Friday, September 27, 2013

Tune In or Tune Out: The Crazy Ones (CBS)

The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Created by: David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Harry's Law)
Starring: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Hammish Linklater, and Amanda Setton

Robin Williams made his big splash on television with Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), and after this he went on to take on film where he was nominated for four Oscars (won in 1997 for Good Will Hunting, and was nominated for 8 Golden Globes post his initial television run winning three,  Williams meet television goddess Sarah Michelle Gellar who has been an icon on All My Children as Kendall Hart, and of course as Buffy.  When these collide with a great supporting cast, you get magic.

The Crazy Ones centers around an advertising agency run by a father daughter team Simon Roberts (Williams) and Sydney Robers (Michelle Gellar).  Simon is of course off the wall crazy playing with large rock em' sock em' robots, and Sydney is the daughter who is trying to keep things together even.  The rest of the team has their quirks as well too, Zack (Wolk) is a bit of flirt/man whore, but can riff with Simon like no other.  Lauren the receptionist/assistant played by Setton did not get to shine as much, but she has a similar role to which she had in The Mindy Project, let's just hope they use her better.

The pilot of this show was both clever and heart warming, the characters have all the quirks of a traditional David E. Kelley show, like Ally McBeal, and Boston Legal.  Kelley who wrote the pilot knows how to blend humor and sentiment well.  There are moments when he can lose focus or he tries too hard with the quirk, but with the talented cast, and more contained writing he has another hit on his hands.  I will add Hammish Linklater was more window dressing, and needs to be used more.

Tune In: Kelley and the cast have some "crazy" magic

Don Jon is Both Incredibly Funny, and an Insightful Look at Modern Masculinity

Don Jon (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed and Written by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Glenne Headly, and Tony Danza

Who is the modern don?  The original legend of the Spanish Don Juan states that this man devoted his life to seducing a variety of women; he also was saddled with the vices of the times like gambling, and violence.  As time has evolved "the don juan" type has of course changed with society.  This film is aptly named with a translation to Don Jon describing a modern day understanding of heteronormative masculinity within America.

Jon (Gordon-Levitt) states there are "only has a few things I care about in life, my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn."  Jon is a modern day Don Juan, but is built that way based on nurture from his family his mother Angela (Headly) and his father Jon Sr. (Danza), but mainly from society.  Jon is ladies man whose streak is that every weekend he beds a different girl, but even while bedding these different women he sneaks out of bed to view his greatest love porn.  Jon meets Barbara (Johansson) one night out at a club, and she rebuffs his straight o bed moves, this challenges Jon to think outside of the box, and change his style.

In his first feature film as a director/writer Gordon-Levitt does something great; he creates a genuinely funny film with an interesting point of view on modern masculinity.  Jon is selfish, but aren't we all to some extent.  As a society we have been groomed throughout the years especially throughout the 80s and with this "me me me" generation to put our own needs above those of others.  Jon views porn as the most satisfying sexual experience because he can lose himself within this world and feel satisfied at the end of the experience.  On the other hand after during his other real life sexual experience Jon is never fully satisfied because the women never fulfill every need like within the porn he watches.

The mass consumption of porn is jading young males today, and creating a false reality about sexuality, thus confusing the role of intimacy.  The statistics of porn distribution and usage are too varied to detail but the few I found interesting from the BYU Women's Services and Resources states that the US makes up 12 billion dollars of 57 billion dollar global porn industry.  The statistics also show that revenue is higher than that of ABC, NBC, and CBS combined, thus entertaining more people than the three basic cable networks, astonishing.  Statistics also show that the modern male consumes porn at alarmingly high rates.

Back to Jon, why does he watch this porn?  The film even comments on his good looks, and the fact that he has a girl friend through his night school classmate Esther (Moore).  There is never a true explanation of why, but the proof is in the pudding it's an escape, and contributes the mentality, and his own immaturity, and lack of understanding what it means to be truly intimate with a real person.  Esther's character while an annoyance to Jon at first helps him to explore himself more, and find more depth to him than just those basic values he lists at the beginning of the film.

Gordon-Levitt constructs a film which shows the shallow and simplistic nature of Jon's character through highlighting the basic routines of the characters day to day activity.  Lauren Zuckerman does a brilliant job editing the imagery of the porn, the day to day routines highlighting both mindset and the role with which these daily activities drive Jon's life.  As Jon learns more about himself, and explores things on a deeper level you see him outside of the normal world with which he lives, you see larger landscapes, different spaces; he is no longer merely just a slut who devours women and porn, but explores his friendships, the city with which he lives, and sees new things in his sister, who his played with brief hilarity by Brie Larson.

Gordon-Levitt does a great with this film, and I give him credit for taking on this film, and creating a deeper more meaningful film about self exploration.  Do not let my serious talk fool you either this film is truly funny, and the scripts shines making you laugh just as hard as you explore the psycho social actions of heterosexual male behavior.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tune In or Tune Out: The Blacklist (NBC)

The Blacklist (NBC)
Created by: Jon Bokenkamp (The Call)
Starring James Spader, and Megan Boone

Let's hope NBC does a better job handling The Blacklist better than it handled Revolution.  While Revolution got pretty decent reviews, the ratings were solid, but their lack of marketing, and erratic scheduling for the show did not help.  The Blacklist had better reviews, and is getting solid word of mouth so can, and should this show succeed?

