Thursday, June 26, 2008

Emmy series top 10 lists released

Tom O'Neil at got his hands on a list of the top 10 finalists for the comedy and drama series Emmy nominations. (The actual nominations will be announced on July 17). The list, and my thoughts on it, after the jump...

So, here it is:
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Family Guy"
"Flight of the Conchords"
"The Office"
"Pushing Daisies"
"30 Rock"
"Two and a Half Men"
"Ugly Betty"

"Boston Legal"
"Friday Night Lights"
"Grey’s Anatomy"
"Mad Men"
"The Tudors"
"The Wire"
So, the good:
  • "The Wire" cracked the top 10, which now gives me false hope that it could actually get a nomination.
  • In fact, four of the five shows I would pick for the best drama on TV this season got nominations: "The Wire," "Lost," "Mad Men" and "Dexter." For that matter, I wouldn't be upset with a "House" nomination.
  • "Flight of the Conchords" cracked the top 10.
  • "Family Guy," which, as O'Neil notes, was submitted there after the producers found out they could separately submit a special episode in the animated series category, made the first cut. I'm not the hugest fan, but at least it demonstrates some outside the box thinking.
  • "Heroes" and "My Name Is Earl," two shows that made the top 10 last year (with "Heroes" getting a nomination) but were quite lousy this year ("Heroes" especially) didn't even make it this far.
The bad:
  • No "How I Met Your Mother" on the comedy list, while "Entourage" appears to have a lifetime Emmy pass despite being neither good nor anything resembling an actual comedy.
  • "Battlestar Galactica" -- the final show I'd have on my own Best Drama nominees list -- continues to get snubbed, no doubt because no one in the Academy can imagine a sci-fi show be award-worthy.
  • "Boston Legal" likely also has a straight-ahead pass for a nomination, probably at the expense of "The Wire."


Anonymous said...

Have to agree about HIMYM's snumb. Wasn't the best season, but Neil Patrick Harris alone should carry that show to a nomination.

And Is "Pushing Daises" really a comedy? And with the strike, didn't it only have about 6 episodes? And I'll never get 2.5 Men. I hate that show.

Joshua Levine said...

Rescue Me? The Shield?

Two of the best shows on tv get the snub? Alan - no outrage?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Rescue Me? The Shield?

Two of the best shows on tv get the snub? Alan - no outrage?

Only one or two episodes from the last season of "The Shield" aired during the eligibility period, which isn't enough to qualify. (Plus, the Academy seems ashamed to admit the show or Michael Chiklis exists; it's like everybody decided giving Chiklis that Emmy for the first season was the worst mistake in Emmy history or something. I'm used to the snubs.)

And you really think the last season of "Rescue Me" was in any way award-worthy? Really?

Alan Sepinwall said...

And Is "Pushing Daises" really a comedy?

Much moreso than a drama, I'd argue.

And nine episodes aired before the strike shut them down, which is enough to qualify.

Chaz said...

""The Wire" cracked the top 10". Wait, does this mean that The Wire didn't even make the top 10 in best drama before this year? That's beyond insane.

Anonymous said...

Weeds!??!! You gotta be kidding! HIMYM not on, but Weeds is??

What are those guys smoking?

Alanna said...

When I saw the lists had been released, I immediately ran over here to see your reaction.

Even the BSG folks seem to accept that they'll never score a major nomination (though the writing/directing ones last year were a wonderful surprise.) Too bad. It's so worthy, and I'd like for them to get the recognition.

I'm thrilled that Conchords is listed, as I'd figured it was too under the radar (despite the HBO pedigree.) The committee screening should help it, as it's a show that looks bizarre on paper but plays beautifully to new viewers -- that is, unless the older panel members are turned off by the music.

That said, the cable vs. network divide is more evenly balanced this year, with 5 dramas and 6 comedies from broadcast.

I've given up on trying to figure out why Boston Legal gets nominated for best drama. I've heard that it tends to have a handful of Emmy-bait (and somewhat worthy of it) episodes each year, which is what works in its favor. That, plus the lack of risk-taking among many older voters.

The Tudors is too much showboating with high production values, but then awards shows love that sort of thing.

Overall, I'm fine with the list of finalists, despite a few reservations. I suppose that's the best I can hope for.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Tom also has the list of episodes that each show chose to show to the nominating blue ribbon committees, and of note:

-The Lost producers wisely chose "The Constant"

-"Friday Night Lights" chose its only really Emmy-worthy episode, "Leave No One Behind" (the one where Coach throws Saracen into the shower)

-"The Wire" chose the series finale, and I have no idea how someone who's never seen the show before will react to the final chapter of a 60 chapter story. (Much like "Lost" -- with "The Constant" as a notable exception -- "The Wire" is a hard show to pick one episode for a newbie to appreciate.)

