mary-Louise Parker "Weeds"
I would say any actress that can make you laugh--and not just because the content is funny--should get this award. While Fey and Dreyfus are quite amusing, they work best in an ensemble cast. Applegate alone can have me laughing for days.
Who's Missing?: Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives"), who deserves some credit for managing to make her husband's blindness amusing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
+ James Spader "Boston Legal"
+ Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
+ Michael C. Hall "Dexter"
+ Hugh Laurie "House"
+ Gabriel Byrne "In Treatment"
+ Jon Hamm "Mad Men"
People are shooting for Hamm, because he's a breakout star this season, but I just finished watching the entire first season of "Dexter" and the man can project so much without even speaking. However, I think Laurie is pretty good too. I don't watch his show, but he amuses me in the commercials enough for me to know he's got some talent.
Who's Missing?: Zach Gilford ("Friday Night Lights"), who delivered a heartbreaking performance of a kid who's been abandoned one too many times by one too many people, and Ed Westwick ("Gossip Girl"), who redefined the term "bad boy."

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
+ Sally Field "Brothers & Sisters"
+ Glenn Close "Damages"
+ Mariska Hargitay "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
+ Holly Hunter "Saving Grace"
+ Kyra Sedgwick "The Closer"
Although I'm sure most people will vote for Close's outrageously devious performance and although Field had a lot of drama to work with this season, I just love how ingenious Sedgwick's character is--ruthless interrogation with a side of Southern charm.
Who's Missing?: There aren't really that many lead actresses to choose from--how sad.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
+ Jeremy Piven "Entourage"
+ Kevin Dillon "Entourage"
+ Neil Patrick Harris "How I Met Your Mother"
+ Rainn Wilson "The Office"
+ Jon Cryer "Two and a Half Men"
It's a tough choice. Wilson and Harris have really funny roles, but I have to say that Piven is the most quotable and you just can't take your eyes off of his insanity.
Who's Missing?: Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock") is consistently hilarious amidst a bevy of fools. His innocence sticks out like a sore thumb in such a backstabbing industry. Sam Huntington's ("Cavemen") series may have been canceled, but his performance shouldn't go unnoticed. He reminded me of a cute, psychotic puppy--erratic, yet lovable.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
+ Kristin Chenoweth "Pushing Daisies"
+ Jean Smart "Samantha Who?"
+ Amy Poehler "SNL"
+ Holland Taylor "Two and a Half Men"
+ Vanessa Williams "Ugly Betty"
While Williams, Taylor, and Poehler are fed some juicy lines, I'd have to say Smart is the only one who can make you believe that she means every hilariously un-PC thing she says. However, I do love Chenoweth's ability to steal a scene with just one wily facial expression.
Who's Missing?: I find Becki Newton ("Ugly Betty") to be highly underrated. Her over-the-top campy performances are a nice pairing to Betty's docile persona. Rachael Harris ("Notes from the Underbelly") may be out of a job, but her deadpan humor is nearly as nomination-worthy as Jennifer Esposito's ("Samantha Who?") self-centered vixen.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
+ William Shatner "Boston Legal"
+ Ted Danson "Damages"
+ Zeljko Ivanek "Damages"
+ Michael Emerson "Lost"
+ John Slattery "Mad Men"
Emerson is met with the difficult task of having to be the villain and yet still have redeemable qualities, and he pulls it off very well.
Who's Missing?: Not many viewers enjoyed Jesse Plemons' ("Friday Night Lights") storyline this season, because of the unlikelihood of a teenager covering up a murder that was self-defense. But when faced with dramatic material, the effortless comedic actor brought tears to many eyes. Justin Chambers ("Grey's Anatomy") may spend most of his time portraying a heartless Casanova, but when his character broke down at the end of the season, we had an exclusive, front-row seat to the beginnings of his evolution.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
+ Candice Bergen "Boston Legal"
+ Rachel Griffiths "Brothers & Sisters"
+ Chandra Wilson "Grey's Anatomy"
+ Sandra Oh "Grey's Anatomy"
+ Dianne Wiest "In Treatment"
It's a tie. Their story lines this season burrowed through their hardened facades to show us the vulnerable women that lie beneath. Although I despised Christina's hateful behavior, I admired how she refused to become like Erica Hahn--hateful and obnoxious.
Who's Missing?: Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") managed to survive cancer, a tornado, and a vindictive step daughter, while still sustaining her sanity with a little humor now and then. Julie Benz ("Dexter") has really transformed into an impressive dramatic actress after her days vamping it up on "Angel" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Ana Ortiz's ("Ugly Betty") character went from a Hispanic stereotype to a three dimensional mother, wife, daughter, and sister in the series, and it all started when her fiance/baby's daddy died in that heartbreaking dream episode.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
+ Stanley Tucci "ER"
+ Glynn Turman "In Treatment"
+ Robin Williams "Law & Order"
+ Robert Morse "Mad Men"
+ Oliver Platt "Nip/Tuck"
+ Charles Durning "Rescue Me"
He brought crazy to a whole new level.
Who's Missing?: Theo Rossi ("Grey's Anatomy"), who played a paramedic who had to watch his best friend die in a two-parter, outshining even the main characters with his performance.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
+ Carrie Fisher "30 Rock"
+ Edie Falco "30 Rock"
+ Elaine Stritch "30 Rock" (Jack's mom)
+ Polly Bergen "Desperate Housewives" (Lynette's mom)
+ Kathryn Joosten "Desperate Housewives" (the neighbor)
+ Sarah Silverman "Monk"
I never knew she could be that funny. She went toe-to-toe with Jack without missing a beat. It was like they were made for each other.
Who's Missing?: Judy Greer ("Two and a Half Men") played a female Charlie and that alone is impressive, and Laurie Metcalf ("The Big Bang Theory") was a pretty entertaining depiction of a small town smothering mom.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
+ Ellen Burstyn "Big Love"
+ Diahann Carroll "Grey's Anatomy"
+ Cynthia Nixon "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
+ Anjelica Huston "Medium"
+ Sharon Gless "Nip/Tuck"
Carroll wasn't that impressive and I didn't get to see the other performances.
Who's Missing?: Michelle Tratchenberg ("Gossip Girl") practically blew up the blogosphere when she out-bitched Blair in the last few episodes of the season.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
+ 30 Rock "Rosemary's Baby"
+ 30 Rock "Cooter"
+ Flight of the Conchords "Yoko"
+ Pushing Daisies "Pie-Lette"
+ The Office "Dinner Party"
That party was hilarious--so f*ing awkward.
Which Episode is Missing?: I also loved Chuck’s “Chuck Versus The Nemesis,” with the evacuation scene, Samantha, who?'sThe Break Up,” when she over-enjoyed her first sexual experience since her accident, Cavemen's "Nick Get Job," when Andy practically kidnaps a human to get her to like him, and 30 Rock's "Cougars," when the term "Gay for Jamie" is coined.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
+ Battlestar Galactica "Six of One"
+ Damages "Pilot"
+ Mad Men "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
+ Mad Men "The Wheel"
+ The Wire "30"
I've never seen any of these episodes, but I'm willing to bet "The Wire"--a cult favorite--is a shoe-in.
Which Episode is Missing?: K-Ville’sMelissa,” when a little girl mistakes the tears from her dad's eyes to be water caused by Katrina, and Grey's Anatomy’sCrash into me,” when two paramedics are on the verge of death.

