The TV List 9.22.12: Top 10 Deserved Emmy Wins
Posted by Michael Ornelas on 09.22.2012
From Breaking Bad winning Best Drama Series and Parks and Rec's Amy Poehler winning Best Actress in a Comedy to Benedict Cumberbatch winning Best Actor in a Miniseries for Sherlock and more, 411's Michael Ornelas counts down the top 10 Emmy wins that need to happen Sunday night!
Thanks MS Paint!
Hello 411maniacs! Welcome to the first installment of The TV List – a top 10 column focused solely on television. I graduated about a month ago from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Radio-Television-Film, but I have very much gravitated toward the storytelling medium of TV because of the ability to develop plots and characters over a very long period of time (assuming that the series is successful). I consume a crazy amount of TV (in 2012 alone, I've finished 88 seasons of TV already and I'm estimating I'll end somewhere around 115), and have been having a hard time keeping up with wrestling a timely matter…so I figured it was time to give this zone of 411 a shot and writing about television is just the boost I need to keep me writing regularly (or at least restart the habit).
As some (alright, very few) of you may already know – in my final semester of college, I was the executive producer/creator of my own narrative comedy series called Shenanigans and from time to time, I'll post it in this column. It's one of my biggest achievements, and while I'm not pompous enough to say it's competitive with the quality of programming on cable TV these days, it's definitely above average for a college production. I'll post the finale episode at the bottom of the column for those who are curious.
So, this column is a double-edged sword, in that since I'm young (twenty-four next Wednesday), I won't be doing topics about which I'm not knowledgeable. And in order for me to be knowledgeable, I have to have seen the show. I didn't grow up on TV Land, so there are many classics that won't make the cut. This column will focus on the modern age of TV (starting in about the late 90s), as I have been tirelessly catching up on any and every show I can get my hands on. At the bottom of the page, I have running list of every show of which I have seen every episode of every season. Also the shows I'm in the middle of watching, and a list of what's next on my list. I always welcome suggestions/additions to the list! So feel free to recommend something I may have passed over.
This week's topic is centered on Sunday's 64th Annual Primetime Emmys! Since I have seen a lot of the shows that have nominations (not all, but a respectable majority), I wanted to compile a list of the Top 10 Deserved Emmy Wins heading into the award ceremony. I will only be addressing the nominees, not those that were snubbed from nomination (like Kelsey Grammer for Boss). The further up the list they are, the more likely I believe they are to actually win.
But before I start, since the Creative Arts Emmys have already been awarded (that's hair, make-up, editing, directing, guest appearances, animation, etc.), I want to point out that Adult Swim's Childrens Hospital won an Emmy for Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Program…which is a mouthful, and so oddly specific, but it's essentially an Emmy for best Adult-Swim lengthed show (other nominees included Web Therapy and webisodes by 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation). I'm pointing this out mostly because that show is fantastic, but also because it gives hope to future creators of television who want to try a new format.
X Breaking Bad for Outstanding Drama Series
This is one of those categories that has a very close race for who wins between pretty much every show in the running. But Breaking Bad's fourth season boasts a 96 on Metacritic and is the best season of television I've ever seen (although that will definitely be reevaluated when the show's fifth and final season concludes next summer, as the first half is on pace to bump this one down). I'm not comfortable in saying that this show WILL win, but I know that it should. Game of Thrones had a killer second season, but my personal pick for runner-up is Homeland (although I haven't seen Downton Abbey yet), but I'm pretty confident that Vince Gilligan's masterpiece deserves the golden statue on Sunday.
IX Curb Your Enthusiasm for Outstanding Comedy Series
It would appear that picking the "best" overall show in both drama and comedy are difficult for me, but they're close! Now, I personally think season 8 of Curb Your Enthusiasm is the best chance this show has to finally win the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy that has eluded it for all these years, as Modern Family wasn't as strong in its third season (but by no means less than deserving of the nomination), The Big Bang Theory is incredibly polarizing and grating at times, both Girls and Veep are only here as they are impressive newcomers (although I thought them both to be overrated). So while I think that Larry David's show is easily the most deserving, its chances of victory are still pretty up in the air, hence its low placement on the list.
Don Cheadle for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Just because the category is comedy doesn't mean that the funniest man should win. That's Louis C.K. in a landslide. But I gravitated to Marty Kaan in Showtime's House of Lies because there was a lot of emotional depth to the character that was discovered as the season progressed. And Don Cheadle did a masterful job of playing that role. Unfortunately for the series, not everyone saw it and I believe that this is the show's only nomination, but it's very much deserved. I hope this show picks up an audience as it continues into its second season in January, because it's definitely one of the better mixtures between comedy and drama in recent memory.