The Blacklist centers Raymond "Red" Reddington played with utter deviousness by James Spader FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen played by Megan Boone.  In the opening sequence Spader's character "Red." is a wanted criminal who surrenders to the FBI.  After his capture Red states that he will only speak with/work through Agent Keen.  Spader's character has information on one of many criminals he has worked with and is planning on helping the FBI catch him.  Reddington has numerous connections with unknown criminals, because he was the person who brokered the deals between them.

The show started in a traditional formulaic manner, but I like the direction the series is taking, in Silence of the Lambs style allowing for the criminal to guide the new agent towards catching other criminals.  Spader is one of the main reasons to watch this series; he takes the darker nature of his Boston Legal character to a whole new level.  Spader along with the premise of the series have me hooked at the moment.  I am looking forward to where this show goes.

Tune In: Spader is too much fun to miss! 

Tune In or Tune Out: Mom (CBS)

Mom (CBS)
Created by: Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory), Eddie Gorodetsky (Two and a Half Men), Gemma Baker (Two and a Half Men)
Starring Anna Faris, Allison Janney, and French Stewart

Chuck Lorre is a machine for CBS, the main now has four sitcoms on the eye network, Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly, and now Mom.  The man turns out ratings power houses for this network although Mike and Molly is not the strongest of his series, but both Two and Half Men and The Big Bang Theory have been the highest rated sitcoms for for the last 11 years, which is an incredible feat.  The problem is that Big Bang is the only clever show within the cannon of his sitcoms, does Mom act more like Big Bang or the lack luster Mike and Molly?

Mom centers around three generation of women who all became young mothers in their teenage years.  Anna Faris plays Christy a waitress who had potential but followed in her mothers foot steps getting pregnant young, an alcoholic, and dating married men.  Allison Janney plays Christy's mom Bonnie, and the two have not been in each other's life for many years but come face to face in a Alcoholic's Anonymous.  The show also centers on the new pregnancy of Christy's teen daughter.

The good thing on the side of this show is the talent of both Faris and Janney, they are both incredibly funny women.  The material is dark for a traditional sitcom, and this may have done better in a non traditional format, but when these two interact there is some magic.  I would argue that the show tries too hard to fit within the sitcom world, and that it should loosen up a little to fit the material, and then the show will become more natural.  With Janney and and Faris the show has potential to be something more than just the by the book sitcom.  As a pilot, this was middle of the road, but with the talent on screen this show has potential.

One of the things on this shows side is that Emmy voters still prefer this type of performance, a person has won an acting trophy from a Chuck Lorre sitcom for the last five years including three for Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), two for Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), and one for Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly).  I see this show lasting because of the talent of both Faris, and Janney, they are both great.

Tune In-: Giving this show a chance, but mostly for Janney and Faris

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Emmy Awards (2013) Ruled by Death,Dancing and Drugs

This year's awards were filled with some pretty big surprises (more about those below), but the ceremony seemed to ruled by three things: death, dancing, and drugs.


Let's tackle these alphabetically, dancing obviously comes first.  Neil Patrick Harris puts on a great show, he is a song and dance man, but I can't help but think that the pressure to do a lavish dance number took over the fact that he did not want to for monologue, but put a dance number in the middle of the show?

Harris is hilarious; he has great puns, but he felt out of his element tonight, the opening with the past hosts fell flat until Amy Poehler and Tina Fey chimed in to being on the laughs for the the first award of the night.

In the middle of the show Neil put together a pointless dance number with Nathan Fillion and Sarah Silverman, I am still baffled at why this happened and why these two stars.  This was put in, and people's speeches were cut off for this?

Props to the show for doing the Best Choreography Award on the show, and the number by the nominees was great, and connected to the different series, I was entertained by this, and glad cutie Derek Hough won.

At the end of the night the lackluster monologue and the attempt to be too showy made this a bummer of a show"


Speaking of ultimate bummers, or downers, I get that Jame Gandolfini, Cory Monteith, and Jonathan Winters were all "bigger" names who passed away this year, but having the formula of award death tribute brought down this show in a big way.  Yes Carl Reiner, and Edie Falco made me cry, and their tributes were beautiful, but this was too much.  I get the sincerity was there, but couldn't they have played clips from the actors shows?  This would have made much more sense.


On to things that do not make, sense and that was many of the winners came from out of left field, although none of them were exactly.  I have to wonder if people were high while voting, or if voters finally stopped rubber stamping winners?  Breaking Bad applause also dominated the applause of the evening.

I have to applaud the voters for breaking the mold, in fact none of the winners should have been "surprising" the real surprise is that voters did not follow the trend they typically follow.


The first surprise of the night came with the Outstanding Comedy Supporting Actress winner Merrit Wever; she was a massive surprise she had 100/1 odd on most sites, and most people predicted her last, or not at all.  Wever's shocked speech proves this with a simple "Thank You."

