Dream Emmy Nominees 2013

The Emmys are so frustratingly stagnant that prognosticating them has become worrisomely simple, although if ever there were a year where the nominations could be upset this would be it. Here are my desired nominees for all the major categories which are hopefully less of a pipe dream than they seem (desired winner is bolded):

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Breaking Bad
  • Mad Men
  • The Americans
  • Hannibal
  • Rectify
  • Orphan Black

It’s a bit difficult to leave out Game of Thrones, which continued to be excellent, but as a season I felt it had too much padding (Theon, much of Tyrion, early Sam material) to quite elevate it to the coiled coldness of The Americans, the elegiac beauty of Rectify, the horrifying wonder of Hannibal, or the kinetic tautness of Orphan Black, the latter two of which had such high degrees of difficulty inherent in their premises.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Louie
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock
  • Enlightened
  • Archer
  • Bunheads

I don’t believe Bunheads is actually on the Emmy ballot, but that’s only due to ABC Family’s negligence, because it deserves to be nominated, though I’d probably switch it out for Happy Endings or Arrested Development if I had to. Otherwise, Enlightened was the crowning achievement of the year in televisual drama or comedy given that it executed pretty much the best of both worlds. 30 Rock drifted into the ether with one of its best seasons and Parks, Archer, and Louie delivered more of their now-routine brilliance.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
  • Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
  • Claire Danes (Homeland)
  • Keri Russell (The Americans)
  • Kerry Washington (Scandal)
  • Emmy Rossum (Shameless)

I must admit, I only regularly watch the shows of the first four women in this category, but I’ve seen some of what Washington and Rossum do and respect it greatly. But Maslany is the only logical choice here (in any other year, Moss or Russell would take it in a walk), her bravura performance is funny, moving, and bewilderingly complex, at one point playing a character who is playing a character who is playing a character and actually making that feel real.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Aden Young (Rectify)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
  • Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
  • Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
  • Damian Lewis (Homeland)

Much as I love Cranston, I love an underdog more, which is why I have to go for Aden Young, whose quiet, measured performance is pretty much perfect. As are most of the performances here, perhaps with the exception of Lewis, who unravelled somewhat as his show did after its stellar first five episodes. Poor Jon Hamm, though.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
  • Sutton Foster (Bunheads)
  • Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23)
  • Ashley Rickards (Awkward.)
  • Laura Dern (Enlightened)

Dern is Dern, and she essentially won this category with the first episode of Enlightened’s second season. It’s arguable whether the show should be in this category (it shouldn’t), but it is, so there you go. Possibly controversial inclusions are Ritter and Rickards, who delivered very different but equally fearless female performances, one playing the world’s best-dressed sociopath for laughs, and the other nailing teenage romantic self-sabotage.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation)
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
  • Louis CK (Louie)
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development)
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl)
  • Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It)

This is unquestionably the single weakest category possibly in the entire Emmys, which is a good thing. Dudes have had their day. Baldwin, dickish though he may be, still rules the roost here; Jack Donaghy is a pantheon character on a pantheon show and he was no less brilliant in 30 Rock’s final season. My inclusion of Johnson is begrudging since I thought New Girl’s second season was often mediocre, but his pretty good performance elevated it where it needed to be. Capaldi I’m including simply because I’d like to see him nominated despite not having watched the show for a while (which I must remedy).

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
  • Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
  • Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
  • Adelaide Clemens (Rectify)
  • Abigail Spencer (Rectify)
  • Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)

Gunn has long been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon, and many are tipping that this will be the year she finally gets the recognition she deserves. So many asshole dudes on the internet hate Skyler for no reason, but Gunn’s performance is undeniably fantastic. Clemens is a close second for what may be the most sensitive portrayal of a religious person on TV, and Hendricks should have won last year for ‘The Other Woman’. Headey is direly under-appreciated for her work, too, in the face of a showier performance from Emilia Clarke (whom I almost included). As much as I love Dame Maggie, fuck her for ruining this category for far better performances on far better shows.

Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
  • Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
  • Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
  • Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) (tie)
  • Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
  • Jonathon Banks (Breaking Bad) (tie)

Another stacked category, with Banks occupying Giancarlo Esposito’s slot of ‘Should Win But Won’t Because Emmys’. Kartheiser got more to do than ever this season on Mad Men, and was terrific every step. Coster-Waldau was the easy stand-out on Thrones, but will probably sit idly by while Peter Dinklage gets nominated for doing practically nothing. Patinkin anchored Homeland’s weak back-half, and Mikkelsen was as brilliant as he always is on Hannibal. Honourable mentions to Noah Emmerich, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Rahm, and Corey Stoll.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
  • Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development)
  • Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory)
  • Casey Wilson (Happy Endings)
  • Lucy Punch (Ben and Kate)
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation)

This category is an insane bounty of riches, but I’d like to give honourable mentions to all the supporting Bunheads especially Julia Goldani-Telles and Bailey Buntain the Blonde Bunhead, as she is known. Also Eliza Coupe and Elisha Cuthbert and June Diane Raphael and Allie Grant and Ana Gasteyer and Jessica Walter and Julie White (who was one of the most rounded lesbian characters ever on TV) and Lake Bell and Anna Chlumsky and etc. etc. etc. forever. But Jane Krakowski NEEDS to win. NEEDS. Jenna sits alongside Jack in being timelessly funny and simply nominating her has never been enough. But watch Modern Family shit all over my dreams come Emmy night.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development)
  • Mike White (Enlightened)
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation)
  • Adam Pally (Happy Endings)
  • Luke Wilson (Enlightened)

So many others I could include e.g Nick Offerman, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jack McBrayer, Charlie Day, Rob Huebel and maybe others. But they’ll all get passed over for the Modern Family bland armada and probably Bill Hader (fine) and maybe Max Greenfield (who deserved it last year but not this year).

