65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

NPH 2013 Emmys

Alright, so the Emmys are tonight, and I’ve been pretty sparse on this here blog, which I’m trying to change, so let’s predict some Emmy winners! I’ll pick two, the one who I THINK is going to win, and the one who DESERVES to win.

Also, I should say that I’m uniformly pretty terrible at predicting awards show winners, and this year is especially tricky where I could see things going either way and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least with whoever wins. This is also a clever little fallback disclaimer that I can rely on when come Sunday night all my picks are wrong. Let’s do this.

Outstanding Drama Series:

This is a prime example where I could see it going multiple ways and not being surprised. Mad Men was a king crusher until Homeland came along and won last year. Mad Men’s as good as its ever been and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won. Homeland won last year for a terrific season of TV, but season 2 was pretty lackluster in spots and a definite step down, but, hey, sometimes the academy is dumb and just votes on name. Breaking Bad is what everybody’s obsessing over now, its never won one of these, but its got that acting category on lock. It’s good as well, and deserving, so, maybe. The new kid on the block, House Of Cards was pretty much tailored to win Emmys, and it’s alright, but not deserving, but again, it’s the type of show that the academy LOVES. Game Of Thrones was good too, but still a little too out of the Emmy wheelhouse to actually win. So, yeah, I’m gonna say House Of Cards wins, while I personally would give it to Mad Men to win. It could go so many ways, though.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series:

I’ll come right out and say that Kevin Spacey wins this, and I feel semi-pretty good in that. He’s got the name recognition, everybody loves him and he was pretty good. Most deserving? I’d say Damian Lewis, a lot was demanded out of him in season 2 of Homeland and how he was able to flip the script and shift into different modes and sides of Brody was some awe-inspiring work.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series:

Claire Danes deserves it and wins it on Sunday. No real competition here, she was fantastic yet again. Robin Wright was good, if never given much to do, and I guess Elisabeth Moss is the next threat, but, nah, Danes got this thing. If I had my way though, Connie Britton would win, because I love her more than most of my family members, and she’s awesome and everything positive should go her way. Connie 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:

I think Peter Dinklage wins this thing again, but Mandy Patinkin is the most deserving. Dinklage is great, and although not as good in this last season of GoT, I still think he gets it again. Patinkin is arguably the best part of Homeland and he’s just fantastic. Plus, that fedora and beard. The man knows old man chic.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:

I’m going to say Anna Gunn wins this, but I’m not really that confident in it. Nobody else really jumps out at me, even while I enjoy every single nominees work on their show. I don’t even know who’s most deserving, so, hey, Emmys, just make it a six-way tie. Emmys for everybody.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

We all know Louie should and deserves to win this thang, but that just ain’t gonna happen, because we live in a cruel and unjust world. So, say hello to The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family winning. Modern Family is not a good show, but it was slightly better this year. I’ve stopped watching The Big Bang Theory for awhile now, but people tell me it’s on kind of an uptick and doing good things, so it wins tomorrow. You guys can all wear your totally awesome BAZINGA! shirts in celebration. You know you want to.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:

Do you think Alec Baldwin is gonna win this thing for the 395th time? I don’t know, but I think there’s something in his contract that even now with 30 Rock off the air, he’ll continue to be nominated into eternity, a forever reminding cloud that makes you question your life just so, because what kind of world would it be if Alec Baldwin had to cease being nominated in this category. What kind of world I ask of you. Anyways, Jim Parsons wins, but Louis C.K. is most deserving.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:

Strong candidates abound and I love them all, except one. I’ll let you figure out which one that is. JLD ain’t gonna win this again, though I love her so. I don’t think they give it to Tina Fey even though it’s her swan song. No on Dunham and Falco. So, Amy Poehler wins and Laura Dern is so, so deserving of it. Writing this just reminded that Enlightened is gone, and I’m so sad now, guyz. You should watch it if you haven’t, it’s such a beautifully poignant, sad, funny and uplifting show. Please, someone give Mike White another show.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ty Burell wins this, and yeah, I think he deserves it. I absolutely loved Burell in the first seaon of MF, but just got tired of his schtick. I’ve come around, it is what it is, I love Ty Burell, he’s funny, so give him the Emmy.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:

Sadly, I think Sofia Vergara wins this. I can’t stand her because the show only derives two outlets of comedy from her, her nationality, and how hot she is (I’d argue against her perceived attractiveness, but, hey, that’s just me a sane straight male). Jane Krakowski deserves this to the world’s end, because she’s been my favourite thing about 30 Rock since it began. She is so great, I can’t even function how good she was on that show and never gets any recognition for it. Krakowski 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie:

I’ve only seen a couple of these, but knowing things I’d say Behind The Candelabra wins and deserves it.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Emmys just can’t wait to give Michael Douglas an Emmy. Wins and deserves.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Again, the Emmys love their old, distinguished and creditable thespians (am I using that word right?). Jessica Lange wins, and deserves because the only other one in the category I’ve seen was Laura Linney in The Big C, and no, just no.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

I’m gonna say the American Horror Story love doesn’t leave Lange, so Scott Bakula continues the “Candelabra” love. I don’t know, maybe the Emmys might really love Zachary Quinto. Who knows.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Man, I have no clue. I think Political Animals was bad, I don’t know, I didn’t watch it. So, lets say Ellen Burstyn wins because she’s an OG and just great and kinda looks like all of our grandmothers. Sarah Paulson was cool and had commitment for days in AHS, so maybe she pulls the rug out.

Outstanding Variety Series:

The Daily Show, are you even kidding with other nominees? It’s the don mega of variety series. Which is, like, the most broad category ever.

Outstanding Reality – Competition Program:

Where’s Big Brother? Hahaha, I’m a jokester, but seriously I don’t watch any of this. The Amazing Race had the crown for awhile, until Top Chef screwed it up a few years back. I don’t really care, but we’ll say Phil Keoghan and company retain the award. I haven’t watched it since, like, Reichen and Chip just totally Jordan/Pippen’ed the entire show.

Let’s keep going, because why not, I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series:

You’ve gotta be dreaming if you think David Fincher doesn’t win this. An A-list director directs one of the most anticipated and Emmy bait shows of the past year? Get outta here. I think my girl Michelle MacLaren deserves this, though.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series:

“New Year’s Eve” is such a beautiful piece of television that C.K.’s gotta win. I’d like to think that the academy has started to turn even more towards C.K. after last year, and less towards the perennials of Modern Family and Glee and such. They probably haven’t, but I’m gonna stick with C.K. winning.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special:

Steven Soderbergh is the boss and he wins this. Hahaha, you actually thought dude was retiring to paint?

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series:

Man, I don’t know. None of these have real unique directing styles except for Portlandia. Maybe, it wins because of this. But, lets just give it to The Daily Show because they haven’t won enough. I don’t know.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series:

I was going to say that one of those Breaking Bad episodes was gonna win, but I completely forgot about “Q&A,” because I’m an idiot, with it being a jaw agape hour of television written by the late and forever great Henry Bromell. He’s gotta win.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series:

Louie, Louie, Louieeeee. And Pamela Adlon. They’ve got this in the bag, with a decidedly weird and inventive episode.

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie, Or A Dramatic Special:

Behind The Candelabra, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series:

The Daily Show, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Choreography:

What? You think we’re not gonna talk about choreography? Of course we are. Some would argue that it is the most important category, and I cast myself as chief among them. Some would also say that I always forget how many goddamn Emmys categories there are, and I’m just reading these off the Wikipedia page. That could also be true. Good thing I also always forget that the Creative Arts Emmys are a thing, as well. Anyways, my girl cousins like that So You Think You Can Dance show, so one of its four nominees wins. Let’s say the “Sonya Tayeh” one wins, sounds like a cool enough name.

So, I hope this was all informative. No real need to watch the Emmys now I guess, sorry for the spoilers, but whatever, watch Breaking Bad instead or the sure to be cracking Dexter series finale. All the props to you if you read this far, but I think my own eyes glossed over this thing about halfway through. Happy Emmys watching, I’m gonna go watch some hockey.

