Road to Avonlea Review: Home Movie

home movie avonlea

“So…when you look around you, haunted hill, at the homestead lights, at the fields tilled by the dead and gone who loved you, you’ll say, ‘Why, I’ve come home to this life.’ We’re lucky enough to live each moment of everyday in which Jasper Dale has been fortuitous and ingenious enough to catch it. We and future generations might know it.”

Episode Summary: American millionaire HB Dunn (Battlestar Galactica, Fargo, and Teen Wolf’s Michael Hogan) comes to Avonlea in order to turn the town into one of his “cities of the future.” He plans on buying the townspeople out and changing the quiet idyllic little island town into a booming 20th century metropolis. While many of the townspeople show genuine interest, Hetty hates the idea of Avonlea changing. In her anger, she once again shuts out everyone close to her, including Olivia, Jasper, and Sara. Meanwhile, Jasper is interested in taking an Edison movie camera and fixing it to shoot with a higher frame rate. Excited by the idea and his passion, Sara decides to go against Hetty’s wishes, and use some money from her trust in order to buy the camera for Jasper. When Hetty finds out, she threatens to sell the camera back. However, after stern words from Sara, Hetty decides that maybe the footage Jasper shot of the town can be used in the next town hall meeting to convince everyone that selling the town to Dunn is a bad idea. After an impassioned speech and a movie that dazzles the audience, Hetty is able to keep Avonlea…Avonlea.

Directed by Don McBrearty, Written by Marlene Matthews, and Music by John Welsman

My Grade: This is the best episode Don McBrearty has directed for the show. This is the best episode Marlene Matthews has written for the show. This is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series. It’s even above “A Mother’s Love.” I love this episode so much, I was literally worried about how I’d write this post…because I don’t know what more there is to write. But I’ll try. And I’ll start with Hetty’s relationships with the three other primary characters in this episode. I’ve said it so many times before, but my favorite “relationship” on this show is the one between Hetty and her niece Sara. And I wrote about their relationship in length in other past episodes that have more focus on that than this one. However, I still feel like something significant happens in this episode between the two of them. For Sara, this season is about telling the world that she’s grown up. She’s no longer simply a cute matchmaker (although she does sort of play that role with Felicity and Gus). She wants to be taken seriously. She tries this early in the season with “Moving On.” Her definitely silly and shortsighted plans in that episode don’t exactly work out. Then in the last episode, her love of writing is finally established. In that episode, she also learns the power she can possess with her trust. This is the episode where she finally takes an active role in managing her money. And when Hetty tries to prevent her from further helping Jasper, Sara does the coolest thing she’s done at this point. She finally plays the “I’m leaving and moving back in with my Nanny Louisa” card. And to the surprise of no one: It works. Sara is still a kid, but between that and the earlier scene where she impersonates Hetty’s voice during her phone call to the bank, she cleverly and boldly uses her resources for, frankly, a greater good. And Hetty complies because their relationship has simply matured since the last season when Hetty wouldn’t even allow Sara to buy a nice dress.

But the prominent relationship at display in this episode is the one between Hetty and Olivia and Jasper. Let’s get this straight. Olivia could have married the whitest, most well behaved most reliable billionaire doctor, part time reverend, with no plans of ever leaving Avonlea because he’s afraid of the ocean…and Hetty would still have found a problem with him. If Hetty had her way, both Olivia and their deceased sister Rose would have stayed spinsters, like her, for the rest of their lives. Alec and the other brother who we all forget about can be in charge of preserving the King name. The point is, Hetty hates change. And Jasper is change. Jasper marrying Olivia and whisking her away has changed the dynamic of the King family. So, of course, Hetty spends most of the episode going after Jasper and his silly little ideas. While Hetty wanting to save Avonlea from becoming gentrified is totally justified, her utter disrespect for Olivia and Jasper and their family is not. And Hetty realizes that. She realizes that her malice towards Jasper is not only hurting Olivia, but it’s also affecting any emotional development she had with Sara. When Hetty goes to apologize to Jasper and to allow him to keep the camera, she realizes that he and Jasper have something in common: They want to preserve the memory of Avonlea and the memories and values the town holds dear to its heart. So, in the end, the two work together, create a film of the town to show to the people, so they can see that Avonlea is perfect the way it is.

This show can be cyclical. Does this episode mark the end of Hetty…well being Hetty? Towards Olivia? Towards Jasper? No. But I suppose that’s how life works. There are no clean conclusions. Up until the literal end of the series, Hetty will bash Jasper. But we can at least appreciate this moment: The moment when Hetty finally asks for Jasper’s help and takes him seriously. A big fat (A+)

Spotlight Performance and Favorite Scene: So, it goes without saying that this episode is this episode because of that last scene when Hetty showcases Jasper’s movie for the town. However, let’s talk about a few moments that pretty much lead us to that scene. This episode gives us four really wonderful performances, but, of course, only one actor can get their name boldened. Season four is Sarah Polley’s (and I’d say her character’s) peak. She was nominated for her last Gemini for her work on this show for “Moving On.” The producers made the right choice with that episode submission. However, she could have probably submitted this episode here because Polley has three great scenes. The first two are the ones when she is impersonating Hetty (she doesn’t really sound like Jackie Burroughs, but she gets like the mannerisms down and stuff) and the when Sara defends her actions for Hetty. However, the really great scene is the one where Sara and Olivia discuss Sara’s mother, and Sara tearfully admits she can barely remember what she looked like. It’s a surprisingly emotional and dramatic moment for an episode that, for the most part, doesn’t have the highest stakes (I mean, it’s not like someone is dying childbirth or something). It’s, of course, a poignant scene, considering Polley’s mother died right before the show aired its first season. And considering that a few decades later Polley would be releasing a documentary about her mother, with focuses on memories and home movies (many of them recreated for the documentary).

For the episode, itself, when Jasper overhears Sara crying over her mother, it’s that moment when he realizes that creating a better camera with a higher frame rate is more than just about the science and mechanics, it’s about preserving memories the best way possible so others with similar circumstances to Sara can have something to look back on. I have a confession…along with “hotel episodes”…I also think “Jasper invents something” episodes or, really, Jasper episodes as a whole, are pretty hit or miss. I mean, we all remember the “bats” episode, right? But, it goes without saying, this is the best Jasper episode of the series. And RH Thomson as Jasper is really great in this episode. He earned his only Gemini nomination for this role for this episode specifically; and I think it’s probably the scene towards the end when a dejected Jasper feeds Monty and tells him what he had hoped to accomplish with this new movie technology: to preserve a town’s legacy. But I think another strong moment is Jasper listening to Sara in that emotional scene, wordlessly realizing the potential importance of filmmaking. And, of course, Mag Ruffman as the faithful, yet strong headed wife of Jasper earns high marks.

jackie burroughs avonlea

But, again, this episode belongs to that last scene when Hetty presents the home movie to the town. It’s such a great scene. My favorite thing about the scene is the sound editing and mixing. John Welsman’s wonderful small town score overlaid with Hetty’s narration overlaid with the town’s laughter and “ooing and awing” is just perfect. It’s the scene that makes any fan of Avonlea tear up. It’s the one scene that truly represents the best and beautiful things about this small (sometimes closed-mindedjustsayin) town. I love scenes that feature a lot of the residents. From Hetty winning “Mother of the Year” to that season 2 finale hockey competition to Sara participating in that riding contest…the show is at its strongest when the town is fully engaged and present. And in the center of the town is Hetty, almost the town’s mother, certainly the town’s conscience, played by the incomparable Jackie Burroughs. Look at Burroughs’ eyes during her final plea to keep the town. It’s not the first time Hetty’s been vulnerable. She’s vulnerable a lot in the series. And Burroughs plays vulnerability so well, every single time. And this episode, that moment, is no different. Hetty’s unbending love of town and tradition will come through in deeper, darker ways in the next few seasons, but, right now, this is the episode that shows a more idyllic, more innocent view of Hetty’s love and dedication for Avonlea. In the end, I think this episode is about Hetty more than anyone else.

Final Thoughts: So I mentioned earlier that RH Thomson received a Gemini nomination for this episode. Marlene Matthews also received her second nomination for writing the episode. (Her first was for, I’m strongly assuming, “Aunt Hetty’s Ordeal.”) Season four was a strange season when the show didn’t receive a lot of award nominations (although they did win that Emmy for Children’s Programming). I don’t understand how the season that gave us this episode could be snubbed a Gemini nomination for Drama Series. Sometimes, I think Gemini voters thought they were a little too cool for this family show. It’s a shame, because it’s the show that most people still remember. Anyway…well deserved nominations.

John Welsman also deserved a nomination for his work here. Although, he was nominated for a Gemini that year, for his work in the Sullivan miniseries By Way of the Stars (which starred a few Avonlea cast members). He competed against fellow composer Don Gillis for “Moving On.” (Neither of them won.) Towards the latter half of Avonlea, it seems like Welsman had a lesser musical role on the show, while Gillis (and, later, newer various composers) was creating the new motifs, some which would be carried over to Wind at My Back and those Anne reunion movies. This might be one of Welsman’s last truly original scores for the series. And it’s one of the most memorable overall particularly during that scene. That motif is so simple, and…it just reminds me of home and family and community. It’s the kind of score that reminds me of farm work and baking pies for a Sunday picnic. During seasons five and six, the score will be used for Davey episodes. The score certainly fits the character, and will be particularly well used in “A Friend in Need.” But, I feel like despite that, this is the episode that truly defines what that score means.

I don’t know where I can confirm this. It might have been from one of the message boards on the official website or Avonlea Guide…but, apparently, for a short while, season four was considered the last, and this was a potential series finale. The show, during its time, was sort of at the mercy of Disney Channel. It had an unusually high budget and production value for a Canadian series, and Disney was very important to the show’s success. So, after every season, the show was usually in limbo until the cast and crew got the greenlight from Disney to make more episodes. So, every season finale (except season 6, really) has some sort of air of finality. We all know that the season 1 finale was intended to be the “finale finale.” We all know that, in the beginning of season 2, the producers had to cruelly kill Sara’s father and leave her an orphan to justify Sara living in Avonlea indefinitely. So, it’s possible this episode was written with, at least, a soft expectation that it would be the last. There’s actually one more season 4 episode after this…but, if need be, these last two episodes could have simply been switched, right? Anyway, what I’m getting at is…I’m so thankful the show got three more seasons. Some of the show’s best moments have yet to come. However…this would have made a very good, appropriate finale. And, y’know, some fans who aren’t terribly big fans of the last three seasons probably wish this had been the finale. But that’s crazy talk! Being taken aback by “new Cecily” is part of the Avonlea experience, whether you like it or not! Humph!

I have one last point. So, the other day, I watched Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk on opening night. It’s a fictional story about an American war hero who comes home for a two week victory tour in 2004. I mostly watched the movie because it was receiving Oscar buzz before the really mixed reviews came out. Overall, I still don’t know what to make of the movie. It’s a really strange movie, a lot of it having to do with how it was shot. Ang Lee pretty much used a super high frame right, almost five times what’s usually used. So, there are a lot of close-ups and two person scenes where the camera constantly switches back between the first speaker and the second. There are only a small number of theatres in the world that can truly accommodate this new technology. Most other people (including me) can only watch this movie on a normal screen. So…the cinematography (unlike Avonlea smiley face) doesn’t actually look all that great. I’m guessing you only notice anything if you watch the movie in one of the fancy special theatres.

The point is…the movie has received a lot of criticism for taking this HFR risk. Even I wondered why Ang Lee would attempt to try this, especially considering how difficult it was shoot the movie. And knowing that Lee probably won’t be winning any Oscars for the movie, I wondered if maybe the movie would have been better received if he had shot it like, well, a normal movie in the year 2016. However, after revisiting this episode, and seeing Jasper’s attempts at achieving HFR, and seeing the joy it gives the town (and himself) I now have a higher appreciation for what Ang Lee was trying to do. Did he fully succeed? I can’t answer that question myself. Many reviewers claimed that the HFR was jarring and straight up unsettling. But…isn’t that how people reacted to color? Or sound? Or even moving pictures as a whole? It will be a long time before 120 frames per second is the norm…but I admire that Ang Lee tried something new and took a risk.

