I stopped hoping/predicting Emmy nominations a long time ago because going down that road inevitably leads to disappointment. But foregoing your hopes and dreams allows for another thing: pleasant surprise. Yes, most of the nominations were easily predicable but more so than usual, this year is shaping up to showcase some very deserving ensembles and individuals. One thing I won’t discuss: the snubs. I fear making that list will result in insanity and depression. Forewarning: since my thoughts range from actual having an observation to just “yay!” this is a mishmash of ideas more so than an actual post. For a better breakdown of exactly how this year is surprisingly positive, check out Tim Goodman’s analysis at The Hollywood Reporter.
Downton Abbey: Having returned for a second season to PBS, it was necessary for DA to move from the miniseries category to the drama series category. It took America a year to catch Downton fever, and I am just a little bummed that it happened on a less than stellar season. Nevertheless, I am happy for it to be included. The show even garnered far more acting noms than expected: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, and Jim Carter were all nominated. The Brits are already laughing at our outdated obsession.
Mad Men: What do I love about the Mad Men noms this year? Well, Jared Harris for one (who replaced John Slattery in this category). I was a huge fan of Lane this season and while I could sit here and work myself into a fit over how much I think Weiner blundered his storyline, Jared Harris was awesome throughout. He devastated me for well over a week. I was happily surprised by the nomination for Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg in the Guest Actor category. His scene where he describes himself as a martian to Peggy is one of the standout moments of the season. And semi-related: Jon Hamm was nominated for Don Draper but he was also nominated for Guest Actor in 30 Rock. I know he doesn’t consider himself a comedian but he never ceases to be hilarious in comedies and on SNL. He may not be able to win for Mad Men, but he was definitely a standout on the 30 Rock live episode.
American Horror Story: Due to what can be deemed downright mischievous, FX submitted AHS as a miniseries, arguing that each season is a self-contained anthology (never mind the fact this was decided after it aired). Due to a sparse field of competition, this has allowed AHS to CLEAN UP. I am very excited to see Denis O’Hare recognized in the Supporting Actor category because he’s awesome.
Sherlock: And speaking of strategies, PBS entered “A Scandal in Belgravia” into contention as an TV movie. Huh? It is a single episode in a continuous series that involves the same principal characters but okay. I can’t really complain too much because I may in fact be rooting for Benedict Cumberbatch in the Lead Actor category far more than anyone else at the ceremony. Martin Freeman also got some love in the Supporting Actor category so I can’t argue with the results of this subterfuge.
The Year of the Creator/Actor?
Girls: Not only was it nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but Lena Dunham got nominations for writing, directing, producing and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Louie: Louis CK may have missed out on getting his actual show nominated but he successfully got nods for writing, directing and as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Even more impressive? He now holds the record for most nominations for an individual in a single year (7).
Max Greenfield: I know that Zooey Deschanel also got the nomination, but I have to give it up to Max Greenfield for making New Girl one of the funniest new shows on television this year. The evolution of Schmidt was a great thing to watch throughout the season and I am very glad that it was noticed.
Writing in a Comedy Series: Talk about a category that got it completely right. Girls, Parks and Recreation, Louie, and Community (The “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode!!!) all represented. I can’t wait to see what episode picks up the award but they are all so deserving.
The Hour: I just recently devoured the first season of The Hour and adored it so I am sad to see that the series was ignored (or “miniseries” I should say…er) as well as Dominic West and Ben Whishaw. However, Abi Morgan did get a nomination for Outstanding Writing.
Modern Family: I…don’t get it anymore. I watch it and it often makes me laugh but not everyone on the show needs to be nominated particularly since it wasn’t a very strong season. I would nominate Ty Burrell, that’s all folks. Instead of some of the other adults I would also nominate the kid that plays Luke, Nolan Gould, because he makes me laugh more than most of the cast combined.
Re-watching “A Scandal in Belgravia” last night, I remembered a critique I initially had upon my first viewing: namely, how the episode begins by showing Sherlock’s catapult into the public eye, along with front page coverage of him in a deerstalker hat. The hat was a nice nod to Doyle’s Sherlock but the notoriety was undeniably Moffat-esque, especially coming off the heels of Doctor Who’s most recent season. I immediately thought (SPOILERS for the rest of season 2): well this season Sherlock is going to become too famous for his own good and the show will end up with him faking his own death to remove himself from the spotlight. (This could have been paranoia from the Doctor doing just that but yet in the end, same thing).
