How adorable is Melissa McCarthy reacting to the news that she was nominated for an Emmy? (with Joshua Jackson and Television Academy Chairman John Shaffner)

No joke, I had a dream about the Emmy nominations last night.  Mostly it was about me being at the nomination announcement, but I woke up with a giddy anticipation which was kind of fun.  Part of me was a little reluctant to find out the full list of nominees, because until I did that, I still had hope for some of my favorites.  But most of me was just super excited to see who was nominated.  I taped the announcement this morning (as much as I love TV, no way am I waking up at 5:30am to watch these things live) and was rewarded with seeing Melissa McCarthy’s stunned reaction to hearing herself nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy.  I kind of like that the nomination announcements for these award shows have become a thing.  It’s kind of weird, but kind of fun at the same time.  Plus, a little Joshua Jackson first thing in the morning never hurt anyone.

Overall, there were some shoe-ins and some great surprises (Cat Deeley!  Matt LeBlanc!  FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!!!), but the supporting actor categories were supremely disappointing to me.  The biggest snub is definitely Nick Offerman’s exclusion from the supporting actor in a comedy category as well as the total shut out of Fringe (especially the lack of nomination for John Noble and Anna Torv).  But I think we have to be excited about the surprises we did get and keep our fingers crossed that there aren’t any sweeps or repeat winners this year.  HBO leads the nominations with 104 with the next highest number of nominations going to CBS who received 50 nominations in total.  Mildred Pierce was the most nominated of all programs with 21, Mad Men wins in the drama category with 19 nominations, Modern Family topped the comedies with 17, and in reality American Idol came out ahead with 10 nominations (I am happy to report that So You Think You Can Dance came in second with 8 nominations – 4 of those in the Outstanding Choreography category).

The full list of nominees (including all of the technical awards that I don’t really understand) can be found on the Emmy website, after the jump a list of the main categories and my gut reactions. Continue reading

More awards! The Television Critics Association announces its nominees

As impossible as this is to imagine, another television group has announced the nominees for its awards.  Not to be confused with the Critics Choice Television Awards, the Television Critics Association represents journalists and hands out the TCA awards while the Critics Choice is given by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association which represents television and online journalists.  It seems silly to keep these two groups separated, but I’m going to go ahead and imagine that there is some lifelong blood-feud going down between them and just assume its best that they stay far, far away from one another.

"ER" was awarded the TCA's Heritage Award in 2009, but never took home the award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama

I really like the categories of the TCA awards.  They put all of the contenders for acting awards into two categories (drama and comedy) that honor individual achievement without separating for gender.  That’s far more interesting than calling someone the “best actor/actress” and pits lead actors/actresses against supporting actors/actresses which I think is pretty cool. I’m sad not to see anyone from Friday Night Lights represented, but they are nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year, so I guess that makes up for it.  Also interesting, the TCA’s have a category specifically for new programs, but those programs can also be nominated in the categories for returning programs (ie: Game of Thronesis nominated for both Outstanding New Program and Outstanding Achievement in Drama).

The fact that Nick Offerman is hosting is a great excuse to use this photo.

That’s just sort of fun!  I think it’s kind of cool that they have a list of nominees for Career Achievement instead of just choosing one person to honor each year (and that the category houses all different types of contributions to the television landscape from acting to producing/creating to hosting).  But the award that sets the TCA apart from all others is the Heritage Award which honors a program that’s long been dead – or in the words of the TCA press release: “has culturally or socially impacted society” – (past winners include ER, The Wire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  How utterly random and amazing!  These awards aren’t televised, but the ceremony is being hosted by Nick Offerman so it’s a shame that we all won’t get to watch them.  All of the nominees after the jump!

Continue reading

Critics Choice Television Award Nominees Announced

Can Cat Deeley make the inaugural Critics Choice Television Awards seem relevant? I guess it's worth a shot.

