Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Slow blog news day

Sorry for the lack of posting today, folks, but I have two columns to write, plus prep work for tonight's "How I Met Your Mother"/Emmy Q&A thing in NYC, which I'll write up either late tonight or tomorrow morning. I was noodling around this morning with a quick review of "Charlie Wilson's War" (which I finally saw on DVD), if for no other reason than to be able to say something nice about an Aaron Sorkin project. If anybody cares, I'll try to finish it up tomorrow.

In the meantime, the Television Critics Association Awards nominees were announced today. Because the nominees and winners are obviously voted on by the entire membership, and because, contrary to reputation, we are not a hivemind, these aren't necessarily all the nominees I would have chosen, nor will the winners match up to my ballot, which I'm still dwelling on. For those who care -- and who would like to make a persuasive argument for a winner in any given category (hint: you don't need to bother preaching to the choir with a certain show set in west Baltimore) -- the full nominees list is after the jump (and if you're wondering, the Heritage Award is a sort of career achievement award for shows, instead of people):
PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

"John Adams" (HBO)
"Lost" (ABC)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"Ken Burns' The War" (PBS)
"The Wire" (HBO)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

"30 Rock" (NBC)
"The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)
"The Daily Show" (Comedy Central)
"Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)
"The Office" (NBC)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

"Damages" (FX)
"Friday Night Lights" (NBC)
"Lost" (ABC)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"The Wire" (HBO)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT MOVIES, MINI-SERIES AND SPECIALS

"John Adams" (HBO)
"Masterpiece: Cranford" (PBS)
"Masterpiece: Jane Austen Collection" (PBS)
"Ken Burns' The War" (PBS)
"A Raisin in the Sun" (ABC)

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM

"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Damages" (FX)
"Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"Pushing Daisies" (ABC)

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
Stephen Colbert ("The Colbert Report")
Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
Ray Wise ("Reaper")

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights")
Glenn Close ("Damages")
Paul Giamatti ("John Adams")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
David Simon ("The Wire")

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING

"Curious George" (PBS)
"High School Musical 2" (The Disney Channel)
"Hannah Montana" (Disney Channel)
"Word Girl" (PBS)
"Yo Gabba Gabba" (Nickelodeon)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS AND INFORMATION

"Alive Day Memories" (HBO)
"This American Life" (Showtime)
"Frontline" (PBS)
"Nimrod Nation" (Sundance Channel)
"Ken Burns' The War" (PBS)

HERITAGE AWARD

"M*A*S*H" (CBS)
"Roots" (ABC)
"Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
"Sesame Street" (PBS)
"The Wire" (HBO)

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT

James Garner
Lorne Michaels
Bill Moyers
William Shatner
Mike Wallace

25 comments:

renton said...

Isn't it an encouraging sign that the best new show category is so strong? I wasn't a huge Damages fan, but I did watch it and it had some great moments.

Hard to vote against Mad Men, in that one, but I admit I've spent more time thinking about Breaking Bad and wishing for its return than the other nominees.

And as much as I love The Wire, isn't it a little early to give it the Heritage award? All those other nominees began during my early childhood.

dave s said...

Lots of love for the Wire... interesting that Connie Britton and David Simon vie for the same category. Is it a "Person whose contribution to their program was the most significant?" Four actors and a writer.

Does this have any influence on the Emmys?

marcus said...

The only field I feel strongly about (other than ones The Wire is nominated) is that Stephen Colbert should win the Individual Achievement in Comedy. Stewart at least has his correspondents to share the load. The character Colbert has created and the level he performs on each night is an amazing feat.

And as much as I enjoyed Mad Men, I have a bad feeling it will shut out The Wire, especially since so many media people seemed offended by the last season's newspaper angle.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And as much as I love The Wire, isn't it a little early to give it the Heritage award? All those other nominees began during my early childhood.

It's something of a TCA tradition. Back before the Heritage Award was created in recent years, Hill Street Blues got Career Achievement at the end of its final season, and if Buffy didn't win the same at the end of its run, it was at least nominated.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Lots of love for the Wire... interesting that Connie Britton and David Simon vie for the same category. Is it a "Person whose contribution to their program was the most significant?" Four actors and a writer.

The idea of the individual achievement awards is that you should be able to nominate and vote for anyone who works on a show, be they actor, writer, director, whatever. In theory, I could nominate the guy who does the "Lost" score, or the "Galactica" costumer who designed Saul Tigh's eyepatch, or whatever. But this is the first time since the individual awards were created that I can remember a non-actor actually making the cut.

Does this have any influence on the Emmys?