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‘Les Misérables’: Review

'Les Misérables' Banner

I hate to criticize a film by saying “It’s not really my type of movie,” or “I’m not really into this kind of genre” because it’s poor form from any type of “reviewer” or whatever the hell I’m doing on here, to dismiss a film just because it’s outside the norm of your favourite style or genre. I actually quite enjoy musicals (from some stupid reason I have seen every episode of Glee, and I keep watching…), where not only do you get some great songs usually, but these songs can expertly be used to display a bevy of emotions from each character, almost like an aside to the audience. A musical/period film really tests my nerves, especially clocking in at 158 mins., and although this isn’t my particular slice of bread (trying to stick with a Les Mis theme here), I tried to remain as partial as possible.

The one neat and unique device they used was that they legit sang everything, I mean everything. All the dialogue is sung, unlike in normal musicals where they talk for a bit and then break into song, everything is sung and then they segue into “actual” songs. I was unsure how they were going to sustain this without it getting annoying or bland, and it kind of just faded into the film for me and I hardly even noticed it anymore. I don’t know how much I’d like to see of it in the future, but it definitely was inventive for film. I also quite enjoyed how each actor had to sing their parts live on set instead of dubbing themselves over in post-production. This gave it a kind of “raw” feel that symbolized nicely the dirty and scummy post-French revolution world they all lived in. Sure, Russell Crowe may not be the greatest singer, but it fell in line with his character and felt true.

It runs way too long though, a lot of trimming could be made, especially around the Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter characters. Now I get that they were probably a fixture in previous editions, but their supposed purpose of adding comedy, doesn’t really work, and they just become a random distraction that takes away from the main story. While they do tie-in later, it is in no way through any major plot devices or resolutions, just a method to have them re-appear. I don’t think Hugh Jackman or Russell Crowe cultivate any new land with their acting skills here, but both are more than serviceable and up for whatever. Their gravitas and experience lend them well here, where especially for a character like Jean Valjean who doesn’t seem too complex, Jackman silently makes him work, where in lesser hands the balance of quiet and commandeering would fall out of favour. You won’t have to go any further than right here to find a bigger Anne Hathaway hater, and no she wasn’t bad in this, but I don’t really get all the buzz surrounding her performance that seems to be occurring. I will give her major props for her “I Dreamed A Dream” sequence/song that was some great, great stuff and by far my favourite part of the movie. People seem to think she might win the Oscar just off of that scene alone, and I hate to say it, but I could see it.

All in all, I thought it was alright. I know that’s decidedly “un-critical” and lacking depth, but that’s all I got. I was a little beaten up over the runtime as a lot seemed to drag on and serve little purpose. There was to be fair some wondrous moments of beauty such as that Hathaway scene and some nice set design and direction from Tom Hooper. Unfortunately, these moments were all too fleeting and the film suffered because of it. Not enough marshmallows in the Lucky Charms.

6/10

Top 10 Returning TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To This Fall

1. ‘Homeland’

This was my favourite show of last year for so many reasons, and I could just gush on and on about how great it is. Once upon a time, ’24’ was not only my favourite TV show, but also, like, my favourite thing in the entire world. While my full thoughts on ’24’ will be left for some other time, I was thus excited that Howard Gordon (along with later ’24’ compadre’ Alex Gansa) were getting their own show on network’s older brother, cable. The cast is just utterly fantastic, with Claire Danes, probably my favourite actress, consistently knocking it out of the park, episode after episode. She is given every actors’ wet dream, playing a character with a disability (bi-polar), and even though it seems like awards bait, Danes grounds the disorder and makes it crushingly realistic when her disorder gets in the way of her job. She’s had the best Actress Emmy locked up for awhile now. Damian Lewis is very solid, perfectly playing someone who you feel like you can trust, all the while being the most suspicious person ever. Mandy Patinkin was also revived from wherever he’s been hanging out for the better part of 20 years and is terrific as well.

As cool as the premise is though, it pretty much begs to be told through a short 6-12 episode miniseries rather than a full-fledged series with an intent to go multiple seasons. From episode to episode, I never knew what to expect, as I legitimately did not no where they could go next, and the deaths of main characters seemed like a serious option. The first season played out the premise perfectly, but going forth into season two, I have no clue how they are going to maintain what they created as a lot played out and a fair bit was revealed. I’m insanely excited and nervous for season two, but that was the same position I was in before season one, so fingers crossed they pull it off again.

