Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Minute Emmy Predictions

Emmys are tonight, and with a ton of fresh blood in the field it's actually tough to predict this year's crop. Will Emmys keep to their infamous tradition of rewarding the same old same old? Or will they recognize one of the strongest crops of new shows since, well, the year Lost premiered? Here are my (probably very wrong) guesses:

Best Drama
Will Win: Lost (but realistically probably Mad Men)
Should Win: Lost or Dexter
Dark Horse: Pretty much anything but True Blood
Snubbed: Damages
This is a really tough category to call. Do they reward Lost for finishing strong despite a controversial ending (like they did with The Sopranos)? Do they recognize Dexter's best year? Do they reward The Good Wife for being a break-out freshman and a traditional network drama? Do they side with the critics in calling Breaking Bad the top show? Or do they let Mad Men go three for three? Seeing as it's the Emmys, it will probably be Mad Men, but for some reason I'm going with Lost.

Best Comedy
Will Win: Modern Family
Should Win: Modern Family or Glee
Dark Horse: Glee
Snubbed: Party Down
This one's a little easier. Despite 30 Rock winning in all of its three previous years, I think everyone knows this one's really between the two break-out new shows: Glee or Modern Family. Glee's won most of the awards for being the phenomenon of the year, and Emmys have occasionally gone that route in the past (like giving Lost a win in its first year). But Modern Family's so much more Emmy-friendly (and consistent) that I bet it takes the win.

Best Actor, Drama
Will Win: Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Should Win: Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Dark Horse: Bryan Cranston, Hugh Laurie, Jon Hamm
Snubbed: Timothy Olyphant, Justified
Another really tough category. Bryan Cranston won the past two years and Breaking Bad fans say this season's been his best yet, so he's definitely the favorite. But Michael C. Hall's won other awards this year for his best year yet. Plus he's shockingly never won here before. But neither have Hugh Laurie and Jon Hamm, both of whom had very strong submissions. Could go any of the four ways.

Best Actress, Drama
Will Win: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Should Win: Glenn Close, Damages
Dark Horse: January Jones, Mad Men
Julianna Margulies has won everything else so far, and I think it's a safe bet she'll take this one too.

Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Will Win: Michael Emerson, Lost
Should Win: Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Dark Horse: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Snubbed: Campbell Scott, Damages
There is a very strong chance the two Losties (both of whom have already won) will cancel each other out, and Aaron Paul will win for what I'm told is a fantastic performance. But here's my thoughts: Michael Emerson has the better episode submission, since Dr. Linus is one of the best of the season. But Terry O'Quinn gave the better season-long performance, since he had to play polar opposites in the Man in Black and Sideways Locke. And there's always the chance Andre Braugher takes it instead.

Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Will Win: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Should Win: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Dark Horse: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Snubbed: Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Joan may have been woefully underused last year on Mad Men, but the episode she submitted is a knockout, plus everyone loves her. Though Archie Panjabi is just as much of a scene-stealer on The Good Wife, so the Emmys' clear love for the show could carry over to her. I also wouldn't count out Elisabeth Moss or Christine Baranski.

Best Actor, Comedy
Will Win: Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Should Win: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Dark Horse: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Snubbed: Jay Harrington, Better Off Ted
Tony Shalhoub has won this category so many times that I don't think the rest of the world's disdain will keep Emmy voters from giving it to him one final time. Though in recent years they've loved Alec Baldwin even more. Most people are rooting for Jim Parsons though, so maybe that will pay off?

Best Actress, Comedy
Will Win: Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Should Win: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Dark Horse: Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Snubbed: Portia de Rossi, Better Off Ted
Emmy voters love Edie Falco, so expect her to be rewarded for making them forget about Carmela. But they also love Toni Collette playing multiple personalities. And they love Tina Fey. But Edie Falco will ultimately win this.

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy
Will Win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Should Win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Dark Horse: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Snubbed: Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
As long as this isn't a repeat for Jon Cryer, I'm happy with anybody who wins here. NPH absolutely deserves this award, but deserved it more the past 4 years. Eric Stonestreet would be the obvious Emmy pick, but Ty Burrell is really the stand-out. And while Chris Colfer's nomination was a pleasant surprise, he's probably too young and too dramatic a role to take it. But you never know.