I would laugh and say no, but the FX PR people have said that Michael Chiklis' TCA award was what started the ball rolling for him to win an Emmy for that first season of "The Shield." So it can have influence, under certain rare circumstances.

andythesaint said...

Since the individual award isn't just for acting, I think I'd pull for Tina Fey to win, as her contributions as writer, lead, and showrunner contribute to the best comedy on TV.

Her, or Stephen Colbert (who had to do even more than usual during the strike).

Matt said...

Now, if you'd just let us know where the secret HIMYM event is as well as what the secret password is, I'm sure some of us would be more than happy to show up.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Matt, as I mentioned yesterday, it's an invitation-only event, primarily for the press and NYC-based Emmy voters.

isaac_spaceman said...

Alan, Matt wants to show up with a band of non-TV-critic protesters carrying "Count Our Votes" placards.

Matt said...

"We're taking this all the way to the Shrine Auditorium! James Spader stole that Emmy, and we want it back!"

Alan Sepinwall said...

For the sake of the protesters -- and/or red carpet gawkers -- I believe it's at McGee's on 55th, starting around 7 p.m.

mj said...

Re Individual Drama in Achievement - Apologies in advance to both Paul Giamatti and David Simon because I have never seen their work in John Adams and The Wire, respectively. However, I have had the pleasure of seeing the work of Connie Britton, Glenn Close, and Jon Hamm in every episode they've done of FNL, Damages, and Mad Men, respectively. IF I were to compare only those three nominees, I believe it's not even a close race. Glenn Close is a distant third, even though she gave a solid performance in Damages. Jon Hamm's work was subtle, intriguing, and at times very powerful. But in my view his work pales by comparison to that of Connie Britton, who yanks the emotions of the viewer and is completely believable and captivating as a wife, mother, sister, counselor, ex-girlfriend, etc in small town Texas. I think it is also important to note that Glenn Close and Jon Hamm most likely delivered the dialogue that was written for them. We don't know the extent to which Connie Britton used the lines given to her versus the dialogue that she improvised (for which FNL more generally is well known) but the choices she made and the way she delivered those choices made me want to watch the show every single week. Even when the show's second season was copping a beating from critics, including from commenters at this blog, Connie Britton shone. I'll take it a step further - Connie Britton is one of the main reasons why I have decided to switch to DirecTV this Fall. No way the performances of either Jon Hamm or Glenn Close would make me want to do that (assuming either Mad Men or Damages ever went the same route as FNL will this Fall/Spring with DirecTV/NBC.)

Francisco said...

Comedy and Drama and that's it for categories?? This is why 'Battlestar Galactica' gets the shaft everywhere, now apparently including the TV Critics of America, who I haven seen a single one who doesn't like BSG. So??? Who does Ron moore have to blow to get nominated? or maybe we can send Tory on her knees as per Tigh's or Roslin's orders. I'm mad.

BGF said...

Frontline. Frontline. Frontline. It should win for "Bush's War" alone. I can't praise this enough, it is must-watch.

Alanna said...

I'm generally pleased with the list, even if BSG isn't on there. Damages is a surprise, because I remember the critical reception being lukewarm.

Right now I feel like the entire cast and crew of Mad Men should start writing their Emmys acceptance speeches, because it's such a clear front-runner. Then again, I thought the same thing about Friday Night Lights two years ago.

"Individual Achievement in Comedy" is quite interesting because few of the usual suspects (especially those from The Office) are on there. I thought Applegate was great, but perhaps not quite up to THIS caliber. That said, she's a shoo-in for an Emmy nom, if only because (alas) the overall talent pool isn't nearly as deep as it should be.

Rachel said...

I have to second the motion for Connie Britton. Despite a relatively subpar season for FNL, she was nothing short of brilliant. I almost wish they had nominated Britton and Kyle Chandler as a tandem, though.

I think the Heritage Award would be more fitting for The Wire than Program of the Year for a couple reasons. First, I'd say at least two nominated programs for PoY had stronger years -- Lost and Mad Men. Second, the other programs nominated for the HA could win next year and it would make no difference. It would be great for the brilliance of The Wire to be recognized today, especially since awards have eluded it for so long.

And nothing against Colbert, but I say Tina Fey for her outstanding work acting, writing, and running 30 Rock,

Matthew L said...

Personally, I'm just curious what Alan's pick for Outstanding Achievement In Children's Programming will be.

(Personally, I'm sort of hoping Yo Gabba Gabba wins - I've never seen the show, but I really enjoy the "I love to dance" clips whenever they appear on The Soup. I have no idea what the show actually is, and I always feel guilty at laughing at little kids dancing, but damn they are funny.)

par3182 said...

