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Snap Judgment: The Emmy Drama Nominations

While there were a few pleasant surprises in this morning's Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, the choices overall struck me as safe and boring. I say it every year, but I wish the Emmys would recognize quirkier or lesser-known shows alongside the more mainstream fare. Then again, I'd also like a unicorn.

Over the next couple of days, I'll be sharing some of my thoughts on the nominations. Here's my take on the dramas:

  • I might as well get this out of the way first: "Friday Night Lights" being shut out of all the major categories is nothing short of ridiculous. The show won a Peabody award and is a major critical favorite, and I can't think of another show that consistently moved me to tears this season. And yet, it's passed over for "Boston Legal"? Not that I don't like the show, but I'm not sure anyone has ever finished an episode of "Boston Legal" and thought, "Wow, that changed my life."
  • On the other hand, go "Heroes"! It had two big strikes against it when it came to the traditional Emmy biases: It's a new series, and it's sci fi. But it managed to break through anyway — plus snag a nomination for the lovably geeky Masi Oka.
  • Honestly, I could talk all day about the drama series category alone (should the strong second half of "Lost" have vaulted it above the weak second half of "Grey's"? Did a show like "Dexter" even really have a chance?) But I'm not sure how any show but "The Sopranos" could win this year. Yes, the ending was controversial; no, it didn't necessarily get the great ratings that previous seasons did. But it was the final season of a show that gets a lot of credit for changing the creative climate of TV, and with 15 nominations, it's clearly going to be rewarded this time around.

More thoughts, so

  • I didn't think "24" deserved a series nomination this year, and indeed, it was kept out of the category. But did Kiefer deserve his acting nod despite the weak season? And what about James Spader? Again, not trying to trash "Boston Legal," but I would have rather seen Kyle Chandler or Michael C. Hall in that spot. For that matter, why couldn't have six men been nominated? There are six nominees in the best actress category, after all.
  • Speaking of which: Back at the Golden Globes, I was whining about the lead dramatic actress category and how it paled in comparison to the actors' nominees. Well, I think the women have a leg up on the guys this time; Sally Field and Minnie Driver were great surprises. But Mariska Hargitay? Again? Is she actually that good?
  • Half of the nominees in the female supporting actress category came from "Grey's." I'm thrilled to see Chandra Wilson get a nod after her SAG Award win, and this is a great argument for giving Bailey more to do next season. Sandra Oh gave some great performances this season, though I'm assuming voters didn't see the episodes when all she did was fight childishly with Burke. Izzie is a divisive character, but Katherine Heigl probably locked up this nomination when she drilled that guy's head. Can any of them actually win? Or will they just cannibalize each other's votes?
  • On the other side of things, the only "Grey's" guy nominated was TR Knight. I feel a little weird about that, but I can't quite put my finger on why. Meanwhile, Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn fulfilled my wish of getting acting nominations for "Lost" beyond the leads. Michael Emerson is outrageously creepy — yet sometimes almost pitiable — so I'd almost rather see him take the win over Terry O'Quinn, but either one would be satisfying. I'm so pleased about these two nominations it almost makes up for the best drama series snub. Almost.

"Friday Night Lights" photo Source
Minnie Driver photo courtesy of FX

Join The Conversation
moxylicious moxylicious 10 years
I must agree that TR Knight's nomination sits unwell for me also. I think Grey's controversy pushed a lot of votes because despite the superior acting on the parts of Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh, I think outside press might have gotten inside the Emmy voters' heads. All in all, I agree that Michael C. Hall should have been nominated ... in its prime year, I think that "Dexter" showed a lot of, mind the pun, dexterity in its reach for plot as well as Hall's acting excellency.
jenintx jenintx 10 years
and i've said it once, and i'll say it 100 times more: i would have much rather seen a critically-acclaimed and audience-beloved show that i DON'T watch, like FNL or the Wire, get nods than some of the shows i simply enjoy/don't miss (ahem, grey's...maybe even heroes). i completely agree about your commentary on the acting categories...
jenintx jenintx 10 years
imho, even the weakest episodes of lost are stronger than most "good" tv shows. and they were FAR better than the second half of grey's season 3. just b/c it's not edge-of-your-seat excitement (with lost) doesn't mean it's very minimum, the acting is consistently superb (even during the 'weak episodes'). and as much as i love heroes (b/c i very much do), the acting is not nearly as consistently good as other shows. but then again, maybe it's supposed to be cheesy, being a comic book show and all...
mfern64 mfern64 10 years
Hands down, Friday Night Lights is the best show on TV and deserved nominations for both acting and best drama. It is the only show I can sit down and watch and not feel like I'm wasting an hour. I can't wait for the season 1 DVD. I'm a little disapointed in NBC for putting it in a Friday night timeslot, because my family spends Friday nights at my kids' high school watching football as I'm sure a lot of their target audience!
esk4 esk4 10 years
TR shouldn't have been nominated he didn't do anything great this season... but Ellen Pompeo not being nominated after her "Why I'm so ordinairy" speech is just insain... she was majorly snubed
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 10 years
As you said in an earlier blurb, Buzz, it's such a shame (although not a surprise) the Wire was not nominated for outstanding drama series. That show is possibly HBO's greatest series ever. The cast and writing never fail to impress.
khy8w khy8w 10 years
Buzz, MSNBC has a great column that shares your views. I don't think grey's deserved to be nominated for best drama. This season was horrible. I love FNL - they deserved more.
CKOne CKOne 10 years
I read a really great Emmy analysis today on one of my friends blogs. She is kind of foul mouthed, but really funny. And a huge Friday Night Lights fan.
briggs313 briggs313 10 years
Yeah awesome post ... you spoke my mind! Hopefully Emerson will win for LOST, he may not be my fave character but he creeped me out for sure! Friday Night Lights was totally snubbed! It really needed some emmy boost, maybe the fact that it didn't get any noms will make it a buzzworthy story and people will be curious, and ratings will go up! who knows! I agree with it all though, good post!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Great post, Buzz! I so agree with you about Friday Night Lights; it truly deserved to be nominated in the drama category and Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton deserve to be honored for their work as well. I was surprised to see so many of the "Grey's girls" nominated, but am pleased that Chandra Wilson is there. I, too, feel a little weird about the TR Knight nomination, but can't quite figure out why. But kudos to Brothers and Sisters. As I was growing up, I was never fond of Sally Field; now I'm actually pulling for her. Go figure!
JennaV JennaV 10 years
Yes! Mariska is that good!
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