Friday, June 05, 2009

Screw the Emmys ... Critics right a lot of TV wrongs from past decade

Although I watch the Oscars every year without fail, I very rarely tune in for even a minute of the Emmys. Why? Well, I understand that HBO makes great shows (I just reupped for "True Blood" season two - bring it on!) and I find "30 Rock" to be extremely funny, but there are so many others shows that just get ignored year after year.

Well, Variety did an interesting survey this week with members of the Television Critics Association, asking them to pick the best TV shows and stars from the past decade. The winners will be announced later this summer, and though I seriously doubt it will happen, it sure would be nice to see Lauren Graham win something. Here are the nominees, runners up and some brief comments from me:

"Friday Night Lights"
"Mad Men"
"The Sopranos"
"The West Wing"
"The Wire"

"24," "Battlestar Galactica," "Big Love," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Deadwood," "Grey's Anatomy," "House," "Rescue Me" and "The Shield"

Now there's a category. Three of these shows, "The Wire," "The West Wing" and "Friday Night Lights," are among my all-time favorites, and I certainly love "Mad Men" too (and can't wait for August to get here already.) Oddly enough, did anyone know that Elizabeth Moss, a k a Peggy Olson, also played Zoey Bartlet on "The West Wing"? I didn't realize it until a few days ago. Anyways, I'd go with "The Wire," the best cop show of all time, here, with "Friday Night Lights" a close second, but I have a feeling "The West Wing" will prevail.

Connie Britton "Friday Night Lights"
Glenn Close "Damages"
Edie Falco "The Sopranos"
Allison Janney "The West Wing"
Mary McDonnell "Battlestar Galactica"
Kyra Sedgwick "The Closer"

JUST MISSED: Frances Conroy "Six Feet Under," Jennifer Garner "Alias, Sarah Michelle Gellar "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Rachel Griffiths "Six Feet Under" /"Brothers and Sisters," Sally Field "Brothers and Sisters" Holly Hunter "Saving Grace"

As much as I like Allison Janney and love her C.J., Connie Britton should be a big winner in this category. If you've never seen "Friday Night Lights" and think it's just a show about high school football, give it a chance, because Britton, Kyle Chandler and all the kids make it the best drama on TV now.

Michael Chiklis "The Shield"
Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
James Gandolfini "The Sopranos"
Michael C. Hall "Dexter"
Jon Hamm "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie "House"

JUST MISSED: Gabriel Byrne "In Treatment," Kyle Chandler "Friday Night Lights," Ian McShane "Deadwood," Denis Leary "Rescue Me," Martin Sheen "The West Wing," Kiefer Sutherland "24"

Most of the action is in the runners up here. I appreciate that NBC tried to give McShane something to work with on "Kings," but he'll never get a role as good as Al Swearengen. Out of all these, my five would be McShane, Chandler, Jon Hamm, James Gandolfini and - rather than Martin Sheen, who is indeed great - Richard Schiff (Toby Zeigler) from "The West Wing."

"30 Rock"
"Arrested Development"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"The Daily Show"
"Everybody Loves Raymond"
"The Office"

JUST MISSED: "The Big Bang Theory," "Flight of the Conchords," "Frasier," "Freaks and Geeks," "Friends," "Sex and the City," "The Simpsons," "Two and a Half Men"

I love that they just threw "The Daily Show" in the comedy category where it squarely belongs rather than into some goofy "late night" list. And huzzah to "Freaks and Geeks"! It's not terribly surprising that it would get love from critics, but it still just makes me very happy. Among the finalists, I'd go with "Arrested Development" here, by just a nose over "The Daily Show" and "30 Rock."

Tina Fey "30 Rock"
Lauren Graham "Gilmore Girls"
Patricia Heaton "Everybody Loves Raymond"
Jane Kaczmarek "Malcolm in the Middle"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"

JUST MISSED: Jennifer Aniston "Friends," America Ferrera "Ugly Betty," Jenna Fischer "The Office," Felicity Huffman Desperate Housewives," Lisa Kudrow "Friends"/"The Comeback," Debra Messing "Will and Grace"

No contest here. Whether you want to call "Gilmore Girls" a comedy, drama or - bleh! - a dramedy, Lauren Graham should take this one running away. I love Mary-Louise Parker too, and it's nice to see some love for the blissfully silly "Malcolm in the Middle," but Graham is easily the most underappreciated TV actress of the past decade. 'Nuff said.

Alec Baldwin "30 Rock"
Jason Bateman "Arrested Development"
Steve Carell "The Office"
Larry David "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Ricky Gervais "The Office"
Kelsey Grammer "Frasier"

JUST MISSED: Zach Braff "Scrubs," Neil Patrick Harris "How I Met Your Mother," Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory," Ray Romano "Everybody Loves Raymond," Tony Shalhoub "Monk," Charlie Sheen "Two and a Half Men"

Carell vs. Gervais? I'd take Gervais every time, but in this category I'd give the nod to Bateman as the leader of the Bluth clan. I've given up any real hope that there will ever be an "Arrested Development" movie, but man wouldn't that be fun? And, as silly as "Scrubs" is, Braff is indeed very funny too, so kudos.

And with that, I'm off to Chicago for the weekend to hang out with mi hermano and watch two soccer matches (MLS Friday and U.S.-Honduras Saturday.) I'm also gonna hit the Art Institute of Chicago and - me being me - maybe a movie Saturday afternoon, "The Limits of Control" if I can find it. So I won't be seeing either of the two big comedies opening this weekend, but please feel free to let me know if they're any good or not. Peace out.


Jess said...

Very cool concept! I love it. It makes you realize how many terrific shows were rarely recognized with all the awards or even nominations they deserved.

RC said...

that is a very good list and really keys on some key performances not just "what's hot"

love the inclusion of lauren graham & arrested development.

Mercurie said...

I'll tell you the truth, I think they were spot on in most of their choices. My only real objection would be the inclusion of Everybody Loves Raymond in the comedy category. It was popular, that doesn't make it the best.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've only watched a few episodes of that one, Mercurie, and that only to see if there was something I was missing .. Like you, I found absolutely nothing funny about it, except that it was nice to see Peter Boyle again