Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Awards season is heating up, and the collective Writers Guilds announced their television and radio nominees today. Not surprisingly, I have a few words for them.
Friday Night Lights
Obviously, I think this is a wonderful list. The Wire's fifth season, which premiered way back in January, is likely to be overlooked on many year-end lists, despite being my favorite and a critical juggernaut. Mad Men is also a brilliant contender having just completed its second (and, if you ask me, best) season. I like Friday Night Lights and Lost, and both featured some splendid writing in 2008 ("The Constant," "New York, New York"). But they are clearly second-string nominees, and I hope they don't win. As for Dexter, every category needs its Boston Legal, I guess. But how they nominated this show (in its worst season, according to most critics) over the likes of Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, The Shield, or even House is beyond me.
Too bad Pushing Daisies didn't make the cut, but I understand. Entourage is on point funnier, more poignant, and better-written. Wait, reverse that. Anyway, I'm pleased to see 30 Rock and The Office made the cut. The Simpsons has a few scripts nominated as well, but so does 30 Rock, and with all its buzz, my guess is 30 Rock will win.
Best New Series:
Life on Mars
I watch one of these shows (go Vince Gilligan!), so I'm not really qualified to comment. I watched the Fringe pilot, and subsequently stabbed my voodoo doll of a JJ Abrams fanboy. As far as I can tell, Abrams' hype is not backed by merit. Also, I find the category of Best New Series patronizing, as if they can't compete with pre-existing shows. Of course, this year, they apparently couldn't, but then why honor them?
Best Drama Episode:
Breaking Bad - "Gray Matter"
Breaking Bad - "Pilot
Burn Notice - "Double Booked"
Dexter - "There's Something About Harry"
Eli Stone - "Pilot"
House - "Don't Ever Change"
Here's where I have bigger problems. One of these series is up for Best Drama. Did they overlook the (far better) episodes from Mad Men, The Wire, Friday Night Lights or Lost? What about The Shield or Battlestar Galactica? Or did they check out "-30-" or "Late Editions" and decide they preferred the Eli Stone pilot instead? Yeah, subtle, authentic writing has nothing on liberal legal monologues. I have seen five of the nominees, and none are among the top 30 drama episodes of the year.
Best Comedy Episode:
30 Rock - "Believe in the Stars"
30 Rock - "Cooter"
30 Rock - "Succession"
My Name is Earl - "Vote for This and I Promise to Do Something Crazy at the Emmy's"
The Office - "Crime Aid"
Ugly Betty - "Crush'd"
That's better. I believe they accurately picked the three best 30 Rocks of the year (which has only seen 10 so far). "Crime Aid" wasn't my favorite Office outing, but it's not the worst. And I haven't seen the other two. I wouldn't mind some love for "The Naked Man" of How I Met Your Mother, but I had far bigger problems with the drama category.
In other categories, Recount is up against An American Crime (which was awful given the acting talent involved), and an episode of Generation Kill faces off with the premiere of John Adams. Oh, and the Comedy/Variety nominees are Conan, Letterman, Bill Maher, SNL, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. Now that's a slate of nominees.