TV & Movie Appreciation Forum
I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Kylee Peña on Aug 27, 2014 at 5:45:15 pm

Any reactions? Thoughts? Feelings?

I thought it was a pretty entertaining show for the Emmys. Seemed way less disconnected from the reality of pop culture than usual. Seth Meyers did a good job balancing between being funny and being annoyingly mean...better to let another comic do the roasting of any celebs.

I was a little surprised to see Breaking Bad clean up like it did, but then again the Emmys are fairly predictable. I was more than a little surprised to see Louie's episode "So Did the Fat Lady" winning a writing award because it was seriously a fantastic episode of television and I want everyone to know about it even if they hate the show. Also surprising: Netflix winning nothing in the primetime awards. It's surprising a show like Modern Family would continue to win when something like Orange is the New Black is up against it.

Sofia Vergara rotating on a platform while men speak was predictably sexist too, which is unfortunate in a telecast where otherwise things were pretty hip and with it and all that. The thing that really bugs me about that joke is that it COULD work if you took it a step farther: the Academy dude tells her to stand there while men talk and she refuses and storms off stage. Ricky Gervais, having lost and wishing to make the most of his Emmy spotlight, offers to take her place. The straight-faced Academy guy, unable to improvise, has to read his teleprompter while Gervais poses sexily. Then the punchline about always giving the audience something compelling to look at is ten times funnier. See? Commentary about how out of touch the Academy is and how sexist Hollywood is, all turned around on its head. SOMEONE HIRE ME TO WRITE AWARD SHOW JOKES.

Anyway, I laugh when Benedict Cumberbatch and Maggie Smith don't even show up.

I was entertained for three hours, which is more than I can say about most movies I've seen this year, so good job Emmys.

twitter: @kyl33t

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Mike Cohen on Aug 27, 2014 at 5:52:45 pm

I got home from work at 8:05, and immediately set the DVR to record, and watched the first 30 minutes while making dinner. Seth did a good job, fairly typical award show jokes, and some skits with front row celebs made to look spontaneous. The man on the street thing was funny for the first 20 seconds.

I have now seen about half the show, and the presenter patter is better than usual. Although some bits are made to look improvised I think it is written that way - little can be improvised in a live awards show. Even Ellen's selfie and pizza delivery had to be planned in advance.

I am almost up to the in memorium, and the top awards which usually follow, so I will report back.

Thanks for the Spoilers Kylie!

Mike Cohen

PS - the directing is pretty good. The house band up on the platform is also good, and thus far they have not played music over any speeches.

PPS - I really wish they would show a longer film clip for nominees.

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Scott Roberts on Aug 27, 2014 at 6:24:53 pm

They almost never get the comedy section right. If Modern Family is the best comedy of the last five years and Jim Parsons is the funniest person on TV for the last four years, then I feel inclined to throw my TV into the trash can right now. Luckily, I can just remember that the Emmys have always catered to broad comedy, and if there's one thing I agree with the Golden Globes on (shudders)(I don't like agreeing with the Golden Globes), it's that Brooklyn Nine Nine is better than anything on CBS or ABC. JLD winning for Veep every year actually makes sense, though (or they could throw one to Amy Poehler, maybe?)

I was happy they gave a writing award to Louie, that was a great episode (though, I thought Silicon Valley's nominated "Maximum Tip to Tip Efficiency" episode deserved SOME recognition) but by giving Louie an award for that pretty much gave them free will to give Jim Parsons the acting award because "Hey, we gave Louis *something*, right?" One of my favorite little moments of the show was when Ricky Gervais jabbed at Parsons' win with a "Really, him again?" playful joke that is basically what everyone was actually thinking.

I'm happy Breaking Bad cleaned up, because I loved that final season. And as much as I loved True Detective, and McConaughey's Rust Cohle performance (I say "Time is a flat circle" almost any time someone mentions time), Breaking Bad was great and deserved everything it got.

Fargo was also great, and I'm happy that won a bunch of awards, but I'm not sure what makes that a mini-series and True Detective a regular series? I DON'T GET THE MINI-SERIES RULES. Is it just how the network chooses to enter them for competition?

As for the awards show itself, I laughed a bunch of times, and it actually made it under three hours for a change (of course, I fast forwarded through the commercials). I liked the Billy Eichner man on the street segment, but I *watch* Billy on the Street regularly. The Bryan Cranston/Tim Whatley references were funny. Uhhhh, I'm struggling to remember much else that happened. Oh, the Weird Al song parody segment was funny, but also, I like Weird Al.

