My Favorite Moments from The 2013 Emmys

There’s a 60% chance you watched the Emmys last night, a 40% chance that you watched Breaking Bad and a 6% chance you watched Dexter. Regardless of these irrelevant statistics, television was packed with groundbreaking water cooler moments.

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Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best in television over the past year. Coming into the night, American Horror Story: Asylum led the night with 17 nods and Netflix made history by becoming the first non-television network to be nominated for an Emmy with their shows Arrested Development and House of Cards.
Here were my highlights:

-Amy Poehler and Tina Fey heckled Neil from the audience and proceed to crawl up the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress.

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-Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie – but you know her as Caroline from New Girl) won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and delivered the shortest – and probably best – acceptance speech ever. “Thanks so much, thanks so much,” the actress said. “Umm…I gotta go.”

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-Tony Hale joined co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she collected her second award for Veep. Hale, who won for Best Supporting Actor earlier in the night, acted as the bumbling bagman for Louis-Drefyus’ character, Selina, the Vice President of the United States.

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-Claire Danes won again for her work on Homeland and honored the late writer Henry Bromell, whose wife later accepted the award for Best Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “Q&A.” While it was no “Rains of Castamere,” it was an honorable mention to one of the industry’s greatest talents. On the red carpet, Danes caught up with her unlikely BFF Lena Dunham. And it was pretty great.

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-Kevin Spacy turned into Congressman Underwood.

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-Will Ferrell brought his kids with him on stage to present because Dame Maggie Smith cancelled her babysitting gig.
-James Cromwell took the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series over co-star Zachary Quinto. Sarah Paulson was snubbed for Supporting Actress and Twitter had this to say.

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-Modern Family won its fourth Emmy, which peeved me, but Breaking Bad finally won the award for Outstanding Drama Series.

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My Take on the 65th Emmy Award Nominations

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Earlier today, Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) announced the nominations for the 65th Emmy Awards. Like I tweeted earlier, nothing irks me more than Emmy snubs. Below is my reaction to the various categories from this year’s nomination list. Enjoy and argue with me. I dare you.

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory

Girls

Louie

Modern Family

30 Rock

Veep

The nominations this year are exactly what I pictured. While I’m pulling for a Veep sweep, the voters made a huge mistake in passing on the three most talked about comedies of the year: New Girl, Parks and Recreation, and the Netflix Semi-Original Series, Arrested Development. All of these shows are CONSISTENTLY funny, where as the sloe of nominees have been spotty in their respective past seasons.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Laura Dern, Enlightened

Lena Dunham, Girls

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

While Lena Dunham is coming off her Golden Globe win, I think the prize will once again be rewarded to last year’s winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as a part of the Veep sweep. Dreyfus made history this morning by scoring her thirteenth nod, surpassing Lucielle Ball’s record of twelve, making her the most-nominated comedic actress at the Emmys. Although I’m content with this year’s crop of nominees, I would have liked to see a little loving for the FOX Tuesday girls, Mindy Kaling and Zooey Deschenel. Both of their shows WEREN’T canceled *cough* Laura Dern *cough* and they were both hysterical.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Louis C.K., Louie

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

With the many snubs Arrested Development suffered this year, I’m pulling for Jason Bateman. Other than that, no real surprises or snubs here.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory

Jane Lynch, Glee

Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie

Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

My jaw literally dropped when I saw that both Jane Krawkowski and Anna Chlumsky were nominated, but, once again, I’m pulling for the Veep sweep. But where is The Office star Jenna Fischer? She did some of her greatest acting and really held the show together in its final season. And that monologue she had that closed the series? Beautiful, and nominated in the writing category. Also, what happened to everyone’s thought that Jessica Walter would for sure take the prize for Arrested Development?

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Adam Driver, Girls

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

Tony Hale, Veep

Is it really necessary to have all these Modern Family guys here? I think not. Again, I’m loving Tony Hale and I’m pulling for the Veep sweep. But it would be shocking and painfully awkward if the award went to Adam Driver, whose controversial sex scenes caused many to question the validity of Girls as a television comedy. The guys from New Girl, Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield, deserve some recognition for their roles, especially after the “TinFinity” episode. Also, where’s Will Arnett from Arrested Development?

