2015 Emmys Review (Other Categories – Part 1)

over the garden wall

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a fan of entertainment awards. I remember cheering loudly every time Rugrats won the Nickelodeon Choice Award for Favorite Cartoon (the show pretty much won every year during its prime.) Yes, awarding mostly wealthy celebrities is silly. Yes, awards are 100% subjective. Yes, X never wins, X totally deserves to win, Y always wins, awards are political and biased! But, still, there’s something so fascinating about the art and practice of prizing, particularly when it comes to the “EGOT.” I love “studying” awards and watching programs and movies that have been nominated for them. So, on this blog, I certainly plan on discussing various awards and the nominees and who I think will/should win.

These are some other categories that I’ve decided to look into, including Animated Program, Music, Main Title Design, Commercial, Special Class Program, and Variety Special. Like always, I am simply ranking the nominees based on personal preference. Real predictions come later.

Music and Lyrics:

Ranking

  1. Sons of Anarchy (“Come Join the Murder”)
  2. Glee (“This Time”)
  3. Inside Amy Schumer (“Girl You Don’t Need Make Up”)
  4. The Oscars (“Moving Pictures”)
  5. How Murray Stole Christmas (“You Gotta Believe”)
  6. The Comedians (“Kiss an Old Man”)

If “Kiss an Old Man” had been replaced with something from SNL (like “Wishing Boot” or “Back Home Baller”) or that “Yayaya Lorde” song from South Park then this category would have been perfect. The worst thing about that song being nominated is that the writing team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez received another nomination for their infinitely better song from The Oscars. Again, besides my number 6 pick, this is a great category. “Girl You Don’t Need Make Up” hilariously skewers bands like One Direction and the societal expectations of women. I squealed with delight when Darren Criss received Glee‘s only nomination for the song Lea Michele/Rachel sang in the show’s finale. However, Kurt Sutter and co’s series finale swan song is stronger. I’ve actually never watched a second of Sons of Anarchy, but this beautiful, yet haunting seven minute masterpiece made me want to log on to Amazon and watch the show from the beginning. The show has been snubbed so many times. It only receives respect for its a music. A Music and Lyrics win would be a nice (although maybe not wholly satisfying) way of honoring a show that will be loved and remembered for years to come.

Music Direction: 

Ranking

  1. Peter Pan Live! (NBC)
  2. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (NBC)
  3. The Oscars (ABC)
  4. The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
  5. Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life – An All-Star GRAMMY Salute (CBS)
  6. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Live From Lincoln Center) (PBS)

Last year, David Chase was nominated for directing NBC’s polarizing live production of The Sound of Music. He should have won, but he was beaten by a televised tribute to The Beatles. This year, he’s nominated again for Perer Pan Live! And, like last year, he should win. Personally, I’m a huge fan of these NBC productions. While the cast gets its fair share of jeers, the people behind the scenes do a truly wonderful job keeping the show afloat, including Chase who oversees the orchestra and anything else music related. What David Chase accomplishes is no small feat…but unfortunately there’s a great chance he’ll be overshadowed by another musical tribute. Overall, I’m more impressed with the musicals than the televised concerts and award shows that are usually favored in this category.

Special Class Program:

Ranking

  1. Beyonce and Jay-Z On The Run (HBO)
  2. The 72nd Annual Golden Globes Awards (NBC)
  3. The Oscars (ABC)
  4. 68th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
  5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Live From the Lincoln Center) (PBS)

So, according to the PDF file where I’m getting these nominees, special class programs include award shows, classical/music productions, and TV programs that weren’t specifically produced for television. OK. Now I get things! Anyway, five very enjoyable programs are nominated this year (although I wish Peter Pan Live! had nabbed a nom). I would love to see Tina Fey and, especially, Amy Poehler win an Emmy for hosting the most enjoyable awards show these last three years. However, I have to follow my heart this time and root for “On the Run.” This show is the ultimate proof of how hard Beyonce and Jay-Z work. Yes, they’re filthy rith and live comfortable lives. But when they’re on the stage in front of thousands of fans who probably traveled hours just to see them, the 2 really put on a show. And this TV program captured the excitement of their one and only European tour stop in Paris. From the slow motion effects to the experimentation with light, color and sound, this HBO production wasn’t simply a filmed concert. Director Jonas Akerlund (who should have been nominated for an Emmy in the directing category) really captured this experience for lonely boys like me who can’t afford to go to a Beyonce concert. I can’t say enough great things about this program. It probably won’t win because Emmy voters are old and lack imagination, but I’m definitely a fan of both artists and this concert.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

57th Annual Grammy Awards, 2015 MTV Movie Awards, The Nance (Live From the Lincoln Center), Peter Pan Live!