Benedict Cumberbatch for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
The other nominees in this categories are all bigger name film stars than the man who plays the title character in BBC's Sherlock, but Benedict Cumberbatch is just so good in this role, that he deserves the win over the likes of Kevin Costner, Clive Owen, Bill Paxton, and Woody Harrelson. It's going to be close, but I think the quality of the show (and the specific episode, "A Scandal in Belgravia") will allow Cumberbatch to pull ahead. For those unfamiliar with the show: Sherlock does three episodes per season, and they're all 90 minutes. The nominated episode definitely has the most diverse acting from Cumberbatch, as his characters introduced to many situations and emotions that he hasn't previously had to encounter. The show doesn't necessarily require you to watch it in order, so if you can hunt this one down, I think you'll be rather impressed. I'd go so far as to say Cumberbatch is competitive with (if not better than) Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.
Chris McKenna for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
For some odd reason, Community hasn't been a critical darling in spite of having a pretty good first season, arguably among the best seasons of a comedy ever in season 2, and an almost-as-good most recent season. However, the episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" did manage to score a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. That was something I was predicting as soon as I saw the episode for the first time, so I'm very invested in the idea that this episode deserves to win. The only problem is that Parks & Recreation has not just one, but two absolutely amazing episodes nominated as well ("The Debate" and "Win, Lose, or Draw"), along with a somewhat confusing choice of an episode of Louie and the pilot episode of Girls (I actually thought Louie would be nominated for this category, but for the Duckling episode). But back to the point – Community deserves this. For all the hype generated by its fans (people my age who don't necessarily consume their TV on actually televisions), Community has been a ratings bust for three years now, even though I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about it. This complex episode about alternate timelines may be the only chance this show has for the feather in its cap that it deserves (although it does already have an Emmy for Individual Achievement in Animation for last year's Christmas episode).
Julie Bowen for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Once again, the entire adult cast of Modern Family is nominated individually as comedy's best supporting acting roles. I think Julie Bowen deserves this award as she's the second strongest character on the show (only behind her character's husband), and her only real competition in the category is fellow Modern Family star Sofia Vergara. I think season 3 was Vergara's best season yet, but I still have to give the nod to Julie Bowen yet again. It may be a little bit of bias because I loved her in Happy Gilmore and Ed, but if I'm being completely honest, I still think she deserves this more than any other nominees.
Giancarlo Esposito for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
This is the one time where I'm breaking my own criteria in that higher-up list placement equals likeliness of winning. Peter Dinklage did excellent work again on Game of Thrones and Aaron Paul had his best season yet for Breaking Bad…but Giancarlo Esposito absolutely deserves this win. He has tight competition, but Gustavo Fring was far and away the most fascinating character on my screen in the past year. His development from his introduction in the earlier season until the end of season 4 (the eligible season of the series) progressed rapidly as his demeanor got more and more ruthless, but it was never unjustified – Walt brought out the monster in Gus, and in the process, one of the best supporting roles in a drama of all time. This nomination is actually what inspired me to choose this topic.
Ty Burrell for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Modern Family dominates the Best Supporting categories for comedies, and it has since it started. The entire cast is extremely talented, but no one on that show is funnier to me than Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy. He manages to play both the straight man and the fool simultaneously, and he does them both so well. Phil is the comedy patriarchal staple that has been in the genre for decades, and makes it fresh in 2012. This category should be an easy win for him, but if he doesn't take home the award, odds are definitely on Modern Family's side (and I'd actually say Ed O'Neil is the runner-up, as he had a very strong season).
Amy Poehler for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The video wasn't embeddable, but click the picture!
This is Amy Poehler's year. She's been nominated for the role for three consecutive years now, but her performance Leslie Knope in the fourth season of Parks & Recreation was incredible. The campaign storyline had so much heart, and Poehler made it very easy to get behind her. I actually avoided this show for years because I didn't really like Poehler all that much on Saturday Night Live, but when I finally gave in and checked it out, I felt really stupid as the series has been brilliant since day one. I don't think the competition can touch Poehler this year, as Tina Fey has done about all she can do as Liz Lemon, and I wasn't impressed with Lena Dunham or Julia Louis-Dreyfus in their respective roles (although I do fear that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences might disagree). Regardless, this column is about who deserves the Emmy, and in this category, the only option is Amy Poehler.