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes

Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie

Greg Daniels, The Office

Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock

Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock

I was shocked to see that Lena Dunham did not get the trifecta of nominations here, as she scored acting and directing nods as well. I’m pulling for The Office here – specifically for the final testimonials of the show. Grab a few tissues and watch the ending.

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

Homeland

House of Cards

Mad Men

This is the first time I have seen all the nominated dramas in their entirety. I’m not sure if I’m proud of that or not, but, alas, I would have to say that Homeland will have a very tough time reclaiming their title. I’m thinking Game of Thrones may steal the crown. But what about The Newsroom and The Americans? There’s just too much good television, I guess.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

Claire Danes, Homeland

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Connie Britton, Nashville

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Why did I just read Vera Farmiga’s and Connie Britton’s names on this list? Pissed. Anyway, it’s looking like another victory for Danes is slim and Robin Wright just might be the one to snag it from her. Regardless, I’m still rooting for Danes here.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Hugh Bonneville, Downtown Abbey

Damian Lewis, Homeland

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Jon Hamm FINALLY deserves a turn to take the prize, and if you don’t believe me just watch this clip.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Emilia Clarke, Game of Throne
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Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Morena Baccarin, Homeland

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

I am ecstatic about Anna Gunn, Maggie Smith, and Emilia Clarke, but the other three need some replacing. The talented Michelle Fairley led the water cooler episode of the year, Game of Thrones’ “Rains of Castamere,” and her snub was just not “fair.” Also, Kate Mara’s eye-opening performance as a corrupt reporter in House of Cards definitely deserves some recognition.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire

Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Jim Carter, Downtown Abbey

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Last year, Downton Abbey dominated this category and I am kind of upset that they didn’t do it again, given the amazing performances by Rob-James Collier and Alan Leech. Also, where are the Mad Men? John Slattery deserves better than this.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

George Mastras, Breaking Bad

Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad

Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones

Henry Bromell, Homeland

Much like The Office writing nod redeemed Jenna Fischer’s snub, the Game of Thrones writing nod redeemed Michelle Fairley’s snub. If the words “Rains of Castamere” or “Red Wedding” mean nothing to you, you should reevaluate your life by starting here. But Julian Fellows may take the prize for also killing off an important character… No spoilers, of course.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

American Horror Story: Asylum

Behind The Candelabra

The Bible

Phil Spector

Political Animals

Top of the Lake

Holler at AHS for collecting seventeen nominations, topping the list of nominated shows this year. Kind of upset that Parade’s End didn’t make the cut, but it is well represented elsewhere.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum

Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter

Helen Mirren, Phil Spector

Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

Elisabeth Moss, Top Of The Lake

This nomination should read, “Jessica Lange for The Jessica Lange Show,” because she truly stole the small screen as Sister Jude in American Horror Story: Asylum. Elisabeth Moss, a double nominee, took the prize from her at the Critics’ Choice Awards, so anything is possible.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie

Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra

Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra

Toby Jones, The Girl

Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End

Al Pacino, Phil Spector

The Internet’s Favorite Son, Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated once again, but has traded his get-up as a modern Sherlock Holmes for a World War I uniform in Parade’s End. He won’t win, but he should.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum

Imelda Staunton, The Girl

Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals

Charlotte Rampling, Restless

Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Sarah Paulson must win.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie

James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum

Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum

Scott Bakula, Behind The Candelabra

John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C: Hereafter

Peter Mullan, Top of the Lake

Likewise, Zachary Quinto must win. Also the men of Top of the Lake took over the Critics’ Choice nominations, but only the Emmy voters only invited Peter Mullan to their show.

The 65th Emmy Awards: Nominations

Here are this year’s Emmy nominations. My reaction to come.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Girls
Louie
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Will Forte, 30 Rock

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Molly Shannon, Enlightened
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Melissa Leo, Louie
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes
Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie
Greg Daniels, The Office
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Paris Barclay, Glee
Louis C.K., Louie
Gail Macuso, Modern Family
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Nashville
Kerry Washington, Scandal

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downtown Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game of Throne
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downtown Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Rupert Friend, Homeland
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Linda Cardellini, Mad Men
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Joan Cusack, Shameless

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
George Mastras, Breaking Bad
Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones
Henry Bromell, Homeland

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad
Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
David Fincher, House of Cards

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

American Horror Story: Asylum

Behind The Candelabra

The Bible
Phil Spector
Political Animals
Top of the Lake

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Elisabeth Moss, Top Of The Lake