And that’s one of the main themes in this episode: taking risks. Jasper, as an inventor, does that throughout the entire series. Sometimes he’s cheered. Most of time, he’s called a “kook.” But it’s encouraging to see characters like Sara and Olivia give their trust to Jasper and support his whims because everything we have right now, all the technological advances, from touch screen laptops to mechanical pencils, is because we are fortunate to live in a world of Jaspers, people who go the extra mile, when everyone else thinks life is perfect the way it is. Even Hetty realizes that if she wants to save her town from turning into a mini New York City (or worse…MONTREAL!!), then she has to embrace Jasper’s newfangled technology as well. Progress can serve all purposes, even a purpose that’s maybe counter to progress. It’s an interesting wormhole to think about. But that’s what makes this episode the best of the series. So many varied points of view, working together, as one.

Road to Avonlea Review: The Disappearance

Avonlea sarah polley

Episode Summary: Sara wants to write for the town’s newspaper, in order to prove to her cousins and Aunt Hetty that she’s capable of more than running her late father’s estate. She finds a story in Jonathan Blackwell (Robby Benson), who goes town to town pretending to be famed antique dealer Gerald McDougall Young so that his aunt (Diana Rigg), who wants him to run the family estate, won’t find out. Knowing what he’s going through, Sara agrees to keep Jonathan’s secret if she can write a story about Mr. Young. Jonathan is able to continue his secret passion of collecting art, while Sara gets some newfound respect from her aunts.

Directed by F. Harvey Frost, Written by Deborah Nathan, Music by John Welsman

My Grade: I don’t have much to say about this episode. If you’ve read every review of mine so far, you can probably guess how highly I regard this episode. This is just one of those Disney approved episodes, featuring the voice of Beast from Beauty and the Beast (for the kiddies, I guess? Even though they wouldn’t know) and Diana Rigg, because, I guess, she did stuff before Game of Thrones. The plot itself isn’t very interesting. It’s a B-minus, but it’s a relatively high B-minus because the stuff with Sara wanting to live out her passion and become a writer (oh look! Story Girl! See? She’s a Story Girl. Totally justifies naming that one episode “Story Girl”) gives us more insight into her. But, at the same time, it’s like not all that interesting seeing two privileged rich kids lament over having a lot of money and stuff. Anyway, (B-)

Spotlight Performance: I think Robby Benson is great here. Yeah, his face is like “woah!” Is his character supposed to be related to Jane Spry? I mean, I’m impressed by this dude. He sounds like this…but he also voiced Beast. He also directed episodes of Friends and Ellen, so he’s multi-talented. Anyway, he played “two” characters in this episode so he was snubbed an Emmy nomination, OK??

avonlea robby benson

Favorite Scene: I think what makes this episode more memorable than all the other “hotel episodes” this season is the scene between Jonathan and Sara, when he reveals who he really is and what he does. I guess I just like Sara’s realization that the two of them are actually kindred spirits. And I like the atmosphere. It’s dark. It’s cold and snowy. Their faces are red. Their breaths are seen. It’s just a scene that stands out in an otherwise “meh” episode.

Final Thoughts: Just that Hetty is the only other character I mention in this review, but she only appears in two short scenesbyeee.

Road to Avonlea Review: Felicity’s Perfect Beau

avonlea felicitys perfect beau

“Sometimes I think you were buttoning up your boots when the Lord handed out brains.”

Episode Summary: Felicity has two suitors: Her old friend Gus Pike, and the perfectly polished vet school student Arthur Pettibone. Felicity is having a tough time deciding between the two men, while Gus Pike has a tough time reconciling with the thought of losing Felicity. Meanwhile, Sara does everything she can to help Felicity come to a decision before finally slapping some sense into Felicity and her seemingly selfish ways. Felicity kisses Arthur, however, despite a falling out between her and Gus, she ultimately chooses Gus. Arthur leaves town heartbroken. When Gus asks for Felicity’s hand in marriage, she tells Gus that she wants to go to college first, and that he should propose again in two years. The episode ends with two racing to the lighthouse like old friends.

Directed by Don McBrearty, Written by Therese Beaupre, Music by Don Gillis

arthur pettibone

My Grade: Felicity and Gus…what can I say? They’re a match made in heaven. And, frankly, I feel like this show did an overall great job at taking their time with this pairing. I mean, these two met in the second episode of season two. And since then, they’re relationship has been slowly evolving to the point where Gus can (maybe impulsively) ask Felicity to marry to him. This episode is nearly perfect. Just a simple (that seems to be the key word in all my favorite episodes) story about a love triangle. What more can you expect? However, even though Arthur is nothing more than a recurring character, I like how he’s given his own scenes (very explosive scenes with his father). We learned more about his family history, his mother’s death. And I think seeing his parents’ marriage nearly fall apart before her death makes Arthur want to be the perfect beau and potential husband for Felicity. He’s also very competitive with his father, so he feels the need to be competitive with Gus. He knows full well that Gus and Felicity have history. That Felicity is closer to Gus than she is to Arthur. But he’s ready for the challenge. Gus may have the personality and the town’s respect. But Arthur has the education, and progressive ideas, and the more stable future. And he uses that to his advantage when trying to woo Felicity.

But, really, this episode boils down to Felicity and Gus. And this episode sort of reminds me of “Moving On.” In that episode, Sara attempts to grow up. She matures and learns a lot, but in the end, she realizes she still needs to stay home for a little while longer and be a kid. I feel like this is a similar dilemma to what Felicity’s going through. For the last few years, Felicity has dreamed of being a better mother and wife than her own mother. And Gus has finally given her the chance. Felicity, at the age of sixteen (which isn’t too crazy for 1906-1907) has to decide between continuing school, continuing being a kid, or growing up and starting a family. And, despite the actor playing him, Gus isn’t all that much older than Felicity. For a small moment, there’s that rush to grow up. However, Felicity realizes she isn’t ready. And that’s further emphasized in the end when the newly formed couple race to the lighthouse. Gus is still Gus. And even though these two are finally “official” (or at least more “official” than they were in the past), it doesn’t mean they’re too old to let their guards down. So…yah!…this is a great episode that, like “Moving On,” showcases the season four theme of “growing up, but not too fast” After this season, “things” will never be the same for Gus, Felicity, and Sara again. (A)

Spotlight Performance: This episode has a lot of great performances. Zachary Ansley as Arthur is obviously great, particularly his scenes with David Fox. Gema Zamprogna is perfect as always. And I was actually ready to give this one to Michael Mahonen. Buuuut…I have to say, many fans characterize Sara Stanley as a “matchmaker.” She does have a lot of “matchmaking” episodes and storylines. Off the top of my head, this episode is probably my favorite “Sara attempts matchmaking” episode. She’s just so prominent in this episode, going back and forth between Arthur and Gus. I literally cringe when Sara has to lie to Arthur about her injured horse, just to get Felicity and Gus alone. She is such a good friend. And, yes, she is the speaker of that wonderful quote up top (which will be repeated in an early episode of Sullivan’s other series Wind at My Back to lesser effec) Watching this episode again…I was impressed with Sarah Polley. So, I’m giving her another Spotlight Performance placement. Hey. She’ll only get, like, a couple more before she leaves. Sorry, Mickey!

Favorite Scene: Well, again, I like the scene where Sara lies about her horse to Arthur. It makes me so uncomfortable. And when Arthur is asking her a bunch of questions and Sara doesn’t know how to answer. I am dead. The biggest reason I initially wanted to bolden Michael Mahonen’s name above is because I also really liked the scene when Gus is angrily shining his boots and he’s like, “Oh! Arthur will never stay with Felicity. And she’ll come running back to me. And I won’t even accept her! Women love it when men are standoffish.” And then Gus gives Sara the douchiest wink ever. And then Sara admits that Arthur kissed Felicity and the dramatic Don Gillis trademark music plays and Gus rushes off to clobber Arthur. This episode actually has a couple nice scenes with just Sara and Gus. In all the Felicity/Gus hoopla, some people may forget that Sara and Gus were really great friends. And, I believe, after this episode, those two won’t share many (or even any, really) scenes by themselves together.

Final Thoughts: This was the first and only episode written by Therese Beaupre. However, she was a “story editor” for most of season four. She went on to write for Shirley Holmes, Flash Forward, Guinevere Jones, Dinosapien, and received two Emmy nominations for Strange Days at Blake Holsey High. She was also a story editor for Caitlin’s Way. She taught Writing for Children’s Entertainment at Centennial College and is currently writing young adult novels.

Last note: How they pronounce “schedule.” It’s like “sheh-joo-ul.” It’s funny. That is all. Bye. #WheresCecily?

2016 Emmys Review (TV Movie, Limited Series, and Variety Series)

american crime

Even though this blog is supposed to mostly be dedicated to youth media and programming, I just can’t resist talking about the Emmy nominees this year (despite the harsh feelings I had for Margo Martindale’s win for a two minute cameo last year.) So, I will be reviewing many of the categories this year, including all the important comedy, drama, TV Movie and limited series ones. I’ll even discuss some of the “less recognized” categories, like, of course, Children’s Programming, music, variety series, and more. So, stick around, TAKE MY OPINION SERIOUSLY!!…thank you.

PS…these are not “predictions.” These rankings are based on my own subjective personal preference. My actual objective predictions will most likely come closer to the actual ceremony date (although I suck at doing those…)

Finally, let’s end this journey with categories that very few people actually care about! Actually, that’s not really true. People vs. OJ Simpson was a huge hit – pretty much a cultural phenomenon. Unlike last year when Olive Kitteridge (deservedly) swept the miniseries categories, when People vs. OJ Simpson most likely achieves the same feat this year, viewers won’t be saying “What is this show?” And I know Confirmation made a big splash (at least on Twitter). So, maybe a few eyeballs will actually read this post. Anyway, let’s get on with this. I am 99.99% sure this will be my last Emmys review post since I’ve already dedicated too much of my life on this and summer vacation is almost over and I start work soon…

Episode Submissions Courtesy of Gold Derby

PS…this year (and last year) Goldderby posted “episode submissions” for the supporting acting nominees. However, I’ve decided not to acknowledge them in my reviews because 1.) I really think, if they do this, they should make the lead performers submit as well. And 2.) I’m pretty sure voters care less about the episode submissions in the limited series categories than they do the others so why bother? But, hey, maybe next year.

Casting For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special:

Ranking

  1. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  2. Roots
  3. Grease: Live
  4. Fargo
  5. The Night Manager

I’m really happy Grease: Live got a nomination here. This is the first time a “live musical event” has received a nomination in this category. It definitely has to do with the fact that, objectively speaking, there wasn’t really a miscast. Most viewers seemed to like everyone in the cast equally. And the young cast really does a great job, particularly relative newcomer Elle McLemore as Patty. However, the casting on The People v. O.J. Simpson is thoroughly impressive. The show really did their research, and did a great job finding actors who looked exactly like their characters. I mean, Kenneth Choi looked exactly like Lance Ito. Show a picture of the two side by side, and I’d have to make a guess. Roots and Grease‘s casting is inspired since, for the most part, most of the cast members are newcomers and relative unknowns, and discovering those actors are always difficult. But, the casting directors for ACS really found perfect doppelgangers for most of the roles.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

American Crime, Descendants,  Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors, Flesh And Bone, Show Me A Hero, The Wiz Live!

Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special:

Ranking

  1. D.V. DeVincentis – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”)
  2. Noah Hawley – Fargo (“Palindrome”)
  3. David Farr – The Night Manager 
  4. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“From The Ashes Of Tragedy”)
  5. Bob DeLaurentis – Fargo (“Loplop”)
  6. Joe Robert Cole – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“The Race Card”)

I don’t think there’s ever been a year where individual episodes of a limited series dominated so much. I think one of the great things about ACS is that each episode does sort of stand on its own. So, it’s nice that the individual writers and directors for the series are being called out (even if, let’s say, other television movies are snubbed in the process). In that case, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is one of the most infuriating, yet invigorating, hours of television this season. Before this limited series premiered, most people considered how racism played a role in the OJ Simpson case (Rodney King). However, few actually looked at the case through a feminist lens. This is the episode that finally vindicated Marcia Clark. It’s the episode that does a great job of revealing how tough it is to be a professional woman in the workplace, and juggle that with a difficult family life. It’s unfair that Clark has to prove that OJ Simpson is guilty, while looking pretty and seeming approachable. There are different rules for men and women, and this episode displayed that so well. Otherwise, the finale of Fargo is also pretty great, particularly the scenes involving Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson. But “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” wins, from it’s episode title to the very last shot.

Worthy Snubbed Programs/Episodes (One per program)

American Crime (Episode 7), Confirmation, A Deadly Adoption, Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors, Roots (Night Two), 7 Days in Hell, Show Me A Hero (Part Six)

Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special:

Ranking

  1. Anthony Hemingway – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“Manna From Heaven”)
  2. Noah Hawley – Fargo (“Before the Law”)
  3. Susanne Bier – The Night Manager
  4. Ryan Murphy – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“From The Ashes Of Tragedy”)
  5. John Singleton – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“The Race Card”)
  6. Jay Roach – All The Way

If Ryan Murphy had submitted “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” for consideration instead, he would have been my top choice. He chose to submit the premiere instead, which obviously is a great way to start the show, but it’s not necessarily the best episode the series. The show gets better. And “Manna From Heaven” proves that. This is essentially the episode where the (disgustingly racist) Fuhrman tapes are revealed. This is the type of plot twist a fiction writer wouldn’t have been able to get away with! Such a crazy, yet maddening, hour of television that confused and angered so many viewers, including myself. It’s the second best episode of the series and certainly a highlight of the season. But, again, Fargo creator Noah Hawley could win either of these categories and it’d be great. His direction is generally great. As is Susanne Bier’s sultry and seductive direction for the spy thriller The Night Manager.

Worthy Snubbed Programs/Episodes (One per program)

American Crime (Episode Seven), Confirmation, A Deadly Adoption, Descendants, Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors, Roots (Night One), 7 Days in Hell, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, Show Me A Hero

Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Ranking

  1. Jesse Plemons – Fargo
  2. Sterling K. Brown – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  3. David Schwimmer –  The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  4. Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager
  5. Bokeem Woodbine – Fargo
  6. John Travolta – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

To be honest, I don’t quite understand why Jesse Plemons was pushed to the supporting category. If his onscreen wife, Dunst, is considered a lead, shouldn’t he be as well? They have the same impact/screen time. I mean, I know Patrick Wilson is sort of the protagonist, but I’m pretty sure a program can have two male leads (which we will see further down). So…I think Plemons being here is a bit of category fraud. Otherwise, I’m very happy Plemons finally has an Emmy nom for his work. Did anyone ever think Landry would walk away from Friday Night Lights as the most successful alum? Let’s be real here. But, yes, Plemons is really great as, well, the husband of an accidental, yet ruthless, murderer. It’s the perfect sort of role for Plemons. I mean, he even gained a bunch of weight (or at least maintained the weight from an earlier project). That is commitment! I’m also so happy Brown and Schwimmer got in, because I sort of thought both would be overshadowed by the usual Emmy favorites (like Nathan Lane, who’s good, but certainly wasn’t the highlight of the series). I liked Travolta’s performance more than most others, but there are a few other actors I probably would have nominated over him. But, still, Travolta hasn’t been this good in a while (and I liked his eyebrows!)

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Ted Danson (Fargo), Danny Deferrari (Madoff), Jeffrey Donovan (Fargo), Jordan Fisher (Grease: Live), Martin Freeman (Sherlock: The Abominable Bride), Matthew Goode (Roots), David Alan Grier (The Wiz Live!), Kit Harington (7 Days in Hell), Connor Jessup (American Crime), Elijah Kelley (The Wiz Live!), Norm Lewis (Kern & Hammerstein’s Show Boat), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Roots), Alfred Molina (Show Me a Hero), Ne-Yo (The Wiz Live!), Elvis Nolasco (American Crime), Wendell Pierce (Confirmation), Joey Pollari (American Crime), Ricky Schroder (Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors), Forest Whitaker (Roots)

Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Ranking

  1. Olivia Colman – The Night Manager
  2. Regina King – American Crime
  3. Jean Smart – Fargo
  4. Melissa Leo – All The Way
  5. Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Hotel
  6. Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Hotel

First, I’d like to commend the voters for resisting the urge to give AHS the usual multitude of nominations since this season was literally terrible. Like, I quit on three or four different occasions, just to get back in because I like wasting the precious hours I have on Earth. So, go voters! But…did they have to waste two of the Supporting Actress spots on actresses from the show? I mean, Paulson was already a Lead Actress lock, while Bates…well, she doesn’t need to be nominated every year. Add in Melissa Leo’s nothing-wife performance and this is a pretty weak category. Regina King could win again as the conflicted mother of a closeted son caught in a basketball rape scandal. Jean Smart’s also memorable as the steely matriarch of an infamous family gang. However, my top choice would have to go to Olivia Colman. A smart, full fleshed out performance as the moral intelligence officer whose trying to take down an illegal arms dealer. It’s a solid performance from a usually solid actress. I’m not sure she’ll win though…

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Uzo Aduba (The Wiz Live!), Tina Benko (Flesh And Bone), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Belle), Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager), Vanessa Hudgens (Grease: Live), Jennifer Hudson (Confirmation), Catherine Keener (Show Me a Hero), Cristin Milioti (Fargo), Stephanie Mills (The Wiz Live!), Jennifer Nettles (Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors), Keke Palmer (Grease: Live), Anna Paquin (Roots), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Show Me a Hero), Anika Noni Rose (Roots)

Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Ranking

  1. Courtney B. Vance – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  2. Cuba Gooding, Jr. – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  3. Tom Hiddleston – The Night Manager
  4. Idris Elba – Luther
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  6. Bryan Cranston – All The Way

I think the biggest disappointment from the morning nominations announcement was Show Me a Hero not receiving a single nomination. Not for limited series, directing or writing. Not for costumes, makeup, or casting. But the most egregious snub was that of Oscar Isaac, who played Nick Wasicsko, who, in 1987 became the youngest big city mayor in the United States. The miniseries revolved around the controversy surrounding the building of integrated public house in Yonkers. After losing his bid for reelection and with corruption charges nipping at his shoulders, Wasicsko commits suicide at the age of 34. If you haven’t already watched, I would totally recommend this miniseries. It’s up there with the American Crimes and Fargo, maybe even better. But I can say with certainty that Oscar Isaac gave the best leading actor performance of the television season. Unfortunately, the limited series premiered last summer and got low ratings, thus its award chances were slim, once again proving that somemany times, the Emmys just aren’t fair. And it’s hard to take this category real seriously without the best performance among the nominees. I would usually never spend this space writing about a snub, but, in this case, I can’t even… This is my ranking. Make of it what you will.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Richard Dreyfuss (Madoff), Colin Farrell (True Detective), Will Ferrell (A Deadly Adoption), Timothy Hutton (American Crime), Oscar Isaac (Show Me a Hero), Malachi Kirby (Roots), Regé-Jean Page (Roots), Andy Samberg (7 Days In Hell), Aaron Tveit (Grease: Live)

Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Ranking

  1. Sarah Paulson – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  2. Lili Taylor – American Crime
  3. Audra McDonald – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
  4. Kirsten Dunst – Fargo
  5. Kerry Washington – Confirmation
  6. Felicity Huffman – American Crime

This category is a BEAST! I’m not sure there’s anyone I’d even consider swapping out. I remember being pleasantly surprised that McDonald got in because I found her Tony winning performance as Billie Holliday so transformative. By the end of the program, I could not recognize McDonald. She’s literally lost in the character. I nearly wept when Lili Taylor got in. I came into nomination morning knowing that, despite the improvement, this second season of American Crime wouldn’t get as many nominations as the first season. I knew a lot of deserving actors (like the “teenagers”) would be snubbed. So Lili Taylor getting in against all odds and predictions is a victory in its own right (although, if any voters are reading this, don’t feel discouraged from choosing her). Maybe five minutes ago I thought Lili Taylor would be me top choice. BUT…ultimately, I think Sarah Paulson will and should win. Like I wrote earlier, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is landmark feminist television, and Paulson’s performance in it as Marcia Clark is tall and shiny in its own right. Watch the scene when Marcia Clark walks into the courtroom with her new haircut. The way her face goes from confidence to “oh geez here we go again” to pure pain is just…Acting 799. Paulson’s a master. And she’s been “snubbed” so many times in the past. It’s her time to win. But, at least, if she loses, it’ll be to another actress who’s almost as deserving. Seriously, Kirsten Dunst just sinks her teeth in her role. Felicity Huffman is almost as “terrible” as Dunst, but you still feel a little sympathy for both characters since they’re constantly stuck between difficult positions. And Kerry Washington gave a better performance in Confirmation than she ever did in Scandal. Yes, that is saying a lot. But while she’s explosive and emotional on ScandalConfirmation proves she’s capable of handling subtlety. But Kerry Washington is such a great and supportive soul. I know, whichever actress wins, she’ll applaud excitedly for her, just like she did for Julianna Margulies a couple years back.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Blythe Danner (Madoff), Julianne Hough (Grease: Live), Alyvia Alyn Lind (Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors), Amber Riley (My One Christmas Wish), Kristen Wiig (A Deadly Adoption), Shanice Williams (The Wiz Live!)

Outstanding Television Movie:

Ranking

  1. Confirmation (HBO)
  2. All The Way (HBO)
  3. A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix)
  4. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (PBS)
  5. Luther (BBC America)

As you can probably tell by now, I’m not the biggest fan of All The Way. I just feel like, between Selma and Path to War and countless other dramatizations, I’m not sure All the Way covers much new ground. But, of course, the movie is well made and it’ll probably win because HBO and Presidents. However, I’d much rather see the soapy and delicious Confirmation take it, which centered on the Anita Hill hearings and the miscarriage of justice that gave us a Supreme Court justice that justified slavery in order to  take away gay couples’ right to marry (my one political statement of these Emmy posts don’t stop reading!) Confirmation is pure Twitter-bait, but I was more entertained by it than any of the other movies on this list. I will say though that there is something refreshingly old fashioned about Sofia Coppola’s star filled Christmas special for Netflix, especially with its quick one hour run time.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

A Deadly Adoption, Descendants, Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors, The Dresser, 7 Days In Hell, Teen Beach 2

Outstanding Limited Series:

Ranking

  1. American Crime (ABC)
  2. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  3. Roots (HISTORY)
  4. Fargo (FX)
  5. The Night Manager (AMC)

Look, ACS will win, and it will deserve to win. Everyone wants it to win. And I’m pretty much part of that group. BUT…American Crime is such an underrated series. And this second season (which is a completely new story from the first) is so amazing. Watching it was an experience (especially if you watched it with the Twitter community). The second season revolved around a member of a school’s basketball team being accused of raping another high school student. The story takes us through the school’s attempted cover up, the victim’s issues with his mother, and the parents of the involved basketball players coming to terms (and failing at that) with their sons’ sexuality. And everything in between. Both American Crime and ACS pretty much aired at the same time. It was certainly an exciting few months of television. And both programs (along with Fargo, although that goes without saying) are contributing to this new renaissance of  limited television. Roots and The Night Manager are more traditional “miniseries” (there will be no “second seasons” of either shows). I can objectively appreciate how well made The Night Manager is, while admitting the story didn’t pull me in as much as the others. Reliving the story of Roots was a stronger experience for me. I support the series, but I do agree that there are other stories of the African American experience that need to be told. But, otherwise, this is a strong (diverse) list of nominations (even if “you know” is missing…)

Worthy Snubbed Program

Show Me A Hero (yes, this is the “you know”)

Outstanding Short Form Variety Series:

Ranking

  1. Epic Rap Battles Of History (Youtube)
  2. Honest Trailers (Youtube)
  3. Gay Of Thrones (Funny or Die)
  4. Making A Scene With James Franco (AOL)
  5. Park Bench With Steve Buscemi (AOL)

I don’t particularly love any of the nominees here, but I’d much rather see Youtubers or people who have, y’know, made a career out of short form comedy programming win this Emmy, than already successful actors and their side projects. The two AOL programs are, IMO, unremarkable, and probably voted on because name recognition. So, any of the other three should win. Gay of Thrones and Honest Trailers are occasionally funny and clever, but it’s essentially people talking over other peoples’ footage. Not saying what these people do doesn’t take skill, but Epic Rap Battles should win because the content is 100% original (and, also, because the videos are occasionally funny and clever). Hopefully more real “Youtubers” (and good ones, not like Miranda Sings or Shane Dawson or Kids React) get nominated here in the future. College Humor (which didn’t submit for some reason) would fit right in.

