A great year for comedy presents a mix of likely nominees and ones that should be.
Emmy Week (and a half) at HitFix had to be extended to Emmy Two-Plus Weeks for a variety of boring reasons, but Fienberg and I are finally back with our next-to-last category: Outstanding Comedy Series.
As usual with these, Fienberg and I are approaching the potential nominees from two different angles. Dan is trying to predict what shows will be nominated (along with a bit of wishful thinking), while I simply state who would get my vote if I had a hypothetical Emmy ballot.
Dan's gallery of nominees is up, and after the jump are my picks...
A promising drama with a plus-sized cast.
Because TV shows are largely populated with thin, attractive white people, there's a tendency for anyone who's an outlier to be defined entirely by what makes them different. They become less characters than representatives, standing in for all the unseen people who share their race, appearance, size, or what have you. It's usually only when you put several similar outlier characters together that the writers start to view them as something other than a token symbol. When an episode of "Homicide," for instance, famously put three black characters alone in a room together, the scene became not about race, but about who these cops were and what they wanted, and the sad thing was that such a thing was so unusual that it was worthy of notice.
The outlier problem is especially stark on teen dramas, because high school is all about spotlighting why some people are different from the crowd. In particular, any character who's not a twig - say, Mercedes on "Glee" - gets placed largely in stories about how it feels to not be part of the skinny crowd.
That's why I'm intrigued by "Huge," ABC Family's new drama series set at a camp for obese teens, which premieres tonight at 9. Aside from the counselors (headed by the tall, willowy Gina Torres), everyone is on the heavy side. The opening scene puts all the kids in bathing suits so they can take an unguarded "Before" picture that will hopefully inspire a much thinner "After" picture at summer's end, and the camera frame is filled with the kinds of bodies we're not used to seeing on television. (Or, at least, on TV dramas, since the success of "The Biggest Loser" obviously makes a show like this possible, in the same way that "Lost" was born as an attempt to do a scripted "Survivor.")
A kinky outing for vampires and non-vamps alike.
Once again, I'm not a fan of "True Blood," but I'm willing to offer up these weekly posts about each episode so y'all can discuss it.
Episode three, which incorporates both bullet time and a concentrated amount of kinky vampire sex, is, for now, the last one I received in advance from HBO. I may or may not continue to get episodes ahead of time, but if I don't, these posts are going to wait until I've seen each episode, which may wind up being on Mondays. Sorry.
Richard Curtis scripts one of the season's finest episodes
I know I said in last week's "Doctor Who" review that, because of the scheduling difference between the US and the UK, I might wait till the end of the season to review the remaining episodes. However, tonight's "Vincent and The Doctor" was strong enough - and relatively standalone enough - that I'm going to take a chance on it. My thoughts coming up just as soon as I buy a sofa and a couple of chairs...
On losing more actors and the chances for a third season.
Season two of "Party Down" concluded tonight with the return of Jane Lynch as Constance Carmell, with an unlikely cameo, with a not-so-triumphant (but hilarious) performance by Kyle's band, and with the writers inadvertently giving themselves a means to easily write out Henry now that Adam Scott has left the show for "Parks and Recreation."
Yesterday, I posted my interview with Scott about his departure. Tonight, in lieu of reviewing the finale, I'll do what I did last season, and close the season with a long Q&A with "Party Down" co-creator John Enbom that I conducted earlier this week, touching on the stories of season two, his feeling about both Scott and Ryan Hansen taking other jobs, his odds on Starz ordering another season and a lot more. All that coming up just as soon as I need a spirit animal...
Characters explore new opportunities, and the Lions face a beatable foe.
Once, again, I reviewed all the episodes for this season of "Friday Night Lights" on my old blog as they aired on DirecTV. Because I can't bring content from the old blog over here, each week I'm going to link to those reviews so you can see what I and the DirecTV audience thought of them back in the fall, then discuss them here. This week: "Toilet Bowl," in which the Lions finally have a shot at a win, and our heroes explore new opportunities. Go read the review and - keeping in mind that we will not be discussing, or even hinting at, anything that happens in episodes that have yet to air on NBC - tell me what you thought of the episode.
Once, again, I reviewed all the episodes for this season of "Friday Night Lights" on my old blog as they aired on DirecTV. Because I can't bring content from the old blog over here, each week I'm going to link to those reviews so you can see what I and the DirecTV audience thought of them back in the fall, then discuss them here.
This week: "Toilet Bowl," in which the Lions finally have a shot at a win, and our heroes explore new opportunities. Go read the review and - keeping in mind that we will not be discussing, or even hinting at, anything that happens in episodes that have yet to air on NBC - tell me what you thought of the episode.
A little violin music elevates one of this week's episodes of the caper series.
While I blog about a lot of TV shows, there are even more shows that I watch and don't write about, whether for scheduling reasons or because, while I like them, there isn't necessarily enough meat there to merit episode-by-episode analysis. (This is known in my corner of the TV blogging game as "The 'NCIS' Factor.")
One of those shows is TNT's "Leverage," which is a fun caper series I always mean to write about on occasion but usually get so far behind in my viewing that it doesn't seem worth the bother just to talk about how sweet it was when Eliot beat up 17 guys with one arm dislocated behind his back.
I did, however, get to see the second of Sunday's two episodes (TNT is running double-headers at 9 & 10 for at least the first few weeks of this season), and it's a pretty cool one, about which I'll have a few thoughts after the jump.
Michael and Sam become hostage-takers in a clever episode.
A repetitive structure sucks out what little fun there was in season one.
Last summer, I started to feel like that guy who doesn't understand why his friends keep complaining about his new girlfriend.
The girlfriend in question was "Hung," the HBO dramedy about a well-endowed Detroit high school coach (Thomas Jane) who, desperate for cash, decides to try his hand at male prostitution. When I wrote positive reviews of it, friends, readers and even fellow critics were incredulous: "Really? You like that show?" Soon, it became a default insult for any fan of a show I had just criticized: "Yeah, like I take that seriously from the guy who keeps writing about 'Hung.'" An interview subject actually derailed our conversation for a good 5 minutes so he could try to figure out what it was I was seeing that he wasn't.
And how do I feel about "Hung" as its second season debuts Sunday at 10? Well, I feel a little like that guy who finally dumped the objectionable girlfriend and has joined his friends in asking, "What on Earth was I thinking?"
McNulty goes rogue, Carcetti announces a plan, and Cutty looks for work.
Once again, we're spending Fridays this summer revisiting season three of "The Wire." (You can find my reviews of all the other seasons at my old blog.) Two versions each week: one for people who have seen the whole series and want to feel free to discuss things from first episode to last, and one for relative newcomers who haven't seen all the way to the end yet and don't want to be spoiled past the episodes we're discussing. This is the veteran version; click here to read the newbie-friendly one. (Last week's veteran review is here.)
A review of episode four, "Hamsterdam," coming up just as soon as I have to tinkle...