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
"Lost" (ABC) - for finding its way

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY
five way tie

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA
"Damages" (FX)

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM (tie)
"Damages" (FX)
"Flight of the Conchords" (HBO)

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY (tie)
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
Tina Fey ("30 Rock")

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA
Glenn Close ("Damages") - because i know patty

HERITAGE AWARD
"Sesame Street" (PBS)

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
William Shatner (!)

Vic DiGital said...

"The Wire" should be a shoo-in, even though the final season wasn't its strongest. Taken as a sixty-episode whole, there's never been another show that was as consistently amazing from beginning to end.

I found "John Adams" ultimately lacking, as Paul Giamatti's performance didn't sit right with me, plus the mini-series lack of scale (as in, we didn't get to see any of the big Revolutionary War events) diminished the importance of the things John Adams accomplished.

"Lost" was going great this year until it faltered in the finale. And as far as anything approaching a 'lifetime achievement' one day, "Lost" still has to bring this ship into port before it can be declared one of the all-time greats (it's got a great chance, though)

I loved "The War". It did what "John Adams" didn't do, in showing us how the war affected people on a personal level, but at the same time, placed those small-scale stories in the scope of a World War. "Mad Men" and "Friday Night Lights?" Please.

"Colbert Report" is leading the way, comedy-wise, because it's going a better job than any other show to both comment on current events and popular culture and be PART of them. His attempt at entering the South Carolina primary was both hilarious and educational as we saw what the process really was. Plus the way he allows fans at home to participate in things like the Star Wars greenscreen challenge. And content like "Tek Jansen". It's an interactive, educational experience.

"The Daily Show" continues to leave me cold, and I can't put a finger on why. Too smug, I guess.

"The Office" and "30 Rock" both had dips this year, and I'm concerned for both of them that the joke may be out of steam (or that the creators have seriously miscalculated why people like their shows).

Career Achievement... In twenty years, the only names on that list that will still be well known are Lorne Michaels and William Shatner. Outside of assembling the casts of SNL and guiding the show week to week (admittedly, not something to be sneezed at), what has Lorne Michaels contributed? What role does he play in the actual creation of the show? I liken him to a general manager of a successful team. How much credit should Danny Ainge be given for Boston's success this year? Yeah, he brought Garnett and Allen to the Celtics, but how hard a decision was that? My fourteen-year-old son could have told you that bringing those two players to the team would be a good idea. But I digress...

So I give the career award to Shatner, for lasting so long, and re-inventing himself so many times. And all this in spite of being the punchline of a joke, talent-wise, for the better part of the last thirty years.

Next year, Danny Bonaduce should be among this august group. It seems that every time I turn on my TV, his face is somewhere on one of the channels.

One last question for Alan. If you don't win the Career Achievement award in a certain year, is that it? Was that your one shot? Or do passed-over names come back from time to time?

dez said...

"Yo Gabba Gabba" for the win! I'm surprised to find out y'all do acid, however ;-)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Turns out FNL is not nominated for Program of the Year. That was a misprint or something, and I've deleted it from the above.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Comedy and Drama and that's it for categories?? This is why 'Battlestar Galactica' gets the shaft everywhere, now apparently including the TV Critics of America, who I haven seen a single one who doesn't like BSG. So???

I've actually pushed in the past for a few additional categories to honor the likes of BSG, or Amazing Race, or other great shows that don't fit the comedy/drama paradigm but also have little chance of winning the genre-less Program of the Year award. The group consensus seems to be that we have too many categories as is, and that it's a mistake to create a new category for the benefit of a specific show, because what happens if that show goes into the tank, goes off the air, or whatever, and there isn't something else in that genre worthy of an award?

Alan Sepinwall said...

One last question for Alan. If you don't win the Career Achievement award in a certain year, is that it? Was that your one shot? Or do passed-over names come back from time to time?

Not a one-shot deal. Several of this year's nominees (Wallace and Lorne for sure, and maybe Garner, who's currently the front-runner for my vote) have been up in the category before, and more than once at that.

Vic DiGital said...

I'm really conflicted about shows like BSG that have at times transcended regular TV, but that are wildly inconsistent. Especially since the middle of last season, BSG has been decidedly weak and rudderless. It's still riding on the goodwill of those earlier seasons, in my opinion. The continued praise isn't still deserved.

However, the special effects on the show (the space scenes, that is) are as spectacular as anything I've seen in any motion picture.

Paul said...

Damages - overrated. If Glenn Close isn't on that show, they wouldn't have gotten anything. BSG was hosed, ass-frakked, jobbed more this year than ever before. And that, IMO, really sucks the street cred of the TCA out the window.