Tuesday, July 10, 2012

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS: Same Old, Same Old...

Next week, the 2012 Emmy nominations will be announced (Thursday, July 19th at 5:30AM PST to be exact).  And the media will be going crazy trying to give their last minute predictions.  When you look at the potential crop of nominees (particularly for the top two prizes!), it does whittle itself down to the usual suspects with a few new faces in the mix.  Could we be in store for more repeat victories?  Will Mad Men break the record and win a fifth consecutive Best Drama Series Emmy?  Can any Comedy stop Modern Family from dominating the categories?  If you look around the Internet, the virtual "consensus" (with very few people disagreeing) is that this year's Emmy winners may not differ from last year's Awards...and the year before that.  Maybe the question we should be asking is: Are the Emmys in a rut?

The thing about Television and the Emmy Awards is that unlike the Oscars or the Tonys (where there's a different winner every year), the shows that win tend to stay on the radar with the Academy.  That's how Hill Street Blues was able to make that record that L.A. Law and The West Wing tied and that Mad Men is now trying to surpass.  But can Mad Men do it?  To be honest, the series is vulnerable in this category.  It's fifth season premiered in March after a long behind-the-scenes battle that left a bad mojo in the Hollywood air regarding creator Matt Weiner.  And critically speaking, while the season had its standout moments (a resignation, a "prostitution," a suicide and Rory Gilmore's boobs!), most agree that it did not have the caliber of episodes that the last four Emmy-winning seasons did.  To be fair, last year, Mad Men was considered vulnerable to a potential loss at the hands of HBO's Boardwalk Empire and yet still prevailed.  This year, the field is more open.  In addition to Boardwalk Empire, HBO's Game of Thrones is hoping to capitalize on their surprise Emmy nod last year and the fervent love of its fans.  Then there is Showtime.  While most critics agree that Dexter is down for the count in this category after many a disjointed season, the network's new critical darling is the terrorist-themed Homeland (which managed to win the Golden Globe for Best Drama Series back in January).  And pay-cable station Starz wants to get into the running, campaigning heavily for its Kelsey Grammer-led Boss despite lackluster ratings and reviews.  Also, Mad Men's Emmy dreams may be dashed from within their own backyard.  AMC has managed to garner Best Drama nods for Breaking Bad in the past and, after a yearlong hiatus, it returned with what many said was its best season yet.  And AMC is throwing some Emmy campaigning towards their "genre" show: the zombie-themed The Walking Dead (AMC possibly making up for the fact that the network's budget cuts led to the resignation of original showrunner Frank Darabont!).  What you notice about the potential spoilers to Mad Men's party are that (like Mad Men) they come from the world of cable.  Broadcast TV has not had a Best Drama Emmy win since FOX's 24 back in 2007 (the last Drama to win before Mad Men's dominance).  As far as the pundits go, there are only two Broadcast Dramas that even have a chance of making it into the Emmy race (and one that just might...a very limited might).  CBS' The Good Wife is still one of the best shows (if not the best) on the major networks and it definitely gets Emmy love (especially in the acting categories).  While its third season was not on the exact same level as the previous two, it still was riveting Dramatic Television.  And PBS may make its way into the Best Drama race for the first time since 1988.  With the British hit Downton Abbey (which dominated the Miniseries categories last year for its first season) now maneuvering itself into the Drama categories, expect Emmys to take notice.  NBC does have hopes for its highly-anticipated-yet-not-well-loved Musical-Drama series Smash to get into the fold, but its chances are extremely remote.  ABC hopes that fan love could bring Emmy attention to either Once Upon a Time or Revenge, but with all the cable offerings, a nod for either is highly doubtful.  All other Drama shows (including the medically-themed Grey's Anatomy and the last season of House M.D.) will be left out in the cold.  Expect cable to be dominating this category for at least the next five years whether Mad Men wins or not!

Guaranteed a Nomination: Mad Men
Definitely in the Running: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Homeland
On the Radar: Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife
Long Shots: Boss, Dexter, Grey's Anatomy, House M.D., Once Upon a Time, RevengeSmash, The Walking Dead

In the Comedy Series race, we have a similar yet different story.  Modern Family is a juggernaut that just doesn't seem to be beatable.  The ABC hit is still a critical darling (despite a few missteps) and does really well in its Wednesday time slot (even in reruns!).  Most pundits are hard press to think of a show that can take it down...but they are out there and they are circling Modern Family like vultures.  The previous tenant of the Best Comedy frontrunner spot (before Modern Family came along) was NBC's 30 Rock (which won 3 years in row).  Tina Fey's backstage sitcom managed to put out some of its funniest episodes this year and officially announced that next season will be its last.  Emmy will not want to forget one of their staples.  NBC's other comedy that had a spectacular season was Parks and Recreation.  The Amy Poehler-led mockumentary-styled series has great fans with both audiences and critics alike.  It is positioning itself to be a top contender.  And CBS will not be denied with its most popular (critically-wise) sitcom: The Big Bang Theory.  The show is definitely on the radar as lead Jim Parsons has managed to win two Emmys for his role as Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  And HBO (not to be left out of the party!) saw the return of their extremely popular Curb Your Enthusiasm after a yearlong hiatus.  Larry David and company were critically hailed as very refreshing and just as funny as in previous years.  FX would love for its critically popular series Louie to garner top praise from Emmy.  After receiving a Best Actor nod last year for Louis C.K., the cable network is throwing itself into a campaign.  But four new female-led Comedies could make their way into to the race.  HBO scored many fans with three new shows this season (all starring potential Best Actress nominees): Enlightened (starring Golden Globe winner Laura Dern), Girls (created and starring the breakout star Lena Dunham) and Veep (starring the ever-popular Emmy-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus).  Each of them could be a dark horse in the race should one be lucky enough to be nominated.  And FOX had some great success with their adorkable new star of their new show titled New Girl.  Zooey Deschanel has won many fans and critics just love her as the quirky teacher living (platonically) with 3 guys.  And FOX is no stranger to popularity.  However, Glee's extremely disjointed third season may have "jumped the shark" and turned Emmy voters away from it (putting the once popular hit into the long shot category).  And NBC's fan-beloved-yet-ratings-challenged Community may be deserving of a nomination, but after many a backstage scuffle that leaked to the public resulting in the firing of creator Dan Harmon and NBC's choice to move the show to the "dead zone" that is Friday come the fall, the show may join network cohort The Office in long shot territory.  The Office suffered a major blow thanks to last year's exit of original lead Steve Carell.  Emmy may chose to ignore the once loved series (the show won Best Comedy Series back in 2006!).  And Showtime's critically-acclaimed female-led shows, particularly The Big C and Nurse Jackie, are also slowly falling off the Emmy radar (even though both Laura Linney and Edie Falco garnered Best Actress nods last year!).  All this said, it looks like Modern Family may be adding a third Best Comedy win to their "mantle."

Guaranteed a Nomination: Modern Family
Definitely in the Running: 30 RockThe Big Bang TheoryParks and Recreation
On the Radar: Curb Your EnthusiasmEnlightenedGirls, LouieNew Girl, Veep
Long Shots: The Big CCommunityGlee, Nurse Jackie, The Office

No comments:

Post a Comment