And not to be disrespectful to the dead, but why was Philip Seymour Hoffman included in the Emmy's memorial? Don't get me wrong, he's a great actor, and I'm sure he's made appearances on TV, but has he ever been like a recurring character...? On anything...? Is he really a *TV* guy?

[Mike Cohen] "PPS - I really wish they would show a longer film clip for nominees."

I agree with this 100%! On ANY awards show!

[Kylee Wall] "The straight-faced Academy guy, unable to improvise, has to read his teleprompter while Gervais poses sexily. Then the punchline about always giving the audience something compelling to look at is ten times funnier. See?"

I also agree that Sofia Vergara thing was a weird "joke" (and I like your idea better). How do they plan these shows for months at a time, and NO ONE in the room ever goes, "Ok, that probably isn't a good idea."?

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Tim Wilson on Aug 27, 2014 at 8:30:20 pm

No such thing as a spoiler for a live show. Once it airs, it's in the air, so I'll assume that you were joking. People who get on Twitter to shout "DON'T TELL ME!!!" should have their computer rights revoked by law.

The ones who say "DON'T TELL ME WHO WON THE SUPER BOWL" should have their television rights revoked as well. The bar for "smart enough to deserve to watch TV" is pretty damn low...but that falls well short.

TV-watching is a privilege, ppl, not a right.

[Scott Roberts] " why was Philip Seymour Hoffman included in the Emmy's memorial? "

It looked like in some cases, all it took was an appearance in a single TV movie or mini-series. PSH goes a little deeper than that. His first gig was Law & Order, plus the requisite mini-series (for PBS, which I still think counts more as "TV" than HBO...which actually SAYS it's not TV...but an ACTUAL mini-series: 6 episodes, then gone forever), a VERY highly recommended TV movie (okay, HBO, sigh) called Empire Falls (awards aplenty, including Golden Globes and Emmys...albeit none for PSH himself)...

There was also a TV show in development at Showtime called Happyish which actually sounds depressing as hell. IMDb says that one episode is in post, but I saw in July that Showtime was considering a pilot, but they hadn't even recast the central character.

Anyway, the point of these In Memoriam segments is to cast as wide a net as possible, because it's also ultimately marketing for the Academy. In this case, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences....but the one for Motion Pictures does the same thing -- use pictures of these people to say not just "this is who THEY WERE," but "who WE ARE."

And who "WE ARE" here in TV land is people who are cool enough that Phil thought we were cool enough. A big of a tautology, to say the least.

Which I don't begrudge. It's true enough, and any excuse to remember most people is a good one.

And if it's an occasion for you to catch up on Empire Falls, so much the better.

[Scott Roberts] "as much as I loved True Detective, and McConaughey's Rust Cohle performance (I say "Time is a flat circle" almost any time someone mentions time), Breaking Bad was great and deserved everything it got."

Matthew already got his award for Rust Cohle. It's called the Oscar. I guarantee that far, far more Oscar voters saw him in that than his movie. And I think it's completely legit.

That said, even if the last run of Breaking Bad was terrible and these awards were just a victory lap, that's also legit. Not many shows deserve a victory lap. This one did. That the awards weren't just a victory lap is a bonus.

But did any presenters have any more fun than Woody and Matthew? Best intro too: "two actors whose names are on the menu of every marijuana dispensary," and giddy fun to watch.

Gervais wins the prize for best bit, though. My wife observed that his delivery is one of the all-time greatest. I think she's absolutely right. Up there with Jack Benny and anybody else who has used their demeanor as much as the actual words to get a laugh. I miss him hosting.

I DVR'd the Creative Arts Emmys, which I usually pimp every year, but haven't watched them yet. Agreed, Mike, they're more fun for the actual awards and speeches....but wow, what a terrible, terrible affront to the actual ARTS. It actually used to be a lot better. Rough, but not actually savage. Still, always worth tuning in, so I'm looking forward to it.

I REALLY need to start a thread on the MTV Movie Awards, which continues to be one of the true spectacles left on television. But I probably won't because I suspect I was the only one that watched.

Truly one of the most spectacular sets I've ever seen on TV -- maybe the MOST spectacular -- and a level of energy that we can only dream will find its way into mainstream awards shows.

Of course, it's never going to happen, so I'm not actually dreaming about it....but it'd sure be cool. And admittedly, parts of this one were kind of flat...but that's true of most awards shows anyway.

