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Friday, July 20, 2007

Emmy voters let us down again

by Jennifer Squires Biller

If I were to write an open letter to Emmy voters, it would begin like this:

Dear Emmy Voters,

After seeing your nominee list for the 2007 primetime Emmys, I have one question: Do you actually watch television?

Sincerely disillusioned,
Tube Talk Girl

You may think I’m being too harsh on the Emmy voters. After all, they did get several things right. (Ugly Betty, The Office, Chandra Wilson, Vanessa Williams, Sally Field, Masi Oka) But, it’s the complete shutout of several shows (Lost, Friday Night Lights, Rescue Me) and actors (Kyle Chandler, Kristen Bell, Connie Britton, and the entire Scrubs cast) that makes me think that the entire Emmy process is - for lack of a better term - a bunch of hoo-haw.

The biggest travesty is in the Best Drama category. The fact that neither Lost nor Friday Night Lights - what I would argue are the two best dramas on television - failed to make the list is beyond excusable. Lost had a few bumpy episodes this season, but as a whole, the show redefined suspense and drama. The season finale was so spectacular that TV fans are still talking about it, months after it aired. Friday Night Lights began slow, but evolved to a raw look at small-town life. It’s reliable, the one series I know will be consistent week after week.

Those two shows should have been included instead of Heroes and House. Heroes, is often uneven with its plethora of characters and stories and lacks the fluidity of more entertaining dramas. Yes, I gave the show’s pilot a perfect four-star review, but that was based on one episode. The entire season, on a whole, did not live up to the standard set in the pilot. And House is entertaining, but let’s face it, the show is Hugh Laurie, who got his well-deserved Emmy nod.

I’ve received some e-mail from outraged fans about the inclusion of Boston Legal in the Best Drama category. To all of you, I disagree. Sorry. (Ducking for cover.) Boston Legal has tackled plenty of social and political topics this season and delivered them with humor and fairness. Uber-liberal Alan Shore often goes on a diatribe for whichever cause he is fighting, but not without conservative Denny Crane countering his argument with a succinct and surprisingly logical argument of his own. Yes, the show often seems more comedy than drama, but the Emmy comedy category seems to be reserved for sitcoms, and Boston Legal deserves to fit somewhere, which brings me to my next point.

Previously, the Emmys adapted to include a category for reality television, so why can’t they add a category for “Dramedy,” the term used to describe a drama with an overture of comic elements? The landscape of television has changed, with dramas like Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy delivering an even dose of drama and comedy. It doesn’t seem right to put them in a category with such “serious” shows as 24, Friday Night Lights, The Sopranos and Heroes. It’s like judging apples and oranges.
The addition of a “Dramedy” category could make room for Emmy-deserving shows like Veronica Mars and Rescue Me.

Emmy honchos, please consider adding this new category, if not to make the competition fairer, then for the sake of my sanity.

The Best Comedy category this year also left me disheartened. The omission of Scrubs is inconceivable, especially considering its sublime musical episode. What does this show have to do to get noticed on the Emmy radar, start calling itself Two and a Half Men? The fact that the aforementioned show is on the Best Comedy list baffles me. (My apologies to my cousin Kim who declares it “comedy genius.”) I guess if fart jokes and sex jokes are your idea of humor, then yes, this show would be among the best comedies. How I Met Your Mother should have been on the list. End of story.

There are so many other glaring oversights this year that perhaps it’s just best to list them. Otherwise, this column could turn in to War and Peace.

Here’s who else should have been on the Emmy nomination list:
--Tichina Arnold and Terry Crews for Everybody Hates Chris. These two deliver consistent comedy each week. (Oh that’s right, this show is on the CW, the network that apparently Emmy voters don’t get.)
--Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights. Awesome. Enough said.
--Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, and Josh Holloway for Lost. There is no Lost without this power trio.
--Rescue Me for best drama. I dare you to watch this show and not get addicted. It’s drama, on steroids.
--Kristen Bell for Veronica Mars. Bell’s humor and intelligence shined through week after week, as Veronica sleuthed her way into our hearts.
--Michael C. Hall for Dexter. I don’t watch this show, but the clips are enough for me to know he should have been on the list.

Other Emmy nominations that make me smile:
--Scrubs songs “Everything Comes Down to Poo” and “Guy Love” for Original Music and Lyrics
--Jaime Pressly for My Name is Earl
--Tom Selleck for his portrayal of Jesse Stone in a TV movie.

For a complete list of all the nominees in every category, click here.

Now that I’ve had my say, tell me yours. What did you think of the nominations?

The Emmys will be broadcast on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.


Big Tuna said...

Jen, you are so right on about FNL and Lost. A "travesy" indeed.

Lee said...

I know you don't watch it, but Battlestar should have been somewhere among the nominees.

OBX said...

Good call on the Scrubs snub and Everybody Hates Chris snubs. I don't understand why anything off the WB or CW cannot get a nom. You're right, they must not get that channel. :)

Seth in CA said...

LOVE your dramedy idea. You're right, that would solve a lot of the problems. Then, the cable series wouldn't overcrowd the categories either. Please, please, please let this happen.

Mason said...

No Lost? Are these people nuts? I give up.

marcy in OH said...

WTF? Friday Night Lights has set the bar for drama. Yes, I agree with you Tube Talk Girl, it started out slow, but it's evolved to a work of art. Open up your eyes, Emmy voters. Geesh.

Jennie said...

Jen, how do we get you on this Emmy panel? LOL

You seem to be the only one who gets what quality television is. Two and a Half Men? Good Lord.

tube talk girl said...

Jennie, I'd love to be an Emmy voter. But, I doubt they'd let me in. I like Lost and Friday Night Lights and have a lot of love for shows on the WB/CW network. (R.I.P. Felicity, Dawson, Buffy, Angel, Jack & Bobby.)

Anonymous said...

I was sad to see Studio 60 did not recieve anything. Matthew Perry and Brad Whitford were really great on that show.

melissa said...

Great column TTG. I love the dramedy idea. That really could change the Emmys and give the well-deserving shows a shot.

tube talk girl said...

Also, one more big oversight, the Psych boys, James Roday and Dule Hill.

yellow rose said...

Hey, i'll defend Boston Legal. It deserved a slot in the drama category. Not everyone likes "heavy" drama. Some of actually enjoy a little silliness on television, considering the craziness going on in the world. You're right Tube Talk Girl, the show is preachy at times, but at the end of the week, it's the one show I look forward to.

mace said...

I think the dramedy idea is a great one. Too bad they'll never do it.

mizbehavin said...

The Hollywood Reporter guy mentioned your "dramedy' idea in his Sept. 21 Past Deadline column. Wouldn't it be cool if you actually help create a new category? Never underestimate the power of Tube Talk Girl!

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