Worthy Snubbed Series

Above Average Presents

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series:

Ranking

  1. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
  2. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  3. Inside Amy Schumer
  4. Key & Peele
  5. Portlandia
  6. Saturday Night Live

This is an easy one for me. I love all these shows. I’m glad that sketch series have dominated the category this year…but my top choices are the two “talk shows that aren’t really talk shows.” John Oliver is the first satirical/political late night comedy show that I watch regularly and love. The show continues to do a great job of highlighting the dire issues that seem to be overshadowed by Clinton’s Emails and Trump’s Trumpiness. This season isn’t as sharp as last year (and sometimes the jokes are a bit lazy), but you have to at least appreciate the writing staff for doing their research. BUT…Full Frontal With Samantha Bee is the sharpest, funniest, most compelling late night show of the year. It should have been nominated for more, but at least it got nominated here, and I expect the show to dominate next season. Admittedly, it’s easy for me to love this show because 99% of the time, I agree with Samantha Bee’s views. If you don’t, it can be a hard show to watch. The show (like Oliver’s) has a clear ideological position, and you can either take it or leave it. I take it wholeheartedly. Watch Samantha Bee’s blistering, painful, but still funny, remarks on the Orlando shooting. I love Samantha Bee’s anger and I love her outrage. And the writing on the show is so clever. It really doesn’t get the credit (or ratings) it deserves. Frankly, Samantha Bee is doing a better job at doing John Oliver’s schtick than Oliver himself. It’s a complete longshot here, but I’m glad it got nominated nonetheless.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Documentary Now!, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Nathan For You

Directing For A Variety Series:

Ranking

  1. Ryan McFaul – Inside Amy Schumer (“Madonna/Whore”)
  2. Tim Mancinelli – The Late Late Show With James Corden (“Post-Super Bowl Episode”)
  3. Don Roy King – Saturday Night Live (“Tina Fey & Amy Poehler”)
  4. Paul Pennolino – Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (“Donald Trump”)
  5. Dave Diomedi – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (“Episode 325”)

The Jimmy Fallon episode represented is the one from last September when Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon performed another edition of Hip Hop history, and then, later, Ellen Degeneres won a Lip Sync battle against Fallon. It’s a funny episode, but not enough spectacle for me to see the directorial achievement. Don Roy King is a master at what he does, but I don’t think the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler episode was great enough for him to deserve a seventh straight Emmy. The Post-Super Bowl episode of James Corden is a lot of fun, particularly the scene where Corden, Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron and Adam DeVine recreate different sports movies in rapid fire. I don’t think Inside Amy Schumer gets enough credit for its direction, but it is a really well directed show, and this episode in particular (featuring a kiddie parody version of The Knick and Amy and her friend going on a sucky Sex and the City tour) is aesthetically pleasing and craftily directed.

Worthy Snubbed Programs (One per program)

Documentary Now! (Sandy Passage), Nathan For You (Smokers Allowed)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series:

Ranking

  1. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – “Donald Trump” (HBO)
  2. The Late Late Show With James Corden – “Post-Super Bowl Episode” (CBS)
  3. Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – “Episode 325” (NBC)
  4. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee – “Just Tell Them You’re the President” (Crackle)
  5. Real Time With Bill Maher – “1401” (HBO)
  6. Jimmy Kimmel Live – “After the Oscars 2016” (ABC)

If my new Canadian wife Samantha Bee couldn’t get a nomination here, then the next best “talk” show on television, John Oliver, should win. And the episode the show chose to submit for consideration perfectly represents how genius the show can get: an acidic takedown of Donald Trump. Even though the episode aired in February, considering how fast politics move in this country, it’s almost shocking how relevant this episode still is. It’s truly one of John Oliver’s finest moments, culminating with a #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain hashtag that gained a lot of traction for a premium cable show that attracts a little over a million viewers on a good week. The show, right now, is sort of the front runner here. However, I have to say, even though I think Trevor Noah seems to be doing a nice job, and even though I thoroughly enjoy watching Stephen Colbert from time to time, it’s admittedly refreshing seeing a category without the Daily Show or a Stephen Colbert show. Comedy Central has had a stranglehold on this category for so long. Regardless of what happens, it’ll be nice to see another show/person win for once.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

@midnight with Chris Hardwick,  Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series:

Ranking

  1. Documentary Now! – “Sandy Passage” (IFC)
  2. Key & Peele – “Y’all Ready for This” (Comedy Central)
  3. Saturday Night Live – “Larry David” (NBC)
  4. Portlandia – “Going Gray” (IFC)
  5. Inside Amy Schumer – “Welcome to the Gun Show” (Comedy Ce
  6. Drunk History – “Spies” (Comedy Central)

I went back and forth between Documentary Now! and Key & Peele. I would love to see Key & Peele win this category, especially considering the show has never won an Emmy before. This is the show’s last chance (at least for all we know). Personally, I find the show a little inconsistent, even this episode, which also served as Key’s acting submission (the Angry Hillary Clinton sketch > Police Brutality Sketch > Car segments). But when the show hits, it hits. And I hope the show’s leading actors and creators can win SOMETHING this year. However…Documentary Now! was such a treat last summer. I’m flabbergasted that voters remembered the show enough to give it this nomination. And I’m glad TPTB chose “Sandy Passage” as a representative for the show. The show pretty much does a different parody of a popular documentary each episode. “Sandy Passages” is the show’s first episode, and it’s simply a hilarious homage to Grey Gardens. Even if you’ve only seen the HBO docudrama starring Drew Barrymore, I’d still watch the episode. It’s one of the best half hours of sketch comedy, and the shocking ending is so crazy perfect. I must have cracked up for a full ten minutes afterwards. I laugh just thinking about the episode. And the five other episodes afterwards (particularly the two part finale which pretty much makes fun of music documentaries) are just as genius. So my sentimental choice goes to Key & Peele. But in terms of who really rocked sketch comedy this season. It has to go to Nathan For You Documentary Now!

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Nathan For You, Whose Line Is It Anyway?

2016 Emmys Review (Drama Categories)

house of cards

Even though this blog is supposed to mostly be dedicated to youth media and programming, I just can’t resist talking about the Emmy nominees this year (despite the harsh feelings I had for Margo Martindale’s win for a two minute cameo last year.) So, I will be reviewing many of the categories this year, including all the important comedy, drama, TV Movie and limited series ones. I’ll even discuss some of the “less recognized” categories, like, of course, Children’s Programming, music, variety series, and more. So, stick around, TAKE MY OPINION SERIOUSLY!!…thank you.

PS…these are not “predictions.” These rankings are based on my own subjective personal preference. My actual objective predictions will most likely come closer to the actual ceremony date (although I suck at doing those…)

Time for the Drama categories! Pretty much the same idea as the Comedy post. Gonna do writing, directing, casting, performance (using the actors’ episode submissions), and overall series. So, let’s get it started! (Anyone remember that song? Ah…2003. Such a simple time.)

(Episode submission information courtesy of Gold Derby).

Casting For A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Mr. Robot
  2. Orange is the New Black
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. House of Cards
  5. Downton Abbey

Like I wrote for the Comedy post, this category should mostly be for new shows. Like, Downton Abbey. Really?? What significant new characters were introduced for the last season? So, my vote has to go to Mr. Robot. I don’t know who exactly was responsible for finding National Treasure Rami Malek. If it was the nominated casting directors, then they hands down deserve the award. One a side note: it’s a little unfortunate that this is OITNB’s only nomination. BUT…the third season wasn’t the show’s best (and noticeably more comedic than past seasons). They should get back in the game for their stellar fourth.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Empire, The Leftovers, The Man in the High Castle, Underground, UnREAL, Vinyl

Writing For A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Sam Esmail – Mr. Robot (“eps1.0_hellofriend.mov”)
  2. Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro – UnREAL (“Return”)
  3. Robert King and Michelle King – The Good Wife (“End”)
  4. Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg – The Americans (“Persona Non Grata”)
  5. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – Game of Thrones (“Battle of the Bastards”)
  6. Julian Fellowes – Downton Abbey (“Episode 8”)

So, this last season of The Good Wife wasn’t perfect. In fact, it wasn’t great. In fact, it was a pretty mediocre season of a show I absolutely loved during its first five and a half seasons. However, I personally liked the series finale more than most, particularly for that last minute, which, as we all know, is sorta symmetrical to the first minute of the pilot. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the Kings were nominated for writing the episode, particularly because seven years ago, they were nominated for writing the pilot episode. They should have been nominated for a few episodes in between these two, but it’s nice that the voters didn’t somehow forget to honor this writing team. I’d love for these two to win an Emmy, mostly for their work on the entire series. But, the pilot episode for Mr. Robot is PERFECT. After those first five minutes when Elliot confronts a child pornographer, I knew that this would be my new television obsession. The same could be said for the first episode of the Lifetime drama UnREAL, a scathing, politically incorrect look at a “Bachelor-type” dating reality show. Lifetime used to get nominated in the “TV Movie” categories. They didn’t really make a noteworthy movie this season, but they’ve finally broken through on the dramatic television front. I’m, frankly, a little proud of this network. And impressed that voters gave this show recognition. Overall, this is an interesting category, mostly populated with series premieres and finales.

Worthy Snubbed Episodes (only one per series)

The Affair (Episode 204), Bates Motel (Forever), Better Call Saul (Switch), Homeland (All About Allison), House of Cards (Chapter 43), The Leftovers (International Assassin), UnREAL (Truth)

Directing For A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Michael Engler – Downton Abbey (“Episode 9”)
  2. Jack Bender – Game of Thrones (“The Door”)
  3. Steven Soderbergh – The Knick (“This Is All We Are”)
  4. Lesli Linka Glatter – Homeland (“The Tradition Of Hospitality”)
  5. David Hollander – Ray Donovan (“Exsuscito”)
  6. Miguel Sapochnik – Game of Thrones (“Battle of the Bastards”)

Can we talk about Michael Engler for a sec? Look, my feelings for Downton Abbey are as complicated as the movie Syriana. It’s a show I watched weekly and adored…but it received maybe ten more Emmy nominations than it’s deserved throughout its run (including its Drama Series nominations for its last three years). But I have a sweet spot for the series finale, particularly the warm and fuzzy final moments (perfectly tied with one last Maggie Smith quip). But after doing a quick IMDB search on Michael Engler…I am MF-ing rooting for him. His filmography is as diverse as…the cast of Syriana? He’s directed episodes of 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, EMPIRE, The Big C, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, and even a couple episodes of You, Me and the Apocalypse because why not? And he’s American! I know this is a silly reason to root for him. Again, regardless of his history, I still would have put him as my number 1 choice. But I am 500% more excited of the prospect of Downton Abbey winning this category. Actually, Game of Thrones will probably win here. And “Battle of the Bastards” (the only episode to get nominated in both Writing and Directing) will probably prevail. It would be deserving. This is helluva category. But the final moments of “The Door” is so eye opening, so revealing, so devastating…it’s one of my favorite episodes of the series. That’s the episode that I believe should win. This paragraph is going too long so I’ll end it by writing that The Knick was one of the best dramas of the season. It should’ve received more than it got (where’s Clive Owen’s nomination?). Soderbergh is nominated for the series finale, where Thackery attempts to do surgery on himself “House-style.” Steven Soderbergh could win simply based off name recognition…but it would be justified nonetheless.

