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?

weekend reading

Seemed to be an abundance of fun interviews with television personalities this week. Here's a roundup for your reading enjoyment:

Los Angeles Times: Amy Poehler on all things Leslie Knope

TV Line: Joel McHale on his "boyhood dreams" coming true thanks to Community

The TV Addict: Mike O'Malley (Burt Hummel) talks Glee and Shameless (and just generally being awesome)

Vulture TV: The lovely Christina Hendricks chats about Mad Men and her nearly-identical-to-mine TV tastes.

The AV Club: Super long (4 parts!) but interesting interview with Community creator Dan Harmon. I liked the part about women in comedy (part 2).

TV Guide Magazine: The top 20 So You Think You Can Dance contestants describe themselves.

Vulture TV: Sadly, NBC's Love Bites never lived up to the hype (currently burning off on Thursday nights), but I still love love love Becki Newton. Here's a little interview to catch up with her.

June 9, 2011

more film faces headed for TV

During the upfronts a couple weeks ago, we saw many famous film faces popping up on the 2011-12 television schedule. Jim Caviezel and Oscar-nominated Taraji Henson joined CBS's Person of Interest. Leelee Sobieski will give the small screen a try at midseason on the same network with cop rookie drama The 2-2. ABC will bring us a weekly dose of Ashley Judd in Missing and Christina Ricci in Pan Am. And let's not forget Zooey Deschanel as FOX's New Girl.

Two more actors are joining the ranks. I previously mentioned NBC's midseason plan to bring The Firm to television. They have just cast Josh Lucas as attorney Mitchell McDeere, a role originated by Tom Cruise in the film. The show will pick up ten years after the events of the book as McDeere and his family emerge from hiding. In my mind, Josh will always be the Southern charming Sweet Home Alabama glass blowing Reese Witherspoon soulmate, but I'm happy with this casting decision.

In even cooler news, Danny Glover has just been confirmed to join Kiefer Sutherland's new FOX pilot Touch (which is still awaiting an official pick up for midseason). We still don't have many details about this project -- the pilot has yet to be shot. But we know Glover will play Arthur Dewitt, a professor and expert on children who possess special gifts related to numbers. He will no doubt work with Kiefer's character's autistic son, who begins to predict events before they happen using numerical patterns. The Glover addition makes me much more excited for this project.

June 8, 2011

today's goodbye to meredith

For morning news programs, I think you gravitate to the network on which you were raised. That's why those morning ratings wars seem as pointless as Coke and Pepsi advertising to me -- you know what you drink and that's not going to change.

In my house growing up, The Today Show was always in the background at breakfast. These days, morning broadcast news isn't really part of my routine, but Today is still my go-to if I need some AM headlines.

This morning was Meredith Vieira's last show. It's a sad day. To me, she's a perfect morning host (and not because she's a fellow Rhode Island native!). She's warm, but smart. Funny, but not obnoxious. A skilled interviewer who (usually) avoids those emotionally manipulative morning news questions. She found the perfect balance between hard news gatherer and fluffy show host -- a balance not often mastered -- and made it look easy.

This was part of Today's send off for Meredith. A music number! It's awesome. I surprised my own self and cried.

June 6, 2011

gleeful: the littlest warbler

I mean, come on. That long tie kills me.

June 5, 2011

first ever critics' choice television award nominees

The Broadcast Television Journalist Association (BTJA) will hold the first ever Critics' Choice Television Awards on June 20. The luncheon awards presentation (hosted by the lovely Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance) will stream live on VHI.com and be broadcast on June 22 on the Reelz Channel.

BTJA is a new group affiliated with the Broadcast Film Critics Association (not to be confused with the larger, more well-known Television Critics Association). While it appears to be designed for the relatively small group of "television critics on television," there are a some well-respected online critics, namely Matt Roush from TV Guide Magazine.

News of yet another award show isn't very intriguing in itself, but looking at the favorites selected by critics rather than, say, the Emmy voting pool (much less the ratings charts) is pretty interesting. At the very least, if this is an opportunity to give kudos to some oft-neglected quality programming, then I'm all for it.

Let's look at the nominees:

Many of these picks are pretty predictable --  the definition of "good drama" is usually far more widely accepted than comedy. For that reason, though, sometimes the top picks can become tiresome. Like Dexter is there just because it has to be at this point, etc. So, it's gratifying to see shows like Friday Night Lights and Fringe (John Noble!) get recognition here. Ratings shmatings. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are one of the best drama pairings in the history of television. Hyperbole? My blog. It will be interesting to see if other more recent critical favorites like Justified, The Killing, and The Walking Dead make any headway at the major award shows this year. I think it's fairly safe to say Game of Thrones will. Also glad to see the critics call out some specific good performances that might not come with a big show behind them -- Shawn Hatosy's work on Southland is a great example.

BEST DRAMABoardwalk Empire, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Justified, The Killing, Mad Men, The Walking Dead

BEST ACTOR - DRAMA: Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), William H. Macy (Shameless), Timothy Olyphant (Justified)

BEST ACTRESS - DRAMA: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Mireille Enos (The Killing), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Anna Torv (Fringe)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - DRAMA: Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Walton Goggins (Justified), Shawn Hatosy (Southland), John Noble (Fringe), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), John Slattery (Mad Men)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - DRAMA: Michelle Forbes (The Killing), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Margo Martindale (Justified), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Chloë Sevigny (Big Love)

Not surprisingly, the comedy picks have a much wider range that we're used to seeing. And since "good comedy" seems so much more open to interpretation, a look at critic's picks can be fun because TV critics are so often some of the biggest TV fans. Shows like Louie and Archer aren't really my thing, but they have huge fans, so great to see them recognized. I've long been concerned that Community is too "weird" for the Emmys -- but here's proof the show (and Danny Pudi!) are critically-acclaimed. Funny, I pretty much wouldn't change a thing in any of the ultra-competitive comedy acting categories, although some supporting character love for The Office would have been nice. Yay for the first-recognized brilliance of Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson, Martha Plimpton's so-bad-she's-good mom from Raising Hope, and the hilariously under-appreciated Eden Cher from The Middle.

BEST COMEDY: Archer, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Glee, Louie, The Middle, Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock

BEST ACTOR - COMEDY: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Steve Carell (The Office), Louis C.K. (Louie), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Joel McHale (Community), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

BEST ACTRESS - COMEDY: Courteney Cox (Cougar Town), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Patricia Heaton (The Middle), Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - COMEDY: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Danny Pudi (Community), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - COMEDY: Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Busy Philipps (Cougar Town), Eden Sher (The Middle), Sofía Vergara (Modern Family)

These categories crack me up. It feels like an exposition of what really goes on our televisions while we're doing laundry on a Sunday afternoon (not what Emmy voters claim to enjoy). Housewives? Love it. Hoarders? Damn you, I can't look away. Same goes for Sister Wives. As for hosts, thank goodness for some MUCH-delayed love for Cat Deeley, the best host on television. As a unit, the collection of best talk shows is kind of hilarious. Come to think of it, do we ever see Oprah at the Emmys?

BEST REALITY SERIES: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Hoarders, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Sister Wives, Undercover Boss

BEST REALITY SERIES - COMPETITION The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Top Chef

BEST REALITY SHOW HOST: Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars), Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance), Ty Pennington (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)

BEST TALK SHOWChelsea Lately, The Daily Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Oprah Winfrey Show