Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 Emmy Award Nominations

I should have had this out earlier but I chose today to try out Saskatoon's newly revamped transit system (as commented on several times by Tim Gueguen most recently here). To put it in short terms - DART busses nice, walking 4 or five blocks to actually be able to catch a bus not so nice - and it's worse for my almost 77 year old mother.

On to the Emmys. This is the product of the revamped system?!? Time Magazine critic James Poniewozik describes it Thursday in his blog as "finding new ways to reward mediocrity", while Alan Sepinwall wrote "I'll rant more about this in the comments after I've had some time to process and to think about what I'm going to write for tomorrow's paper, but my initial reaction is that this is even worse than I was expecting." And Boston Globe critic Matthew Gilbert had this to say: "Yet if anything, the new voting system created to make the nominations more relevant has had the opposite effect." Why the upset reaction? Well I'll have further explanations when I comment on each the nominations but to quote the French novelist and journalist Alphonse Karr (I had to look up the originator) "Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose" - "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

Outstanding Drama Series
Grey's Anatomy - ABC
House - FOX
The Sopranos - HBO
24 - FOX
The West Wing - NBC
Comment: Not one show here has not received at least one Emmy nomination in this category before, and yet last year's winner Lost isn't included and not one new show is nominated. The nomination for The West Wing is so clearly a "lifetime achievement" nod, but I wish someone would explain to me why Desperate Housewives is a comedy but Grey's Anatomy is a drama. Notable by omission: Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars and a fair number of other good shows which probably says a lot more about just how good TV drama has become than anything else.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Arrested Development - Fox
Curb Your Enthusiasm - HBO
The Office - NBC
Scrubs - NBC
Two And A Half Men - CBS
Comment: I'm going to antagonize a lot of people here by saying that the Arrested Development nomination was a heart-felt FU to the Fox Network and by extension to the American public for not supporting the show. I'm sorry but the number of episodes that this show aired this season doesn't warrant an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination, one which could have gone to My Name Is Earl or Everybody Hates Chris or even Desperate Housewives. Well at least Will & Grace wasn't nominated

Outstanding Miniseries
Bleak House (Masterpiece Theatre) - PBS
Elizabeth I - HBO
Into The West - TNT
Sleeper Cell - Showtime
Comments: None.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race - CBS
American Idol - FOX
Dancing With The Stars - ABC
Project Runway - Bravo
Survivor - CBS
Comments: The usual suspects were rounded up.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Christopher Meloni - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - NBC
Denis Leary - Rescue Me - FX Network
Peter Krause - Six Feet Under - HBO
Martin Sheen - The West Wing - NBC
Kiefer Sutherland - 24 - Fox
Comments: I hate to denigrate Martin Sheen but he gets a nomination but Bradley Whitford doesn't? Odd given that Whitford, and Jimmy Smits for that matter, had more screen time on The West Wing than Sheen did this year. Okay, that's that moment out of the way. I honestly don't know that Christopher Meloni or Peter Krause deserve nominations either, when Hugh Laurie, and James Gandolfini don't get them.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer - TNT
Geena Davis - Commander in Chief - ABC
Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - NBC
Frances Conroy - Six Feet Under - HBO
Allison Janney - The West Wing - NBC
Comments: I'm not going to argue about Allison Janney in this one because I think she deserved it. On the other hand I will argue against Geena Davis because even though the collapse of Commander in Chief wasn't her fault but rather the fault of bad scripts, a lack of direction and a determination by ABC to meddle with the show repeatedly, she wasn't the best actor on the show (that would be Donald Sutherland) let alone the best actress in a drama. Where's Kristen Bell's nomination, or Edie Falco's.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lisa Kudrow - The Comeback - HBO
Jane Kaczmarek - Malcolm In The Middle - FOX
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - The New Adventures of Old Christine - CBS
Stockard Channing - Out Of Practice - CBS
Debra Messing - Will & Grace - NBC
Comments: It says a lot about a lot of things when only one nominee in this category will be returning next season. I'm not going to mention the fact that not one of the Desperate Housewives got a nomination including the won who got the award last year, you know, the one who picked up an Oscar nomination . No let's spend a few minutes remembering that the actresses on Big Love didn't get any recognition nor did Mary-Louise Parker from Weeds, not to mention Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls. I guess that says a lot more about the nominating process than about the quality of comedy roles for actresses, although it says something about that too.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm - HBO
Kevin James - The King of Queens - CBS
Tony Shalhoub - Monk - USA
Steve Carell - The Office - NBC
Charlie Sheen - Two and a Half Men - CBS
Comments: More of the usual suspects. Obvious switch is Jason Lee of My Name Is Earl for Kevin James, but what's the point? Most of the nominations in this category are adequate.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Sandra Oh - Grey's Anatomy - ABC
Blythe Danner - Huff - Showtime
Candice Bergen - Boston Legal - ABC
Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy - ABC
Jean Smart - 24 - FOX
Comments: Setting aside for the moment the question of whether Grey's Anatomy - or Boston Legal for that matter - is a drama when Desperate Housewives gets to be a comedy, I think this is actually a pretty solid slate of nominees, although I've heard some questioning about Gwyneth Paltrow's mother's nomination for Huff.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner - Boston Legal - ABC
Oliver Platt - Huff - Showtime
Michael Imperioli - The Sopranos - HBO
Gregory Itzin - 24 - FOX
Alan Alda - The West Wing - NBC
Comments: I'm not sure it's a good sign when the the only nomination in the acting categories that The Sopranos gets is for Imperioli. Not to detract from his work of course, I just think it's strange. I guess I could get all sentimental and say that it's a shame that they didn't nominate John Spencer but the fact is that there were other actors that are more deserving.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett - Arrested Development - Fox
Jeremy Piven - Entourage - HBO
Bryan Cranston - Malcolm In The Middle - FOX
Jon Cryer - Two And A Half Men - CBS
Sean Hayes - Will & Grace - NBC
Comments: I made my argument about Arrested Development earlier so I won't repeat it here. Instead I have to say something about Neil Patrick Harris not getting a nomination for How I Met Your Mother, and the fact that three of the nominated shows won't be back next year.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Cheryl Hines - Curb Your Enthusiasm - HBO
Jaime Pressly - My Name is Earl - NBC
Elizabeth Perkins - Weeds - Showtime
Alfre Woodard - Desperate Housewives - ABC
Megan Mullally - Will & Grace - NBC
Comments: Okay, so let me get this straight now. The only nomination that Desperate Housewives got this year was for the character who locked one of her sons in the basement for most of the season and in essence did not one thing to contribute to the comedy of the show and whose character was one of the reasons why the show rapidly descended to the ordinary? Okay, I thought so. Meanwhile neither Alyson Hannigan nor Cobie Smulders gets nominated for anything for How I Met Your Mother. Of course neither do Alexis Bledel for Gilmore Girls or Tichina Arnold as the mother in Everybody Hates Chris but given the way the Academy - new procedures or old - treats the weblets, it's hardly surprising.

The Emmys will be awarded on August 27, with Conan O'Brien again hosting.

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