Anyway, I think of myself as exceptionally tuned-in to the music scene, and I was stupefied by how few of these performers I knew. Still a lot of fun, and an epic finale by Beyoncé that people will be studying in media programs for decades. Hell, they'll be studying it in sociology masters degree programs -- a masterpiece in disruptive semiotics, certainly as much as anything I can think of in my long-ish life as an avid, if only semi-pro semiotician. An utter game changer.

You think I'm joking, but I never joke about semiotics or liberal arts graduate degrees.

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Mike Cohen on Aug 28, 2014 at 12:41:22 am

[Scott Roberts] " I DON'T GET THE MINI-SERIES RULES. Is it just how the network chooses to enter them for competition?"

Here is what I think is the deal - though no help to the actual Emmys website which is pretty useless.

The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences amended their rules in 2007 so that a mini-series cannot have a story that continues into the next season, and does not have a created by credit.

However American Horror Story breaks one of these rules. Yes it has a different storyline each season, but it is created by Ryan Murphy. But still it gets the mini-series awards.

In 2011 the mini-series and movie categories were merged, but separated again in 2014.

It appears that having three categories simply is a way to give out more awards. Since the epic Roots or North and South style mini series of the 80's are not too common on non-cable nowadays, cable networks seem to blur the lines between series, mini-series and movie.

This topic is a perfect opening to discuss some of the past winners in these categories. Tv movies and mini-series don't get too much play on this here forum, though many are cinema-grade entertainment. I only mention here programs I have actually seen, though in many cases it has been a while!

TV Movie Past Winners
1980 - The Miracle Worker
1983 - Special Bulletin - I remember this, the year before The Day After - a War of the Worlds-style fake news broadcast about the Russians bombing the US. Very compelling.
1988 - Inherit the Wind, about the Scopes Monkey Trial. We watched this in high school.
1993 - Barbarians at the Gate - HBO's first such award
1994 - And the Band Played On - HBO again with the first mass-consumed movie about AIDS - though I think there was a Ryan White TV movie before that.
2004 - Something the Lord Made (HBO) about Vivien Thomas, who went from custodian at Vanderbilt University to heart surgeon with Alfred Blalock, the surgeon who performed some of the first open heart surgery. I'm not familiar with Mos Def as a rapper, but he's a fine actor. And my field of work does not get too many movies made about it!
2006 - The Girl in the Cafe - HBO

These were all approx 2 hour movies which happened to air on television

It will be interesting to see when and if non-broadcast movies are nominated. Netflix has yet to produce a feature, but give it time.

And for Mini-Series

1977 - Roots
1979 - Roots: The Next Generation
insert Levar Burton TNG reference here
1981 - Shogun
1992 - Prime Suspect 2
1993 - Prime Suspect 3

(BTW if you want to see a current British crime drama mini series with really great characters and acting, check out Happy Valley on Netflix)

1995 - Gulliver's Travels - this seemed to be the one of first big budget effects driven mini-series on television (The Stand was on the previous year) and kicked off a string of SyFy Channel quality tv movies from Robert Halmi
1996 - Prime Suspect 5
1997 - From the Earth to the Moon - following Apollo 13, Tom Hanks and Co produced a great series about the Apollo program
1998 - Hornblower: The Even Chance. The first in a series of tv movies about Horatio Hornblower, starring Iaoann Gruffard before he joined the Fantastic Four. Well done high seas adventure, and better than that Russel Crowe movie.
2001 - Band of Brothers - After the success of Band of Brothers, Hanks and Spielberg put together this incredible series about Easy Company - the unit who landed on D-Day and moved through Europe until the end of the war. Also nominated was Dinotopia, another FX bonanza from the Halmi people. Breathe Deep Fly High.
2007 - John Adams - based on the book by David McCullough, and now a staple of July 4th marathons. What I loved about this series is although it was historical, they added so much cinematic artistry that it felt more like a series of short films than what could have been a documentary like retelling of American History. David Morse plays a larger than life George Washington. And this was really a great role for Paul Giamatti.
2009 - The Pacific - another WWII effort from Hanks and Spielberg - not quite as interesting, though again, incredible production values, but what else would you expect from HBO?

Diving into the Creative Arts awards there are some interesting categories:
Structured Reality Program - ie Shark Tank
Unstructured Reality Program, ie, Deadliest Catch
Short-form Live Action Program - so far the nominees have been mostly webisodes from networks, though Funny or Die and Yahoo have some nods
Special and Visual Effects / Special or Visual Effects in a Supporting Role (such as when the effects are not in the foreground, sky replacement, set extensions - maybe?)

