It’s January. It’s a new year and it’s time to make changes in your life. You could stick to the cliché New Years’ Resolutions by saying you’ll go to the gym more or try to be nicer to your peers. But I say: to hell with that. I want to watch more TV. And I don’t mean the reality garbage polluting broadcast and cable television like Honey Boo Boo and The Bachelor. I want to see more original plots, more raw character studies, and more comedies that ditch the trite “situational” format. So I guess I have two resolutions this year: to watch more television and to make you watch more as well.
In early January, The Golden Globes set off the awards season and created quite the buzz in the entertainment world. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association put on the second biggest celebration of film and television (emphasis on the “second”) with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the helm. Per usual, the Globes branched out their nominations far and wide, where as the Oscars and Emmys tend to stay reserved with strictly critically acclaimed works.
The big shuffle of the night came as HBO’s Girls dethroned favorite and three-time winner Modern Family for best comedy series. Lena Dunham, who also serves as the shows creator, director, and writer, took home the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy or musical television series.
The show, which premiered its second season the night of the Globes, has certainly caught the public’s attention and will rightfully receive more viewers moving forward. Girls, which follows the lives of four twentysomethings in the Big Apple, will certainly never attain the ratings of Modern Family, but Dunham has certainly created something fresh and real with her painfully independent characters.
In the drama category, Homeland swept, as it did in September’s Emmys, for best drama, best lead actress Claire Danes, and best lead actor Damien Lewis. I believe both the show’s writing and acting is unparalleled to anything currently on television. Homeland’s major competitors, AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad both slumped in their respective fifth seasons, giving the terrorist drama an easy win. Many contend that the show is moving in an irrational way, with frequent plot-twists and unrealistic CIA activity.
These same critics were pulling for Masterpiece Classic’s Downton Abbey: Season Two, which the Globes considered a drama series rather than a mini-series, as it was deemed champion of that category last year. The British period drama has received acclaim of monumental proportion worldwide. Double nominee Dame Maggie Smith won the award for best supporting actress in a television series, but failed to make an appearance.
Downton Abbey: Season Three has recently premiered in the United States through a partnership with PBS, but as an avid fan I watched the season unfold in the fall along with my fellow Englishmen. Without revealing any spoilers, I am confident that the drama will sweep in September’s Emmy Awards and next year’s Globes, specifically noting supporting actor Allen Leech, who plays the chauffeur-turned-revolutionary Irishman, Tom Branson.
While the winners and nominations did span the enormous television genome, I was disappointed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association overlooked many performances.
Time and time again, ABC’s comedy The Middle is overshadowed by its glorified older sibling, Modern Family. Specifically, Eden Sher, who plays the try-hard, awkward middle child, Sue Heck, definitely deserved a nomination. From her quirky meltdowns to her overconfidence in being the school’s mascot, Sher brings life to the show and has me laughing and quoting her for days.
Another show that always misses the cut is Showtime’s Shameless. Led by veterans William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, the cast of this dysfunctional family dramedy consistently delivers grade A performances – especially from the Gallagher children, who make the kids from Modern Family look like amateurs.
Looking forward into 2013, keep an eye out for both the established AMC network, as well as the up-and-coming FX.
AMC’s Breaking Bad will air the second half of its final season this summer, concluding the award-winning drama’s run. Fans can expect the period drama Mad Men to return in the spring for its sixth season. Many rumors are circulating that the hit drama could conclude in its seventh season, giving actor Jon Hamm and the rest of the cast only two more chances to win the first acting award for the show at the Emmys or Globes.
In early February, the apocalypse thriller The Walking Dead will resume its third season, hoping the shatter its own record of 10.9 million viewers for its season three premiere. The show, which only reached critical acclaim for its first season, is the backbone of AMC, drawing in more viewers than Breaking Bad and Mad Men combined.
What I’m most looking forward to in 2013, however, is to see if FX can hold its own against other highly established cable networks. In the past year, we have seen FX produce both American Horror Story and American Horror Story: Asylum, both of which received numerous nods at various award ceremonies. The shows creator, Ryan Murphy, has said that plans for a third season are in motion and says that many actors from both season one and two will return. Although he says it will take place in modern day, he alluded to some historical roots, leading many to believe that Salem, Massachusetts could be the focus for the upcoming season.
After the success of AHS, FX has picked up a new drama The Americans, which is set to premiere on January 30th. I am liking the prospects of this show, as it will document America during the Cold War in the 1980s. Although much is unknown about the show’s plot, it has been revealed that it will follow a group of KGB agents that become sleeper cells in America. Although the name is intriguing, I would have loved to see it be called something witty, like Homeland: Cold War.
Last, but not least, make sure to subscribe to Netflix this May, where a fourth and final season of Fox’s ex-hit comedy Arrested Development will stream exclusively. Filming is currently in the works and it has been confirmed that the whole Bluth family will return along with the regular guest stars.
So may this new year bring health, happiness, and great television to all.