Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Who deserves the Best Drama Emmy?

The Emmy ballots went up on line on Monday. (They close the 28th.) The toughest category should be Best Drama. It’s tough because (a) there are so many excellent shows to choose from, and (b) very few people have seen any of them.

Unless you have cable or satellite and Netflix you’re missing out on some amazing programs. Other than THE GOOD WIFE on CBS I can’t think of a single network drama that can seriously compete with other outlets.

HOUSE OF CARDS was a fantastic series. Kevin "Bobby Darin" Spacey and Robin "what was she thinking married to Sean Penn?" Wright both deserve nominations. Everyone was great except for the annoying girl who played Zoey. But it’s a Netflix show. We academy members received screeners so more of us got a chance to see it but in the real world – how many people subscribe to Netflix and of those how many bothered to watch thirteen one-hour episodes? A few million perhaps? Not chump change. But in its day, E.R. attracted thirty million every week. The point is, if HOUSE OF CARDS is nominated, viewers all over the country are going to say, “What the hell is that?” The Emmys might as well be the Tonys.

Look at the possible candidates this year. Besides HOUSE OF CARDS and THE GOOD WIFE, you have THE WALKING DEAD, BREAKING BAD, THE KILLING, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, DEXTER, BATES MOTEL, DAMAGES, GAME OF THRONES, DOWNTON ABBEY, HOMELAND, JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, TRUE BLOOD, THE NEWSROOM, SONS OF ANARCHY, and probably six others.

And then there's MAD MEN, but honestly, this year I personally think there are five series better. But I’m sure it will get nominated so some deserving entry will get snubbed.

Still, what a list! Meanwhile, there are sixty-eight entries on the comedy side and I’m not sure there are five legitimate nominees. And by the way, the comedy ballot is really screwy. COMMUNITY is left off while MARON and REAL HOUSEWIVES OF HOLLYWOOD are on it. Those are scripted sitcoms? And why does 2 BROKE GIRLS even bother?

Good luck to all the shows. In the drama category I’m voting for all underdogs. BREAKING BAD doesn’t need my help. But JUSTIFIED does. And SUITS. And HOUSE OF CARDS. Who knows? An underdog may sneak in. SONS OF ANARCHY or BATES MOTEL?  Some show that Martin Scorsese didn't executive produce.   In that case, it truly is an honor just to be nominated.

38 comments:

luciuspaisley said...

Question - for a show that is finishing up this year, what point is there for BREAKING BAD to win an Emmy?

It's been nominated and has won many awards already, so we know people involved are guaranteed work in other shows and in movies, but if it didn't even get a nomination this year (unlikely), it's not like people would suddenly start thinking "oh, that show was crap".

Johnny Walker said...

I'd love it for BREAKING BAD to win. It's never won the Best Drama Emmy and I think it's just wonderful.

Of course, I haven't seen many of the other nominees, so I could watch those and possibly even love them more. But I wouldn't be unhappy if Vince Gilligan and company won.

Patrick said...

The Emmys are definitely turning into the CableACE Awards these days. It's not a bad thing per se, as there are definitely plenty of deserving cable nominees (Justified, The Americans, Homeland, Veep, Enlightened), but equally there are loads of broadcast shows that will undoubtedly get overlooked. The Good Wife will probably get shut out, which is a shame, while I personally rate Parenthood and Scandal above a lot of cable fare (which sometimes errs on the side of "daring for daring" sake). Hopefully Monica Potter's Critics Choice win can give her a last minute boost.

Michael Stoffel said...

I respect a show that does a full network season more than the short run cable shows.
The Good Wife is incredible.

benson said...

Well, Ken, I guess your chances of ever calling Steelers and Giants games are now totally nil.

Kate Mara (Zoe) is the great-grand daughter of Art Rooney and Tim Mara. And her uncle CEO's the Giants.

Terry said...

Ken, just for the record, "Maron" is in fact a scripted sitcom in the vein of "Louie" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm." You're right on about the others on that list though.

www.twitter.com/pjsactor said...

What do you think of Rectify on Sundance? I really liked what I saw of it.

Verna said...

Here's the problem I have with TV/Movie award shows,it's an 'industry' show - subsequently, only those in the industry are capable of 'voting' and attending the party, as it should be. However, does the entire world need to be informed as to the noms?

Yeah, curiosity, I get it.

So, a big televised show; winners speeches;loses get pulled over for drunk driving.

Bear with me, please.