While some may be surprised Tony Hale won Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, I had him ranked second.  I knew he was a true spoiler, but I thought they would go with a Modern Family guy for sure.  Modern Family only took home two trophies tonight no acting winners for the first time in the shows history which shows its vulnerability for next year, watch out for Veep!  Even though it was an expected win I have to say that Julia Louis Dreyfuss bringing Tony Hale onto the stage was the best inside joke within an acceptance speech, ever!

Another surprise came when they announced Bobby Cannavale the winner in the Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama category.  In my predictions I talked about my hunch he would win, and placed him second in my predictions as well.  Boardwalk in the Drama Series category but won the most Emmy Awards with 6 wins.  Cannavale is a truly respected actor, and had a previous win, I had a hunch, but for some reason bet against him.

Jeff Daniels was the next big surprise winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, if there was going to be a spoiler I thought it was going to be Spacey, but my guess is that voters were over the moon with Daniel's speech at the beginning of the Pilot for Newsroom, which was a great soliloquy on the problem with our society.

The Colbert Report finally toppled The Daily Show in Variety Show Writing, and Outstanding Variety Show.  The Amazing Race was taken down for only the second time in the history of Outstanding Reality Show/Competition by The Voice.  The Voice has done what American Idol could never do, which was interesting.

Will these wins signify new patterns, or were people expecting voters to be as predictable as they have been in the past few years?  I think that many of the winners were the right choices especially Breaking Bad for Outstanding Drama Series.  I would just caution the people behind this ceremony to let winners talk a little longer, and avoid the terrible "middle" dance numbers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Emmy Week (2013) Predicting the Winners

Outstanding Drama Series 
Breaking Bad 
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards 
Mad Men

Who Should Win:  My pick for "should" this year would be Game of Thrones, it was the most consistent of the six series.  Bad's season 5.1 was great but part of a build and would be number two.  Homeland  would be third.

Who Will Win: This is a race between last years winner Homeland and Breaking Bad.  Bad has the luck of airing its last and final part of its season during the voting, and this season has been heavily acclaimed.  I would argue that that factor puts Breaking Bad as the winner.  Homeland is a close second the show has the government clout factor, and proved itself last year.  Game of Thrones would be higher (most nominations) but it floundered at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Comedy Series 
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family 
30 Rock 

Who Should Win:  This would be down to Louie or The Big Bang Theory for me, with Louie on top.  Louie has never been better, and while i liked season two better there is something about the different story arcs in season three which sold this show.  The Big Bang Theory would be second, the show has not only found a groove, but never let is characters grow tired.  Veep would be third, the show is hilarious.

Who Will Win:  Will Louie break the model of winners?  Will Modern Family win a fourth award in this category?  Is there a swell of sentimental support for 30 Rock?  Can Big Bang Theory finally take the top prize?  I have to say that all signs point to Modern Family for the four-peat, and I think its going to be the winner plain and simple.  I would argue that any of the other three could win, and that my hunch of 30 Rock winning here could happen, but for the moment I will stick with my gut and pick Modern Family.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville-Downton Abbey
Bryan Cranston-Breaking Bad 
Jeff Daniels-The Newsroom
John Hamm-Mad Men
Damien Lewis-Homeland
Kevin Spacey-House of Cards 

Who Should Win: My pick for this year would be Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, while its not the popular choice when he breaks the fourth wall, and with his accent, but he was fantastic.

Who Will Win:  Damien Lewis versus Bryan Cranston, I have been back and forth on these men.  At the moment I have Cranston, but I also do not think they are going to pick him for a fourth this year, and Lewis is amazing in his submitted episode Q&A.  This is one of the tougher categories to predict, because tape matters here typically in the past.  No one picked Kyle Chandler to win for Friday Night Lights.  Could John Hamm finally win?  In his tape Don Draper is broken down more than ever, could people finally recognize him?  Spacey is the biggest spoiler in my book; he is a two time Oscar winner, and Cards is clearly well liked winning two Creative Arts Emmy Awards. At the end of this I am going to pick, Kevin Spacey, just a hunch.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin-30 Rock 
Jason Bateman-Arrested Development
Don Cheedle-House of Lies
Louis C.K.-Louie
Matt LeBlanc-Episodes
Jim Parsons-The Big Bang Theory

Who Should Win:  Louis C.K. story arc where he was looking for the next woman in his life, and attempting to take on the late show are proof that this man is more than just a great stand up comedian and writer he has the chops to carry great material.

Who Will Win: Baldwin's tape is weak, but he is beloved.  Louis C.K. has the best tape, but this categories history proves that C.K. can be admired but more as a writer.  Parsons tape is solid, and I think he will win for a third time.  My predicted winner is Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory.  Any of the of the other two men could spoil.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 
Connie Britton-Nashville 
Claire Danes-Homeland
Michelle Dockery-Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss-Mad Men
Vera Farmiga-Bate's Motel
Kerry Washington-Scandal
Robin Wright-House of Cards

Who Should Win:  While Farmiga is good in Bate's Motel, the show is crap.  I think of these seven women the winner should be Claire Danes from Homeland.

Who Will Win:  Danes has the prestige factor, as does Farmiga, both are highly acclaimed performers. While the third person who has a shot at this is Kerry Washington who is a good actress and has the 'it' factor.  I could see any of these three women winning here, but I think that Q&A is one of the most admired tapes this year, and that Claire Danes will pull off a second win.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Dern-Enlightened
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss-Veep
Lena Dunham-Girls
Edie Falco-Nurse Jackie 
Tina Fey-30 Rock
Amy Poehler-Parks and Recreation

Who Should Win: Amy Poehler submitted her best tapes; she is hilarious, and I am shocked that she has never won this award, its time for her to win this award.

Who Will Win: Fey, Poehler, and Louis Dreyfuss are the comedic geniuses of the moment.  This award is also between the three of them. I could see Fey winning because of sentiment, but I also think she is in third place at the moment.  Can Poehler finally win?  She has the tape, it's a long two parter where she gets married, and "huggable."  While I have moved Poehler up in my predictions as the spoiler I still think the winner will be Julia Louis Dreyfuss for Veep.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 
Jonathan Banks-Breaking Bad 
Bobby Cannavale-Boardwalk Empire 
Jim Carter-Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin-Homeland
Aaron Paul-Breaking Bad

Who Should Win: The winner should be Mandy Patinkin, Saul is the heart of the show and provides the right level of support needed to further Homeland to be a great show.

Who Will Win: I have had this gut reaction ever since the nominations were announced that Bobby Cannavale would win this award.  Part of the reason is because his role is showy and he is one of the only major nominations remaining for this series.  Paul repeated, and is one of four men to win this award twice, no person has won this category three times it could be him.  Many people are predicting Patinkin for this, because of his prestige factor, but he was not nominated last year, surprisingly.  I am going to go with Mandy Patinkin, but gut is saying Bobby Cannavale, we will see.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell-Modern Family
Bill Hader-Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale-Veep
Adam Driver-Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson-Modern Family
Ed O'Neil-Modern Family

Who Should Win: Tony Hale from Veep would get my vote; he has created some memorable funny supporting roles throughout the year, and I love that he his work on Veep this season; he was great.

Who Will Win:  Flip a coin on one of the Modern Family men.  I think this year its between Ed O'Neil (who would take home his first trophy), and Ty Burrell.  While Hader could have been a slam dunk with his swan song episode he submitted badly.  At the end of the day my money is on Ty Burrell his tape is hilarious, but beware of the should win spoiler Tony Hale.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series 
Morena Baccarin-Homeland 
Christine Baranski-The Good Wife
Emilia Clarke-Game of Thrones 
Anna Gunn-Breaking Bad 
Christina Hendricks-Mad Men
Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey

Who Should Win: Anna Gunn may be hated by many as Skylar White, but he character has developed into something much more like able, and understanding.  Gunn's walk into the pool was haunting and she should win this prize.

Who Will Win:  Anna Gunn is is going to win this prize, but never rule out Dame Maggie Smith who is one of the most liked characters on this series; she is the character people talk about the most, and she has the prestige to back her up, never count her out, but I do think that Gunn is going to win this award this year.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 
Mayim Bialik-The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen-Modern Family 
Anna Chlumsky-Veep
Jane Krakowski-30 Rock 
Jane Lynch-Glee
Sofia Vergara-Modern Family 
Merrit Wever-Nurse Jackie

Who Should Win: This is probably the weakest category in all of the acting nominees (minus guest) this year.  Of these nominees the winner should be Anna Chlumsky she has done a great job evolving the character of Amy.

Who Will Win:  While I would love to see Jane Krakowski win this award I believe Julie Bowen is on for a three-peat; she is well liked, and that is a traditional pattern within this category, so why break tradition.

Best Directing in a Comedy Series-Louie-Daddy's Girlfriend
Best Directing in a Drama Series-Breaking Bad-Gliding Over All
Best Writing in a Comedy Series-30 Rock-Last Lunch
Best Writing in a Drama Series-Homeland-Q& A
Outstanding Mini-Series/Movie-Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series/Movie-Michael Douglas-Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini-Series/Movie-Jessica Lange-American Horror Story: Asylum
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series/Movie-Scott Bakula-Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series/Movie-Sarah Paulson-American Horror Story: Asylum

Friday, September 20, 2013

Emmy Week (2013) Who Should Have been Nominated?

Every year there are always some gasps about major snubs, and because the Emmy Awards split their categories between drama, and comedy, there are always one or two in each category that should have made the cut in each category, but did not.  Who should have made the cut?

Outstanding Drama Series 
The Good Wife 

The Good Wife was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series for its first two years, but last year it was snubbed, and it became the first year no major broadcast nominees received a nomination.  Wife had a slow start, but built to a terrific finale, and had one of its strongest years creatively.

What would it have replaced, Downton Abbey.  Sorry friends, Downton is good, and addicting drama, but it is not one of the best shows on the air anymore.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Matthew Rhys-The Americans

While the show itself was not amazing, in my opinion the performances from Matthew Rhys and Kerri Russell were out of this world.  Rhys who was great on Brothers & Sisters took things to a whole new level in this show.

Who would he have replaced-Hugh Bonneville-Downton Abbey-While Hugh had a great story line this past season with the death of his daughter and trouble with his marriage he could not hold a candle to the great performance of Rhys.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Tatiana Maslany-Orphan Black

Maslany is a multiple threat, and I mean that literally she plays so many roles on Orphan Black it is hard to keep track of the number.  Maslany is fantastic in all of these roles, and she carried this show on her back with her great performance.

Who would she have replaced-Connie Britton-Nashville-The Emmy Awards have a toner for Britton, and while she deserved her three previous nominations she should have sat this year out.  Nashville is fun, and Britton is great, but Maslany is just miles ahead.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (tie)
Sam Waterston-The Newsroom 

Love or hate the first season of The Newsroom, you can't deny that Charlie Skinner (Waterston) was the heart, which kept this show going.  Waterston is great in this role, and made you feel the passion this man has had for the news all these years.

Who would he have replaced?-Bobby Cannavale-Boardwalk Empire-Again Cannavale is a great actor, and I have admired his career trajectory, but this role was too over the top for me.  I think Waterston's under stated nature grounded his show.

 Corey Stoll-House of Cards

How can you nominate House of Cards for Best Drama, Best Actor, and give it 7 other nominations without a nomination for Corey Stoll.  Stoll was the heart of of this show, and his downward spiral within the DC world of political power was fascinating thanks in great part to this character actor.

Who would he have replaced?-Aaron Paul-Breaking Bad-I know this going to be unpopular, but Paul did not do much at all last season (I would nominate him next year).  In the first half of the last season Jesse Pinkman took a back seat to Mike, and just did not have as much to do; he was still great.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Monica Potter-Parenthood

Potter's cancer story line was one of the most heart wrenching things on television this past year; she was great, and I do not know if there was a moment where the actress did not sell every aspect of dealing with her disease.  What a beautiful performance.

Who would she have replaced-Christina Hendricks-Mad Men-Come on Matthew Weiner Joan is more than window dressing, and you gave her nothing to do this past season.  I get that the show centers around Don, but you lose other characters in the mix, and this year you did not do enough for the talented Ms. Hendricks.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation

For some reason the Emmy Awards nominated this show one year, and has forgotten about it year after year.  This show continues to be the funniest show on the air, and the Emmy Awards for some reason have not gotten on board with this show.  Leslie Knope come on!

What would this show have replaced-30 Rock-While the show had a great last season, I think Parks never falters the way Rock did, and I would have rather seen the Emmy Awards stop trying to think their cool.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jake Johnson-New Girl

Nick Miller grew up a little bit, and his relationship with Jess last season was one of the biggest highlights of the season.  Aside from this relationship Nick developed even further, and this is in large part to Jake Johnson's performance.

Who would he have replaced-Matt LeBlanc-Episodes-Another talented actor who has grown, but this show has lost its flavor, and LeBlanc did not do enough to deserve a nomination this time around.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 
Zooey Deschanel-New Girl

How do you forget this quirky girl?  While the list of six nominees is great this year I can't help but think that without Deschanel there is something missing.  Jess's journey through love, and unemployment this year was touching, and hilarious.

Who would she have replaced-Edie Falco-Nurse Jackie-Falco is a great actress, and the show is solid, but she should have been bumped, because people are just simply voting for her as a name rather than on the talent.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 
Simon Helberg-The Big Bang Theory

How do you ignore Howard ?  Hellberg and the writing have fleshed out this character brilliantly making him less one dimensional hornball and rather a great loving husband, and soon to be father this season.  I am excited to see how that plays out, but there are more men on this show than Parson.

Who would he have replaced-Any of the Modern Family men-Hard to pick, each the show is getting monotonous, and while its hilarious, and good still, they should not have three spots anymore, and its to go in the way of The West Wing, where they fade away slowly.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 
Jessica Walter-Arrested Development

Binge watching, and the Emmy Awards were not kind to Arrested Development, but Walter should have been nominated, her single episode was one of the best of the season; she is great and one of the best television characters of all time.  How and why did she miss out?

Who would she have replaced-Jane Lynch-Glee-Speaking of character fatigue, love Jane Lynch, but how do these voters see this character as anything but one note now.  Ryan Murphy is the only person to blame, because he had no structure to the progression of his character.  In fact I think he makes things up as he goes, but poor Jane Lynch should not be nominated this year.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tune In or Tune Out: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Created by: Dan Goor (Parks and Recreation), Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation)
Starring: Andy Samberg, Melissa Fuermo, Joe Lo Truglio, Terry Crews, and Andre Braugher 

The team from Parks and Recreation has brought together another odd ball group, but this time they are in a police station in Brooklyn.  While crime hasn't been funny since Barney Miller (1974-1982) this show tackles cops in a truly hilarious way.

The shows strength is ensemble which centers around Detective Jake Peralta (Samburg), Detective Amy Santiago (Fuermo), Detective Charles Boyle (Lo Truglio), Sergeant  Terry Jeffords (Crews), Captain Ray Holt (Braugher), and some relatively new players to round out the ensemble.  This show was at the top of my list for must-watch new comedies, and it did not disappoint. 