Outstanding Commercial
+ Brother of the Bride - Hallmark
+ Carrier Pigeons - FedEx
+ Delivery - Travelers
+ It's Mine - Coca Cola
+ Swear Jar - Bud Light
The Hallmark commercial was pretty sweet, but I thought the Travelers was more creative, using the logo to create a metaphor.

Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-camera Series
+ Dexter
+ Heroes
+ Mad Men (Two espidoes nominated)
+ Pushing Daisies
+ Ugly Betty
Even though "Mad Men" has the best odds and "Dexter" has a killer--pardon the pun--opening credits montage, I'd have to say that no one can deny that the art direction on the vibrantly designed "Pushing Daisies" is phenomenal.

Outstanding Choreography
+ Dancing with the Stars (Mambo/"Para los Rumberos")
+ High School Musical 2 (all)
+ So You Think You Can Dance (Hummingbird and Flower/"The Chairman's Waltz")
So You Think You Can Dance (Transformers/"Fuego")
So You Think You Can Dance (Table/"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)")
It's sort of a tie between
DWTS and SYTYCD, but I think Mambo is much harder to master than hip hop.

Outstanding Main Title Design
+ Bernard And Doris (HBO)
+ Chuck (NBC)
+ Mad Men (AMC)
+ New Amsterdam (FOX)
+ The Company (TNT)
I loved the art on this poster.
Who's Missing?: Dexter's blood-splattered title is pretty cool too.

For more categories, click here. Tune in Sunday, September 21st 8pm.

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