To some people here in America – okay, many people – the likes of the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, World Series, and Stanley Cup are the kind of championship thrills that audiences flock to, huddling around their television sets to watch competitors stand their ground to see who will emerge victorious.
Me? As much as I love watching all of the aforementioned, I live for the Oscars and the Emmy’s. Today was the kick-off to the latter, as the nominees for the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning in Hollywood. Whereas the Oscars have missed the point with their nominees in the last couple of years – hell, if the Academy overlooks both Logan and Get Out, I will swat my laptop out my second floor bedroom window this coming winter – the Emmy’s have not. In fact, if anything, this may be the first time in years that the Emmy nominations are favored more in “holy-crap-did-they-just-nominate-(insert title here” direction than ever before.
The nominations this year are a fan’s wet dream come to life. Gone are the standard television shows and actors you would expect to be nominated. In their place are a crop of shows and nominees that the fans have championed for years to finally get their share of the spotlight. And on a hot-as-a-wet-fart Thursday morning, the Emmy’s were announced with a slew of surprises and quite a few snubs.
Stranger Things – Winner
18 nominations. Read that again, you ready? 18 nominations. This is the out-of-nowhere show that every major network, both broadcast and cable, passed on in its early stages and, yet, Netflix managed to create one of television’s biggest and warmest surprises in years. Eleven gets her own nomination. Plus – justice for Barb! I think the 18 nominations for the Duffer Brothers and The Little Show That Almost Didn’t speaks enough volumes. I’m pretty certain Stranger Things is going to square off against Westworld to see who takes home the most statues in September. Just a little feeling I have. (I’ll be rooting for Stranger Things all the way. Better Call Saul too.)
Better Call Saul – Winner
Speaking of which, the antithesis of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad – serving as the perfect desert to the main course that fans still miss to this very day – gets its fair share of nominations too. While the total amount of nominees aren’t on the same level of Stranger Things, you can’t doubt the powerful stories and performances Bob Odenkirk and company delighted audiences with for ten weeks this spring. It’s about time Odenkirk wins Best Actor in a Drama Series – Spacey is the best villain on television and Milo Ventimiglia is absolutely lovable in This Is Us, but someone please give Odenkirk his due. Finally. Plus, Better Call Saul pulled off a perfect story arc in ten weeks’ time compared to some of its rivals. Saul Goodman, err, s’all good, man. I’m hoping, praying, and wishing for a victory here.
Michael McKean – Loser
Yeah, and Michael McKean should be a winner this year. Sadly, his powerful turn as the elder McGill on Better Call Saul has been overlooked yet again, much to my chagrin. There are many dazzling performances in the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category this year, many who have earned their shot at a statue. Jonathan Banks is a no-brainer, as is David Harbour (after all mornings are for coffee and contemplation). Though, I don’t know if we need to see Mandy Patinkin win yet again for Showtime’s Homeland. Been there, done that. And John Lithgow shouldn’t need an Emmy for Netflix’s The Crown when the show is a tour-de-force anyway. McKean’s Chuck McGill, though he’s been on a collision course with a disaster, gave a haunting yet sorrowful performance of a man whose past has turned him bitter, cold, and ailed. I’m thankful Jonathan Banks got the nod as Mike Ehrmantraut, but that spot really should be for McKean. Whatever. Better Call Saul is easily one of the top three dramatic series on any medium right now and, without McKean, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s prequel would lack a lot of gusto.
The Big Bang Theory – Loser
Well, it’s certainly about time that Chuck Lorre’s current longest-running sitcom took a seat and allowed other shows to go for the gold. Personally, I’ve never understood the show. Don’t get its humor whatsoever. Nor do I plan to give it another shot either. How many times does Jim Parsons need to win for Best Actor in a Comedy Series anyway? Give it a rest, put on your Sunday best, and sit down quietly in your seat. Time for either William H. Macy (Shameless), Donald Glover (Atlanta), and Aziz Ansari (Master of None) to vie for the award. Oh, and Best Comedy? Anything that doesn’t have forced laughter. Please.
Saturday Night Live – Winner
For a show that looked like it needed a lifeline just a couple of years ago, Lorne Michaels and his cast of misfits on NBC’s Saturday Night Live roared back to life this past season thanks in part to the election and the declared winner. Alex Baldwin should just be given the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for his riotous role as the President – sorry Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Tony Hale (Veep), Baldwin’s got you beat. Melissa McCarthy also is a shoo-in as Sean Spicer in the Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category but, let’s be real here, that award should go to Carrie Fisher (Catastrophe) posthumously. Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon will have to duke it out for the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award too but, without any of those three, Saturday Night Live wouldn’t have had its best season in years.