While Samburg may not be everyone's cup of tea his charm as cocky police officer attempting to grow up works.  Samburg has worked with Schur before on Parks and Recreation; he gets the humor and blends into this series well without becoming too obnoxious.  The best part of this first episode was Braugher; he is one of my favorite actors working today, and he tackles humor here with that perfect dry wit.  Braugher is the standout of the episode, but like this duos past work on Parks and Recreation there is a great ensemble which looks like it will be developed further.  The only person who felt a little out of place was Crews whose shell shocked officer was more gimmick than anything else.  

These two men who have worked on Parks and Recreation have helped write and create some of the greatest moments for the show.  Parks and and Recreation also knows how to use characters, through evolving them, or having them move on from the series.   I feel as though this was a great start to a show that has tremendous potential.   

Tune In! One of my Favorite Comedy pilots in a while 

Tune In or Tune Out: Sleepy Hollow (FOX)

Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
Created by: Alex Kurtsman (Fringe), Roberto Orci (Fringe), Phillip Iscove, Len Wiseman (Underworld)
Starring: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, and Orlando Jones

The legend of Sleepy Hollow with the headless horseman, Ichabod Crane, the Von Tussles, and many more characters has been told in a variety of manners from cartoon to a film version from Tim Burton in 1999.  This television series takes on the lore in a present day setting with a hole new twist.

After Ichabod Crane (Mison) 'dies' on a mission for George Washington in 1781 he is transported to present day 2013.  When Ichabod is transported to the present day so is the Headless Horsemen and he goes on a murderous rage in order to find his head.  Crane teams up with police office Abbie Mills (Beharie) in order to track down the Horseman to try and stop him, and figure out why and how both men ended up in the present day.

This show was surprisingly entertaining, the only reason I ended up watching the show was because my friend reminded me it was airing, and not other broadcast networks were airing new scripted television shows.  This became more of a happy accident, the episode went by quickly, was action packed and entertaining.

One of the flaws in the show was the quick pace of the the connection between Crane, and Abbie things moved about as quickly as they would or should move within at least three episodes or more to build that connection.  While this can also be seen as the show not wasting any time with the pleasantries I think taking time to develop the show a little more would have worked better.

With that said the preview for the upcoming episodes looked solid, and I am excited with change of direction with the myth the show is exploring.  I am not going to spoil the show because i liked stumbling upon it as the show unfolded, but this horsemen.  I think the strength behind this show is that it has two co-creators of Fringe, whose lore became one of the strongest aspects of the series.  I trust Alex Kurtsman and Roberto Orci to take this show to a level similar to that of Fringe, which will be a great achievement.  

Hollow already has success on its side, the ratings (without DVR) were the highest FOX has had for a a Pilot of a scripted shows since K-Ville in 2006 with 10 million viewers.  If the show continues to carve out the niche lore genre of the supernatural then I feel that this show can be a massive success.  The show does have to be mindful of of its acting, and being too fast paced or too "out there."

Tune In (for Now)-If you like the supernatural

Emmy Week (2013): Time to Liven Up Outstanding Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards. Can Louis C.K. Save the Day?

For the past 6 years 2 shows have won Outstanding Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards, 30 Rock and  Modern Family.  From 1999 until 2006 only one show repeated their victory and that show was Everybody Loves Raymond.  Between 1999 and 2006 shows like Ally McBeal, Friends, Will & Grace, Sex and the City, Arrested Development, and The Office each took their turn at the podium.  Each of these shows won in a year with critical support, they were the best seasons of their shows history, and deservedly.  The only win I would argue against was Everybody Loves Raymond's repeat, which should have been a repeat win for Arrested Development, or even Desperate Housewives.

As stated above 30 Rock and Modern Family have dominated these categories for six years, and this could be the seventh, this award winner has gotten stale like back to the days of Frasier's 5-peat in the mid to late nineties.  The big question of the week is can comedian Louis C.K. come in and save the day making this category a bit more interesting?

Ove the years only a few shows have repeated in this category, Frasier has the most wins at 5.  There are three shows tied with four wins: All in the Family, Cheers, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Four shows have three wins: 30 Rock, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Modern Family, and Taxi.  Seven shows have 2 wins: Everybody Loves Raymond, Get Smart, The Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, The Jack Benny Show, Murphy Brown, and The Phil Silvers Show.

Of the 65 years only 20 years have had repeat winners, which is pretty great at creating variety in this category, but we are in a drought.  Both Modern Family and 30 Rock are heavy front runners this year, but there is one upstart who could change it all, and that's Louis C.K. for Louie.

Over the years shows like Louie rarely win in the series category, but do score nominations.  Curb Your Enthusiasm is obviously the closest show to compare.  Curb  has been nominated for 39 Emmy Awards, but only won 2, only one non technical award for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.  Louie has just tied Curb's record of two wins, one for writing last year, and one for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.  C.K. himself has been nominated all three the show has been on the air for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, but this is the first year the show has been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series.  Can Louis C.K. do what Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld from an HBO series could never do with Curb, win?