TV doesn’t have near as many award shows as film.  But never fear, the Broadcast Critics Association is jumping on that bandwagon and filling up the holes left by the Emmys myopic presentation.  The inaugural Critics Choice Television Awards will be presented on June 20th and streamed live on VH1.com (and aired on ReelzChannel on June 22nd).  Cat Deeley is set to host, which is an excellent decision as she is, by far, the best reality host currently on the air.  The nominees are an almost embarrassment of riches and definitely seem to skew outside of the typical Emmy/Golden Globe nominees which is refreshing.  I’m not surprised.  Critics are far more likely to actually think about who they are nominating rather than going with rating trends or shows that are popular in the media.  Hopefully the winners will be a little varied and new.  However, being a new award, the Critics Choice Television Awards may not hold much weight and could just end up meaning less than nothing for the nominees and winners.  These things take time to gain importance.  Will these awards be a precurser to the Emmy nominees (which are released on July 16th)?  I think I’d be ok with it if they are.  The nominees are after the jump. Continue reading

Rock Mafia’s “The Big Bang” Music Video – I sort of hate myself for loving it

MTV started doing these sort of “special” music videos starring recognizable faces for pretty unrecognizable bands a few months ago (they’re calling them “super videos”).  There was an LCD Soundsystem “Pow Pow” video starring Anna Kendrick (Camp, Up In The Air), a video for Cult’s “Go Outside” with Dave Franco (Scrubs) and Emma Roberts (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Scream 4), a kooky video for The National’s (awesome band) “Conversation 16” starring Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show) and John Slattery (Mad Men) as the President and the secret service agent who loves her from afar, and now Rock Mafia’s “The Big Bang” with Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) and Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl).  None of these videos feature the bands themselves; they are more like short films (which, in my opinion, always helps a music video stand out).  And I pretty much love the concept.  Seeing actors that I recognize from film and television definitely stops me from changing the channel and I’ve downloaded all of the songs highlighted in the videos so I guess they’re doing their job.  But I cannot get around the fact that Miley Cyrus is in the Rock Mafia video.  She bugs me so much.  The video is super moody and kind of interesting (a parking attendant spends a night with a mysterious girl who keeps disappearing) but Cyrus totally takes me out of the mood.  She’s a Disney princess, not an indie queen (Kendrick, on the other hand, was the perfect choice for the LCD Soundsystem video).  I watch the video every time it comes on anyway.  I just can’t help myself.  The song is catchy and I like the story being told by the video.  But I sort of replace Miley in my head with someone anonymous.

What I Watched Sunday Night: The Amazing Race, Brothers & Sisters and Treme

You really have to see it to believe it.

The Amazing Race (CBS) – This race has been pretty good overall, but I thought last night was a particularly strong leg.  I am really sad to see Jet and Cord leave the race – they’re really strong competitors, and the look on Cord’s face as he stepped on the mat had so much hope in it, it broke my heart a little to see those hopes dashed.  I think Jet and Cord made an error in not ingratiating themselves to the other teams earlier on in the game.  Clearly, had they been working with some of the other teams last night, Jet might not have had to go all the way back to the start of that little motorbike kilometer challenge.  I think despite the fact that Jet and Cord are two of the nicest human beings on the planet, their racing strength intimidated the other teams and made them outsiders.  I don’t think it helped that there were a lot of legs where Jet and Cord were either so far ahead of everyone that they were all alone, or they chose to take different flights than the rest of the teams and ended up on their own while doing tasks.  It’s really too bad they’re off the show because I would much rather see Kent and Vyxsin (Jesus I hate her name) go.  Their bickering is getting really old and Kent’s general laziness is just embarrassing.  I CANNOT believe that he rode in the luggage cart on the way back from the detour.  Give me a freaking break.  If you aren’t strong enough to run what probably amounted to less than a mile, you should not be on this race.  One last note: I hate food challenges.  They are nausea inducing and gross and last night’s fondue excursion was no different.  While I give credit to Zev and Justin (and Jet and Cord) for eating all that bread and cheese, I almost couldn’t sit through it.  Of course, it doesn’t help that there was a band sitting off to the side playing jarring music the whole time.  I think the music is what would push me over the edge (however, I would never choose to eat a whole pot of cheese over delivering some luggage). Continue reading

