Thursday, June 06, 2013
Every day I eagerly check the mail and there are envelopes and boxes containing specials, documentaries, the best episodes of series, mini-series, British series, sometime complete series, and about three dozen programs no one has ever heard of much less seen.
It’s always such a treat despite the fact that I could probably find every single one of them either on Netflix or Hulu or On Demand or the net or my DVR. Still! They’re in my hand. They’re beautifully packaged. And every year there are at least six of these shows I had been meaning to watch but never did. Now I do. And I’m usually rewarded for my efforts. That’s how I discovered DOWNTON ABBEY (although I wasn’t rewarded this year. Ugh!)
And some channels I don’t get on my cable system so this is my only exposure to their fare. There’s a REELZ network? I get six Korean channels but no REELZ network.
The one stipulation is that I not distribute these DVD's to anybody and I dutifully comply. How stupid to get thrown into prison for giving my gardener the HAPPILY DIVORCED DVD? (Of course, the truth is my gardener wouldn’t take the HAPPILY DIVORCED DVD.)
Every year I am mystified by some of the series that submit screeners. Without naming names, they have to KNOW there is no way on God’s green earth that their crappy shows would EVER be nominated for ANYTHING. Why waste the money? Spend it instead on a decent writer. I leaf through some of the entries and howl with laughter (then take out my scissors and cut them in half).
Pretty safe rules: If your show was cancelled after two airings you’re not going to beat MAD MEN for Best Drama. If your cable sitcom has never been nominated in the six years it’s been on the air, it won’t get nominated now. Elaborate packaging does not make jokes funnier.
I also wonder why some shows that are heavily serialized don’t give you the entire series if, in fact, they’re serious. Yes, each episode starts with the PREVIOUSLY ON…. recap. But if you’re not that familiar with the show or characters those things never make sense. You’re saying, “Huh? Who’s that? She’s going to get even with who? Where are we?” I’m especially surprised Netflix only gave out five selected episodes of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Huh??? From what I hear, it’s next to impossible to follow this year’s storyline if you watch every episode. Watching random segments would make my head explode.
Look, the Emmys are not a just system. Deserving shows and people get stiffed while other lesser-works get nominated solely for their reputation. But the picks are getting better. Would the wondrous Margo Martindale have won her Emmy for JUSTIFIED without screeners? I highly doubt it. So for that reason alone it’s a worthy practice. Now please, PBS, send me the Carole King Gershwin Award special.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM