Ed Martin Live at the Television Critics Association Tour
Beverly Hills, CA - What the *@&#% happened to Friday Night Lights?
The one drama series on broadcast television that seemed to be a sure bet for a nomination in the category of Outstanding Drama Series went all but ignored when the Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced yesterday. Compounding the insult: Not one actor in its extraordinary cast was recognized, even thought there are very deserving candidates in every category. The only nominations Lights received were for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Cripes! If they couldn't find it in their hearts to acknowledge any of the actors in one of television's finest ensembles, the least that voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences could have done was to support the show itself.
Actually, aside from the inexplicable madness of the multi-pronged Lights snub and the exclusion of Dexter star Michael C. Hall and Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell from the respective categories of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, overall I'm okay with the rest of the nominees. I have my gripes, as noted below, but I'm not as irate as I have been in recent years.
I'm good with nominations for House and Grey's Anatomy in the Outstanding Drama Series category, but I would have gone with The Shield, The Wire or Lost over Heroes and Boston Legal. I mean, Heroes is big fun and all, and Boston Legal entertains me, but The Shield and The Wire are the most powerful and profound dramas on television, especially now that The Sopranos is over, and Lost, despite a damaging early season stumble, was consistently fine from mid-season until May.
The return of Hugh Laurie of House, James Spader of Boston Legal and James Gandolfini of The Sopranos to the list of nominees for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series is most welcome after last year's senseless snub of all three, and I'm happy Denis Leary of Rescue Me was recognized for a second consecutive year. But the exclusion of Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights sucks. Ditto that of Michael C. Hall for Dexter. How, I wonder, do you not single out an actor who makes you care about and at times root for a serial killer?
It bothers me that there was room for six nominees on the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series list but that it does not include Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights or Annabeth Gish of Brotherhood. But I won't complain too much, because Edie Falco is back on the list after being excluded last season, when she delivered her finest performance ever on The Sopranos. Minnie Driver of The Riches, Sally Field of Brothers & Sisters and Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer are also thoroughly deserving nominees. Mariska Hargitay and Patricia Arquette are perfectly fine in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Medium, respectively, and they have both been honored with Emmys for their work on these shows in years past, but I don't think they were in the same league last season as Britton and Gish.
As for the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, the exclusion of Walton Goggins of The Shield is as infuriating this year as the big snub in '06 of Goggins' former Shield co-star Forest Whitaker. Like Whitaker before him, Goggins didn't simply deserve a nomination; he deserved the award. And Zach Gilford deserved a nod for his soulful work in Friday Night Lights. It's not as if nominees William Shatner of Boston Legal, T.R. Knight of Grey's Anatomy, Masi Oka of Heroes, Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn of Lost and Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos didn't do good work. It's just that Goggins and Gilford did better!
I'm really happy to see Chandra Wilson, Sandra Oh and Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy and Lorraine Bracco of The Sopranos nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, but how could Academy members overlook Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights and Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost in favor of Rachel Griffiths of Brothers & Sisters and Aida Turturro of The Sopranos? Griffiths' work was uneven and Turturro had little to do.
Academy members did much better with their choices in the comedy categories. I'm good with the nominations of Ugly Betty, Entourage, The Office, 30 Rock and Two and a Half Men as Outstanding Comedy Series, and with the nominations for Ricky Gervais of Extras, Tony Shaloub of Monk, Steve Carell of The Office, Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock and Charlie Sheen of Two and a Half Men in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. But what has the Academy got against My Name is Earl and Everybody Hates Chris and their talented leads, Jason Lee and Tyler James Williams, respectively?
Congrats to everyone for getting the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominees right: Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of The New Adventures of Old Christine, Tina Fey of 30 Rock, America Ferrera of Ugly Betty and Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds all deserve special recognition.
Similarly, there can be no complaining about the nominees in the categories of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven of Entourage, Neil Patrick Harris of How I Met Your Mother, Rainn Wilson of The Office and Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Jamie Pressly of My Name is Earl, Jenna Fischer of The Office, Holland Taylor and Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men, Vanessa Williams of Ugly Betty and Elizabeth Perkins of Weeds). But I wish room had been found in the latter group for MediaVillage TV Fan Award-winner Kelly Bishop of Gilmore Girls. Bishop gave one of television's best comic performances throughout the seven seasons of Girls but was never recognized with a nomination. Shame, shame, shame.