August 3, 2011

fall casting!

Between San Diego Comic-Con and the Television Critic Association's press tour, there have been loads of panels, interviews, and announcements from shows and networks over the past few weeks in advance of the fall premieres. Many of them have involved casting news. Here are some highlights.

This is probably my favorite. Charlyne Yi has been cast as the new member of House's diagnostics team. If you don't recognize Charlyne from her film Paperheart, you probably know her from Knocked Up. It's no secret that House is getting a little tired and may have lost a few fans in the great dining room drive-thru of 2010. Well, they have my attention now. Charlyne is so charmingly weird and hilarious --can't wait to see her play with Dr. House.

Michael K. Williams, better known as Omar from The Wire or Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire, will shift gears to join Community this fall. He'll play a professor of biology - the study group's chosen course this semester. Williams is a ridiculously talented actor. Regardless of the nature of his character, I'm pretty sure he will make Troy wet his pants. 

Another Community addition this fall is none other than Dan Connor John Goodman. In one of the funniest new story concepts I've read, Goodman will play vice dean of Greendale's nationally-renowned school of air conditioning repair. Turns out this school and its dean are where all of the power and prestige of Greendale have been hiding. 

You probably already heard that guest star standout James Spader will be reprising his role as Robert California on The Office. Spader, however, won't be taking over as the new Michael Scott. He is shooting straight to the top of the Sabre corporate ladder, and we'll see him on a regular basis in that capacity. The  manager position is still up in the air among Jim, Dwight, and Andy. Any favorites?

Much mystery and intrigue has surrounded this character: Tammy 1. Ron Swanson's famed, dreaded, and previously unseen first wife on Parks and Recreation. She frightens the entire town of Pawnee, including the devilish Tammy 2 (Megan Mullaly). Patricia Clarkson has the gig. I have a hard time seeing the lovely Clarkson as such a terrifying figure, but that might be what makes it so fun. Looking forward to her first scene with Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) for sure. 

July 18, 2011

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

Because I couldn't bring myself to let it go, I was among those who waited and watched the final season of Friday Night Lights on NBC this spring/summer, rather than bribing a Direct TV subscriber into being friends with me or tracking down an advance copy of the DVD.

So, last week marked the end of my Friday Night Lights adventure. I'm not quite ready to share my thoughts on the last season and the series as a whole. Seems so darn overwhelming. If only Coach Taylor was here to give me a pep talk...

July 14, 2011

2011 emmy noms: glad, sad, mad

The 2011 Emmy nominations were announced this morning. There's always lots to say about this often frustrating awards program, but rather than list the nominees (you can see them here), here are my reactions according to a brief, but strong range of emotions.

I'm glad that....

  • Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler are going out in style. Friday Night Lights for the win!
  • Amy Poehler and Martha Plimpton were nominated as best comedy leading ladies in Parks & Recreation and Raising Hope, rounding out a category that may be stronger than the men's side for the first time. I hope Amy wins it.
  • Parks & Recreation earned a first show nomination for its best season yet. Watch this show!
  • Cat Deeley AND So You Think You Can Dance earned nods this year. Finally.
  • All four Modern Family men garnered supporting actor nominations (with some reservations about that category though - see below under "mad").
  • Josh Charles and Alan Cumming made the cut of supporting drama actors, even though the drama category seems a little Good Wife heavy overall.
  • The awesome "Suitcase" (Remember it? Think back real far...) episode of Mad Men got a bunch of nominations, including writing. Elizabeth Moss and Jon Hamm (both nominated) rocked that episode.
  • Mad Men actually has the chance to sweep the drama acting categories this year (no one from the cast has won).
  • Conan beat Leno.
I'm sad that...
  • This will be Steve Carrell's last nomination for The Office. It's crazy that he's never won. I hope Emmy voters give him one of those (sometimes undeserved) sentimental awards. He had a great season.
  • It took this long for the Emmys to recognize Friday Night Lights - the best show on television.
  • As much as I love Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother just didn't provide the material for a nomination this year (definitely don't think Jon Cryer deserved the slot though).
  • Glee doesn't have my support this year (and Matthew Morrison and Lea Michelle's absences don't bother me). The show nomination slot should have gone to Community or Cougar Town or even Louis CK
  • Ray Romano didn't join Andre Braugher in the supporting actor category for Men of a Certain Age. It could have boosted the show's chances for renewal. Big claps for Andre though. 
  • Cable actors like Shawn Hatosy (awesome work this season) and Regina King from Southland aren't recognized. 
I'm mad (actually angry, but that doesn't rhyme) that...
  • Ron Swanson is nowhere to be found. Nick Offerman killed it this season on Parks & Recreation
  • Community got NOTHING. Not even in the technical categories. I realize the show caters to a specific taste, but no one can deny the talent in that cast.
  • Danny Pudi. Abed. Where are you? 
  • There isn't more room in the supporting actress in a comedy series. I'd keep the nominees, especially Julie Bowen and Sophia Vergara, and add Busy Phillips and Alison Brie.
  • The Killing was smothered with questionable love, but my favorite character Joel Kinnaman's Holder got spongecake. 
  • Johnny Galecki got a lead actor nod over Joel McHale. I like The Big Bang Theory, but seriously? (should be noted that Larry David wasn't eligible this year)
  • The amazingly talented John Noble seems destined for an annual snub for his awesome work on Fringe.
The Emmys will air on September 18th. 

June 20, 2011

critic's choice winners

A few weeks ago, I listed and reacted to the nominees for the first ever Critics Choice Television Awards by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association.

The awards presentation happened this afternoon -- if you're interested, Reelz Channel is airing the presentation in full on Wednesday night. TV Line is updating this page frequently with the full list of winners, so I won't list them all here.

But here are some of my thoughts on the winners:

  • Predictably, these winners feel more "fan fun friendly" than most of the more prestigious award programs. 
  • Best supporting actor in a drama series goes to the so-very-well-deserving John Noble who seems to conduct an acting master class every week on Fringe.
  • Busy Phillips earns the supporting actress in a comedy award for her lovable quirkiness (and enviable ability to wear the crap out of every single shade of lipstick that they put on her) on Cougar Town. Why can't we be best friends?
  • Speaking of great lipstick, Mad Men's Christina Hendricks won for best supporting dramatic actress, tying with Justified's veteran Margo Martindale. 
  • Julianna Margulies and Jon Hamm are appropriately the first couple of dramatic acting for their respective roles on The Good Wife and Mad Men (of course, Tami and Eric Taylor won in my heart). 
  • CBS super duo Jim Parsons and Neil Patrick Harris are not surprisingly critics' darlings in the lead and supporting comedy acting categories. While I love NPH, I was rooting for Danny Pudi or Nick Offerman in that category
  • A little bit hilarious that Hoarders and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tied for best (non-competition) reality series.
  • I really wish Cat Deeley (awards presentation host) could have presented the award for reality host to her own self (So You Think You Can Dance), but alas, it went to Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs
  • While I would have squealed if best lead actress in a comedy went to Amy Poehler or Martha Plimpton, Tina Fay continues her reign. I ain't mad at you. 
  • Some of the acting awards were a bit outside the mainstream, but there was a little predictability with the show awards: Mad Men for drama and Modern Family for comedy. Both are well-deserved, but I would have liked to see an upset in the comedy category (ahem Parks & Rec) since I didn't think Modern Family's second season was quite as strong as the first (although still really great).
Agree or disagree with the BTJA?

calling all traveling wilburys fans

This is a little off of my usual topic, but if you're a Traveling Wilburys fan (and I'm a big one), you MUST go to their site today. They're streaming a 25-minute documentary on the true origin of the group - for just 24 hours! It will be up until 3am Eastern/12am Pacific tonight.


June 13, 2011

tca award nominees

Last week, I posted about the first award program introduced by the newly formed Broadcast Television Journalist Association. Today, the more established, larger Television Critics Association (TCA) announced their nominees for the TCA Awards (est. 2002).