Now imagine you're a farmer. You've grown the best crop ever capable of feeding thousands of people.

A non-televised, Future Farmers of America holds their awards 'show'.

Farmer wins! But, no one outside farmer's industry knows.

Press release is sent out - some newspapers print, but other media/most, ah, No!

I'm not begrudging anyone their 'party' (televised or not) but I don't care if "Breaking Bad" or "The Good Wife" wins or loses . . .

But, farmer, butcher, factory worker, teacher, waste management employees . . I do care about you!

So, basque in the notoriety Ken Levin's blog may bring you and,

"CONGRATULATIONS ON DOING A GREAT JOB -- YOU WIN! Your award will be engraved and is in the mail."

"TV and movie industries, yeah, you did a good job, too but, aren't you paid a shitload of money and adored by millions, to do exactly that!"

That said, if you are a WRITER for any industry, you're not included in this diatribe, you deserve each and every award for putting the words into the mouths of 'those people' who need help to look really great in tuxes and gowns got the awards show.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Didn't we JUST HAVE the Emmy's? I don't understand why we can't just have ONE award ceremony that covers EVERYTHING (TV, movies, acting, writing, directing, producing, editing, sound design, production design, etc.) and that be it... or, does that make too much sense?

Having to work stage crew before, I feel most sorry for the poor, unfortunate souls who have to actually put these shows together on a seemingly monthly basis.

Erika said...

So you only nominate stuff people have seen? How did MAD MEN get a nomination after its first season then? And won at that. I don't get your point. Aren't the Emmys about highlighting great work? Or is it just about congratulating people for getting good ratings? What do ratings even mean anymore? Lots of people watch stuff on-demand and more people are streaming shows on Netflix. I'm sure a lot of people hear about some show they never heard of before by watching the Emmys and that encourages them to check it out. I don't see why that is a bad thing.

Brent said...

What Michael Stoffel said. The cable shows that only do 10-13 episodes per "season" have an inherent advantage over a network show that does 22 or 23. Do you give the Cy Young award to the guy on a good team who starts 13 games, gets lots of run support, ten days rest between starts and goes 10-3? Or the one who plays for a "meh" team, gets no or little run support, takes the ball every 5 days, starts 23 games and goes 16-7?

Ken Levine said...

Erika,

My point is that that drama series are indeed worthy of their praise but it's too bad that not everyone can see them. MAD MEN has never had good ratings, and their ratings are even worse this year. It's not about ratings. It's about access.

And I agree with those who say it's unfair when network shows have to make 22 episodes every year while cable shows get to make 13 every two years.

Pat Reeder said...

Speaking as someone who for 20 years co-wrote the best topical humor service in radio, an industry for which there are zero awards for writers...and whose clients won national awards like the CMA for having the best radio shows in the America and never even thanked us...I think the TV industry hands out too damn many awards.

Charles H. Bryan said...

It's never too late to vote for THE WIRE.

Ski L.A. said...

If The Walking Dead gets nominated, will somebody please hack my head off with a samurai sword?

Terry said...

Justified is the best. Also, Rectify was very good and thought-provoking, too--but only six episodes. Justified has the best dialogue on TV, hands down.

Kyle said...

Check out HANNIBAL on NBC. Exquisite, daring, superb on every level. Last Thursday's episode made me laugh, cry, and barf.

Sherri said...

One of my favorite shows this year was probably not even seen by a million people: Orphan Black, on BBC America. Tatiana Maslany for Best Actress! Since it has no chance of being nominated, go Justified!

Mac said...

Tough choice, indeed. Some say we're living through a "golden age" of television. Maybe not in television generally (certainly not in comedy), but it's hard to remember a time when there was so much terrific drama being made.

Tim W. said...

I'm not sure what it says that I've only watched one of the dramas you mentioned as deserving: Homeland (which is great). Apparently I need to get watching. Keep in mind, I only just recently started watching the Sopranos, so I might be a little behind.

jbryant said...

Are there truly 68 comedy series vying for a nomination? I think the only comedies I've watched in the past year are LOUIE, GIRLS, THE OFFICE and BUNHEADS (though I guess the latter could be eligible in Drama instead; I haven't seen the list). A far cry from days of yore when the schedule was studded with classic sitcoms.

I don't watch all of the Drama contenders either, but would have no trouble coming up with a solid lineup of nominees with several left over. I'd probably go with THE AMERICANS, BREAKING BAD, JUSTIFIED, SUITS, MAD MEN and RIPPER STREET (if it's eligible), while reluctantly leaving off GAME OF THRONES and wishing there were a Guilty Pleasure category for REVENGE, NASHVILLE and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.

jbryant said...