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra
Toby Jones, The Girl
Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Imelda Staunton, The Girl
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Scott Bakula, Behind The Candelabra
John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C: Hereafter
Peter Mullan, Top of the Lake

Flashback: Shows I’ve Dropped

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Once Upon a Time: From Adam Horowitz comes this reimagining of our favorite storybook characters, conveniently living in the isolated town of Storybrooke, Maine. While I enjoyed its first season and its writers many allusions to their previous work on Lost (the clock being stuck at 8:15, the Apollo candy bars, etc.), the second season was a runaway train from the get-go. The writers added too many characters to a show – and since they decided to combine the fairy tale realm with all literature in general, their options were seemingly limitless. I did, however, like the introduction of Captain Hook, who brought a nice spin on the infamous character. However, by writing characters like Mulan and Lancelot into the plot, the writers overstepped their “fairy tale” boundaries. In the last episode I saw, ABC decided to give Jorge Garcia, a Lost alumnus, another job as the Giant. The special effects were just too ridiculous and I finally came to realize how bad of an actress Jennifer Morrison is on this show – her talents were much more appreciated on House, M.D.. From what I’ve heard, the show had a great season second season finale because of another mind-bending cliffhanger, but I don’t think I have it in me to watch twelve more episodes of uncomfortable mother/daughter moments between Snow White and her same-age daughter, Emma.

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Bates Motel: In my opinion, this show has the greatest ratio of most hype to biggest flop that I’ve ever experienced as a television viewer. Promotions for this Psycho prequel were everywhere – in newspapers, on billboards, and even in movie theaters. Where show runner Carlton Cuse, another former Lost writer, went wrong was making this prequel modern. When you think about the original Alfred Hitchcock film, the majority of the fear generated from the film comes from its grainy, black and white lens and its haunting soundtrack. The A&E show has neither. While Vera Farmiga plays the part of Norma perfectly, Freddie Highmore lacks the necessary acting abilities to compare to his counterpart, Anthony Perkins. At least he isn’t becoming one of those reckless child stars, like his contemporary Amanda Bynes.

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Da Vinci’s Demons: I think I made it through two and half episodes of Starz’ newest period drama before realizing I didn’t care for any of the characters, whatsoever. Where this show went wrong was trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. On any given day, you can find a special on the Renaissance or da Vinci somewhere in your local listings, but this show tried to over fictionalize the prominent historical figure to the point that he just could not have done all the things he does (i.e. two-handed swordfights while solving an age-old mystery…while intoxicated). Also, if I had a nickel for every time Leonardo got high in the two and a half episodes I saw, I would be able to buy many packs of gum…like, many packs.

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The Killing: Although I made this my Netflix Pick last week, I just finished the first season this morning and I do not feel confident in my ability to see the second season through. I am getting sick of the pointless red herrings and even sicker of the Larson family crying about their dead daughter. Again, I get where the show is trying to go with showing a side of a murder that most shows ignore, but it’s a bit much after seeing Mitch cry every five seconds. Also, I cannot comprehend why the badass Linden would even want to marry her fiancé in Sonoma. He’s a total sketch ball (and I thought he was going to be Rosie’s killer). On that note, I don’t even know if I know who the killer is or not. I mean, I think we’ve all established that the Councilman did it – he did use the screen name Orpheus after all – but the final scenes of the finale make you wonder if it was him or not. I did not sign up for “Who Killed Rosie Larson? A Two Season Saga,” I thought it was one and done. Now, I guess, critics are raving about the third season, as Linden and Holder get assigned to a new case. Maybe I’ll just pick up from this season so I can get rid of the Larson family once and for all.

Have you dropped any shows? Comment below on which one and why! Maybe you can even make a joke out of it – your call.

DA VINCI’S DEMONS Premiere

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What do we know about Leonardo da Vinci? Well, history tells a story of the remarkable, quintessential Renaissance man, who’s work spans from the “Mona Lisa” to the “Flying Man.” However, in their latest period drama, Starz presents a much darker tale of how this man came to be written about in textbooks.

From the get-go, we are introduced to the naked Duke of Milan, played by Downton Abbey’s very own Hugh Bonneville. Knowing that the British actor had signed on with Julian Fellows’ show for the next three years, I had a feeling that his departure from this show would be swift. In a death suitable for Caesar, the Duke is murdered at what I presume to be a Senate meeting, leading the Medici family of Florence (allies of Milan) to start to panic.