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy
Will Win: Jane Lynch, Glee
Should Win: Jane Lynch, Glee
Dark Horse: Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Snubbed: Lizzy Caplan, Party Down
This seems like one of the biggest no-brainers of the night, though Sofia Vergara is also hilarious. But how can they keep Sue Sylvester from adding another trophy to her case?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Christmas in August

Mad Men typically takes its time to get its seasons started, doing a slow build that pays off big time by the finale. But after two episodes, it seems season 4 is no typical Mad Men season. That extra energy present in the season 3 finale that had been absent in the rather gloomy and downbeat season preceding it was back in full force in last week's premiere, as we watched Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce well into their start-up mode and very much in action.

There's a new feel to this season, and so far the change is for the better. Sure it's sad to see characters like Paul go, but that just means more time for favorites that had been neglected last year, like Peggy and Roger. And I imagine we'll see everyone soon enough, seeing as we've already had returns from Freddy Rumsen and Glenn, both of whom I'm pretty sure haven't been seen since season 2. Though I may need to refresh my Mad Men memory. Is Peggy's boyfriend new, or was he on last season?

As fun as the premiere was, it was actually the second episode I'd put as the first classic of the season. As odd as it may be to watch a Christmas episode in the midst of this heat wave filled summer, it was certainly a great one. Last week I think we witnessed the emergence of Diva Don - Don's the star of the new agency and everyone else pretty much has to do what he wants. But Don's star was nothing compared to that of Lucky Strike Lee, who's previously used his power to get Sal fired. As the sole person keeping the new venture afloat, he got to act like a little kid and have everything his way. The big party, the present, and most forcefully Roger in a Santa suit all came about to attend to his desires. Who else thought Roger might put the company in jeopardy by punching him in his over-tanned face?

While Roger was swallowing his pride to keep the agency going, Don didn't worry about his. Needing to be tucked in at night first by the nurse down the hall and then his secretary, it's clear his post-divorce life isn't going so hot. Though this week's Don's storyline was really ruled by his secretary, who I can't say I had noticed before (did she come over from Sterling Cooper or was she new last week?) but did a pretty great job establishing her character within the one episode. From competently yet flirtily taking care of Don's holiday shopping to thinking her crush had gone requited only to seemingly be paid off to keep quiet, she got quite the arc for a character whose name I still don't know. May be interesting to see if that continues this season.

Finally, I guess Glenn was always kind of creepy, but he definitely went big time creepy this week. I'm not sure if his sneaky phone calls or his breaking in was worse, but he seems to be getting kind of stalkerish towards Sally. Or maybe he's just trying to make Betty jealous. I have to admit I'm not minding the diminished screentime for Betty so far. Her courtship with Henry last year took away valuable time from the office. She's clearly sticking around, but for now at least she's taking up an appropriate amount of the episodes.

Oftentimes when shows try to change things up, it either fails miserably (Weeds moving to the Mexican border) or devolves back into the show the writers were trying to escape from (Nip/Tuck moving to LA). But while it's only been two episodes, it's looking like the move to SCDP was just what Mad Men needed after all. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new agency manages.

Elsewhere on AMC, Rubicon, the network's third original series, premiered last night. Due to a DVR mix-up I've only seen the first of the two episodes, but I can't say I'm excited to keep going. While the premise certainly sounds like my kind of show and the opening credits had me intrigued, Rubicon's pilot had to be one of the slowest moving hours of TV I've ever seen. I swear if they eliminated every long silence it would have been a third as long.

So what did happen? Not too much. Kim Bauer's ex now has Will Schuester's hair and first name and works at some government office where he sits around and does crossword puzzles all day. One of the crossword puzzles turned out to be dangerous and got his boss/father-in-law killed. This caused him to stare at a parking lot for 20 minutes. And....that was the first episode!

I will say that the preview for coming episodes did look a whole lot more interesting, but maybe that's because they took the entire season's worth of plot and condensed it to 30 seconds. I don't want to dismiss this one too soon because I wasn't wowed by Breaking Bad either and now I've got 3 seasons to catch up on since everyone says it's the best show on TV. But so far Rubicon is feeling to me like Treme did: something that's slow and boring but gets critical acclaim anyway. While I now know Treme never did pick up, there's still a chance Rubicon could. Did anyone watch the second hour? Will it change my mind? Or should I just enjoy Mad Men and not worry about what comes after it?