And some assorted categories and who should win:

Guest Actress in a Comedy – Parker Posey (Louie). Unquestionably. Only Maria Bamford comes close for Arrested Development.

Guest Actor in a Comedy – Will Forte (30 Rock)

Guest Actress in a Drama – either Marin Ireland (Homeland) or Margo Martindale (The Americans) or Gillian Anderson (Hannibal)

Guest Actor in a Drama – Derek Luke (The Americans)

Outstanding Animated Series – Bob’s Burgers

Outstanding Variety Series – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Reality Competition Series – Rupaul’s Drag Race

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie – Lily Rabe (American Horror Story: Asylum)

Great shows you may never have heard of in Australia (part two)

No need for the long preamble to this one as with the last, other than to say that this will likely be a feature I’ll periodically return to over time. But here’s an immediate, and hopefully shorter round-up of another batch of shows.

Childrens Hospital – Beginning as a webseries, Childrens Hospital later became a series for Adult Swim, in which a fantastic cast (including Ken Marino, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Megan Mullally, Henry Winkler, Rob Huebel, Nick Offerman…I could go on) led by creator Rob Corddry playing a clown doctor (except in the show’s universe, clowns are a race) in Childrens Hospital, named for founder Arthur Childrens, where they only treat child patients. Yes, exactly. The show is just one massive riff on medical dramas all the way from Mash to ER to Grey’s Anatomy and beyond – the latter particularly, as it nails the ridiculousness of the relationships and voice over in that show. If a character is dating one person in one episode, they’ll be with someone totally different the next. After 3 seasons shot in the Scrubs hospital, the show will move to a new location next year. But each of its 10 minute episodes are bursting at the seams with jokes. One of the best creations is Mullally’s character, who is typically fantastic playing a doctor with basically every ailment under the sun including MS (a funny riff on an ER character). The show has done what any good show does and created its own extremely weird universe, one of the best features of which comes in the ‘Newsreaders’ episodes, where it’s revealed that the show is within another show, and all the actors playing the Childrens Hospital characters are even more bizarre, and eventually get their own spinoffs. It sounds ridiculous on paper, but it’s painfully funny at almost all times. You can watch much of the show on Youtube because of the length of the episodes. Here is the first:

(Childrens Hospital airs on The Comedy Channel in the adult swim block.)

Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23 – Terrible title aside, this show has become one of the better new comedies of this season alongside New Girl and Suburgatory. Arriving with surprisingly few growing pains, it has actually been funny right out of the gate, thanks mostly to the comic creation that is Chloe, played by Krysten Ritter (who you may know from Breaking Bad or as the roommate in Romantic Comedy Film #235). Created by Nahnatchka Kahn (a queer woman of colour! RUNNING A TV SHOW! 2012, PEOPLE!!!) who formerly wrote for American Dad!, the show’s often insane, off-the-wall humour hearkens back to that Seth McFarlane show, but only in the best ways. June (Dreama Walker) moves to New York and seeks to move in with Chloe – who is best friends with James van der Beek playing himself, which is way better than it sounds – who usually just cons innocent, aspirational girls into giving her lots of rent money and then does something horrible to get rid of them. She’s a sociopathic character, yes, but you soon come to love her because she’s such a non-stereotypical female character. She’s wild, sexually ambiguous, and basically does whatever the fuck she wants without worrying about the consequences. For a TV-viewing audience currently being assaulted with the faux-edgy blandness of Modern Family and Glee, Chloe is a breath of fresh air. The show has its problems – in its abbreviated, 7 episode season, it’s yet to have a chance to properly develop some of its supporting characters. JVDB doesn’t always work away from the other two main characters, and June is sometimes a little too nicey-nice and moralistic, but there are enough hilarious moments and great lines in each episode to get you by.

(As far as I know, Apt. 23 doesn’t air here yet. And if the trailer doesn’t wow you, give the show a go anyway. It’s worth it.)

Veep – Probably the best new comedy of the season, this series created by Armando Iannucci (best known for The Thick of It and the Oscar-nominated In The Loop) stars the fab Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a put-upon Vice President of the United States. With a crack team in her office including the hilarious Matt Walsh, Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, this political satire gets down to the nitty-gritty of Washington politics – i.e the kinds of people, the length of time it takes to get anything done, etc. It doesn’t seem like a great thing to base a show around, except that all of these issues are sandwiched in between some of the best zingers and one-liners you’ll hear on TV. The entire cast is essential to the ensemble, and the interplay is wonderful. JLD is particularly excellent as Selina Meyer, who has accepted the Veep position after losing her primary (a hat was part of why). For any lover of acid wit and satire, this show is absolutely fantastic and, like In The Loop, very subtly but hugely depressing in its futility.

(Veep will, at some point, air on Showcase on Foxtel).