2014 Emmy Reactions

The 2014 Emmy season is upon us.  Nominations were broadcasted this morning at 8:30 AM EST/5:30 AM PST.  While most people probably slept through the nominations, I was up with baited breath just hoping this would be the year that some of televisions most talented performances weren’t overlooked.  Unfortunately, every award show comes with a handful of snubs, the academy omitting some of the most outstanding work on television today.  Accordingly, exceptional work by some stellar people was recognized this year.

The Snubs

orphanblackTatiana Maslany (Orphan Black): Hands down one of the most marvelous actresses on television is none other than Tatiana Maslany and her work on the BBC American show Orphan Black.  Tatiana has taken on the role of on not one, not three, not five, but eight different clones throughout the series.  Only in its second season, Maslany has continuously showcased just how unique one person can make eight different characters.

shamelessShamelessEmmy Rossum, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Allen White: Bumping Shameless into the comedy category proved well for the Showtime series as William H. Macy was finally recognized for his work as alcoholic, deadbeat dad Frank Gallagher.  Although Macy’s nomination was a nice surprise, Frank’s shenanigans on the show have taken a backseat to the younger cast of Shameless.  Emmy Rossum (Fiona) hands down carries the series, while Jeremy Allen White (Lip) and Noel Fisher (Mickey) pulled out some amazing performances this year.  It can be argued that Shameless isn’t fit for the comedy category — this past season went to some pretty dark places — but a nomination for Macy may lead to further recognition down the road for this very talented ensemble show.

Dean Norris (Breaking Bad): Perhaps one of the most infuriating snubs of the season as Norris’ eligibility for an Emmy ended this year with the last season of Breaking Bad.  The standout character development of DEA agent Hank Schrader was above and beyond this past year.

Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation): No explanations needed.  Offerman’s Ron Swanson has been overlooked for the past six years.  A real travesty for the comedy category as his portrayal is perhaps some of the most excellent comedic work on television to date.

mcbrideMelissa McBride (The Walking Dead): A standalone performance on a continuously overlooked show.  Melissa McBride’s portrayal of Carol on this season of The Walking Dead outshone her fellow cast members.  Carol’s ultimate sacrifice of [spoiler] killing Lizzie, the psychotic child she had sworn to protect, was phenomenal.  It’s no surprise TWD and its acting was once again passed over as series star Andrew Lincoln and once cast member Jon Bernthal have been just as deserving of a nomination in the past.

hannwillHannibalMads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Raul Esparza: NBC’s Hannibal falls into an interesting category.  It’s horror and horror is not something the academy often moves towards.  But with the continuous recognition of American Horror Story, Hannibal is finally in a place to deserve a fair chance at recognition.  Although the show can be gory and over the top, the acting continues to be absolutely stellar.  Titular character Mads Mikkelsen shatters any doubters as Hannibal Lecter, while Hugh Dancy’s struggling Will is harrowing.  Guest actor Raul Esparza (Dr. Chilton) maintains a manipulative yet funny presence on the show.  The direction cinematography are not like any other on TV today.

Arrow stunt work: A random and underrated addition.  But Arrow’s leading man, Stephen Amell, does all of his own parkour-esque stunts.  This comic book inspired show is a hotbed for incredible stunt work.

The Well-Deserved:

The Normal Heart (various nominations): No surprises here.  The HBO movie was absolutely out of this world.  From the story to the acting, The Normal Heart may be this years best few hours of television.  Stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomber, Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, and Alfred Molina all garnered nominations for their performances.  The movie is sure to win best TV movie and will probably dominate in the acting categories as well.

ahscovenAmerican Horror Story: Coven (various nominations): QUEENS.  Is there any other word to describe the handful of women all nominated for their acting in the third installment of American Horror Story? Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates all held their own this year on the miniseries.

William H. Macy (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Shameless): As stated above, Shameless‘ move into the comedy category proved worthy.  Macy has continuously given life to patriarch Frank Gallagher.

