It was the nomination of my favorite drama series, The Good Wife, that first caught my attention when the 2011 Primetime Emmy award nominees were announced. I was further delighted as I learned that one of my all-time favorite reality TV shows also got a nomination. Lifetime’s Project Runway, one of the nominees for best reality show, is due to start its new season with 28 new designers on July 28.
The Good Wife is one of the few dramatic series that I care enough to DVR or even watch in real-time most of the time. I am more a fan of reality TV than any of the current crop of the dramatic offerings. Even so, I am driven to watch The Good Wife, thus I’d argue the series offers something more than the pro forma so many other shows trot out before us. There are three exceptional actors on this series as I see it, and, oddly, Julianna Margulies is not one of them.Archie Panjabi plays Kalinda, the tough-as-nails, tender-of-heart investigator for the prestigious law firm joined by Margulies' character Alicia Florrick after her politician husband got into a scandal and ended up in jail. Christine Baranski plays top-drawer attorney Diane Lockhart splendidly, she being beautiful to look at, meticulous in dress, and perfect in the acting art. Josh Charles plays firm partner Will Gardner and Alicia Florrick’s love interest from afar. In fact, all of these actors, with the exception of Charles, have been nominated for an Emmy for their performances in The Good Wife.
I’m not a big fan of Marguiles although she is the main character in the series. She's the sort of character that the cameras love to pan in on during moments of great pathos. Perhaps it’s her startling blue eyes but too often it seems that the only “dialogue” the viewer gets from Alicia Florrick is a long camera gaze into her anguished orbs. Nonetheless, the collection of great actors and some terrific story lines make this show not only a fan favorite but also the stuff of award nominations.
Ah, Project Runway. God bless that this reality favorite of mine got the nod for best reality show. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn host this competition among would-be fashion designers as they struggle to design, create, and fit the assigned fashion challenges from week to week. It is a most delightful show; I’d argue it is the reality show requiring the most creativity. It features all of the qualities of a good reality show: outrageous and outlandish challenges, fear and angst, personal animosity between contenders, solo on-camera vignettes on to a grand “reveal” of a very enjoyable runway fashion show. A contender is, of course, eliminated each week.
So I’ve got my favorites for this year’s Emmy awards but there are a few nominations in need of further commentary and snark.
We are pleased to hear Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey, the dopey character from Friends, finally got an Emmy nomination nod for his work in Showtime's Episodes, although it makes me smile. Somehow LeBlanc doesn’t seem like an Emmy-level actor. It’s a real hoot that the mini-series The Kennedys, broadcast by ReelzChannel, got ten Emmy nominations. It’s rumored that Caroline Kennedy got this series booted from the History Channel but freedom of speech won over the selfishness of a clannish, bad-mannered family. I’m hoping the series wins an Emmy nod.
There are two nominations that are especially worth mentioning. Hugh Laurie, nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the sixth time, portrays not only the main character in FOX’s House M.D., he also carries that show with his terrific portrayal of Dr. House. Not to mention how the British actor must do all his speaking in an American accent. Six-time nominee Steve Carell (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series) has never won in his category and he deserves a statuette, at last, for his great comedic performance in NBC’s The Office. In general Carell is great at the acting craft and it’s time the awards shows so acknowledge.
We note that CBS’s The Big Bang Theory is getting a lot of attention via Emmy nominations. I’ve watched this show a time or two, not enough to speak much about, but it was a laugh-fest. It may be time for me to revisit this series. And just damn if a show about a serial killer, Dexter, isn’t up for an Emmy. I’ve not gotten up the nerve to watch this Showtime offering although I’m a bit of a true crime aficionado. I can’t imagine what could be “good” about a show whose main character is a psychopathic murderer, but there you have it.
Finally, let me go on record as stating that the most overrated show on TV is NBC’s 30 Rock accompanied by the most over-rated gelatinous piece of acting meat, Alec Baldwin. Both the show and Baldwin are nominated and neither deserve it.
All a matter of opinion, of course, and they do vary.
The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, September 18 at 8/7c on FOX.