There is no arguing against the fact that Steven Moffat brought a fresh approach to storytelling to the television world, but nowadays even those “twists” seem to be telegraphed. So much so that now I tend to give him more credit than he apparently deserves. The long drawn out nature of Doctor Who Season 6 (spoilers, again) gave plenty of time for speculation; unfortunately, all of my musings skirted around the idea that the River Song/Melody Pond thing was too obvious –in this vein, I read and came up with some pretty fantastic theories. Alas, after the buildup nothing could compare to those intricately detailed theories, especially something River Song related. UGH. I could barely take her in small doses before Season 6 so the emphasis on her (Moffat’s obsession?) recently went into excess. It would be a digression to discuss those firmly against River versus those that love the character so I will move on. (I really think my memory of Season 6 will be helped if I watch it again straight through…to be continued.) I know I can’t be the only one to have seen this parallel between Doctor Who 6 and Sherlock 2. So allow me to pause and do a quick search. (Research on Google commences.) Surprisingly, this quote from Steven Moffat is the most substantial thing my search yielded:
We always knew we were going to have to do Reichenbach, and yes, indeed, I did have the Doctor faking his own death – though by slightly more elaborate means! The problem is, I’m in charge of both shows, and what I can’t ever do is not do something in one show because I did it in the other. Ninety-nine per cent of the audience haven’t a clue who I am or know that I work on both of them, so you just ignore things like that. They are two swashbuckling geniuses; they’re always going to be doing similar things.
Now, this is all well and good except it is complete BS. He is being a bit too modest about how recognizable his name is to the audience. And inevitably when one of his shows is under discussion, that person or article will also link him to both Sherlock and Doctor Who. It is hard to ignore I had just seen the same story arch take place a few months beforehand AND it really doesn’t help that the Doctor and Sherlock share so many of the same characteristics, made all the more apparent by Moffat’s treatment. Another problem? It isn’t just that they both faked their own deaths…it is also the why. The Doctor and Sherlock both reached a point where their infamy preceded them and their lifestyles became unsustainable. To be honest, I love Doctor Who and I love Sherlock: my issue is that Moffat is famous for his “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” plots, and his ability to take that wonky structure from Coupling to the likes of Doctor Who and Sherlock. His results are often brilliant but the way in which the deck becomes stacked is starting to look more and more familiar. To conclude, I guess this is a classic argument against the one head writer format of the UK. There are pros and cons to all formats but maybe a bit more input from other writers could even out all the Moffat-y bits so that his most striking ideas shine through.
The New York Times caught up with Mr. Cumberbatch to discuss the return of Sherlock to American television and his numerous upcoming projects. I especially love how this reporter describes BC:
In person the thin and muscular Mr. Cumberbatch shares the piercing gaze and sonorous, sinister voice of his Holmes but is warmer and more irreverent. He is a self-confessed motormouth and a relentless mimic who, over the course of an hour, adopted the shrieking voice of an admiring Valley girl; the Scottish burr of his friend and colleague James McAvoy; the synthesized speech of Stephen Hawking, whom he portrayed in a British TV movie; and the rapid, adenoidal clip of both Mr. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, who directed him in “War Horse.”
And luckily for everyone, the “self-confessed motormouth” peppered his interview with a number of memorable, thoroughly delightful quotes.
On keeping secrets about Star Trek 2, The Hobbit, the Sherlock cliffhanger…: “You could stick a knife in my thigh, and I wouldn’t tell you. [But] pull the hair on my head the wrong way, and I would be on my knees begging for mercy. I have very sensitive follicles.”
and: “I’ve got to be a complete and utter tease.”
On Christmas: “We observe this little Judeo-Christian cult holiday called Christmas. Whereas, you know, some kids in this part of town” — he circled his hands in the Los Angeles air — “with their Crackberrys, don’t.”
On Sherlock, as a character:“He’s a high-functioning sociopath. He has a general disregard for standard codes of conduct, pleasantries, niceties. He wants to cut to the chase. He wants everything to be faster and better and purer.”
On Sherlock, the show: “I’m desperate for America to really take to this. It has taken it into its heart as a cult thing, but I’d love it to hit the mainstream this time. Because I just think it’s of that quality, and it belongs there.”
[Yes — Americans, rally. Because the time period between January and May was just ridiculous I have already watched the second season. But, worth it. Above and beyond the first season — and I thought that was great. I wasn’t even obsessed with BC until “A Scandal in Belgravia,” as Martin Freeman was my original draw. That episode…wow.]
On Downton Abbey’s award success: “I just looked at [the Golden Globe] and went: ‘Begone, woman. Bring it back when it says “Sherlock Holmes” or Steven Moffat or myself — someone else who’s more deserving than the second series of “Downton Abbey.” ’ ”
Speaking of The Moff, on BC: “His look is quirky. His appeal is quite intellectual. He’s not conventionally handsome — handsome by any normal human standard. But the screen is very demanding. [He is] not ever going to play an ordinary man.”
Finally, on criticisms about selling out: “[There has been] a huge blogging response to me selling out to Hollywood and dating a model and become a walking cliché. That was nice.”
What can I say Ben? HATERS GONNA HATE. You do you.
It is safe to say I have been SHERlocked by Mr. Cumberbatch. (And Mark Gatiss for his amazing script).