Amy Poehler (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Parks and Recreation): If Parks and Recreation has to continuously face being ignored by the voters then at least leading lady Amy Poehler’s nomination can give some light to the underrated comedy.

oitnbOrange is the New Black (various nominations): The Netflix comedy’s inaugural season was not surprisingly given high praise and high recognition.  As well as the show as a
whole, actresses Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red), Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), Laverne Cox (Sophia), and Uzo Aduba (Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’), were all bestowed accolades for their work on the show.  And that’s just for season one.

freddyhocReg E. Cathy (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – House of Cards): A House of Cards fan favorite.  Freddy and his BBQ joint were highlighted in a devastating way during HOC’s second season.  Cathy’s performance was a gut-wrenching look into the inner city of DC, one that left audiences heartbroken and angry.

Breaking Bad (various nominations): No explanation needed.  The AMC drama’s swan song season was some of the best television ever made.  All the performances (including nominees Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn) were top-notch and the series once again proved that television can be a real piece of art.

The Originals (Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series): Because of reasons.

originals

What Can Be Done:

Implementing a separate sci-fi/horror/genre category: Shows like Orphan Black, The Walking Dead, and Hannibal continuously fall onto the short list.  Over the years, television has jumped leaps and bounds, making way for groundbreaking shows that don’t exactly fit into a drama or comedy category.  Shows that implement a horror, sci-fi, or otherworldly story house some of the best talent on television today.  The Emmy voters have slowly taken note, continuously commending the work on Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, but there are so many more deserving pieces of work out there.  An additional category to single out these series and performances would make way for some new faces.  Television is ever evolving and the Emmy’s should follow suit.

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What’s in a Storyline?

Television shows hinge on their storylines.  These stories captivate the audience, making them want to tune in week after week.  Most programs have many characters, with several different plots going on at one time.  Because of this some lines get relegated to secondary storylines.  I’ve decided to delve into some of my favorite secondary, yet oh so important continuing stories that have kept me tuned in:

Ann, Chris, and (maybe) baby makes three:  Parks and Recreation’s Ann Perkins is a well rounded, beautiful, and smart character.  She is Leslie’s second hand woman and best friend forever.  She’s funny and often is a good voice of reason for uptight (but also amazing) Leslie.  Ann however has failed in one area of her life: dating.

parksThroughout the course of the show, Ann had dated many different men.  A few serious, bust mostly casual relationships, which had landed her back into singledom.  During this latest season, Ann came to the realization: all she wanted in life is to be a mom.  She decided since dating had failed her too many times she would simply find a willing donor and raise a baby herself.  Not such a bad idea except for the whole little thing of, you know, finding a suitable donor.  Ann scoured Pawnee, hoping to find the perfect match.  She had a long list of what she did and didn’t want and no one seemed to match up.  Until it dawned on her.  Ex beau Chris Traeger would be the perfect donor.  Though a perfectionist and neurotic, Chris would make a great father.

Ann presented Chris with the idea of having a baby together, yet remaining in a platonic relationship.  Chris, caught off guard, wasn’t sure how to react.  In the end though he agreed to donate his sperm AND help Ann raise their baby.  He also wanted to be a parent.  I had been yelling at the TV since the beginning of the storyline was conceived, “ASK CHRIS, ASK CHRIS, ASK CHRIS.”  I always liked them together and even if they aren’t destined to be romantically linked in the end, at least the possibility of them raising a what is sure to be attractive child (with a great head of hair) is on the table.

To Milkovich or not to Milkovich: Since season one of Showtime’s Shameless, Ian Gallagher had a thing for men he can’t (and shouldn’t) have.  The series began with him involved with his conservative, much older, and very much so in the closet manager at the convenience store he worked at, Kash .  Ian and Kash’s relationship was confined to when they worked together as Kash was a Muslim and married to a very strict woman, with children.  When Kash’s wife discovered their relationship, everything headed south, eventually ending for good when Kash bailed and left town.

shamelessSoon after, Ian began a relationship with tough boy, Mickey.  Mickey, who had been in and out of juvenile detention centers his whole life and lived under the roof of his distant and abusive father, terrorized Kash and his convenience store.  Ian, thinking he was simply going over to confront Mickey from stealing from the store, found himself in bed with Mickey, naked and engaging in sexual acts.  And so began the Ian/Mickey relationship that has continued all the way through to season three.

shameless2Though complicated and tumultuous, Ian and Mickey’s relationship has been a roller coaster of emotions, both love and hate.  Ian has constantly craved more from Mickey and Mickey, still trying to keep up appearances, has done nothing but hide from the truth of his sexuality.  Deep down Ian knew Mickey loved him but if the Milkovich family had proved anything it was that they were stubborn and set in their ways.  Caught by Mickey’s father, Ian was forced to watch as Mickey had sex with a Russian prostitute.  Ian soon found out that Mickey had allegedly impregnated the girl and they were set to be married.  In his confrontation Ian begs for Mickey to finally show some kind of emotion regarding their relationship, but no luck.  Mickey beats Ian up, refusing to admit that he is gay and loves Ian.  Ian, heartbroken over the situation, backed down, breaking my heart along with his.  Their relationship has been unhealthy to say the least but the scenes between them have always continued to be my favorite part of the show.  Can Mickey and Ian reconcile? Will Mickey ever admit his true feelings?  His history would say no, but you never know on a show like Shameless, which always stretches the boundaries and stereotypes.

Aidan and the bubble boy: At the start of the new season of SyFy’s Being Human, we learned something as mundane as the human flu had become lethal to vampires, killing off a large portion of their already dwindling species.  Unable to feed on any kind of human blood without risking his own death, vampire Aidan was..well..SOL.  That was until an alternative was discovered right under his nose, in his own place of work.


beinghuman2It seemed that a teenage boy with immunodeficiency had been living his life out in a modern day “bubble.”  Isolated from the world at the local hospital, this boy was the key to Aidan’s little hunger problem.  Things quickly took a turn as Aidan started to develop a friendship with the boy, Kenny.  Kenny was a lonely teenager just looking for a friend and Aidan was there to take on the role.  It didn’t take long for Kenny to discover Aidan’s true nature and motives (he was stuck in a glass case of emotion, of course he had time to draw the conclusion that Aidan was a “lord of the night”).  Aidan and Kenny continued to bond over his secret and soon after Kenny mustered up the courage to ask Aidan to turn him.  He had spent his entire life in isolation, with no friends, and no real links to the outside world.  Vampirism would be a salvation for the young boy and Kenny wasn’t wrong.  His way of life wasn’t living, he deserved a second chance.

Aidan, however, wasn’t so willing to hand over the gift of eternal life.  He felt cursing Kenny to being a vampire would hinder him more than give him the life he always wanted.  Kenny gave several ultimatums to Aidan and in the end Aidan reluctantly agreed to turn him, but not until he turned eighteen.  However, Kenny’s time line was sped up with the news of an impeding bone marrow transplant and Aidan had to break Kenny out of his bubble and the hospital (who obviously just doesn’t care the boy escaped!?).  It was now or never.

I was on the edge of my seat during Monday night’s episode, If I Only Had (a) Raw Brain.  The whole time I wondered, will he or won’t he turn the sullen boy? After losing his last progeny, Henry (whom I still refuse to believe is dead), the odds were stacked against Kenny.  But, in the end Aidan made good on his promise, making me a very happy viewer.  Thinking life was going okay for the newly bonded duo and my love of their bromance and soon to be father/son relationship growing, I was ready to call it a night with the show.  Except, it turned out that Aidan had been followed by a mysterious someone the entire day prior..and not just anyone.  The ex-boyfriend/professor of his now (kinda) girlfriend Kat had shown up, a deformed wolf looking vampire.

beinghumanConfused and in shock, images flashed through Aidan’s mind.  It seemed he had been having vampire induced blackouts in the nights and had “killed” his girlfriend’s ex.  Scared, Aidan checked on Kenny, and in that moment realized: the cure to the vampire flu (werewolf’s blood) may have tampered with the turning process.  What was Kenny going to wake up to?  Would it be the same as the ex professor?  Would he be more cursed than he was before?  Will this show continue to tare at my heartstrings?  I mean, maybe he’s just a hybrid?  The Vampire Diaries proved that a successful half vampire, half werewolf can exist, so why not in the Being Human world too?  If anyone deserves a new life it’s Kenny and Aidan deserves a successful, familial bond with another person.  But, if this show makes him a deformed monster and kills him off..well, only one pop culture reference comes to mind and it ends with “YOU BASTARDS!”