America’s Next Top Model is on FIRE and other shows I watched last night

Dalya's fierce runway walk won her 2 designer dresses. (Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/The CW ©2011 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

America’s Next Top Model (The CW) -“Usually that’s a good thing – you have trouble lighting yourself on fire” – Sara  Dude, that runway was RIDICULOUS!!!  The girls were literally on fire!  Incredible.  Despite my dislike of Alexandria, I thought she got the show off to a really great start – she was really smooth and strong, but I agree with Miss J that she is a little rough.  Brittani was a little melodramatic in her beginning and end poses; Jacklyn looked totally scared; Sara was a complete disaster; Kasia pushed her sexiness too far and looked a little smutty to me; Hannah looked completely blank in the eyes; I loved Dalya’s walk – she was totally calm and looked beautiful.  I was glad Dalya won.  I like her.

Kasia was this week's winner in the commercial. And I LOVE this photo of her. (Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/The CW ©2011 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Commercials are always a total disaster – I know that models nowadays have to be more than just a pretty face, but for some reason, none of the model-testants can make it through a whole script.  I loved the Mad Men-esque setting and clothes.  Alexandria totally pissed me off during the shoot.  I’ve been on commercial sets before and if an actor ever tried to “help” the crew with the lights or direction they would be fired on the spot, and when she was watching the other girls she had a totally evil look on her face which was just kind of gross.  Kasia did a really great job, Molly was a total January Jones clone, Mikaela sort of looks like a robot to me, and Sara just got really caught up in the whole sexism part of the commercial and didn’t perform well at all.  I was definitely glad that Kasia won.  I know that she’s a “plus-size” model, but she is stunningly beautiful and her natural sexiness seemed to really serve her well.  I was also happy to see Alexandria in the bottom two because her attitude is starting to really grate on me.  It seemed like Sara was ready to go – like maybe the competition wasn’t quite what she thought it was going to be – and I can’t say that I’m sorry.  She didn’t really bring anything to the show or competition and this is the weeding out portion of the show. Continue reading

SAG Award Nominees

Apparently it’s all awards, all the time around the entertainment industry right now.  The SAG awards, like the Golden Globes, honor both film and television.  One of the things that I love is that the SAG awards honor entire ensembles as well as individual stars.  There are some shows, like Community or Friday Night Lights (neither of which are nominated this year.  Boo.) that are really about the group as a whole coming together more than the individual stars shining.  This award is voted on by actors and therefore only honors actors.  Below, the TV nominees.


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House

The exact same list as The Golden Globes.  I would have loved to have seen Kyle Chandler on this list (and every other list of nominees ever), but I still feel like this is a pretty strong group of guys.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

I’m going to say this right now.  I do not understand the Mariska Hargitay love.  She seems to be nominated for everything and even though she’s not bad, it’s a pretty one-note character on a pretty one-note show.  There is very little room for nuance.  Other than Hargitay, this is a great list of nominees.  Only thing that would make it better is Connie Britton.  As usual. Continue reading

Golden Globe TV Nominations – Best Actor/Actress Drama

Jon Hamm & Julianna Margulies

While the Globes are sometimes a precursor to the Oscars, they never really predict the Emmy nominations correctly.  But lets take a look at the nominees anyway.