Bryan Cranston for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
If you can't tell by now, I'm a big advocate of Breaking Bad, but I don't think I'm necessarily overhyping the show when I say it's the greatest show of all time with an amazing cast, writing team, cinematography department, and some of the best performances I've ever seen! However, none of those performances overshadow that of Bryan Cranston. The man has won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for every season of the show so far, and I expect this year to be no different. It doesn't hurt his case that Walter White is one of the best-written characters in all of television history, but the award is about the acting, and Cranston has knocked it out of the park since the pilot of this show. Given the nature of award shows, I never want to call anything a sure thing, but this is what I would call the most deserved win of the night, despite tough competition from Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Damian Lewis (Homeland).
And that concludes my debut column! I look forward to Sunday night and seeing how the winners line up with my personal tastes, and I look forward to bringing you another column next weekend! I'm thinking about doing "Top 10 Funniest Dads" as my topic. And as promised, below is the running list of TV shows I have watched, am watching, or will watch.
Shows of which I have seen every episode (including shows still on the air): Da Ali G Show; American Dad!; American Horror Story; Andy Barker, P.I.; Andy Richter Controls the Universe; Angry Boys; Aqua Teen Hunger Force (including name changes); Archer; Arrested Development; The Batman; Batman Beyond; Batman: The Animated Series; Beast Wars; Better Off Ted; The Big Bang Theory; Big Bite; Black Mirror; Bob's Burgers; The Boondocks; Bored to Death; Boss; Breaking Bad; Bunk; Childrens Hospital; China, IL; Clerks: The Animated Series; The Cleveland Show; Clone High; Comedy Bang! Bang!; Community; Conan (on TBS); Curb Your Enthusiasm; Delocated; Dexter; The Drunk & On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour; Eagleheart; Eastbound & Down; Ed; Entourage; Episodes; Family Guy; Firefly; Flight of the Conchords; Franklin & Bash; Freaks & Geeks; Friends; Frisky Dingo; Futurama; Game of Thrones; Go On; Happy Endings; Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; Homeland; House of Lies; How I Met Your Mother; Hung; The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret; It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Jackass; Jon Benjamin Has a Van; Justified; Key & Peele; Kid Notorious; The King of Queens; The League; Louie; Lucky Louie; The Middle; Modern Family; Monk; Mr. Show with Bob & David; My Name Is Earl; NTSF:SD:SUV::; The Office (UK); The Office (US); Parks & Recreation; Party Down, Portlandia; Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings; Scrubs; Sealab 2021; Seinfeld; Sherlock; The Simpsons; Sons of Tucson; South Park; Spiderman: The Animated Series; Sports Show with Norm MacDonald; Star Wars: Clone Wars; Summer Heights High; Superjail!; Tenacious D; That ‘80s Show; Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!; Titus; Tosh.0; Trailer Park Boys; Twin Peaks; Ugly Americans; Undeclared; Up All Night; The Venture Bros.; Viva La Bam; The Walking Dead; We Can Be Heroes; The Whitest Kids U' Know; Wildboyz; Wilfred; Workaholics; 30 Rock
Shows I'm currently watching: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes; Cheers; The Critic; The IT Crowd; Mad Men; Malcolm in the Middle; Most Extreme Elimination Challenge; Psych; Shameless (US); That ‘70s Show; Tiny Toon Adventures; The Wire
Shows on my radar, but haven't yet started Animaniacs; Becker; Boardwalk Empire; Boston Legal; Boston Public; Boy Meets World; Californication; Castle; Chappelle's Show; Criminal Minds; Dallas; Death Note; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Downton Abbey; Dr. Who; The Drew Carey Show; Everybody Loves Raymond; Frasier; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Fringe; Girls; The Good Wife; Greg the Bunny; Happy Days; Home Improvement; Home Movies; House; In Living Color; Just Shoot Me!; The Kids in the Hall; King of the Hill; Lie to Me; The Life & Times of Tim; Lost; Luther; Manimal; M*A*S*H; Metalocalypse; NewsRadio; Northern Exposure; Oz; Pinky & The Brain; The PJs; Reaper; Reno 911!; Rescue Me; Robot Chicken; Roots; Six Feet Under; Sons of Anarchy; The Sopranos; Spin City; Stella; Suits; Taxi; The Tick; The Twilight Zone; Upright Citizens Brigade; Weeds; Will & Grace; The X-Files; 24; 3rd Rock from the Sun; 8 Simple Rules
Lastly, here's my finale episode of my very own TV series, Shenanigans:
Thanks again for reading – feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements below!