Louis C.K. is nominated for nine Emmy Awards this year, and the answer is maybe.  Is there Modern Family fatigue?  The show was nominated for fewer awards this year, and one of their cast members was snubbed for the first time since the first season.  The show also has no writing nominations.  Can 30 Rock swing back for the purpose of sentimentality?  The show won it's first Emmy in 3 years Outstanding Casting, which is fairly rare for a show in its last season.  The only problem is that only two shows have won for their final seasons, and they are Everybody Loves Raymond and Barney Miller.  30 Rock may win win an acting and writing or directing, but not series.

Does this open the door for Louie?  Why not The Big Bang Theory, the most watched show comedy on television?  Bang has no writing or directing nominations, along with some of the other major technical awards that signal a win here.  Girls is too polarizing and has lost its sheen, and while Veep has the clout it did not score a writing or directing nomination in a show where those factors are the most important.

My gut says Modern Family will keep the snooze fest of this category alive, but I am going to go out on a limb, and predict that Louie will shake things up, and pull out a surprise victory in this category.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Emmy Week (2013): The Kerry Washington Factor-African American/Black Actors at the Emmy Awards

This year marks the first nomination for an African American or black actress in Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category since Cicely Tyson for Sweet Justice in 1995, no woman has won in this category, will Kerry Washington make history?

Before I delve into the specific category let's look at the history of African American/black nominees, and their appalling lack of acting nominees at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

 I will be using charts from wikipedia, and cross check their validation with

Listed below is the list of acting nominees comedy, drama, and mini-series or movie:

Only 4 women have been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, they are split 4 different shows, and no black female  has been nominated in this category since 1986 (Phylicia Rashad). Isabel Sanford is the only person who won in this category. The total number of nominations is 12.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1969Diahann CarrollJuliaNominatedFirst black actress nominated in this category.
1979Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1980Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1981Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsWonFirst black actress to win this category.
1982Nell CarterGimme a BreakNominated
1982Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1983Nell CarterGimme a BreakNominated
1983Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1984Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1985Isabel SanfordThe JeffersonsNominated
1985Phylicia RashadThe Cosby ShowNominated
1986Phylicia RashadThe Cosby ShowNominated
This category is better than Lead Actress, 7 men have been nominated within this category for 7 different shows.  Unlike the Actress category two men have been nominated within the last decade Bernie Mac and Don Cheedle.  Only Robert Guillaume has won this award, but that was in 1985.  Bill Cosby did not submit his name for The Cosby Show from the 1980s.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
1970Bill CosbyThe Bill Cosby ShowNominatedFirst black actor to be nominated in this category
1970Lloyd HaynesRoom 222NominatedFirst black actor to be nominated in this category
1972Redd FoxxSanford and SonNominated
1973Redd FoxxSanford and SonNominated
1974Redd FoxxSanford and SonNominated
1980Robert GuillaumeBensonNominated
1982Robert GuillaumeBensonNominated
1983Robert GuillaumeBensonNominated
1984Robert GuillaumeBensonNominated
1985Robert GuillaumeBensonWonFirst black actor to win in this category
1988Tim ReidFrank's PlaceNominated
2002Bernie MacThe Bernie Mac ShowNominated
2003Bernie MacThe Bernie Mac ShowNominated
2012Don CheadleHouse of LiesNominated
2013Don CheadleHouse of LiesNominated
There have only been 6 nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actor catregory, and the only winner was back in 1979, and it was Robert Guillaume who portrayed Benson in the television series Soap.  This means that while Guillaume is the only  black two time winner; he is the only black male to win at the Primetime Emmy Awards in the Comedy categories. Before Tracy Morgan's nomination in 2009 no one had been nominated in 20 years.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
1979Robert GuillaumeSoapWonFirst African-American nominated in this category.
First to win in this category.
1982Ron GlassBarney MillerNominated
1983Eddie MurphySaturday Night LiveNominated
1986Malcolm Jamal-WarnerThe Cosby ShowNominated
1989Meshach TaylorDesigning WomenNominated
2009Tracy Morgan30 RockNominated
7 women have been nominated and only one woman has won the Outstanding Supporting Actress award, and that's Jackee Harry for 227.  Marla Gibbs was the consistent nominee in this category with 5 nominations, but she never won.  Vanessa Williams was the favorite to win many times, but never did; she and Alfre Woodard were the only two nominees since 1988.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
1981Marla GibbsThe JeffersonsNominatedFirst black actress to be nominated in this category.
1982Marla GibbsThe JeffersonsNominated
1983Marla GibbsThe JeffersonsNominated
1984Marla GibbsThe JeffersonsNominated
1984Paula KellyNight CourtNominated
1985Marla GibbsThe JeffersonsNominated
1986Lisa BonetThe Cosby ShowNominated
1986Keshia Knight PulliamThe Cosby ShowNominated
1987Jackee Harry227WonFirst black actress to win in this category.
1988Jackee Harry227Nominated
2006Alfre WoodardDesperate HousewivesNominated
2007Vanessa WilliamsUgly BettyNominated
2008Vanessa WilliamsUgly BettyNominated
2009Vanessa WilliamsUgly BettyNominated
In the world of Outstanding Lead actor in a Drama series there has been more success, mildly.  This category has had three different winners, Bill Cosby won this award three times for I Spy, James Earl Jones won once for Gabriel's Fire, and Andre Braugher won once for Homicide: Life on the Streets.  As of the late 90s until the present Braugher is the most consistent black actor nominated for the Emmy Awards.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1966Bill CosbyI SpyWonFirst African-American (male or female) to win a Primetime Emmy.
First African-American actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
First African-American actor to win a Primetime Emmy.
First black actor to be nominated in this category.
First actor to win in this category.
1967Bill CosbyI SpyWon
1968Bill CosbyI SpyWon
1981Louis Gossett, Jr.Palmerstown, U.S.A.Nominated
1991James Earl JonesGabriel's FireWonSecond African-American to win this category.
1996Andre BraugherHomicide: Life on the StreetNominated
1998Andre BraugherHomicide: Life on the StreetWonThird African-American to win this category.
2001Andre Braugher  Gideon's CrossingNominated
On to the category which sparked my interest in this topic, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.  Kerry Washington from Scandal is the first nominee in this category in 18 years.  Prior to Washington there were only four other actresses nominated and none of them won.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
1982Debbie AllenFameNominatedFirst black actress nominated in this category.
1983Debbie AllenFameNominated
1984Debbie AllenFameNominated
1985Debbie AllenFameNominated
1986Alfre WoodardSt. ElsewhereNominated
1992Regina TaylorI'll Fly AwayNominated
1993Regina TaylorI'll Fly AwayNominated
1995Cicely TysonSweet JusticeNominated
2013Kerry WashingtonScandalNominated
9 different actors have been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama series, but none of them have won.  Once again Andre Braugher is a consistent nominee scoring two nominations for Men of a Certain Age within the last decade.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
1969Greg MorrisMission: ImpossibleNominatedCategory was known as Best Continued Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series.
First African-American nominated in this category.
1970Greg MorrisMission: ImpossibleNominatedCategory was known as Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama.
1972Greg MorrisMission: ImpossibleNominatedCategory was known as Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama.
1982Taurean BlacqueHill Street BluesNominated
1995James Earl JonesUnder One RoofNominated
1995Eriq La SalleERNominated
1996James McDanielNYPD BlueNominated
1997Eriq La SalleERNominated
1998Eriq La SalleERNominated
1999Steve HarrisThe PracticeNominated
2000Steve HarrisThe PracticeNominated
2002Dulé HillThe West WingNominated
2010Andre BraugherMen of a Certain AgeNominated
2011Andre BraugherMen of a Certain AgeNominated
2012Giancarlo EspositoBreaking BadNominated
8 different women have been nominated in Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, but this is the only category where people have nominated for more than one role, CCH Pounder for ER and The Shield, and Madge Sinclair for Trapper John M.D. and Gabriel's Fire.  This category also has the most winners with four.  Chandra Wilson was the most consistent recent nominee; she did win at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards, but never won the Emmy Award.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1970Gail FisherMannixWonFirst black actress to win in this category.
1971Gail FisherMannixNominated
1972Gail FisherMannixNominated
1973Gail FisherMannixNominated
1983Madge SinclairTrapper John, M.D.Nominated
1984Alfre WoodardHill Street BluesWonSecond black actress to win in this category.
1984Madge SinclairTrapper John, M.D.Nominated
1985Madge SinclairTrapper John, M.D.Nominated
1991Madge SinclairGabriel's FireWonThird black actress to win in this category.
1992Mary AliceI'll Fly AwayNominated
1993Mary AliceI'll Fly AwayWonFourth black actress to win in this category.
1997CCH PounderERNominated
1997Della ReeseTouched by an AngelNominated
1997Gloria ReubenERNominated
1998Della ReeseTouched by an AngelNominated
1998Gloria ReubenERNominated
2005CCH PounderThe ShieldNominated
2006Chandra WilsonGrey's AnatomyNominated
2007Chandra WilsonGrey's AnatomyNominated
2008Chandra WilsonGrey's AnatomyNominated
2009Chandra WilsonGrey's AnatomyNominated
Looking at the track record for the Emmy Awards it is appalling to see the, or not see more African American or black performers nominated.  The nominees should obviously be merit based, but this speaks to lack of quality material for all people of color on television, and I think this should be a wake up call for television that this is a problem, and should not be accepted.

This year Kerry Washington and Don Cheedle are both nominated for Emmy Awards, and honestly both have a shot.  Cheedle won the Golden Globe, and in a weak category with actor's tapes he could easily sneak in for the win as a big name celebrity.  Cheedle has stiff competition from Jim Parson, Alec Baldwin, and Louis C.K.. At the moment Kerry Washington is a close second behind Homeland's Claire Danes.  Based on the tapes actor's submit Danes is the favorite, but Washington submitted a solid tape, and could pull off a mini-upset.  Both are great in their shows, and could win.  With that said television needs to be aware of the material out there for actors of color and realize there is not enough, and television could be doing more.