Cue the young Leonardo da Vinci, painting a model in an open field. Tom Riley, who plays the legendary historical figure, brings da Vinci to life, creating a smart aleck character reminiscent of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.

With his trusty companions Nico and Zoroaster, da Vinci seeks out the infamous Lorenzo de Medici, a member of the powerful banking family that ruled Florence. Da Vinci, who devoted his whole life to mathematics and creating inventions, believes that he has the tools necessary to help the Medici’s protect Florence from the corrupt Vatican in the wake of the Duke of Milan’s death. However, da Vinci first needs an income.

He weasels his way into the Medici’s home by beautifully sketching Lorenzo’s mistress and he uses this as a jumping stone to make the proposition to become a military engineer. Humorously (as a history nerd), Lorenzo questions why Florence would need any sort of arms, since, after all, Lorenzo himself was a peaceful “Humanist.” Regardless, he accepts and gives da Vinci the job.

Meanwhile, da Vinci meets up with a Turk who has been hunted down by the Vatican’s army, led by Captain Dragonetti. This Turk tells da Vinci that he is a part of an ancient cult, The Sons of Mithras, and that the reason da Vinci is able to conjure up these brilliant inventions is because former members of the sacred brotherhood have already created them. However, the Turk explains that the Vatican had covered up their existence and destroyed all evidence of the brotherhood except for the “Book of Leaves,” which he assigns da Vinci to find.

At the end of the episode, a cloaked figure is presented before the Vatican’s archive keeper, and when she reveals herself, she is none other than Lorenzo’s mistress and da Vinci’s lover, Lucrezia Donati, played by Laura Haddock.

All and all, I believe this was a strong pilot for a premium cable show. I’m sure that Starz captured its former audience from Spartacus, which concluded directly before Da Vinci’s premiere.

Visually, the show took viewers into the mind of the Renaissance man, showing his drawings and calculations. In this respect, the show reminded me of Temple Grandin, the 2009 HBO movie that documented the life an autistic woman who used her disability as a way to see the world in a more mechanical way.

Conceptually, the show provided a twisted background to the beloved historical figure, almost in the way that Seth Graham Smith developed his novel Unholy Night, which created a dark backstory to the three wise men who visit Jesus upon his birth.

Overall, Da Vinci’s Demons is not to be missed. The season will last eight episodes but only ratings will tell whether or not they get renewed.

 

DA VINCI’S DEMONS and VEEP Previews

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As if I didn’t watch too much television to begin with, Starz and HBO are each adding a show into their weekly lineups starting this weekend.

On Friday, April 12 Starz will premiere their new original series, Da Vinci’s Demons, an hour-long drama chronicling the early years of the Renaissance man. The show will star the relatively unknown Tom Riley as Leonardo da Vinci and Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati, his love interest from the powerful Medici family.

David S. Goyer, the co-writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as the short-lived ABC drama, FlashForward, has penned the eight-episode season, so it can be expected to be as dark and cynical as his other works.

Recently, Starz has been getting a lot of attention for its popular show, Spartacus, but its third season, War of the Damned, will conclude directly after Da Vinci’s premiere. Starz is probably hoping that grab that audience to continue its subscriptions to the premium channel.

On the other side of the weekend, meaning Sunday, April 14, HBO will premiere its second season of the deadbeat comedy, Veep. The show received nods at the Emmys and Golden Globes, and its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, took home the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy.

The show’s hysterically dysfunctional ensemble, including Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, and Arrested Development’s Tony Hale, will all return for the second season.

The single-camera comedy stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the fictitious Vice President of the United States, Selina Meyer, who is burnt out from the presidential race from the previous year. The show follows her and her staff as they mock the quirky and nonsensical duties of the Veep – such as promoting corn-based utensils and deciding which ice cream flavor she should order at a publicity stunt to boost her approval rating.

The show is very much a political satire of the American government, much like NBC’s Parks and Recreation in that it mocks the excessive waste and political cronyism that goes on behind closed walls. Ironically, the show is not even written by Americans! Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell both hail from the United Kingdom and are well known for their work on the highly successful British shows The Thick of It and In The Loop.

Stay tuned for reviews of both of these shows on the flip side of this week.

A 2013 Television Preview

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.