Main Title Design:

Ranking

  1. Olive Kitteridge
  2. American Horror Story: Freak Show
  3. Halt and Catch Fire
  4. Manhattan
  5. Marvel’s Daredevil
  6. Bosch

So, this is a mostly underwhelming category (although, I will start watching Halt and Catch Fire. It looks interesting). American Horror Story pretty much does the same thing every year, but some of the images they chose for this theme was pretty creepy and memorable. I think I would mostly root for Olive Kitteridge which, like the miniseries itself, showcases different images from different episodes of life. It’s a simple, yet effective theme. It’s not as flashy as the others, but I think that simplicity is what makes it stand out.

Worthy Snubbed Contenders

A To Z, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Marco Polo, Saturday Night Live, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Main Title Theme Music:

Ranking

  1. Transparent
  2. Texas Rising
  3. Penny Dreadful
  4. Marco Polo
  5. The Dovekeepers
  6. Tyrant

Five out of Six of these nominees apparently took notes from Game of Thrones‘ opening theme. This category is filled with beautiful music, but it lacks true diversity and spontaneity. Most of themes are these big epic scores. Frankly #2-#5 are pretty much tied for second. Transparent‘s theme is truly memorable. It’s somber, yet beautiful. Simple, yet lovely. Since there are no online ballots for music categories, I’m not going to list the themes that were probably snubbed. However, I can definitely say that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt should have been here. Name a theme song that had a bigger impact than that one? I dare ya.

Commercial:

Ranking

  1. Always (“#LikeAGirl“)
  2. Nissan (“With Dad“)
  3. Snickers (“Brady Bunch“)
  4. Gatorade (“Made in NY“)
  5. Budweiser (“Lost Dog“)
  6. Adobe (“Dream On“)

Let’s start with the bottom three first. If I actually cared about/liked baseball, the admittedly beautifully shot Gatorade commercial would probably resonate with me more. However, that is not the case so it’s 4th. The “Lost Dog” commercial is cute (I love horses)…but then I realized this was a commercial selling beer…and that knocked it down a peg or two. The top 3 is really great. I’m sucker for those Snickers commercials and this one involving the Brady Bunch is very creative and well made. The Nissan commercial is really good because it’s like a short film. I almost wish it was longer so we could see more of the disconnect between the father and son, but it made me tear up nonetheless. But, really, my inner feminist is saying that #LikeAGirl should be the winner here. As a society, we’ve decided saying stuff like “that’s so retarded” or “that’s so gay” is offensive. Now, we need to realize that phrases like “throw like a girl” and “run like a girl” can potentially ruin a girl’s self esteem. I’m not sure if this commercial was scripted or real. In any case, it is still incredibly effective. And I think it’s perfect that a tampon brand would be the one to make a commercial like this. However, I have to say, my favorite commercial of the year wasn’t even submitted so whatever…

Animated Program:

Ranking

  1. Over the Garden Wall (Cartoon Network)
  2. Bob’s Burgers – “Can’t Buy Me Math” (FOX)
  3. South Park – “Freemium Isn’t Free” (FOX)
  4. Archer – “Pocket Listing” (FX)
  5. The Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror XXV” (FOX)

Last year, for the first time since the mid nineties, The Simpsons wasn’t nominated in this category. This year, unsurprisingly, The Simpsons was invited back to the party. I don’t watch the show as regularly as I used to, and this is the first episode of this season I’ve watched. If “Treehouse of Horror” was the best the producers could submit, then the show clearly does not deserve an Emmy this year. As for South Park – “Freemium Isn’t Free” sort represents the “hit or miss” nature of the show. While the commentary on alcohol addiction and cell phone app scams was on point, it all got bogged down by a Terrance and Phillip storyline that doesn’t do much for me. Bob’s Burgers always makes me laugh and this episode is no exception. However (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) but the kiddie mini series from Cartoon Network absolutely deserves this one. I don’t watch many modern cartoons for kids. Actually, I don’t watch them at all. I’ll stick to my Hey Arnold thank you very much! However, Over the Garden Wall is beautifully animated, the script is funny, and the story is clever, without being too complex and/or hard to understand. I also have to give a shout out to Collin Dean who hilariously voiced Gregory, the younger brother. If he submitted himself for consideration, he was surely cheated out of a nomination. But, anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this special, and I think there’s enough to turn this into a regular series. While the other shows are sort of same ol’ same ol’, I hope voters actually reward innovation and creativity, instead of playing it safe and giving South Park another win.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Bojack Horseman, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, “The Simpsons Guy,” How Murray Saved Christmas