Shows You’re Not Watching

It’s not uncommon for me to mention a show I watch in conversation and get the reaction of “Oh, I’ve never seen it!” or even “I’ve never heard of that show before.” I often quote or refer to story lines from shows and get weird looks (I started to preface those comments with “Do you watch [tv show]?”).  Over the years there’s been plenty of shows I’ve recommended to friends and family, but I’ve limited myself to four shows that I believe not enough people are watching/have even heard of:

1. Shameless (Showtime)

Reasons you’re probably not watching: You don’t get Showtime

Shameless (originally a UK series of the same name) centers around the Gallagher family of seven, Frank and his six children, who live in the South Side of Chicago.  Frank (played by the incomparable William H. Macy) is an alcoholic who has left his eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) to take care of his children.  The Gallagher’s struggle on a daily basis just to make ends meet and resort to not so legal ways of obtaining money.  The Gallagher clan is often rude, crude, but downright hilarious.  The show mixes a good amount of humor and seriousness without taking away from the overall idea of the show.

I consider this show underrated.  The Emmy Awards have yet to acknowledge this series with a nomination (Joan Cusack was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress but did not win).

 

2. Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)

Reasons you’re probably not watching: It’s a kids show, it’s a cartoon

If you think Adventure Time is just for kids, you’re wrong.  This witty and cute cartoon often features adult situations and humor to appease its audience young and old.  Set in the post-apocolyptic world of Ooo, Finn the human and Jake the dog often go on weird and crazy adventures to take down evil creatures, save the candy people of the Candy Kingdom, and even save partying rave bears from the belly of a beast.

Episodes are only around twelve minutes and easy and fun to watch.

 

3. Oz (HBO)

Reasons you’re probably not watching: It ended in 2003, you’ve never heard of it

One of the shows I most often get told they’ve never heard of is Oz.  Maybe because the show ended in 2003, before most people had HBO, and before their programming went mainstream.  Oz is set in the fictional prison called the Oswald State Correctional Facility (formerly Oswald State Penitentiary).  Inside Oz is Emerald City, a unit of prisoners full of see-through pods where its inhabitants often have a little more freedom/luxury than the rest of the units in the prison.

There are many story lines over the course of Oz‘s six season history and each episode of the series started and ended with a philosophical narration by prisoner Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau Jr.).  This show most notably started the careers of many faces we know and see on TV/movies today including: Christopher Meloni (Law and Order: SVU), Dean Winters (Mayhem from the Allstate commercials, 30 Rock), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman, a million other things you’ve seen), and even Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie).

It’s also notable that many of the recurring stars of Oz now make up a good percentage of the Dexter cast including characters: LaGuerta, Batista, and Doakes.

Even though Oz was mostly serious and intense, it did have its humorous moments.

 

4. Being Human (BBC Three)

Reasons you’re probably not watching: It’s British

Being Human is a British TV show centering around the lives of a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire, who co-habitat in the same household.  Sound familiar? Syfy commissioned their own version of the show for an American audience (it’s okay).  The British version of Being Human is smart, sassy, and downright funny.  The UK can often get away with more than American television so butts, crude sex jokes, and cursing are not out of the norm.

Now shooting its fifth season the show hasn’t been afraid to change things up drastically.  The entire original cast has gone (for reasons that are too spoilery for this post) and a new group has come along.  And guess what? The show hasn’t dwindled into oblivion!  It’s still good!  A lot of times we are wary to welcome in new characters, especially if we’ve already fell in love with others, but this show has done it well.  It still holds its charm and suspense.

 

Honorable mentions you should also be watching: Six Feet Under, Doctor Who, Wilfred