2. ‘Parenthood’

I actually love this show as much, and possibly more than ‘Homeland’, because it causes me no stress in watching it (unlike ‘Homeland’). I love to hang out with these characters and because it’s a family drama that’s set in a particular rhythm, I don’t have to be concerned about anyone dying (DON”T YOU DARE, KATIMS). I don’t mean to make this sound like a slight against the show, but there are few stakes here and nothing really makes you feel for the safety of these characters. It’s just terrific emotional resonance, with the goings-on of a large family which may not have life-and-death consequences, like most shows, but can faithfully deliver moments that hit hard. This show is a nice safety net where I can tune in and be moved and care for these characters but still be confident that no huge twists or left-field plot movements will occur. It’s a small family drama and I absolutely love it for that. I’m looking forward to spending more time with the Braverman clan (even if NBC doesn’t think it’s worth a full episode order!).

3. ‘The Good Wife’

If you told me in early September 2009 that ‘The Good Wife’ would be one of my favourite shows for the better part of three years (and counting), I would have thought you were smoking something illegal. I’ve always liked Juliana Margulies and knew absolutely nothing about the series going in, besides Juliana’s sweet, sweet locks. Anyways, it’s procedural nature was a bit of a turn off, but it eventually turned into one of the smartest shows on TV and became not only the best show on network television, but one of the best shows on any channel. The cast is fantastic with its incredibly sprawling guest cast filled to the brim with depth and skill. I usually don’t look forward to case-of-the-week shows, but this is the grand exception, with intelligent cases and resolutions, as well as compelling running storylines. Season three wasn’t as great as season two, but it made some nice steps that make me very excited (Margulies’ robot acting aside), for what Robert and Michelle King will deliver in season four.

4. ‘Treme’

It’s been over a year since we’ve had a new episode of ‘Treme’ and that’s a damn shame. Not that many people watch this show or even know about it, but I’m a huge proponent of it. I’m a big David Simon and it’s hyperbole by now, but, ‘The Wire’ is the best show of all time (okay, not really, ‘The Simpsons’ is the best show of all time, but whatever). Man, the culture and passion that bubbles out of this show is incredibly infectious and a breath of fresh air in a progressively clogged and arrogant-glut of storytelling where apparently characters don’t matter as much as story. ‘Treme’ isn’t the most story-driven show, nor does it want or need to be, just like the ‘The Wire’, it’s filled with characters who feel real, because, well, they’re all usually based on someone real, but also, they are always so faithful and true to their characteristics. The culture of New Orleans is the real star of this show and it’s incredible that each episode can capture so much of New Orleans and do justice to this wonderful yet tortured city, trying to rebuild both physically and culturally in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. As this is New Orleans, music is a co-star as well, and the aside musical performances put ‘Glee’, ‘Smash’ and others to complete shame. Jesus, if nothing else, watch this show for the music, I dare you to try and not sing along to the theme song. I’m looking forward to what David Simon and company have cooked up for season three, should be good, just hope there’s some other people watching as well.

5. ‘Fringe’

Now, here ‘Fringe’ starts to get a bit dicey. I enjoyed season four, I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it like some people did. Fan reaction seems to be pretty mixed on the season as a whole but it was pretty decent to me, although not as great as season three, probably the best season. I kind of respect ‘Fringe’ for what they did in season four, even though they kind of made the first three seasons non-existent and re-invented certain elements with everybody being technically “new” characters. I won’t go in to detail but whether you or I think they pulled everything off correctly, I respect the hell out of Wyman and Pinkner for doing something on a show that I’ve never seen before. Seeing as how next season is for sure going to be the last, and they supposedly have a game plan in order, I’m looking forward to what the last 13 episodes of ‘Fringe’ brings.

6. ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Season one of “Boardwalk” was fine, nothing special, but a decent series, albeit with some too obvious symbolism. The beginning of season two started out much the same, but later grew into a show that was more confident in itself, its characters and the types of stories it told. Without spoiling things, “Boardwalk” didn’t pull any punches towards the end and delivered a string of great episodes that changed the fabric of the show leading into season three that lesser shows would have backed out on. With some of the decisions that were made creatively in the latter episodes of the season, “Boardwalk” earned a lot of credit with me. I’m genuinely interested to see how everything will play out now with a shift of power and reverberations that will be felt throughout the whole show, and can’t be taken back (hopefully). Terence Winter did work on ‘The Sopranos’ after all, I’d say we can trust him.

7. ‘Parks & Recreation’

Now, I’m afraid my thoughts on this show aren’t very deep except for, it’s the funniest show on TV (actually, besides ‘Archer’). I thought the season four plotline of Leslie running for office was okay, but not as great as season 2 and season 3 were. But, beyond a few hiccups in the season, no other show makes me laugh like this one, and makes me care about all the characters at the same time, so I look forward to any and all “Parks & Recreation”, especially Andy and Tom.

8. ‘Glee’

Yeah, I said it, GLEE! But, not because it’s good or going to be good or anything. This show just fascinates the hell out of me. I have seen every episode, but I kind of hate it (not kind of, I do) and 90% (that other 10% is Britney and staring at Naya Rivera) of the characters annoy me. It’s just that there occasionally there are specific moments and scenes that really hit and are legitimate remnants of a show that once could have been. The last two episodes of season three were literally pretty great and just frustrate me even further with this show. It’s the most schizophrenic show going from semi-good to terrible to great in a matter of scenes and moments. There’s no consistency with the show and it seems like Ryan Murphy and company forget important details from episode to episode, but I keep on watching. The music is  pretty bad and I usually have no clue what new song they’re singing, so it keeps me in the wind and unable to connect with any of their lip-syncing, Britney Spears calibre or not. Next season they’re splitting time between NYC and Ohio as some students graduate to college as the others stay in Ohio. Ryan Murphy seems to think it’s going to be revolutionary how they split the time and all, ummm it isn’t, you’re just cutting back and forth like every other show has done with separate locations. It’ll probably suck, but for some reason I’ll keep watching. Help!

9. ‘The Office’

Seasons 2-5 of ‘The Office, were legitimately pretty great (at least my memories a little hazy when the it started getting bad, or at least less consistent), but everything else than that was pretty lazy with the occasional good episode sprinkled in between. It was once one of my favourite shows, and sadly I still hold the dimmest of candles for it even though it’s pretty bad now and a shadow of it once was. Season 8 was the pinnacle of disappointment with no direction shown, and a real sense of not caring about what this show once was. It was just a lazy season of television with no feeling of a need to make any forward progression, even though it desperately need it, of all seasons. Season nine will be its last, with former showrunner Greg Daniels to return as showrunner who promises a return to form, the answering of long-lingering questions and actual story/character arcs. Will they succeed at all of this? I don’t know, probably not fully at least, but like  ‘Glee’, I’m looking forward to the chaos ahead, for some reason.

10. ‘Community’

Let me say this right off the bat, I like ‘Community’, but I don’t love ‘Community’. I know lots of people (well people on the internet, nobody ever talks about it beyond the confines of the interwebz) are obsessed with this show and think it’s the greatest thing ever. Don’t get me wrong, I have flat-out loved episodes, but I still don’t think it’s really all that special of a show. I respect and mostly like the random and weird places Dan Harmon took the show, and the way he and company structured or created new ways of telling his stories within the sitcom format. I think it gets to be a bit of a crutch at times and they’ve relied on these “different” and form-breaking episodes to much in order to coast on nostalgia and post-modernism, albeit effectively. But, when it becomes too much of the shows identity is where it comes off as more surface-based flair, and less substance beneath.

On the other hand, there were several episodes that did seem to create a deeper resonance by testing the bonds of these characters and that through line became more interesting (to me anyways) than whatever “event” type episode they had, or whatever they were spoofing. I think with Dan Harmon leaving that some of these deeper relations between the characters and their connections to each other, and how they rely and depend on each, no matter if they show it on the surface or not, will be lost. Harmon seemed to be providing some of the darker and deeper elements that put strains on character relationships and really made each member of the study group evaluate each other and how they themselves fit in. It seems like without Harmon’s guiding hand, it’ll become more of a broad comedy, with a bigger emphasis on wacky episodes and elements, while doing away with the majority of the bubbling under of real feelings. While it’ll still probably be a competent and funny show, I fear that this will be as far as it goes, losing some of its depth of what made several of its episodes some of the best in the form from these past couple of years.