TV Heartbeat! Back to Downton Abbey! Farewell Cougar Town! Hello Singing Knights and Agent Carter! The Awards That Awards Shows Forgot!
Happy New Year!!! I’m wishing everyone a terrific and entertaining 2015! The first week of 2015 has some returning favorites and new shows with potential so we’re off to a good start! (Oh and quite a few shows are coming back from their holiday break as well so don’t forget to tune in next week!)
Yo Adrian!! If you’re looking for some alternative programming to the New Year Day’s bowl games, Encore is running all the Rocky movies back to back. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit creepier to kick off the year, Showtime is bingeing Penny Dreadful.
Downton Abbey is back! The immensely popular show will be back with more on icy Lady Mary’s plethora of suitors. But what’s happening with Lady Edith? (Downton tends to kill a parent whenever a child is born.) Will they find a pleasant story line for Anna and Bates? Who killed her rapist? Who knew there was such tawdry scandal in this little show?
Some of ABC’s most popular shows are on hiatus until March (!!) so they are bringing in some new blood for the next couple of months. First up is Galavant, a musical comedy. That’s right, a musical. Few TV shows get musicals right, but this has some legit credentials so we’ll see. Galavant stars Joshua Sasse as the title character who’s out to get revenge against the king who stole his lady. The cast also features Timothy Omundson (Psych’s Detective Lassie), Vinnie Jones (he’s the Juggernaut, bitch!) and Mallory Jansen as Galavant’s stolen lady love. Look for cameos from Weird Al and Ricky Gervais.
ABC’s other big swap out is Marvel’s Agent Carter for Marvels’ Agents of SHIELD. Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was the classiest of the female heroes in the Marvel films and she’s now getting her own show. Agent Carter will focus on the early days of SHIELD and will feature guest appearances by the Howling Commandos and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
To help address the possible wine shortage, Cougar Town wraps up with its final season. Raise your glass to toast a final goodbye to the cul-de-sac!
If you’ve watched anything on Fox over the past couple of months, you know they are betting big on their new show, Empire. Directed and scripted by award magnets Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) and Danny Strong (formerly known as Jonathan on Buffy, but now known as the Emmy-winning writer of Game Change and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Empire is getting the post-American Idol timeslot so Fox is hoping for a winner here. The story is basically King Lear with a hip hop soundtrack. Luscious Lyon (Terrance Howard) is dying and needs to figure out who’s going to run his record empire. Will it be one of his three sons or his grabby ex-wife (Taraji P Henson)? The show will feature a lot of music (produced by Timbaland) and a lot of guest stars from the music world. Get ready for some sudsy fun!
The first award show of the year goes to…The People’s Choice Awards! Let’s find out who’s got the most devoted internet following!
Thursday: Rocky movie marathon (Encore), Penny Dreadful marathon (Showtime)
Sunday: Galavant debut (ABC), Downton Abbey season premiere (PBS)
Tuesday: Agent Carter debut (ABC), Masterchef Jr. season premiere (Fox), Pretty Little Liars season premiere (ABC Family), Switched at Birth season premiere (ABC Family), Cougar Town final season premiere (TBS)
Wednesday: American Idol season premiere (Fox), Empire debut (Fox), The People’s Choice Awards (CBS), The Mentalist moves to a new time slot (CBS)
Awards that awards shows forgot
It’s awards season! While people are honoring the best in films for 2014, they throw in some awards for TV for good measure (even though we’re mid-way through the season for a good chunk of shows). Inevitably, with each announcement of the nominees, there is an immediate uproar of snubs. While the Oscars are stretching to find worthy female performances to honor, the list of worthy ladies on TV is about 3 times bigger than the available slots.
Let’s face it, TV has changed. A lot. We no longer have just 3 channels. With the proliferation of shows comes a ton of variation and the Emmys, SAG, Golden Globes, etc… need to add/change some categories to better recognize TV excellence. For instance…
Best dramedy (aka best hour-long comedy)
Why has Modern Family had such a lock on the best comedy awards? Well, it’s a good show, but it’s also fits the traditional comedy prerequisites: half hour, family, funny situations and characters.
Comedy has evolved and now dramas have quirky, original voices that have spawned the “dramedy” category. These tend to be hour-long shows that flip flop between comedy and drama award categories if they think that will increase their chances. (Example: Ally McBeal and, more recently, Shameless). Dramedies are a growing trend so it’s time to separate these shows so they aren’t held to traditional, half-hour structures that don’t apply to them.
