Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Alterna-Emmys

Another year, another case of the Emmys wasting time with this elaborate poll instead of just asking me.  Seriously, just getting me to list the nominees and winners would spare everyone a lot of extra work.  This year I'm going to stick to the actual Academy ballot for the eligible shows and performances, with a couple of exceptions.

Actual nominees: Christine Baranski/The Good Wife, Joanne Froggatt/Downton Abbey, Anna Gunn/Breaking Bad, Christina Hendricks/Mad Men, Lena Headey/Game Of Thrones, Maggie Smith/Downton Abbey
My ballot: Gunn, Headey, Hendricks, Smith, Emilia Clarke/Game Of Thrones, Kiernan Shipka/Mad Men
My winner: Headey

I feel like there's been a slight sea change in how we perceive Headey's performance on GoT.  While everyone hailed it as very good since the very beginning, it wasn't until this particular season when I think everyone really realized just how much she's killing it in this role week after week.  She stands out as the best of the field, though I suspect Gunn may win as part of the Breaking Bad semi-sweep.

Actual nominees: Lizzy Caplan/Masters Of Sex, Claire Danes/Homeland, Michelle Dockery/Downton Abbey, Julianne Margulies/The Good Wife, Kerry Washington/Scandal, Robin Wright/House Of Cards
My ballot: Caplan, Danes, Margulies, Washington, Tatiana Maslany/Orphan Black, Elisabeth Moss/Mad Men
My winner: Moss

Full disclosure, I don't watch many of the nominated performances in this category yet sight unseen, Maslany got robbed.  She plays almost every damn role on the show --- heck, she should've nominated herself in the supporting category just for kicks.  Elisabeth Moss' annual disrespect at the Emmys hit a new low this year when she somehow wasn't even nominated for her annual great work on 'Mad Men,' and really, she should have at least a couple of trophies by now.  I'm not looking forward to Claire Danes getting into 'alright already' territory with a third Emmy or (even worse) Robin Wright winning for a legitimately bad performance.

Actual nominees: Jim Carter/Downton Abbey, Josh Charles/The Good Wife, Peter Dinklage/Game Of Thrones, Mandy Patinkin/Homeland, Aaron Paul/Breaking Bad, Jon Voight/Ray Donovan
My ballot: Dinklage, Charles Dance/Games Of Thrones, Vincent Kartheiser/Mad Men, Matthew Lillard/The Bridge, Dean Norris/Breaking Bad, John Slattery/Mad Men
My winner: Slattery

Traditionally one of the deepest categories at the Emmys, I don't even have much of an issue with the actual nominee list yet I'm almost entirely turning it over.  My hope is that Dinklage wins the actual trophy (damn, he is such a great actor) and yet on my ballot, I'd narrowly go with Slattery if for no other reason than the Roger character  had a lot of ups and downs this season.

Actual nominees: Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad, Jeff Daniels/The Newsroom, Jon Hamm/Mad Men, Woody Harrelson/True Detective, Matthew McConaughey/True Detective, Kevin Spacey/House Of Cards
My ballot: Cranston, Hamm, Harrelson, McConaughey, Spacey, no sixth
My winner: Cranston
Like last year's inexplicable Daniels win, there's some real opportunity for failure in this category.  A Daniels repeat or Spacey winning for his scenery-chewing would be a real facepalm moment.  Harrelson winning would be a surprise just because of how much McC dominated the conversation about their show, and while Woody was also great, it'd also be a head-scratching decision.  So we're down to the stalwarts of Cranston and Hamm, plus the spectre of McConaughey swooping in to add an Emmy to his incredible awards year.  I have no issue with any of the three winning, and even though this is our last chance to reward Cranston and McC, I'd still like to see Hamm earn that long-deserved first Emmy.  Like to see it, however, doesn't top choking bad a sob while angrily chewing out your wife in an attempt to get her off the hook with the police, so Cranston should find some room on his shelf.

Actual nominees: Fred Armisen/Portlandia, Andre Braugher/Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Ty Burrell/Modern Family, Adam Driver/Girls, Jesse Tyler Ferguson/Modern Family, Tony Hale/Veep
My ballot: Steve Little/Eastbound & Down, Joe Lo Truglio/Brooklyn Nine-Nine, TJ Miller/Silicon Valley, Kumail Nanjiani/Silicon Valley, Nick Offerman/Parks & Recreation, Reid Scott/Veep, Timothy C. Simons/Veep
My winner: Lo Truglio

Yeah, that's seven guys on the alterna-ballot, deal with it.  And honestly, I'd probably have at least one (Braugher) of the actual nominees if I was properly filling out a ballot, but I wanted to take the chance to cite some under-the-radar candidates for their hilarious work.  This is another incredibly deep category with loads of great performances.  Of the nominees, I'd favour Braugher or Ferguson over Burrell/Hale (past winners), Armisen (not a supporting performance) or Driver (out-er….space!)