-"30 Rock" chose the season finale, which was the best episode of the post-strike run, but I'm not sure was better than either the Greenzo episode or the one with Carrie Fisher and the Jack/Tracy therapy session.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, for reasons passing understanding, "Flight of the Conchords" chose "Sally Returns," one of the weakest episodes of season one (even with "Business Time").

Myles said...

I'd say FOTC picked it hoping voters saw the YouTube video.

And I totally agree, Alan, on 30 Rock - perhaps they figure the White House humour will be a better pick for the stingy panels than would the "overplayed" Environmentalism? Their nomination is a guarantee at this point, it was likely #1 or #2 in the popular voting, but I still think either of the two episode you've mentioned are the better choices.

Here's hoping that we do get to see the acting categories: curious to see where the Housewives leading ladies and people from snubbed shows (Duchovony) sit compared to people whose shows made the lists (Tudors, FNL, even Wire?).

par3182 said...

i wish 'flight of the conchords' had submitted 'mugged' or 'what goes on tour' but i'm very happy they made the shortlist. my greatest emmy wish this year is that rhys darby gets a nomination for best supporting actor

if 'family guy' gets nominated when 'the simpsons' (back when it was good) never did i'll be outraged

as for dramas, shame that 'big love' didn't make the cut

pgillan said...

I like Boston Legal, but I don't really understand why it's Emmy-worthy. The "socially conscious" speeches are so overdone and preachy that I tend to fast-forward through them. In fact, come to think of it, the only thing I really enjoy about the show is the Shatner/Spader dynamic.

Someone mentioned the Carrie Fisher episode of 30 Rock, which reminded me again of my favorite line: after Fey tells Baldwin she went to Fisher's apartment, he replies "Never go with a hippy to a second location." I love that line.

Joe said...

The one shocker on the list was that Cooter was the 30 Rock submitted. Really?

Carrie Fisher, Green Guy?

Even the terrorist one with Fred Armisted. "You know I asked that black guy if he saw Sideways."

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be participating this weekend in one of the day-long viewing marathons that narrows the list of 10 down to 5 nominees.

I'm fairly sure I can't say anything about anything without violating some ATAS rule, but I thought everyone here might feel a tiny bit better knowing a regular reader of this blog is going to be in the room.

Anonymous said...

My approval of the nominees will begin and end with whether or not The Wire receives a bast drama nomination. It's that simple.

Zach said...

Along the lines of iffy episode choices, Curb Your Enthusiasm chose "The Bat Mitzvah," which was mostly uneven. I can't decide if the ending, in my opinion the most riotous moment of the series, makes up for the rest of the episode. The producers certainly had a handful of overall better episodes to choose from this season (at least compared to season five). Do they fancy the episode as a whole more than most of us do, or are they completely banking on the Emmy voters loving the ending as much as most of us do?

Matt said...

Boston Legal's pick is either brilliant or stupid--it's the most abjectly political episode of the season. The interesting thing is that if this is accurate, of the top 20 rated shows on TV, only 3 (House, Grey's, and Lost) even make the final list, and 5 cable shows in the final 10 on drama is pretty darn impressive.

Adam said...

In other words, Alan, is the Star Wars ep of Family Guy in a separate category?

I second, third, whatever, the notion that "Greenzo" or the "bust up my chiffarobe" episode should've been submitted instead of "Cooter".

Sara Ann said...

Ugly Betty chose "Something Wicked This Way Comes"? The episode that was just a long commercial for Wicked? Is that really the best episode they could come up with? Somebody help me out here - am I misremembering, or was that a pretty dismal episode?

Nicole said...

There is no way Boston Legal is a top ten show. Not over Battlestar Galactica. If only they could get the Shat to guest star... then they would have a chance. And Blink was a really great episode of Doctor Who, but I knew that would never happen.

These nominations seem like Emmy voters only get network tv and HBO, especially with the comedies.

Overall most of these nominations are fine, but I anticipate the horrible choices to make top five., which means Two and a Half Men makes it as well as Grey's Anatomy (when actors say the show this season has been crap, even for contract negotiation purposes, then there is no way it should be top ten.)

Matthew said...

Ugly Betty chose "Something Wicked This Way Comes"? The episode that was just a long commercial for Wicked? Is that really the best episode they could come up with? Somebody help me out here - am I misremembering, or was that a pretty dismal episode?