Daily Show Alumni – Winners
Not only is Stephen Colbert serving as the master of ceremonies for the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, airing on CBS this year, but his now top-rated show Late Night With Stephen Colbert is up for an Emmy. In fact, the real victory in the nominations goes to former correspondents of Comedy Central’s Daily Show. Alongside Colbert will be Samantha Bee and John Oliver. Trevor Noah may have been overlooked for a nomination but the late night talk show hours are quite a packed bunch. Bee, Oliver, and Colbert’s uncanny ability to be blunt and honest have hooked audiences around the country. Factor in a wide presence on social media, you’ve got a one-two-three combo that are changing the late night landscape. Now, if only Oliver and Bee were on more than one day a week!
Jimmy Fallon – Loser
Sorry, Jimmy. Not this year. The nominees for Best Variety Talk Series all have one major commonality – their ability to skewer our nation’s politics. Ever since Donald Trump was elected our nation’s leader back in November, the most-deserved nominees have had no trouble in shaming this administration with their brand of humor. Fallon? Well, he’s just too darn nice and polite. He likes to play games with his guests. Oh, and look, he tussles hair styles too. That incident alone, when Fallon opted to rub Trump’s hair to see if he wore a wig or not, may have been the tipping point in his defeat at the 11:35 time slot. Kimmel and Colbert both have seen exponential gains (certainly doesn’t hurt the two men actually are friendly with each other in their respective shows), with Colbert now the #1 late night talk show host. Well Jimmy, here’s an idea. Get your hands dirty and play ball with the gang – or sit on the bench and admire the game played on the field.
HBO Originals – Winner
Yet again, HBO walks away as the biggest winner far and away for nominations. Westworld has a staggering 22 nominations and will serve as HBO’s spotlight hog over Game of Thrones, which just missed the cut-off date for Emmy consideration. (Better luck next year, guys.) The real shocker was how popular limited series Big Little Lies would be with voters. Nicole Kidman will have to fend off Reese Witherspoon, who starred and produced, for Best Actress in a Limited Series. Laura Dern is up for a nomination – and no, not for the mesmerizing Twin Peaks on Showtime – alongside Shailene Woodley. John Turturro, who isn’t playing bowling-ball-licking Jesus, and Riz Ahmed, not an Empire turncoat, will seek victory in the Best Actor in a Limited Series but, let’s face it, Benedict Cumberbatch will win for Sherlock easily. Plus, Robert DeNiro is up for The Wizard of Lies too. Once again, HBO dominates the nominations in a full list that does demonstrate one foregone conclusion…
Network Television – Losers
Sorry, network television. Your goose is cooked. Creators have found solace in cable and streaming networks, able to tell the stories they want to tell without the sharp-tongued scoundrels at the Parents Television Council or the FCC breathing down their necks. Sure, This Is Us earned a lot of praise and love in this year’s Emmy nominations. ABC’s slate of comedies have their honors too. But the likes of USA, FX, AMC, HBO, Showtime, Netflix, and Hulu have blank checks and allow creators – and actors – to take the creative risks necessary to create compelling and must-see-TV. The tide began to shift when House of Cards first got nominated a couple of years ago. There’s no turning back either. Though networks are slowly emulating the new style of television – shorter season, bigger stars, more risks in thematic material – at the end of the day, the clout with Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC just isn’t there anymore. Welcome to the new norm.
13 Reasons Why – Loser
In fact, I’ll tell you why the show is a loser – and not because the show stinks. Hell, I found the 13-episode first season to be very compelling, moving, and emotional material that reduced me to a puddle of tears on the floor following each episode. However, the show was completely shut out from the nominations this year. And I bet I know why. I mean, look at the thematic material. Look past the powerful performances of both Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford. Okay, maybe an honorable mention is worthy. However, 13 Reasons Why is mired in controversy over its message and how divided audiences seem to be on what the point was. Had the show remained just a one-off and without a surprising renewal, maybe 13 Reasons Why could be considered for Limited Series. Instead, we’ll just have to enjoy the show for what it’s worth.
Girls – Loser
Ran far too long, never found an audience past its first season or two, and went out without any kind of a big hurrah. But we can least thank Girls for giving audiences Adam Driver. See you in The Last Jedi!
The Fans – Winners
Why? Because we all finally were given the nominees we deserve in the shows we love. Now hopefully, once the dust settles and the votes are counted, we won’t be left disappointed and wondering why our favorites didn’t win. Then again – everyone will win somehow at this year’s Emmy presentation, that’s for damn sure.
Did I miss anything major snubs? Surprises? Do you think the Emmy nominations got the nominees right? Well, sound off and let us know. Then get prepared for the show. The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 17th live from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Make sure you follow Fan Fest News as we’ll have analysis of who the winners will be that night – or, rather, who we feel should have walked away as the real victor.