Actual nominees: Louis CK/Louie, Don Cheadle/House Of Lies, Ricky Gervais/Derek, Matt LeBlanc/Episodes, William H. Macy/Shameless, Jim Parsons/Big Bang Theory
My ballot: Louis CK, Fred Armisen/Portlandia,* Jake Johnson/New Girl, Danny McBride/Eastbound & Down, Chris O'Dowd/Family Tree, Andy Samberg/Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Winner: McBride

Fun fact, this has secretly been one of the Emmys' weaker categories for quite some time.  The fact that Gervais got nominated for his thoroughly half-assed 'Derek' series is just about rock-bottom, or maybe it's the fact that Jim Parsons is assuredly going to win yet again is the real nadir.  You'll note that I'm putting Armisen here as a protest against he and Brownstein inexplicably submitting themselves as supporting performances.  There's a lack of ego and then there's outright category confusion.

Actual nominees: Mayim Bialik/Big Bang Theory, Julie Bowen/Modern Family, Anna Chlumsky/Veep, Allison Janney/Mom, Kate McKinnon/Saturday Night Live, Kate Mulgrew/Orange Is The New Black
My ballot: McKinnon, Mulgrew, Danielle Brooks/Orange Is The New Black, Nina Conti/Family Tree, Cristin Miloti/How I Met Your Mother, Michaela Watkins/Trophy Wife, Samira Wiley/Orange Is The New Black
My winner: McKinnon

Realistically, this Emmy will go to either Janney or Bowen (both longtime Emmy favourites) but man, this category is all about McKinnon or Mulgrew.  Either would be an amazing choice.  McKinnon was the unquestioned MVP of a very uneven SNL season, while Mulgrew put Captain Janeway thoroughly in the rearview mirror.  If I may rant here, I thoroughly don't understand the Emmys' "guest actor/actress" rules, since half of the OITNB cast seemed split between this category and the 'guest actress' category with no consideration given to screentime.  Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Taryn Manning….these were all way more than just 'guests' on OITNB, and had they listed themselves in this category, that show might well have almost swept my fake ballot.

Actual nominees: Lena Dunham/Girls, Edie Falco/Nurse Jackie, Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Veep, Melissa McCarthy/Mike & Molly, Amy Poehler/Parks & Recreation, Taylor Schilling/Orange Is The New Black
My ballot: Louis-Dreyfus, Poehler, Schilling, Carrie Brownstein/Portlandia*, Zooey Deschanel/New Girl
My winner: Poehler

I'll keep picking Poehler until she finally wins, dammit, though objectively it was a down season for P&R and this award probably should go to JLD yet again.  And again, hey Carrie Brownstein, YOU PLAY 40% OF THE ROLES ON THE SHOW.  You're the lead!

So we're into the shows themselves.  Here's my ranking of every show I watched more than two episodes of this past season, from worst to first.

696. Dexter
695-39. Every other show on television
38. Amazing Race 23
37. Amazing Race 24
36. The Bridge
35. Hello Ladies
34. Trophy Wife
32. House Of Cards
31. The Spoils Of Babylon
30. Homeland
29. Family Guy
28. Childrens Hospital
27. American Dad
26. The Simpsons
25. Saturday Night Live
24. How I Met Your Mother
23. Survivor Cagayan
22. Survivor Blood vs. Water
21. Family Tree
20. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
19. Sherlock
18. Archer Vice
17. Portlandia
16. Parks & Recreation
15. Modern Family
14. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
13. 24: Die Another Day
12. Veep
11. New Girl
10. Silicon Valley
9. Community
8. Louie
7. True Detective
6. Eastbound & Down
5. Brooklyn Nine Nine
4. Orange Is The New Black
3. Game Of Thrones
2. Mad Men
1. Breaking Bad

I've written before about how awesome OITNB is, and it thoroughly wins my 'Best Comedy' award….though c'mon, it's not really a comedy.  Hell, it's not even PRIMARILY a comedy by this point.  The second season was even better than the first thanks to our added depth on the characters, though I do kind of wonder if the series already feels unwilling to leave its comfort zone given how everything wrapped up in a relatively neat little package by the end of S2.  This all being said, it's still a fantastic show unlike anything else on television.

As if there was really any doubt over the top series of the year.  I've already written about the seemingly impossible challenge that Breaking Bad faced in living to everyone's expectations, and they delivered with arguably the best final season of any show in history.  BB finally got a well-earned Best Drama award last year, and it certainly deserves one more before going off into the Albuquerque sunset. 

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