The annual reveal of who is nominated for the Emmy Awards is something that is guaranteed to make my moods go out of control. Most of the time it's frustration over the same people and shows being nominated while other worthy opponents slip through the cracks. This year, however, the Emmy voters gave some different stuff this time around that leaves the feelings inside of me much more balanced. Here are my observations on what was great and horrific about this morning's nominations.
WHAT WAS GOOD
Game of Thrones
While I have not actually seen the HBO fantasy/science fiction series, it is a huge relief to see the Emmy voters embrace a show in a genre that very often is completely ignored by the Television Academy. With 13 overall nominations, Game of Thrones has the potential to be a major player and could be a big surprise come Emmy night. It's the only program of the six shows nominated for Outstanding Drama Series to receive nods in acting, writing and directing. Let's hope that the Emmy recognition of this genre is not just confined to this year and will be a continuous thing to look forward to.
Johnny Galecki and The Big Bang Theory
When The Big Bang Theory failed to make the cut for Outstanding Comedy Series last year, many thought that the program might never get the recognition in the top category that it deserved. What a difference a year makes. A year after Jim Parsons victory in the Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category, the show receives it's first bid for Comedy Series. As if that wasn't enough, TV veteran Johnny Galecki also received a nomination for Lead Actor (along with his co-star, Parsons) which shows just how endearing this show has become to Emmy voters. Now if only we could get the rest of the cast (Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayaar) nominated.
FX debuted Justified last year to stellar reviews, but the love from the Academy was practically non-existent. It scored only one nod for the music from the show's main titles. This year it received four bids; all of them for actors on the show. Timothy Olyphant received one for Lead Actor in a Drama. Walton Goggins finally earned some Emmy love in the supporting category after being passed up so many times for The Shield. Veteran character actress Margo Martindale nabbed her first Emmy nod for playing regional boss Mags Bennett and Jeremy Davies earned a guest acting nod for playing Martindale's incompetent son.
The category of Outstanding Animated Program was a very mixed bag to say the least. I can at least say that I was very glad to see South Park nominated in this category again and that the episode they were nominated for was the delightfully insane "Crack Baby Athletic Association". I can only hope that they win for this and if they should, the Emmy voters should probably be arrested for enjoying this episode enough to award it this honor.
Colin Quinn's one man show on Broadway may not have gotten any love at this past year's Tony Awards, but a sigh of relief can be blown thanks to Quinn's Emmy nomination for Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special. It's hard to size up the competition in these categories but the fact that Emmy voters knew to at least recognize Quinn's brilliant show, is comforting.
The cast of Modern Family...especially Ed O'Neill
It was very bittersweet last year to see the cast of Modern Family at the Emmys thinking that all the adult cast members had been nominated and then realize that Ed O'Neill had been left off that list. But this year that was remedied. All of last year's nominated cast are back this year and Ed O'Neill is along for the ride as well. After over two decades in television, including over ten years on Married...with Children, O'Neill finally gets his first nod at the Emmys.
WHAT WAS BAD/ENRAGING
Katey Sagal and Sons of Anarchy
The previous two seasons of FX's motorcycle gang drama were never that high on the Emmy radar. Like Justified, it only had one nomination to it's credit for it's first season and that was for the main title theme music. But with Katey Sagal's surprise win (to some) at the Golden Globes for Best Actress in a TV Series - Drama, it seemed that Emmy voters would have no choice but to seriously consider the show and Sagal's consistantly genius performance. Sadly that did not happen as SAMCRO received no nominations on Thursday morning. While the overlooking of the show in several categories is bad enough, Sagal's omission was especially outrageous. Her performance this year was just as good as it had ever been in the series. When you factor in the fact that Sagal has never received an Emmy nomination throughout her 30+ year career, it makes her snub almost unbearable.
Outstanding Animated Program
While I posted a very gleeful reaction to South Park receiving a nomination in this category earlier, there's a lot more about this category that irritates me than makes me happy. The omission of FX's hit show, Archer, is an outright crime. The quality of the spy comedy only improved after last year. Not only did the critics continue to praise the show in it's second season, but viewership of the show grew as well, with ratings going up 22% and leading to a third season of 16 episodes, compared to the second season's 13 episodes. Leaving Archer out of the category was bad enough, but to see that the abysmal Cleveland Show score a nomination over Archer was like pouring lemon juice on an open papercut.
The Walking Dead
AMC has been the destination for groundbreaking television over the past several years and no show demonstrated this better than The Walking Dead. The six episode first season managed to turn something that would normally be a forgettable two hour movie into a piece of television art that is one of the most anticipated shows to return in the fall. Maybe the Emmys allowed their bias against programs other than straight comedies or dramas to prevail or the program had been off the air for too long since the season wrapped up in December of last year. But either way, the show only scoring three nominations in technical fields is atrocious. Even if a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series was a longshot, the omission of Oscar nominee Frank Darabont for directing the pilot episode is especially mind-boggling.
Jon Cryer and Mariska Hargitay
Even with the decline of the quality of both of their shows (Two and a Half Men and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), these two past winners keep getting nominated. Very often it seems that after an actor wins for a role, the Emmys will stop nominating them, especially when their show is reaching seasons number nine, ten and so on. But somehow Cryer and Hargitay keep finding their way on the ballot and potentially end up playing spoiler in their category, even though the shows they are on are way past their expiration date.
The show True Blood has always been a show that's over the top and very ridiculous in it's nature. But last season we were finally introduced to a character that felt comfortable in the show's craziness and whose acting matched the level of craziness that the show was giving us. That character was Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi. Russell's madness and utter contempt for everything of modern vampire culture was an absolute joy to watch in each episode and Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare brought it brilliantly to life. His chance of being nominated was not anything certain, but it was definitely deserving of the recognition.
Real Time with Bill Maher
This past season of Real Time with Bill Maher was a very funny one indeed. I actually think it was one of the best seasons of the program I've ever seen and the show did earn a well deserved nod for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. But the show didn't earn an even more deserved bid for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Maher, who is among one of Emmy's biggest losers, and his writing crew really did deserve to be in this category for some of the most biting political and cultural satire I have seen in recent times. It seems obvious that Real Time's writers are far superior than those of other nominated shows Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.
What were your reactions to this years Emmy nods? Anything you feel the need to vent about? Leave a comment and let off the steam you need to!