2015 nominees: Jane the Virgin, Shameless, Orange is the New Black
Best new show
Getting a new show to work RIGHT is an amazing accomplishment and getting award recognition in the first year is a miracle. Award voters tend to be conservative and habitual so they sort of need “permission” to single out new shows. Let’s give the newbies a shot at some love with their own category! A nomination/win here will help them break through and “legitimize” them for other awards.
2015 nominees: Outlander, Fargo, True Detective, Jane the Virgin, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Best breakthrough performance
This goes to people who haven’t been nominated before. With so many terrific performances out there, newbies get slighted frequently so this is a way to get them some legit recognition. It doesn’t mean they can’t also be nominated for the main acting categories since, every so often, someone make the elite list. This is a way to be more inclusive.
2015 nominees: Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black (because she deserved it and didn’t get it last year), Caitriona Balfe from Outlander, Allison Tolman from Fargo
Side note: Yes, I love Sam Heughan as Jamie on Outlander, but we haven’t seen enough of Jamie (um, wedding night aside) to really be award-worthy. We see Jamie through Claire’s eyes and she doesn’t really know him yet so his character has been charming, but not very dynamic to date. I expect this to change with the second half of the season where we will start to get Jamie voiceovers (!!!!!) so we’ll really see more sides of Jamie.
Best genre TV show
It’s sad, but voters rarely ever recognize TV (or movies) if there’s an alien or superhero or something else around. So much good stuff deserves to be recognized! Let’s find a way to honor the best of science fiction, fantasy or whatever you want to call it. (“Genre” always struck me as an odd way to describe the category).
2015 nominees: Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead (the most recent season and not last year’s oogie mess), Orphan Black, Outlander (like the books, it’s hard to classify the show, but I’ll take any opportunity to applaud this show!)
Best ensemble performance by a single actor
A spin on the best ensemble award, actors who convincingly play more than one character on the same show deserve to be singled out for their efforts. It’s pretty amazing when you see that actor become 2 or more fully-fleshed out characters in the same story (and it’s not just the same character with different hair and make-up).
This is a category pretty much made for Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black. She’s so amazing, I forget that she actually plays Allison as well as Sarah and Cosima. Seriously. In her case, kudos also go out to hair, make-up, wardrobe, etc… for helping to create those different characters. Let’s not forget her co-stars who are often acting opposite tennis balls until special effects can work their magic. (Poor Ari Miller has quite a hard task to live up to her example as we learn more about Project Castor!!)
However, she’s not alone in this category. Tobias Menzies also convincingly morphed into multiple characters in Outlander. It was fascinating to watch him take on the amiable Frank Randall and the sadistic Black Jack. Creepy good.
2015 nominees: Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Rachel, Allison, Cosima, Helena, Jennifer, Tony, etc…), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall, Jonathan Wolverton “Black Jack” Randall)
Yes, this seems more like an MTV Movie Award category, but killing off characters has become quite the trend so we should take the time to acknowledge it.
A good death is one where you really feel for the characters (either they one dying or the ones impacted by the death) and that the death means something; that the plot and/or characters are meaningfully impacted by this person’s passing.
Example: Death is a game changer on the power plays in Game of Thrones. Death gets rid of redundant characters in The Walking Dead. Very different impacts. If a show kills off a character, I hope it’s for a good reason!!
2015 nominees [SPOILER ALERT]: Gemma (Katey Sagal) on Sons of Anarchy, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) on Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) on the throne in Game of Thrones, Sarah Lance/Canary (Caity Lotz) on Arrow, Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell) on Arrow
(however, I’m guessing this one is not a real death since Stephen Amell is still filming the show and, well, it’s called Arrow!)
Worst series finale
Watching the series finale for True Blood makes you appreciate it when a TV show gets it right. That ending was so spectacularly bad, I wish I stopped watching several seasons early when the show started going off the rails. The ending made me feel like I wasted my time since there was no payoff. The show (and fans) deserved a better ending. Ugh.
2015 nominees: True Blood (winner!), How I Met Your Mother, Dexter
Any other awards I missed? Who else deserves some love?
Comment below or email me at Erica@MikeTheFanboy.com
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