Variety Special:

Ranking

  1. The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special (NBC)
  2. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE! (PBS)
  3. Louis CK: Live From DC (LouisCK.com)
  4. Bill Maher: Live From DC (HBO)
  5. The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
  6. Mel Brooks Live at Geffen (HBO)

I don’t want to get into semantics or anything, but when I think of the word “variety,” I think of those television specials that had that perfect blend of comedy and music. Carol Burnett perfected the format. The Brady Bunch pretty much ruined it. The point is, I think, nowadays, SNL comes the closest to what I envision a “variety show” should be. Obviously, the word “variety” can mean many different things. But I am huge fan and supporter of SNL. Yes, it’s not a perfect show, but what the show achieves on a weekly basis is impressive. And the show’s whole legacy is celebrated in their 40th special. It’s not a perfect three hours. I remember being underwhelmed by Weekend Update (as much as I loved seeing Fey, Poehler and Curtain together) and The Californians was a waste of time. But, overall, the show was still well made and deserving of the prize. Louis CK and Bill Maher are funny. And Mel Brooks is surprisingly active and sharp at such an old age. However, the only other program I’d be happy to see win is the Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett concert. Bennett is a great performer and his version of “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” is a highlight. Lady Gaga has one of the best pure voices in pop and is so genuine and earnest throughout the show. For such a large age difference, they both work so well together and have great chemistry. It certainly is an entertaining special.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

CMT Crossroads: Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves, Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber

OK. That is all for now. I am working on the Drama Categories and those should be posted in about a week or two. Meanwhile, check out my review of.

Directing For a Variety Special:

Ranking

  1. Don Roy King – The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
  2. Hamish Hamilton – The Oscars
  3. Natalie Johns – Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live In Concert
  4. Louis J. Horvitz – The Kennedy Center Honors
  5. Glenn Weiss – 68th Annual Tony Awards

Don Roy King has won an Emmy for his work on SNL the last five years. I’d say it’s a bit excessive for him to win a 6th…but the 40th Anniversary was so much fun…I have to give King credit for what he accomplished. Directing SNL is truly a tightwire act, and I’m amazed with anyone who’s ever done it before. If King doesn’t win, I hope Hamilton wins his first Emmy for a genuinely great Oscars.

Worthy Snubbed Directors

Jonas Ackerlund (Beyoncé And JAY Z On The Run), Matthew Diamond (The Nance), Rob Ashford and Glenn Weiss (Peter Pan Live!)

Writing For A Variety Special:

  1. The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards
  2. Key & Peele Super Bowl Special
  3. The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
  4. Louis CK: Live At The Comedy Store
  5. Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen

This may the one chance Amy Poehler will have in winning an Emmy! C’mon Emmys! Don’t let me down! But, seriously, that Golden Globes monologue trumps everything else in this category. However, the Key and Peele special had some really clever moments. As much as I loved the SNL special, I wouldn’t necessarily call it an outstanding “writing achievement.” But, if the Emmys are feeling nostalgic, it’s probably the frontrunner here.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Comedy Central Roast Of Justin Bieber, Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up

The Comedy Categories

The Drama Categories

Movie/Limited Series Categories

Other Categories – Part 2

Thank you for reading.

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4 thoughts on “2015 Emmys Review (Other Categories – Part 1)

  1. Pingback: 2015 Emmys Review (Comedy Categories) | Lifestories

  2. Pingback: 2015 Emmys Review (Movie/Limited Series Categories) | Lifestories

  3. Pingback: 2015 Emmys Review (Drama Categories) | Lifestories

  4. Pingback: 2015 Emmys Review (Other Categories – Part 2) | Lifestories

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