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Tim Wilson on Aug 28, 2014 at 1:23:13 am

[Mike Cohen] "However American Horror Story breaks one of these rules. Yes it has a different storyline each season, but it is created by Ryan Murphy. But still it gets the mini-series awards."

So does Sherlock.

"Created by" is a producer's credit, rather than a "show" credit, so to speak. Producers can get an exemption to the rule if they apply for one, based on their being eligible in more than one category.

Otherwise, the definition is incredibly brief:

A miniseries is based on a single theme or story line, which is resolved within the piece....A miniseries consists of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least four broadcast hours (at least 150 program minutes).

I skipped over some stuff about year of eligibility, but otherwise, that's the totality of the definition, and I think it holds up.

Sherlock is actually a stretch for me. They might SAY that, "Well, Season 1 was about the search for Moriarty," etc. -- but in some episodes, he's barely mentioned. But as far as a "series" goes, it's pretty short, so I guess, technically, a mini-series...but I don't buy the "only one story per season" thing for a minute. I just don't.

TD and AHS both make a lot more sense, even though they're the length of a full (mini) season. (I loves me some 13-episode shows, but I don't think they should count in the same category as 20+ episode shows. It's HARDER to do 22 episodes.)

But with those shows, there's a REAL single story, and only ONE story per season, and not even a returning set of characters or most of the cast. For TD, it looks like it'll be NONE. ALL of them come back every time, repertory-style.

Anyway, if you really want to drill down into all this, you have to step off the Emmy website and into the PDF rule book, which, as I noted, pretty slender for actual rules. Most of it is occupied with admittedly important but not relevant for US stuff, like how you have to label the DVDs for submission. Anyway, if you care, here 'tis.

FANTASTIC notes on the historical arc of miniseries, Mike. FANTASTIC. There's a lot to comment on there, as especially up through the 80s, this was some of the best television ever made. (And again -- if you're not going to have the guts or the budget to go 24 hours, you BETTER get it right.) Obviously great stuff in this century, but even the relatively weaker 90s, it was just RELATIVELY weaker -- highlighted by the amazing Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren: nominated 5 times, winning 3.

Anyway, I'll be back to comment on more of these, maybe in another thread. A DELICIOUS topic.

Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Mike Cohen on Aug 28, 2014 at 12:58:54 pm

I suspect the shoter seasons are the British influence. For years we watched series on BBC America and most of those are only about 10 episodes. And note, the British call these Series 1, Series 2, etc, not Seasons.
The term Season seems to be an American invention, since traditionally the new TV season would start mid-September to coincide with the advent of Fall, going into Winter and ending in late Spring. Alas, as a child the TV seasons coincided with the start and end of school.

The shorter seasons of 10-13 episodes, as we now see with HBO, FX, AMC, TNT etc I believe allows for higher quality. They may spend the same as NBC would on a 22 episode season, but each 1 hour episode packs more of a punch in my opinion. Game of Thrones supposedly spends up to 6 million per episode - this is about the most expensive recurring series ever (with the exception of the final season of Friends in which the 6 main characters got $1 million per episode (that's 6 x 22 = $132 million for one season, or about double the Game of Thrones 10 episode budget, though a dollar in 2003 went a little further, although GOT is shot in Ireland, Iceland and Croatia, so perhaps it goes even further still.)

My opinion on Network shows (ie, NBC, ABC) is that 22 episodes leads to drawn out storylines, contrived cliffhangers and weaker individual episodes. Granted I don't currently watch any shows on the 4 major networks. I did watch 24: Die Another Day, which was only 12 episodes (oddly, shot in the UK, land of the short season) and it followed my criteria in the previous sentence (and though eligible for the mini-series Emmy, will win none because it was just terrible).

Take a show like Gray's Anatomy, the last show me and the missus watched with regularity on a major network (I say major, because they still are king when it comes to sports, nightly news, morning shows and late night programming, though one could argue that HBO and AMC are major networks too) - we stopped watching Gray's because after a few seasons the story lines became forced. They seemed to need to kill off a main character every so often to keep people watching. Sure GOT and Walking Dead kill of characters all the time, but that makes sense given the subject matter. People keep telling me to watch The Blacklist and The Good Wife, and I may check those out on Netflix at some point.

Ok, back to work!


Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
by Mark Suszko on Aug 30, 2014 at 5:32:49 am

As great as the Fat Lady script and performance was, I would have given Louie a second Emmy for the episode where he catches his young daughter smoking a joint, and wonders how to confront her about it. If anything, THAT episode is even better.