Like I said before, critics tend to recognize shows and performances that may not pull in the ratings or the prestige that we see in larger awards programs. A little pretentious? Maybe. But for me, that's what makes these fun. TCA gets more creative with their categories. Namely, acting achievements are not divided by gender or lead/support. This has a way of making the acting awards seem more hard-earned.

Here are the nominees:

Individual Achievement in Drama: Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Margo Martindale (Justified), Timothy Olyphant (Justified)

Individual Achievement in Comedy: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Louis C.K. (Louis), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Danny Pudi (Community), Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, Restrepo, 60 Minutes, The Rachel Maddow Show, ESPN's 30 for 30

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: Amazing Race, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Survivor, The Voice, Top Chef: All Stars

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: A Children’s Garden of Poetry, iCarly, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba

Outstanding New Program: Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Terriers, The Killing, Walking Dead

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: Cineme Verite, Downton Abbey: Masterpiece, Mildred Pierce, Sherlock: Masterpiece, Too Big to Fail

Outstanding Achievement in Drama: Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, Justified, Mad Men, The Good Wife

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: Community, Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Raising Hope

Career Achievement Award: Steven Bochco, Dick Ebersol, Cloris Leachman, David Letterman, William Shatner, Oprah Winfrey

Heritage Award: All in the Family, Freaks and Geeks, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Twin Peaks

Program of the Year: Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, Justified, Parks and Recreation

A few thoughts:
  • Surprising, but also not surprising that Glee was completely shut out this year. Many have been unhappy with the second season, but Glee earned the coveted "Program of the Year" and "Outstanding New Program" awards last year. And Jane Lynch won the comedy performance award. Ouch. 
  • Love that Julianna Margulies (won last year), Margo Martindale, and Amy Poehler are representing for women in the acting categories.Wouldn't mind seeing a few more ladies though -- perhaps Elizabeth Moss and Connie Britton? 
  • Some truly awesome supporting actors dominated the comedy category: Nick Offerman, Danny Pudi, and Ty Burrell. 
  • I know critics are largely over The Office, but I would have liked a nod to Steve Carrell's exiting performance this season. Not for nostalgia -- he was damn good in every episode. 
  • The fact that I've only seen one of the shows (The Killing) nominated in the "Outstanding New Program" category is embarrassing (sad fact: Terriers has already been cancelled). 
  • The comedy show category is pretty much completely spot on -- Louie and I have had our differences, but I know it belongs there. And I'm super happy for the oft-misunderstood Community and Raising Hope as well. 
  • I love the heritage category! How in the world do you choose?!
  • The recognition for Friday Night Lights makes me equal parts happy, sad, and angry. Basically, I feel Smash Williams-ian about it. 
  • Can we assume Oprah has this one in the bag?
Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson!) will host the awards presentation on August 6. 

June 10, 2011

summer (new to you?) throw backs

I always have overly ambitious summer viewing plans. It seems like a great opportunity to not only play catch up, but also rewatch some classic favorites as well as finally get to series that I always meant to watch.

Right now, I'm rewatching Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as an accidental Sorkin retrospective. I also just caught up on many missed episodes of this season's Grey's Anatomy and planning to do the same for Fringe, Chuck, Dexter, and Vampire Diaries. On my more ambitious embarrassed-for-never-seeing-these list: Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, Battlestar Galactica and Treme.

I definitely recommend checking out the many blogs and TV sites that take on these kind of projects for summer. It's a fun way to follow along and interact with a community of people while watching -- something that's usually not possible in real time when you're watching an old show. Here are some examples:

The AV Club always has interesting retrospectives going on. These days, you can find Homicide, Veronica MarsBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Adventures of Pete and Pete (!!).

TV critic Alan Sepinwall is doing a Deadwood rewind over at HitFix.

Sepinwall's podcast with Dan Fienberg's Firewall and Iceberg chose Twin Peaks as their summer project.

Boob Tube Dude's Ryan McGee is currently in the midst of Alias and Friday Night Lights, blogging frequently about both.

There are many more, so I'll add to comments as I find them. Speaking of comments, I'd like some! What are you watching this summer?