Best Actor in a Drama

Hugh Laurie – House

Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad

Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire

Michael C. Hall – Dexter

Jon Hamm – Mad Men

Look, none of these men are bad at their jobs.  In fact, they’re all excellent actors.  But there is nothing particularly groundbreaking or exciting about this list of nominees.  Michael C. Hall had an amazing amount of work to do last season, but the season that ended last week was a bit lackluster and Hall seemed to be phoning it in a bit.  Like I’ve said before, I wasn’t a big fan of Boardwalk Empire and therefore don’t feel qualified to judge Buscemi’s performance.  Hugh Laurie has been nominated multiple times for his role on House and he is by far the best thing about the show.  From where I stand, the men to beat in this category comes down to Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston.  They give such different performances on such different shows – Hamm is all interior and held in while Cranston’s character is more external and show-y.  Because I consider Mad Men a more complicated show, I’m going to give the edge to Hamm, but I’ve never been very good at picking winners for these things.

Best Actress in a Drama

Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife

Piper Perabo – Covert Affairs

Katey Segal – Sons of Anarchy

Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer

Let’s say it right up front: the nomination for Perabo is a joke.  Covert Affairs is an entertaining show, but I would hardly call her performance award worthy.  So, taking her out of the running is easy.  I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy so again feel unworthy to judge Segal’s performance.  Which brings us down to Elizabeth Moss, Julianna Margulies, and Kyra Sedgwick who are all on shows that I absolutely adore.  But I have to say, what Margulies does on The Good Wife, constantly surprises and thrills me and therefore, she’s my pick to win.

American Film Institute’s Top Ten TV Shows of 2010

A zombie from "The Walking Dead"

AFI just released the list of their picks of the top ten TV programs and films of 2010 as voted on by a unique panel of industry insiders including critics, writers, actors, professors and AFI trustees.  The AFI awards honor the collaborative teams involved with creating the films and TV programs they nominate as opposed to a single producer, writer etc.  The jury selects the nominees based on works which best advance the art of the moving image; enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form; inspire audiences and artists alike; and/or make a mark on American society.

AFI TV Programs of the Year
The Big C
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Mad Men
Modern Family
The Pacific
Temple Grandin
30 Rock
The Walking Dead

For the most part, I like this list.  I didn’t watch The Pacific and am a couple of seasons behind in Breaking Bad, but the only show I really disagree with is Boardwalk Empire.  Maybe I have to give it a second chance, but on first viewing I thought it was a whole lot of set dressing and costumes without compelling characters and stories to back it up.  In other words, I found it to be kind of boring, but within the context of the AFI’s qualification I suppose it has advanced the art form and inspired audiences.

The rest of the list shows not only how much good TV there is, but how disparate the good is.  I mean, zombies (The Walking Dead), cancer (The Big C), high school glee club (Glee), and meth dealers (Breaking Bad), make for very strange list companions.  But I love them all and love that they’ve been honored.

My Favorite TV Shows of 2010

The Vampire Diaries - StefanTop 10 lists are both the easiest and most difficult posts to put together.  I have so many conflicting feelings because I love so much about TV.  Should I be honest about what I look forward to the most (Vampire Diaries) or try to sound highfalutin and pick a critical darling (Rubicon)?  Luckily, with 10 spots on this list, I can do both.  Without further ado, my 10 favorite shows of 2010 (plus a little yearbook-style award):

1. The Vampire Diaries (The CW) – Most surprisingly great show.

2. The Good Wife (CBS) – Best acting.

3. Cougar Town (ABC) – Funniest use of props. (RIP Big Joe)

4. Fringe (Fox) – Most intriguing.

5. Modern Family (ABC) – The “We tease because we love” award.

6. Chuck (NBC) – Most ass-kicking (and greatest heroine on TV).

7. Friday Night Lights (NBC) – Most real.  Also, most likely to make me cry.

8. Parks and Recreation (NBC) – Most improved.

9. Raising Hope (Fox) – Cutest baby.

10. Treme (HBO) – Best soundtrack.

Honorable Mentions: The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Community, Gossip Girl, So You Think You Can Dance, Being Erica, In Treatment, 16 & Pregnant, Dexter, and Rubicon.