Worthy Snubbed Episodes (only one per series)

The Affair (Episode 204), The Americans (The Magic Of David Copperfield V: The Statue Of Liberty Disappears), Bates Motel (Forever), Bloodline (Part 23), Grey’s Anatomy (The Sound Of Silence), Horace and Pete (Episode 110), House of Cards (Chapter 49), Mr. Robot (eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt), UnREAL (Return)

Guest Actress In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Laurie Metcalf – Horace and Pete (“Episode 3”)
  2. Ellen Burstyn – House of Cards (“Chapter 41”)
  3. Molly Parker – House of Cards (“Chapter 45”)
  4. Allison Janney – Masters of Sex (“Matters of Gravity”)
  5. Carrie Preston – The Good Wife (“Targets”)
  6. Margo Martindale – The Americans (“The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears”)

This is an OK category, but, honestly, there’s no performance I feel particularly passionate about. I remember when Carrie Preston won a few years ago. It remains one of the best decisions Emmy voters ever made. But that was literally the peak of Elsbeth Tascioni’s arc on the show. Since then, the character’s become a bit too…cartoonish. Ellen Burstyn’s nomination is a no-brainer. She’s Ellen Burstyn. She’s always nominated. And she has a very interesting arc on the show as Claire’s spiteful mother. Molly Parker’s nomination is interesting. She’s a recurring actress on the show. She only has a couple real scenes in her episode as her character clashes with Claire on a Russia deal. It’s a fine performance, but this nomination seems to be more for her work on the show as a whole.  I think, of her three nominations, this is the category Laurie Metcalf needs to win. She plays the ex-wife of Louis CK’s character, and the episode literally begins with a twenty minute soliloquy by her, detailing an affair she’s having with her husband’s father. This isn’t my favorite episode of Horace and Pete, but I’m glad the show was honored somewhere, considering it received no other major nominations (Steve Buscemi and Jessica Lange would have been deserving in my book). Out of all the nominees, this is the only real guest appearance. This isn’t a recurring character. And she completely dominates the episode. It’s her episode. Her only acting partner is Louis CK, and he definitely doesn’t upstage her at any point. I may not feel much “passion” for this performance like all the critics seem to, but it’s clear that, considering the competition,  this Emmy belongs to her.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Kathleen Chalfant (The Affair), Arielle Kebbel (UnREAL), Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black), Sarah Steele (The Good Wife), Lorraine Toussaint (The Fosters), Cicely Tyson (How To Get Away with Murder)

Guest Actor In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Paul Sparks – House of Cards (“Chapter 49”)
  2. Michael J. Fox – The Good Wife (“Taxed”)
  3. Reg E. Cathey – House of Cards (“Chapter 50”)
  4. Hank Azaria – Ray Donovan (“One Night in Yerevan”)
  5. Mahershala Ali – House of Cards (“Chapter 44”)
  6. Max Von Sydow – Game of Thrones (“The Door”)

Reg E. Cathey, like last year, only has a couple scenes in his episode. In fact, he only has a couple scenes the entire season. His character pretty much quits his job at the White House, getting into a huge argument with Frank before leaving. It’s probably the most memorable single scene of the entire series (even though his scenes do lack nuance). However, I’m actually really rooting for Paul Sparks, because, as biographer Thomas Yates, his character’s arc with Claire Underwood was another highlight of the season. He actually does great work in both his episode and Cathey’s. If voters actually sit their butts and watch the episode submissions, I can’t see voters resist choosing him.. Sparks’ chemistry with Robin Wright is great. It’s not a flashy performance, but I think he does intriguing work with the character. Lastly, this is Michael J. Fox’s fifth nomination for his recurring role as slimy corporate lawyer Louis Canning on The Good Wife. By the later seasons, his “storyline” was all over the place (“He’s dying. He’s joining the law firm. Is he still part of the law firm? Did Alicia ever consider his offer?”), but Fox always did consistent work, and I never felt he was undeserving of a nod. I would love to see him win an Emmy for his work on The Good Wife, even though he’s certainly isn’t lacking recognition from his earlier shows.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Mark Proksch (Better Call Saul), Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black), Blair Underwood (The Good Wife)

Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Maura Tierney – The Affair (“204”)
  2. Constance Zimmer – UnREAL (“Mother”)
  3. Lena Headey – Game of Thrones (“The Winds of Winter”)
  4. Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones (“No One”)
  5. Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones (“Book of the Stranger”)
  6. Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey (“Episode 6”)

Despite a few hard-to-swallow snubs (THIS is the year they leave out Christine Baranski??), this is still a very strong category. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Maggie Smith’s Emmy wins or even nominations, but I have to admit, she at least chose the perfect episode, where her character can actually get upset and be unpleasant (as opposed to nonchalantly spewing out comedic one liners). The Game of Thrones ladies prove, once again, that females are strong as hell! Each actress chose an episode where they are given some big triumphant victory. Lena Headey’s is the most triumphant, finally getting revenge on the ones who made her feel shameful during the last season finale. Side note: another tough snub is Sophie Turner’s, whom I probably would have nominated over any of her co-stars. Hopefully next year, the Emmys will finally learn. (Maisie Williams had been receiving Emmy buzz since her first season, this is only her first nomination). Constance Zimmer’s nomination was actually a little surprising for me, but completely 100% deserved. She submitted the episode where her “boyfriend”creator Chet is sent to the hospital after a heart attack. I’m not sure if this is her strongest episode. She has more explosive moments (even the first episode), but Zimmer is so good, she could submit anything and still be near the top of the pack. But, my undying support has to go to Maura Tierney. This second season of The Affair was so much better than the first, and it mostly had to do with the expansion of Tierney’s character. Unlike the other submissions in her category, Tierney dominates her episode in terms of screen time. The first half is all her. And she has a couple major moments in the second half. It’s the episode where, after a divorce case hearing, she smokes weed, frantically picks up her kids from camp, gets into an accident, and gets arrested. It’s a firecracker performance. In fact, she could have submitted the sixth episode (where her son is sent to the hospital) and still have the best tape. Considering this is The Affair’s only nomination, the nomination might be the award for her. But, man, if the Emmys actually followed the Golden Globes lead (which I usually don’t advocate)…it’d be beautiful.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers), Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), Kate Burton (Scandal), Jessica Capshaw (Grey’s Anatomy), Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Portia Doubleday (Mr. Robot), Ann Dowd (The Leftovers), Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Edie Falco (Horace and Pete), Calista Flockhart (Supergirl), Jessica Lange (Horace and Pete), Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black), Miranda Otto (Homeland), Alison Pill (The Family), Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy). Caterina Scorsone (Grey’s Anatomy), Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul), Samantha Sloyan (Grey’s Anatomy), Darby Stanchfield (Scandal), Holly Taylor (The Americans), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Alison Wright (The Americans), Bellamy Young (Scandal)

Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Kit Harington – Game of Thrones (“Battle of the Bastards”)
  2. Michael Kelly – House of Cards (“Chapter 44”)
  3. Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul (“Bali Ha’i”)
  4. Ben Mendelsohn – Bloodline (“Part 23”)
  5. Jon Voight – Ray Donovan (“The Kalamazoo”)
  6. Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones (“No One”)

Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this but…I think Kit Harington should win an Emmy this year. I don’t think there was another television character this season that gained more buzz, more excitement and reaction than Jon Snow. And Harington does a great job with what he’s given this season, particularly in his episode submission, despite the fact that most of the episode is an epic battle scene. His performance doesn’t get lost in the excitement. The next four nominations are sort of blended together in my rankings. All of them have their moments throughout the season. Michael Kelly is reliably good as the reliable chief of staff (or whatever his character’s job is, I DON’T KNOW!), but he admittedly didn’t have the same great arc he had last year. The same can be said for Banks and Mendelsohn, both whom were given less do for their respective second seasons. Harington is the only real electric breakout of the nominees. The other choices are a bit safe IMO. But Harington might be too young and pretty for voters to take seriously. So, yes, Peter Dinklage might actually win again. He’s a great comedic foil for the show, and the two scenes in his tape are cute, but I won’t jump out of my seat if he wins a third Emmy (don’t get me started on last year!)

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Craig Bierko (UnREAL), Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline), Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel), Colin Donnell (The Affair), Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers), Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), Pooch Hall (Ray Donovan), André Holland (The Knick), Joshua Jackson (The Affair), Liam James (The Family), Joel Kinnaman (House of Cards), Jeff Perry (Scandal), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy)

Lead Actress In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Keri Russell – The Americans (“The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears”)
  2. Robin Wright – House of Cards (“Chapter 49”)
  3. Taraji P. Henson – Empire (“Rise by Sin”)
  4. Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black (“The Antisocialism of Sex”)
  5. Claire Danes – Homeland (“Super Powers”)
  6. Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder (“There’s My Baby”)

This is a really tough category. Don’t think too hard about me ranking Viola Davis last. She is QUEEN. Even though I stopped watching the show a long time ago, her performance is still on fire just by watching this episode. If she wins a second Emmy (and I think that’s what I’ll end up predicting), it’ll be deserved and fine. But…if I have to compare it with her Oscar nominated buddy, I still prefer Henson’s complete abandon. Empire‘s another show I don’t watch anymore, but I certainly enjoyed this episode and Henson’s performance. It’s a perfect submission because she just goes through a wide range of emotion. She acts as a peacekeeper in once scene, and then completely snatches weaves in another. She’s happy in one, and then mourning over her son getting shot in the next. It’s a “well-balanced” tape for someone who hasn’t seen every episode. However, I am honestly so ready for either Russell or Wright to win. After three previous snubs, Russell’s nomination is a complete, yet delightful, shock. And when she got nominated, I knew she would submit this episode, because it really shows her character at her wit’s end, notably in the scene where she yells at her daughter. Golden Globe winner Wright probably has a better chance at winning. And, frankly, both she and Spacey are a little overdue. I’ve completely turned around on Wright. I wasn’t crazy about her performance during the first season (she was literally supporting then), but she’s been on fire these last couple of seasons, as her character attempts to run as her husband’s Vice President. Wright submitted the episode where Claire’s already terminal mother dies in order for her garner public sympathy, thus making making her path to the Veep position smoother. There are a lot of great moments in this episode, but, really, the end, where Claire is proudly standing backstage of the convention with Frank as the crowd “yeas” Claire into office. She looks like a proud snake getting ready to take her seat at the throne. Wright’s performance has always been subtler than her fellow nominees. But it’s clear why voters keep coming back to her. If darkhorse Russell can’t win, then I think it’s Wright’s time.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Joan Allen (The Family), Shiri Appleby (UnREAL), Melissa Benoist (Supergirl), Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), Carrie Coon (The Leftovers), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy), Kerry Washington (Scandal)

Lead Actor In A Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan (“Exsuscito”)
  2. Rami Malek – Mr. Robot (“eps1.0_hellofriend.mov”)
  3. Matthew Rhys – The Americans (“The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears”)
  4. Kevin Spacey – House of Cards (“Chapter 52”)
  5. Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul (“Klick”)
  6. Kyle Chandler – Bloodline (“Part 23”)

This is a REALLY strong category. And, it’s nice ranking this one because, unlike last year, there isn’t a “criminally overdue” Jon Hamm in the mix (or a “always deserving but do you really want to see him win a fourth Emmy??” Bryan Cranston). I came into this viewing party thinking that Rami Malek would be my top choice. Malek has one of the best, most intriguing faces on television. This is the perfect role for him, and I literally cannot imagine another actor nailing the part of loner hacker Elliot better than he does. Malek submitted the pilot episode. While I initially thought one of the later episodes (like maybe episode 8 or 9) would have served him better (b/c personally, I think automatically submitting a pilot episode is a little too safe and lame), after rewatching the episode, I think the pilot is perfect because, yes, we are introduced to this unique character, but also, Malek is quite literally in every frame, and he actually shows a wide range of “emotions” throughout. Malek winning would be a great, unexpected choice…but let’s be real…Liev Schreiber has the best single tape of the nominees. The best single scene. Look, I don’t really watch Ray Donovan, and I’m not yet interested in going back and actually watching the show. But Liev Schreiber is an overall great actor, and this episode completely showcases why Schreiber is deserving of a nod. The voters made the right call. Watch the episode. You’ll see what I mean. He has a confession scene that made me feel things for a character whose occupation I’m not even 100% sure of.The pain and ache and humiliation in Schreiber’s voice is perfect. Malek winning would be revolutionary. Rhys has been deserving of a nomination since the first season and a win would be a nice bit of vindication. And Spacey and Odenkirk continue to do great work on their respective shows. This is such a strong category, that I’d be happy with any of these actors winning. But, again, let’s not lie to ourselves, Schreiber is the highlight here.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Steve Buscemi (Horace and Pete), Louis C.K. (Horace and Pete), Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Terrence Howard (Empire), Clive Owen (The Knick), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers)

Outstanding Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Mr. Robot (USA)
  2. The Americans (FX)
  3. House Of Cards (Netflix)
  4. Better Call Saul (AMC)
  5. Game Of Thrones (HBO)
  6. Homeland (Showtime)
  7. Downton Abbey (PBS)

I almost teared up seeing The Americans finally receive real Emmy love. I remember being utterly shocked and devastated when the first season only received two measly nominations. The show’s Emmy count has slowly grown since then. Sometimes, when a show is snubbed three years in a row, it’s Emmy chances are pretty much nonexistent. Other times, the Emmys are simply late to the party (same thing happened to Everybody Loves Raymond…or even Friday Night Lights). I’m so happy for The Americans and a win would be wonderful…but I don’t think there was another drama show that excited me more, intrigued me more, than Mr. Robot. So, at this point, I pretty much think the show should win everything. All the categories. Everything. Even the categories it didn’t receive nominations fpr. The show is brilliant, and so unique. And I don’t know much about computers or hacking (although I wish I could hack into accounts. There are a few rare movies from the Asian HBOGo site I’d like to watch don’t ask). You don’t have to understand all that technical mumbo jumbo in order to appreciate the show. Because the emotions and characters are so real, particularly Rami Malek’s face Elliot. Otherwise, like Comedy, this is a solid category. Front runner Game of Thrones is allowed one more Drama Series win before it gets really annoying, OK?

