It was with anticipation and dread that I scanned the Emmy nominee list this morning. The top 10 finalists named earlier this month gave some hope: Would Kyle Chandler be nominated for his excellent work on Friday Night Lights? Would someone from Battlestar Galactica (in this case, Mary McDonnell for her alternately frustrating and sympathetic President Roslin) finally be nominated for an Emmy?
No, and no.
Still, some very welcome news accompanied the fist-shaking omissions and the head-scratching return of nominees who prompt critics to question whether people are nominated for merit or name recognition. My favorite happy surprises:
1. Pushing Daisies! Its first season was cut short thanks to the writers’ strike, but this series was a highlight of the TV year. It’s one of those shows that places one foot in comedy and one in drama, making it difficult to define. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t make the cut for Best Comedy (while Two and a Half Men did). One could call the voters insane, except that Lee Pace and Kristen Chenoweth received nominations for Lead Actor and Supporting Actress, on top of art, makeup, writing, directing, and other nods.
2. Zeljko Ivanek! As Ted Danson’s conflicted lawyer overwhelmed by personal and professional turmoil in Damages, Ivanek was my top pick in this category. I am thrilled to see he managed a Supporting Actor nomination alongside Danson, who was also great, and I hope he somehow manages a win. And speaking of Damages — bleak, dark, violent Damages — cheers to its Best Drama nod and to Glenn Close for Lead Actress.
3. Lost’s return. A hearty “yes!” to its Best Drama nomination for a strong season four, and to Michael Emerson for another good year as despicable, manipulative, occasionally sympathetic Benjamin Linus.
I can’t expect every Emmy nominee to reflect my personal opinions about who is most deserving in each category (particularly considering that I only watch so many TV shows, having never seen most that come from HBO and Showtime, or a full episode of some critic favorites like Mad Men). But I can appreciate the few times our opinions align, and root for those who do make it, whether or not they win.
And in my heart, Boston Legal is nominated in the comedy category (it seems funny to me in the occasional scene I catch). James Spader, William Shatner, and the show itself, if worthy, get the slots currently taken up by, say, Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Two and a Half Men. Spader’s Lead Actor in a Drama slot goes to Kyle Chandler, and Matthew Fox gets shoehorned into that group somehow too. The open Best Drama place goes to Battlestar Galactica, with the open Supporting Actor spot going to pretty much any Battlestar Galactica actor, even if they are leads (because, hey, it works for Jon Cryer in the comedy category). Perhaps Jamie Bamber, Michael Hogan, Edward James Olmos or James Callis? Just some starter suggestions; maybe Emmy will listen in time for next year.
And in the meantime, to which nominations do you give your hearty thumbs-up?