Oh, I'd also add that I recently started getting into DOCTOR WHO, and if it's eligible would love to see it get some nods. But I suppose after all this time that would be an uphill climb.

HCarvalho said...

Game of thrones deserves the Emmy just for the guts of depicting the Red Wedding and going beyond the books.

Brendan said...

JUSTIFIED, without a doubt. Well-deserved.

Mark said...

Maron is certainly a scripted sitcom. It's a good one too. It's only 6 episodes in on it's first season so it's hard to tell if it's going to be great but I'm on board for the ride.

Anonymous said...

Real Husbands of Hollywood - BET - Series Premiere 01/15/13 - 4.15 million total viewers - 18-49 demo rating - 2.1

Community - Season Premiere 02/07/13 - 3.88 million total viewers - 18-49 demo rating - 1.9

Cap'n Bob said...

I haven't watched any of those shows. Not one. All of this is Greek to me.

Verna: "basque"?

Anonymous said...

"Maron is certainly a scripted sitcom. It's a good one too."

I disagree. He doesn't even write the show, for the most part, and it apparent because it doesn't have the consistent comedic voice of Louie or Curb.
Also, he's rarely funny, probably because, as an actor, Maron doesn't commit fully to what he's doing, and he thinks that's enough.
It's not.
The writer's angle is to just have his "character" react to the bizarre behavior of the sad people around him. These people seem to be around just to give Mark a chance to give reaction shots, rather than to tell an interesting story.
It's just hack.
I like Maron's podcast, but he ain't ready for primetime, or even IFC.

Anonymous said...

Television shows which are 13 episodes or less, should have their own categories. I find it ridiculous for a "season" to be 10-13 episodes.

J.R. in California

Anonymous said...

and I find it ridiculous that I didn't read the other comments before posting the same thing for the 5th time.

JR in California again.

MuffinMan21571 said...

The Killing AND The Newsroom both SUCK, and don't belong on ANYONE'S list of Emmy contenders; also Maron is a very funny show- how about giving SOME credit to a comedy series you haven't been associated with?

MuffinMan21571 said...

...also, you want FIVE legit nominees for Comedy Series? How about: Louie, Parks & Recreation, Veep, It's Always Sunny, and yes, Archer (maybe the funniest of the lot)? PS- looks like Mindy Kaling's gonna stick around for awhile (way to pick em)... #youaresoold

MuffinMan21571 said...

PSS- you're also WRONG about Real Housewives of Hollywood being on the ballot (esp since there's no such show w/that title); its Real HUSBANDS..., a satire of the whole housewives genre/mess...

Randy 92109 said...

I'll second what Sherrie said above. What Tatiana Maslany did on Orphan Black was remarkable. Playing multiple characters is nothing new, but a couple episodes into it, you really do forget it is the same person playing each character. She just won Best Actress at the Critic's Choice awards, so maybe that will at least give some a reason to check it out. I'm not a sci-fi fan at all really,but this show was thrilling, hilarious and dramatic in each episode. Of course, the 10 show season allowed them to pack a whole lot of plot into a shorter period. Unlike some shows - hi Lost! - they never let many questions hang out there. Catch it if you can.

Amelia Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles H. Bryan said...

I got the impression that the list of programs are those that are eligible (or have at least been offered for consideration), not that they've already passed through any kind of selection process. No real quality judgments so far. It's like the producers of future sensation "Eight Kittens Fighting Over a Sock" submitting the show much the same as I could offer myself as a candidate for U.S. President. Hey. I'm over 35.

There could be a very special Emmy worthy episode of "Eight Kittens Fighting Over a Sock" where the kittens' owners/human companions win a shopping trip to India with Amelia, Bollywood Roboshopper.

Marco said...

I just hope HOUSE OF CARDS wins any of the "big" categories - the series is just fantastic. It started just a few days later than it premiered on Netflix - hence it was shown here one episode a week in pay-tv.

It was suspenseful, entertaining - just all a good drama series needs.

Whoever cares: The dubbing (german) was on par with the show's general excellence.

Ray said...

While I agree that most of the worthy dramas are on cable these days, I do not understand why PARENTHOOD gets no love at all but THE GOOD WIFE does. Of the two, it is the much more innovative, less sentimental, more cable-like show.