Worthy Snubbed Programs

The Affair,  Grey’s Anatomy, Horace And Pete, The Knick, The Leftovers, Orange Is the New Black, Supergirl, UnREAL

2016 Emmys Review (Comedy Categories)

kimmy schmidt

Even though this blog is supposed to mostly be dedicated to youth media and programming, I just can’t resist talking about the Emmy nominees this year (despite the harsh feelings I had for Margo Martindale’s win for a two minute cameo last year.) So, I will be reviewing many of the categories this year, including all the important comedy, drama, TV Movie and limited series ones. I’ll even discuss some of the “less recognized” categories, like, of course, Children’s Programming, music, variety series, and more. So, stick around, TAKE MY OPINION SERIOUSLY!!…thank you.

PS…these are not “predictions.” These rankings are based on my own subjective personal preference. My actual objective predictions will most likely come closer to the actual ceremony date (although I suck at doing those…)

Now we move on to the Comedy Categories, which include writing, directing, performance, and casting (b/c why not?). HBO’s Veep and Silicon Valley dominated the Emmys (which is a good thing). Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Last Man on Earth didn’t receive enough noms (which isn’t great). And shows like Masters of None and Black-ish surprisingly broke through (which, again, is good). Overall, despite some damning snubs, there’s not much to complain about. Let’s go through the categories.

(Episode submission information courtesy of Gold Derby).

Casting For A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Transparent
  2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  3. Veep
  4. Silicon Valley
  5. Modern Family

Casting categories are always a weird disappointment. I still think this category should mostly belong to new shows. Yes, I know casting directors can also be responsible for guest and recurring performers…but what crazy casting decision does Modern Family or even Veep make at this point? Why isn’t Master of None here? Ansari cast his own parents to play his character’s parents. Isn’t that a little inspired. For what we have, I’d give the edge to Transparent, mostly for giving us Emily Robinson (who, yes, appeared in the first season, but she played a different character, Rose, in the second and whoever decided that was appropriate deserves a gold medal) and Hari Nef, the transgender actress who played Gittel, Rose’s trans sister. And, of course, all those topless women of different colors and shapes in “Man on the Land.” Inspired casting choices all around. (PS…I will make a similar rant when we get to the drama categories so…beware.)

Worthy Snubbed Programs

BoJack Horseman, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Documentary Now!, F is for Family, Getting On, Man Seeking Woman, Superstore, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp

Writing For A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang – Master Of None (“Parents”)
  2. Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck – Veep (“Mother”)
  3. Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan – Catastrophe (“Episode 1”)
  4. Alec Berg – Silicon Valley (“The Uptick”)
  5. David Mandel – Veep (“Morning After”)
  6. Dan O’Keefe – Silicon Valley (“Founder Friendly”)

My first real category and I already have heart palpitations. Choosing between “Mother” and “Parents” is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. My brain picks “Mother,” (which revolves around the death of Selina’s mother and her losing Nevada in a recount) because the episode is so funny and clever and really focused. It’s a perfect half hour of television and probably the best episode of the season. However…my heart says “Parents.” As the son of immigrant parents who moved to America for a better life, who had to deal with racism and culture clashes during their early years here, I relate so much to this episode. Aziz’s dad is my dad (especially when he has issues with technology). It’s not the “funniest” episode, and it’s not as tightly scripted as “Mother;” but the episode still means so much to me, and it tells a story that’s rarely told in comedic television. Ansari and Yang put their hearts into this episode. That makes it worthy enough. As a side note, though, I’m really glad that Catastrophe co-stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, at least, could get a nomination. This is for the very first episode of the series. Check it out on Amazon! It’s great, and the two actors have nice chemistry. One of the few (pleasant) surprises in the comedy categories.

Worthy Snubbed Episodes (only one per series)

Black-ish (Hope), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Josh Just Happens To Live Here!), Girls (The Panic In Central Park), Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street (Mel Vs. The Future), Review (Buried Alive; 6 Star Review; Public Speaking), South Park (You’re Not Yelping), Transparent (Man On The Land), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Kimmy Finds Her Mom!)

Directing For A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Aziz Ansari – Master Of None (“Parents”)
  2. Jill Soloway – Transparent (“Man On The Land”)
  3. Dale Stern – Veep (“Mother”)
  4. David Mandel – Veep (“Kissing Your Sister”)
  5. Alec Berg – Silicon Valley (“Daily Active Users”)
  6. Chris Addison – Veep (“Morning After”)
  7. Mike Judge – Silicon Valley (“Founder Friendly”)

I love Veep and Silicon Valley, but I don’t really think “Morning After” and “Founding Friendly” (their season premieres respectively) really needed these writing and directing nominations. More diversity in the noms would have been nice. That being said, “Daily Active Users” is the perfect “sh@t hitting the fan” episode, while “Kissing Your Sister” is a hilariously edited half hour that plays with the audience’s expectations. Again, “Mother” is a series highlight, and I don’t think there was a moment this season better directed than the funeral scene when Selina, finding out she had just lost the Nevada popular vote, has to give a speech in honor of her mother. Watch that scene. Look at her workers. Notice how all of them react to Selina different from one another. This is what you get when you have the perfect cast and director working together. Jill Soloway’s direction for Transparent is beautiful. She won last year, and she could win again this year for an episode that takes place entirely in an all-women’s music festival. However, again, I have to give props to Master of None‘s “Parents” episode. Ansari literally had to direct his own parents. That must have been as rewarding as it was challenging. I’m glad this episode got some recognition from the Academy. Hopefully, it wins in at least one of these categories.

Worthy Snubbed Episodes (only one per series)

Black-ish (The Word), Catastrophe (Episode 3),  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Josh Just Happens To Live Here!), Girls (Wedding Day), Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street (Gortimer, Ranger And Mel Vs. The Endless Night), Review (Falsely Accused; Sleep With Your Teacher; Little Person), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Kimmy Gives Up!), Undateable (A Will They Walks Into a Bar / A Won’t They Walks Into A Bar)

Guest Actress In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Melora Hardin – Transparent (“Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump”)
  2. Tina Fey & Amy Poehler – Saturday Night Live (“Tina Fey & Amy Poehler”)
  3. Amy Schumer – Saturday Night Live (“Amy Schumer”)
  4. Laurie Metcalf – The Big Bang Theory (“The Convergence Convergence”)
  5. Christine Baranski – The Big Bang Theory (“The Convergence Convergence”)
  6. Melissa McCarthy – Saturday Night Live (“Melissa McCarthy”)

The only nomination here that really excites me is Melora Hardin’s, an actress who’s done great work on Transparent (and, frankly, should have been nominated for The Office as well). In the episode she submitted, she only has a couple minutes of screen time. She probably could have submitted “Kina Hora” where she has more screen time, but her one scene in “Flicky” is so devastating, so emotional and painful. It’s not a “funny” performance, it’s a little humorous and quirky (Hardin literally throws a cake in a pool), but certainly the darkest of the nominations. Frankly, she’s only nominee that doesn’t seem lazily name checked. However, believe or not, Amy Poehler has never won an Emmy. Not even a Daytime Emmy. It’s absurd. She should have won at least two for her work on Parks and Recreation. I don’t understand why Fey and Poehler are allowed to be nominated together while, let’s say, Metcalf and Baranski aren’t. I don’t really need Tina Fey to win another Emmy for her still fabulous Sarah Palin impression, but, in this case, if her winning means Amy Poehler wins, then I’ll support it.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Becky Ann Baker (Girls), Aidy Bryant (Documentary Now!), Anna Camp (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Tina Fey (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Sheri Foster Blake (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ariana Grande (Saturday Night Live), Lisa Kudrow (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Elizabeth Mitchell (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street), Amy Sedaris (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), June Squibb (Getting On), Michaela Watkins (Transparent)

Guest Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Peter Scolari – Girls (“Good Man”)
  2. Bradley Whitford – Transparent (“Oscillate”)
  3. Martin Mull – Veep (“The Eagle”)
  4. Larry David – Saturday Night Live (“Larry David”)
  5. Tracy Morgan – Saturday Night Live (“Tracy Morgan”)
  6. Bob Newhart – The Big Bang Theory (“The Opening Night Excitation”)

Larry David had a very great year this season with his Bernie Sanders impression. A political impression hasn’t captivated viewers since Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. Between his episode and Tracy Morgan’s, I fully expect him to win. However, I have a pretty clear top three. Martin Mull is funny as the confused Bob Bradley (however his funniest moments this season are his single lines in “Mother” and the season finale, but he of course submitted the right episode). Bradley Whitford makes the most out of his limited screen time as Magnus Hirschfeld as he promises to take care of a young transwoman. I am not against small performances winning. Nothing performances, yes. Small? As long they make a significant impact, those types of performances could be very worthy. However, Whitford won last year for an even better performance as Maura’s friend, Mark/Marcy. Scolari probably won’t win since he…let’s just say he was nominated about a week after everyone else. But I’m glad he got in. Both he and his screen wife Becky Ann Baker should have been nominated last year for even stronger performances. Sometimes, Emmy voters are late to the party. But, even despite that, Scolari still gives the best performance of these nominees. As Hannah’s newly out father, Scolari gives us enough pathos and humor to make this a truly well-rounded performance. (Also, he was the weather man in The Ultimate Christmas Present. He is overdue dramatic recognition!)

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Christopher Abbott (Girls), Shoukath Ansari (Master of None), Fred Armisen (Man Seeking Woman), Gil Birmingham (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Mike Carlsen (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Guillermo Diaz (Girls), Drake (Saturday Night Live), Ryan Gosling (Saturday Night Live), Chris Hemsworth (Saturday Night Live), Ki Hong Lee (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ravi Patel (Master of None)

Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live (“Ariana Grande”)
  2. Anna Chlumsky – Veep (“C**gate”)
  3. Gaby Hoffmann – Transparent (“Bulnerable”)
  4. Niecy Nash – Getting On (“Don’t Let It Get in You or on You”)
  5. Allison Janney – Mom (“Terrorists and Gingerbread”)
  6. Judith Light – Transparent (“Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump”)

Y’know, for the longest time, I didn’t really want Kate McKinnon to win, because Kristen Wiig (criminally) never won, and it didn’t seem right for McKinnon to surpass Wiig. But…McKinnon is simply too great on the show. Would I have chosen this episode for her? She has a couple star moments, like her impression of Hillary Clinton slowly (or rapidly, really) forming into Bernie Sanders, or the sketch where she appeared as half blob fish/half woman. Otherwise, watching this episode again reminded me how much Ariana Grande deserved a nomination herself. Unlike Wiig, McKinnon rarely has an episode where she dominates (in terms of screen time). Probably the reason people aren’t sick of her yet. But, despite limited screen time, McKinnon stands out in anything she does, and I’m rooting for her to win this year. And she has a chance, between her Clinton impersonation, that sketch she did with Ryan Gosling that went viral, and Ghostbusters, she might be the one to break the SNL curse. If she can’t though, perennial loser Anna Chlumsky would also be deserving of a chance behind that microphone. She submitted the episode where Selina makes Amy investigate who among her staff called her the “C-word” after it’s leaked in the press. It’s the perfect episode for Chlumsky in a show that’s literally crowded with supporting talent.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Lauren Adams (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Andrea Barber (Fuller House), Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live), Ashley Boettcher (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street), Alex Borstein (Getting On), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Donna Lynne Champlin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Sara Chase (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live), Carol Kane (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Jenifer Lewis (Black-ish), Britt Lower (Man Seeking Woman), Emily Robinson (Transparent), Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth), Eden Sher (The Middle), Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live), Sarah Sutherland (Veep), Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House), Noël Wells (Master of None), Allison Williams (Girls)

Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (“Kimmy Gives Up”)
  2. Matt Walsh – Veep (“Kissing Your Sister”)
  3. Tony Hale – Veep (“Inauguration”)
  4. Louie Anderson – Baskets (“Easter in Bakersfield”)
  5. Keegan-Michael Key – Key and Peele (“Y’all Ready for This”)
  6. Ty Burrell – Modern Family (“The Party”)
  7. Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (“The Oolong Slayer”)

Tituss Burgess submitted the episode where his character sings a bunch of “obscure” showtunes from forgotten Broadway shows. I think this is a great submission for him because, yeah, he has little screen time, but he’s so hilarious when he sings. He should win. He needs to win. His character is one of the most unique on television. The rest of this category could have literally been filled by actors from Veep, but I am especially happy that Matt Walsh finally broke through. I feel like I connect with his character Mike more than any other character on the show. He’s such a such a sad sack, but loveable all the same. And the funniest scene in his episode is when it’s revealed that the rest of Selina’s staff have secret meetings behind his back where they bash him. I know! That doesn’t say much about Walsh’s performance, but he does great work in the episode nonetheless. I had never watched Baskets before writing this post. I watched the first episode and Anderson’s submission, and I am impressed so far. He plays the main character’s (played by Zach Galifianakis) mother. It’s such a nuanced portrayal. Anderson pretty much uses his regular voice and, as far as I know, isn’t a caricature or the butt of everyone’s jokes. He’s pretty much tied with Hale; he’d be deserving winner as well. Final note: I love Keegan-Michael Key…but I didn’t get the memo where we decided he was significantly stronger than Jordan Peele. I also didn’t get the memo saying that he was a “supporting actor” on his own dang show. So, for pretty much those unfair reasons, he’s knocked down a couple pegs in my ranking. Sorry!