I don't remember it being entirely dismal - I have vague memories of enjoying some of the Betty/Henry/Gio machinations more than I usually did - but my overwhelming memory of the episode was remembering that they focused far too much on the songs, especially when I realised I wasn't actually liking any of the songs. (In fact, I was previously interested in seeing the show if I ever got a chance - interesting concept - but after seeing that episode, it doesn't interest me any more.)

It was definitely lower-tier Betty, and most of the show's other episodes would have been better to put forward.

par3182 said...

all i can remember from that episode of ugly betty was henry and betty texting each other DURING THE PERFORMANCE - my head nearly exploded

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy to see Mad Men getting the love it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Battlestar Galactica may be the best show ever made. But its Boston Legal that gets a nod???Are you kidding me?Which show will be remembered 5 years from now. What are the chances Mary McDonnell or EJO get a nomination. Slim to nil I'd say, tho there hasnt been better performances in the whole sorry season.


Anonymous said...

You're not misremembring, Sara Ann, the "Wicked" episode of Betty was not very good. What an odd choice for their submission.

Nicole said...

I really enjoyed Wicked... the Ugly Betty episode about it? not so much. This season I often tired of the implausible situation Betty was in with Henry and his baby mama. It was the worst storyline of the season, especially when the baby mama came to town. Henry became such a dish rag by the end, that he was losing most of his appeal (but there's no denying the actor who plays him is hot.)

Matt said...

Sci-Fi did not submit "Doctor Who" for consideration in any category. (Nor did BBC America submit "Torchwood.") "Eureka" was submitted as a comedy, and "BSG" as a drama.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really familiar with the nominating period but was the last season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in contention and just over looked or not eligible?

Anonymous said...

I'd be OK with BSG getting snubbed if Mary McDonnell or EJO get nods for acting.

I believe that Family Guy got the nod as a Comedy finalist over The Simpsons, because The Simpsons submitted only in Animation, while Family Guy submitted for comedy series.

FNL was not very good, but "Leave No One Behind" was the one episode that had the same impact as episodes from season 1.

While Pushing Daisies wasn't my favorite comedy of the year, I think the pilot ("Pie-lette") works perfectly as a standalone.

The nominating period is June 1, 2007 - May 31, 2008.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Who and Torchwood are both ineligible for Emmys, as they're produced without an American partner.

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with Boston Legal? Who even knew it was still on the air, how does it keep getting nominations every damn year? And who are the tv wizards who think it's a better show than BSG?

It sucks that "In Treatment" was ignored. "Damages" is such a mediocre, run-of-the-mill show, it's shame that type of show is rewarded, rather than something novel (and superbly executed) like "In Treatment".

I don't give them any credit for putting "mad Men" on the list, it's highly unlikely they would have done so without MM doing so well at the Golden Globes.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 100%. Leaving out BSG is a shame, but the fact that Entourage gets nominated again and again is even more shameful. There's nothing amusing, entertaining, or even interesting about that show. Period.

Anonymous said...

No BSG???!!! Motherfrackers.

Matt said...

Boston Legal keeps getting nominated for two reasons:

1. The performances by Spader and Shatner in particular are consistently nailing the high-wire act of balancing between bizarre comedy and actual drama.
2. It's well-written political agitprop which a lot of Emmy voters happen to agree with.

Donlee Brussel said...

I'm sorry, but the shafting of "How I Met Your Mother" year in and year out makes me sick. I think it's the best comedy on TV and especially loved "Ten Sessions" and the season finale.

I think if they submitted "Ten Sessions" instead of "How I Met Everyone Else" it might've made a difference, or I might just be deluding myself.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think if they submitted "Ten Sessions" instead of "How I Met Everyone Else" it might've made a difference, or I might just be deluding myself.

The episode selection wouldn't have made a difference at the point in the process where they missed the cut. The way it works is that the entire Academy is given a list of all the submitted shows and people (much like the list I linked to when we last discussed the Emmys a few weeks ago), and they check names off that list. The top 10 vote-getters in that round then move on to this weekend's blue ribbon panels, where people actually get to see the chosen sample, as opposed to picking blindly. So not enough people thought enough of HIMYM (or even knew it existed) in the first place.

If you mean they should have chosen Ten Sessions to show at that New York event a few weeks back, that wouldn't have mattered much, either. That was a wildly pro-HIMYM crowd (as I said at the time, all I had to do was say the name "Robin Sparkles" and they went nuts), and therefore any Academy members in the room would have voted for the show one way or the other.