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Eric Andre (Man Seeking Woman), Fred Armisen (Documentary Now!), Beck Bennett (Saturday Night Live), Jay Duplass (Transparent), Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish), Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Troy Gentile (The Goldbergs), Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs), Steve Howey (Shameless), Drew Justice (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Jordan Peele (Key and Peele), Jay Pharoah (Saturday Night Live), Sam Richardson (Veep), Mel Rodriguez (Getting On or The Last Man on Earth), Reid Scott (Veep), Timothy Simons (Veep), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Derek Waters (Drunk History), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley)

Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (“Kimmy Goes to a Hotel”)
  2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep (“Mother”)
  3. Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish (“Sink or Swim”)
  4. Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie (“The Test”)
  5. Amy Schumer – Inside Amy Schumer (“Welcome to the Gun Show”)
  6. Laurie Metcalf – Getting On (“Am I Still Me?”)

Y’know, making up these rankings are tricky. Sometimes I’m conflicted between judging the actual episode submissions vs. judging a season’s worth of performance vs. other external factors (overdue factor, etc.) Admittedly, my rankings are inconsistent. Sometimes they’re based solely on the submission and sometimes they aren’t. In this case, let’s say, they half-are/half-aren’t. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has the strongest, funniest, most affecting submission of all the nominees. If I didn’t watch any of these shows and was unaware of the fact that Louis-Dreyfus had already won four consecutive Emmys (on top of the two for her earlier sitcoms), she’d be my first choice. “Mother” is a season highlight, and Louis-Dreyfus dominates the episode, all the way up to the end where she gives a bitterstillbitter eulogy for her mother. But…am I excited over the fact that she’s on her way to winning a fifth Emmy? Not really, despite the fact that her acceptance speech will be funny. So, I’m putting Kemper at the top of my imaginary ballot (that’s how the Emmys are voted, right?) This is essentially the episode where Kimmy has her last date with Dong before he is deported to Vietnam. It’s a funny episode, with an actual bittersweet conclusion (depending on how much one cares about Dong and Kimmy’s relationship. I personally dug their story line). I’m so happy Kemper got nominated this year after being snubbed last year. I’m also happy that Tracee Ellis Ross finally received Emmy recognition. As someone who believes that Girlfriends was criminally snubbed during its time (mostly because voters could care less about black sitcoms airing on UPN), Ross finally receiving an awards nomination from a group outside the NAACP made me especially happy nomination morning.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House), Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Lena Dunham (Girls), Anna Faris (Mom), Jane Fonda (Grace And Frankie), Sutton Foster (Younger), Ilana Glazer (Broad City), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Julie Klausner (Difficult People), Emma Roberts Queens), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat)

Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Will Forte – The Last Man on Earth (“30 Years of Science Down the Tubes”)
  2. Anthony Anderson – Black-ish (“Hope”)
  3. Thomas Middleditch – Silicon Valley (“The Empty Chair”)
  4. Aziz Ansari – Master of None (“Parents”)
  5. Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent (“Man on the Land”)
  6. William H. Macy – Shameless (“I Only Miss Her When I’m Breathing”)

Not to sound cruel, but without Jim Parsons, Don Cheadle, or anyone from the cast of Two and a Half Men, this is probably the strongest the category has been in a while (of course, we’re missing personal favorites like Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, and Matt LeBlanc, but still). I’d probably still replace Macy with someone else, just because he’s literally the least interesting part of his own episode submission. But otherwise…the top 5 here is really strong. I have to say, it’s disappointing that, after doing so well with nominations last year, The Last Man on Earth only received one nomination this year. Let’s hope Forte can win an Emmy before the show is altogether dropped from Emmy favor. Forte has some really dramatic scenes with Jason Sudeikis, who plays Phil’s brother. Like Forte, Anthony Anderson also chose an episode that balances drama and comedy well. The episode mostly discusses “Black Lives Matter” and police brutality. A few months ago when I watched this episode, the second after Anderson gives that speech about Obama and how scared he was for his life, I knew this would be his submission. Neither Middleditch nor Ansari submitted their strongest performances (I’m particularly disappointed that Middleditch didn’t submit “Daily Active Users,” where he has that scene where he’s trying to explain what exactly Pied Piper does to a focus group, and that scene towards  the end in the bathtub). But, overall…Jim Parsons isn’t here so we’re all good.

Worthy Snubbed Performances

Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman), Andrew Daly (Review), Rob Delaney (Catastrophe), Chris Delia (Undateable), Billy Eichner (Difficult People), Nathan Fielder (Nathan For You), Zach Galifianakis (Baskets), Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Bill Hader (Documentary Now!), Eric Jacobson (The Muppets), Brent Morin (Undateable), Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat), Any Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Sloane Morgan Siegel (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street), Steve Whitmire (The Muppets)

Outstanding Comedy Series:

Ranking

  1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
  2. Master of None (Netflix)
  3. Veep (HBO)
  4. Black-ish (ABC)
  5. Transparent (Amazon)
  6. Silicon Valley (HBO)
  7. Modern Family (ABC)

Hey, voters. Remember last year? Remember when Modern Family didn’t win and everyone was so happy? Let’s remember those good feelings this time around. I’ll take Veep winning again. Actually, Veep was, like always, hilarious this year. From “Mother” to this messed up election cycle (not as messed up to the one we’re living in now but, you know), Veep is a show that’s more than its crude, yet clever, one-liners. The storytelling, the exciting twists and turns makes it absolutely deserving of a second Comedy Series win. BUT…I’m still waiting for UKS to break through. With its lack of writing or directing or even technical nominations (which is crazy because it’s one of the best looking shows on television right now), Tina Fey’s 30 Rock follow up has no chance at winning this year (especially since a small, yet loud, trollish group of SJWs think the show is “racist.” Yeah. The show with the gay black lead and Asian love interest is racist). But I will root for the show until it wins. While other comedy shows find humor in cynicism, UKS truly makes me happy. The show always seems to come up when I’m at my lowest. It’s a show that truly perks me up. And Kimmy Schmidt is one of the most earnest and e ndearing characters on television. If season three is as good as its first two, I hope the Emmys finally get with the program gives it a “30 Rock circa season 3” number of nominations. But, really, Netflix is killing it with the comedy game, and Master of None, a show that really broke boundaries, winning would be really inspired. This is a strong category. If any of the shows from #1-#6 won, I’d be satisfied.

Worthy Snubbed Comedy Series

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Fresh Off The Boat, Girls, The Last Man On Earth, Life In Pieces, Man Seeking Woman, Review, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp

2016 Emmys Review (Misc. Categories…Part 2)

childrens hospital

Even though this blog is supposed to mostly be dedicated to youth media and programming, I just can’t resist talking about the Emmy nominees this year (despite the harsh feelings I had for Margo Martindale’s win for a two minute cameo last year.) So, I will be reviewing many of the categories this year, including all the important comedy, drama, TV Movie and limited series ones. I’ll even discuss some of the “less recognized” categories, like, of course, Children’s Programming, music, variety series, and more. So, stick around, TAKE MY OPINION SERIOUSLY!!…thank you.

PS…these are not “predictions.” These rankings are based on my own subjective personal preference. My actual objective predictions will most likely come closer to the actual ceremony date (although I suck at doing those…)

These are more of the “less recognized” categories. This post is mostly focused on some of the new short form categories, children’s and animated programming, and nonfiction specials. Pretty wide tent if you ask me. NO ONE ELSE ON THE INTERNET IS DOING THIS SO YOU’RE WELCOME.

Children’s Program:

Ranking

  1. Girl Meets World (Disney Channel)
  2. School Of Rock (Nickelodeon)
  3. Dog With a Blog (Disney Channel)
  4. Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Hello, I Must Be Going! 25 Years Of Nick News With Linda Ellerbee (Nickelodeon)
  5. It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown! (ABC)

Nick News will go down in history as one of the greatest children’s television programs of all time. And I expect the show will win one more well-earned Emmy. However, as well-made as the finale was, it’s, like, 99% past footage from episodes that have already won the show a boatload of Emmys. Frankly, I’m rooting for one of the scripted sitcoms that hasn’t won yet. Girl Meets World isn’t a perfect show. Sometimes its preachiness is clumsily executed and awkward. But, I at least appreciate the producers for being bold and not afraid of discussing real issues with a nice dose of drama and sentimentality. School of Rock is a fun reboot of a millennium classic, and Dog with a Blog is frequently clever and funny despite its premise; but if my Gortimer Gibbon’s couldn’t get a nomination (seriously HOW???) then Girl Meets World winning is the next best thing.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Best Friends Whenever, Degrassi: Next Class, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street, The HALO Effect: Jaylen’s Challenge, Just Add Magic, Liv And Maddie,  Massively Mixed-Up Middle School Mystery, My Depression: The Up And Down And Up Of It

Animated Program:

Ranking

  1. Bob’s Burgers – “The Horse Rider-er” (FOX)
  2. Phineas and Ferb – “Last Day of Summer” (Disney XD)
  3. South Park – “You’re Not Yelping” (Comedy Central)
  4. Archer – “The Figgis Agency” (FX)
  5. The Simpsons – “Halloween of Horror” (FOX)

I haven’t regularly watched The Simpsons in maybe five or six years. I don’t love this episode of The Simpsons like most critics and fans seem to, but I did get a kick out of  the “NC-17 Halloween” number. I had pretty mixed feelings about this season of South Park (appreciate the serial nature, but that “police brutality” episode was a head scratcher). This episode, however, which lampoons Yelp reviewers, is the season highlight. Once again, a musical number is the episode’s highlight. In the end, I’d like to see either Bob’s Burgers or Phineas and Ferb win. Phineas and Ferb’s series finale (which is akin to Groundhog’s Day) is two parts cleaver, one part heart…and another part hilarious. Phineas and Ferb has been around since I was in high school. It finally seems like a chapter of Disney Channel is closing. However, Bob’s Burgers is just so funny, and this episode in particular (Tina goes to horse camp) is just delightful. The show always seems to submit “Tina episodes.” Not a bad strategy, considering how she’s one of the best cartoon characters on television right now. Overall, I wish voters would go outside the box a bit more with their choices, but it’s not bad list of nominations.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

BoJack Horseman, F is for Family

Documentary or Nonfiction Special:

Ranking

  1. Listen To Me Marlon (Showtime)
  2. What Happened, Miss Simone? (Netflix)
  3. Everything Is Copy (HBO)
  4. Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures (HBO)
  5. Becoming Mike Nichols (HBO)

This year, all the nominees are really biographies of famous people who have passed away. So, as someone who hadn’t watched any of these specials before the nominations were announced, it was an interesting two days of reliving these stories of people I mostly looked up to. The only person I wasn’t familiar with was Robert Mapplethorpe, but I still found the documentary really well made and certainly more experimental than the disappointing Becoming Mike Nichols. Everything is Copy and Miss Simone feature honest, yet touching, portraits of Nora Ephron and Nina Simone respectively. However, Listen to Me Marlon is the one that really stands out. The documentary features no interviews. All the narration is comprised of rare personal audio recordings and interviews from Marlon Brando, with film and stock footage overlaying this audio. It’s an interesting angle from which to tell this story, and for that, it’s my top choice. As an unnecessary side note, there is another category that’s similar to this one titled “Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking,” which focuses more on documentaries that aim to have a more social impact. However, I will not be covering that category because I am lazy.

Worthy Snubbed Specials

30 for 30: Fantastic Lies, Jackie Robinson, Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper, Walt Disney

Short Form Animated Program:

Ranking

  1. Adventure Time – “Hall of Egress” (Cartoon Network)
  2. The Powerpuff Girls – “Once Upon A Townsville” (Cartoon Network)
  3. Robot Chicken – “Robot Chicken Christmas Special: The X-Mas United” (Adult Swim)
  4. Steven Universe – “The Answer” (Cartoon Network)
  5. SpongeBob SquarePants – “Company Picnic” (Nickelodeon)

This is a category I’ve never paid much attention to. I don’t really watch cartoons made for children anymore. I probably haven’t regularly watched one on television in a decade. So, before reviewing these episodes, I wasn’t familiar with Adventure Time or Steven Universe. I found Adventure Time‘s episode submission so intriguing, yet funny. I felt like the premise could have filled a two hour movie. I wanted more. It was so fascinating. I think the next time I’m channel surfing, I’ll stop at Cartoon Network if I see Adventure Time playing. Despite the bad reviews I’ve been reading, I quite enjoyed this episode of “New” Powerpuff Girls. I was obsessed with the show when I was little. It doesn’t seem to have the same grit as the original series, but, again, I liked this musical “Disney parody” the episode seemed to be going for. But, yeah…I don’t really watch these eleven minute cartoons anymore so…maybe I’m not an expert here.

Worthy Snubbed Program

Disney Mickey Mouse

Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Her Story (Youtube)
  2. Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim)
  3. UnREAL The Auditions (Lifetime)
  4. Hack Into Broad City (ComedyCentral.com)
  5. Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462 (AMC)

Really, this category, for me to you dawg, is between Childrens Hospital and Her Story. Childrens Hospital is a crazy, irreverent, hilarious series that ended earlier this year. The show certainly ended with a bang, and its final season had a lot of fun guest appearances and cameos. It’d be great if the show, which has boldly stood by its “short” format, won this relatively new category. I only put Her Story above it because Childrens Hospital has already won a couple Emmys, and it’d be so awesome to go one step further in recognizing a true independent project. Her Story is a six-part series about the dating lives of a couple transwomen. It’s a simple show, but it covers a lot of ground, and that simplicity is really refreshing. It’s a show that anyone could understand, and maybe even appreciate. The nomination was a huge surprise for its creators, so in a way they’ve already won. But what a statement a win would make! The other three shows are good, and it’s very nice that Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City can officially call themselves Emmy nominees; but I have to support real short form series, as opposed to companion programs of regular TV shows. Frankly, I’m not sure if both these types of shows should be competing against each other in the same category (I feel like the companion series belong in the “Interactive” category).

Worthy Snubbed Series

Acting Dead, Everyone’s Crazy But Us, Keith Broke His Leg, Lonely And Horny, Thingstarter, Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell

Short Form Nonfiction Or Reality Series:

Ranking

  1. A Year In Space (TIME)
  2. National Endowment For The Arts: United States Of Arts (arts.gov)
  3. Jay Leno’s Garage (NBC.com)
  4. Inside The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  5. Roots: A New Vision (HISTORY)

Similar to my feelings in the previous “Short Form” category, I just can’t really root for “companion” series. As interesting as Inside The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is, it’s essentially one long commercial for the series. There’s more insight on the production of the limited series, rather than OJ, racial politics, and the case itself. Jay Leno’s Garage is good for people into cars (or Jay Leno). I’m not into either; but at least the show is its own thing and sort of commits to the “short form” format. Ultimately, I’d only be satisfied with my top two winning. United States of Arts is an interesting project sponsored by the NEA, where each state highlights their unique arts culture and accomplishments. There is a video overview for each state, and some supplemental information that’s more focused. It’s an interesting project, and I’m impressed that the Emmys found a way of honoring it. But my top vote goes to TIME’s A Year in Space – a documentary about Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko’s year long expedition into space. It’s a fascinating study, particularly the earlier episodes where Kelly’s preparing for the trip, and saying goodbye to his family. But it’s also incredibly shot. The cinematography is so gorgeous; this could have been a theatrical Oscar contender. But, at the same time, there’s something so simple and earnest about the documentary, most having to do with the fact these astronauts are simple people who don’t feel the need to boast about their accomplishments. It’s one of the best documentaries of the season. The OJ Simpson program is going to win a lot of Emmys in the limited series categories. Let’s give this one to real, honest nonfiction achievement.

 

Actor In A Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Rob Huebel – Childrens Hospital
  2. Rob Corddry – Childrens Hospital
  3. Lou Diamond Phillips – The Crossroads Of History (“Columbus”)
  4. Oscar Nuñez – The Crossroads Of History (“Columbus”)
  5. Jack McBrayer – Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell (“Shoulder Work”)

So this is the first year the Emmys have honored performance in a short form series. For once, they’re actually taking the Daytime Emmys’ lead (I wish they’d consider adding more Children’s Programming categories but that’s another post for another time). It’s a strange category because series regulars are competing against guest stars. Not that a guest star couldn’t be worthy of an Emmy, but, right now, I am rooting for either Huebel or Corddry to take the top prize for really their 7+ years. Huebel as Owen had some really funny moments this season, from dating his own mother to uncovering a tongue depressor conspiracy. Corddry, who is the creator of the show, and, with his permanent face makeup, is the most recognizable element, also does great stuff in “DOY” as his character accepts his Doctor of the Year award, an award he always wins because he’s the one who oversees it. If a guest star has to win, Lou Diamond Phillips stands out as the dry and sarcastic Chieftain whom Columbus meets during his first trip to America.

Worthy Snubbed Actors

Lloyd Ahlquist (Epic Rap Battles Of History), Diedrich Bader (Everyone’s Crazy But Us), Brian Beacock (Acting Dead), Amir Blumenfeld (Lonely and Horny), Jake Hurwitz (Lonely and Horny), Brendan Meyer (Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462), Keith Powell (Keith Broke His Leg), Peter Shukoff (Epic Rap Battles Of History), Henry Zebrowski (Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell)

Actress In A Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series:

Ranking

  1. Erinn Hayes – Childrens Hospital
  2. Tracie Thoms – Send Me
  3. Michelle Ang – Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462
  4. Janey Varney – Everyone’s Crazy But Us
  5. Patrika Darbo – Acting Dead

This a stronger category than “Actor.” You could make the case for any of these actresses. Seeing Patrika Darbo of Step by Step and soap fame with a Primetime Emmy nomination makes me giddy. Reminiscent of Sydney Pollack in Tootsie, she plays the kooky agent of a struggling actor. Everyone’s Crazy But Us is a funny comedy web series that does a better job at showing marriage squabbling than This is 40 (and Varney and her screen partner Diedrich Bader work well together). I have zero interest in watching Walking Dead or the other show, but Michelle Ang’s performance has some fierce urgency to it. Send Me, about a married couple who has the power to send people back to slave times, has an intriguing premise, but so-so execution. However Thoms purely dramatic performance stands out from the others. But, ultimately, I want the actors from Childrens Hospital to win these acting categories. They never had the chance during the 7 previous years the show was airing. This would be a great opportunity. Besides that, Erinn Hayes is comedic gem, particularly in the episode where she reunites with an old acapella group. I just wish Lake Bell could have received a nomination as well…

Character Voice-Over Performance:

Ranking

  1. Trey Parker – South Park (“Stunning and Brave”)
  2. Seth MacFarlane – Family Guy (“Pilling Them Softly”)
  3. Matt Stone – South Park (“Tweek x Craig”)
  4. Keegan-Michael Key – Supermansion (“Puss in Books”)
  5. Chris Pine – Supermansion (“The Inconceivable Escape of Dr. Devizo”)

Goodness! What a sausage fest! It’s never good when all the nominees are men. But, I am very happy that creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker somehow finally received recognition for their voices (even if some of them are altered via computer technology). Trey Parker, in particular, for his performance as “PC Principal” is deserving of an Emmy. I don’t think there was a funnier scene this year than PC Principal beating up Cartman in the bathroom for not being “PC” enough. That scene alone puts Parker in my top rank. Seth MacFarlane, however, is a master at what he does, and he seems to continue getting nominations even though the show itself is mostly ignored. His voices as Peter, Quagmire, Stewie and Brian, after 15 years, are probably second nature to him. But, hey, he still nails it, and he chose the perfect episode that showcases all four characters.

Narrator:

Ranking

  1. Anthony Mendez – Jane The Virgin (“Chapter Thirty-Four”)
  2. Laurence Fishburne – Roots
  3. David Attenborough – Life Story (“First Steps”)
  4. Keith David – Jackie Robinson 
  5. Adrien Brody – Breakthrough (“Decoding the Brain”)

I feel like this shouldn’t be a category anymore, considering voters seem to be playing “famous name bingo” with four out of five of the nominees duller than dirt. Anthony Mendez is wonderful, and if he doesn’t win, it’ll be a travesty. But, arguably, he is sort of playing a character…at least enough of a character that he could compete in the other voice-over category and be competitive. The other four nominees? I feel if hosts can get nominated alongside producers in the Special Class category, then maybe narrators should just be nominated alongside producers in the main Nonfiction/Documentary category. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean, these nominees are just talking…in their normal voices. I don’t even know how to judge this category, except for putting Mendez at number one. So, yes, Mendez is the only deserving nominee here.

Directing For A Nonfiction Program:

Ranking

  1. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos – Making A Murderer (“Fighting For Their Lives”)
  2. Matthew Heineman – Cartel Land
  3. Davis Guggenheim – He Named Me Malala
  4. Liz Garbus – What Happened, Miss Simone?
  5. David Gelb – Chef’s Table (“Gaggan Anand”)

He Named Me Malala received, for the most part, mixed reviews when it was first released. While I sort of understand that (the documentary does jump all over the place), I still think it’s a beautiful and inspiring portrait of a girl who risked her life for the greater good. The animated sequences (which I hope win special Emmys later on) in particular add a nice touch. Cartel Land gives us up-close intensity of the drug war that soils the Mexico/US border. However, Making a Murderer is one of my favorite documentary programs of the year. The series should pretty much win every category it’s nominated for. Demos and Ricciardi were technically nominated for the finale, but they actually directed all ten hours of the series. For all that, they deserve this Emmy. The series is just an intimate and upsetting look at how unreliable our justice system is. The ending makes us feel angry, but also fired up. They should win.

Worthy Snubbed Programs

Everything Is Copy, 30 for 30: Fantastic Lies, Jackie Robinson, Lip Sync Battle (“Channing Tatum Vs. Jenna Dewan Tatum”),  My Depression: The Up And Down And Up Of It, Walt Disney

Writing For A Nonfiction Program:

Ranking

  1. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos – Making A Murderer (“Fighting For Their Lives”)
  2. Anthony Bourdain – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (“Borneo”)
  3. David McMahon and Sarah Burns – Jackie Robinson
  4. Mark Zwonitzer, Sarah Colt, and Tom Jennings – American Experience (“Walt Disney”)
  5. Jacob Bernstein – Everything Is Copy

This is a really strong category, and, in my opinion, any of these nominees would be worthy winners. But, once again, I have to give most of props to Making a Murderer. Unlike Jackie Robinson or the Walt Disney program, Murderer doesn’t feature much scripted narration, but it’s just so impressive how Ricciardi and Demos storyboarded this upsetting narrative. The way they tell this story is incredibly effective. The series deserves all the Emmys (including for Nonfiction Series, which I will not be covering for this year). Anthony Bourdain is second because his writing is so personal and clever, and occasionally funny. It stands out from the other nominees. And, of course, special shout out to Jacob Bernstein, the son of his documentary’s subject Nora Ephron. Everything Is Copy has a lot of heart, and just because it’s fifth here, doesn’t mean I think the writing is bad in any way. Again, strong category.

Worthy Snubbed Program

My Depression: The Up And Down And Up Of It