Category Archives: Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters – “An American Family”

“An American Family”

October 7th, 2007

You may have noticed that, until today, Sunday was recap free here at Cultural Learnings. However, based on stats and my own general interest in the shows the night has to offer, Brothers & Sisters has earned a coveted spot in the lineup. Of course, I use a very relative form of “coveted.”

And as far as family activities go, there is nothing more American than a road trip. Considering that the last road trip the Walker family took resulted in the discovery of an incredibly valuable plot of land and roadside bar antics, in spite of Tommy being present. With Justin being transfered to San Diego after his accident in Iraq, the Walker family (A more desirably group including Kevin, Kitty and Nora) descends onto the city in their minivan. And yes: Nora Walker is a total backseat driver. And it is lovely.

But what this episode really represents is a return to the show’s successful formula: faced with a crisis, the Walker family devolves into a mess of neuroses which sends them into a tail spin. It’s a formula that could be hopelessly grating, but the stellar cast always manages to elevate the material. In this case, the road trip ran into a political land mine, Tommy ran into a young and blonde land mine at Ojai, and Sarah ran into an ex-wife/Rebecca related land mine while meeting with Joe.

And do you know what? When a show does these things with this much grace, I can’t possibly complain.

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Highlights and Lowlights: The Emotional Rollercoaster of the 2007 Emmy Awards

I won’t attempt to claim that I am any different than the myriad of television writers out there: I was never going to “like” the outcome of the Emmy Awards. My cynicism was front and center when it came to reacting to the winners, and even the more positive moments were passed off as exceptions to the rule, not a sign of changes to Emmy’s usual stagnation.

But even weighing this predisposed opinion regarding the validity of the ceremony, last night’s award show was perhaps the most emotionally manipulative in some time. By the end, it actually had us cynics doubting the most well-established prediction of the entire evening: The Sopranos winning Best Drama Series. Of course, David Chase’s departing HBO series won that Emmy, but I actually for a second doubted that.

And I don’t know if it’s good or bad: the emotional rollercoaster that the night represented hit so many inversions that anything seemed possible. Perhaps I am simply extremely malleable, but I was right along with them with my own emotional corkscrews and loop-to-loops. And, as such, I use those emotions to feature the highlights and lowlights of the 2007 Emmy Awards.

Disbelief - FOX Pre-Show Uses Britney to Push Ratings

This rumour that Britney Spears would appear and apologize for the VMAs incident fascinated me. Not because I was interested in Britney, of course, but rather I was fascinated that anyone actually believed it. The fact that FOX would prey on that public misconception throughout the pre-show, as if they didn’t know whether she was present, shouldn’t surprise me…but that was the reaction it elicited. [Sidenote: Why was there no actual Countdown on the Countdown to the Emmys?]

Discomfort – Awkward and Inappropriate Jokes and Cuts

Early on, the Emmys hit a rather unfortunate stride: an awkwardly impersonal opening animation act from Brian and Stewie from Family Guy, a questionable cut from a joke about Isaiah Washington to T.R. Knight within said segment, and then Neil Patrick Harris’ unfortunate jailbait joke regarding Hayden Pannetiere – all within about fifteen minutes. It continued on into the rest of the night (Brad Garrett, anyone?), and even Seacrest had some borderline “humour” in his repetoire.

Nostalgia – Emmy Rewards People for the Past

Terry O’Quinn. Jaime Pressley. Katherine Heigl. Conan O’Brien. These four are, amongst others, representing a particular trend: deserving performers who really should have won their respective awards in previous years. O’Quinn was robbed for his turn on Lost’s first season, but remains deserving this year, and the same can be said for Pressley even if my heart was with Jenna Fischer. And Late Night with Conan O’Brien had never won a single Emmy, so its victory in Writing was a long-deserved one.

But Heigl, despite her radiance and grace on stage, really deserved to be recognized for last season’s arc with Denny, as opposed to this season’s whiny George/Izzie period. Her character became one-dimensional and one-note, and even if she remained strong I don’t see that as a worthy winner of this award.

Confusion – The Sopranos go Broadway

I am still trying to decipher just why we had a musical tribute to the Sopranos from the cast of Jersey Boys. The music didn’t particularly relate to the series, and it seemed like a simple video tribute (Maybe asking various stars their thoughts on The Sopranos) and then the curtain call would have been both shorter and more fitting. The theatrical and broad is not, although FOX may disagree, necessary in every single situation.

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Filed under 30 Rock, American Idol, Award Shows, Brothers & Sisters, Emmy Awards, FOX, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, My Name is Earl, Television, The Amazing Race, The Office, The Sopranos, Ugly Betty

2007-2008 Fall Premiere Dates – FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and The CW

This fall, all of your favourite shows will be returning, and some new blood will join the pack. Which nights should you be scheduling off? Here’s the full calendar list of premiere dates for the Big 5 Networks.

NOTE: New shows are shown in blue.

September 6th

8:00pm

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader [FOX]

September 11th

8:00pm

The Biggest Loser [NBC]

September 12th

9:00pm

Kitchen Nightmares [FOX]

September 14th

9:00pm

Nashville [FOX]

September 17th

8:00pm

Prison Break [FOX]

9:00pm

K-Ville [FOX]

September 18th

8:00pm

Beauty & The Geek [Two Hours] [The CW]

Bones [FOX]

September 19th

8:00pm

Kid Nation [CBS]

America’s Next Top Model [The CW]

Back To You [FOX]

8:30pm

‘Til Death [FOX]

9:00pm

Gossip Girl [The CW]

September 20th

8:00pm

Survivor: China [CBS]

September 23rd

8:00pm

The Simpsons [FOX]

8:30pm

King of the Hill [FOX]

9:00pm

Cold Case [CBS]

Family Guy [FOX]

10:00pm

Shark [CBS]

September 24th

8:00pm

How I Met Your Mother [CBS]

Chuck [NBC]

Dancing with the Stars [ABC]

8:30pm

Big Bang Theory [CBS]

9:00pm

Heroes [NBC]

Two and a Half Men [CBS]

9:30pm

Rules of Engagement [CBS]

The Bachelor [ABC]

10:00pm

CSI: Miami [CBS]

Journeyman [NBC]

September 25th

8:00pm

New Amsterdam [FOX]

NCIS [CBS]

Dancing with the Stars (Results) [ABC]

9:00pm

House [FOX]

The Unit [CBS]

Reaper [The CW]

9:30pm

The Singing Bee [NBC]

Boston Legal [ABC] [Special 90 Minute Premiere]

10:00pm

Cane [CBS]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [NBC]

September 26th

8:00pm

Deal or No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

The Bionic Woman [NBC]

Criminal Minds [CBS]

Private Practice [ABC]

10:00pm

Life [NBC]

CSI: New York [CBS]

Dirty Sexy Money [ABC]

September 27th

8:00pm

My Name is Earl [NBC]

Smallville [The CW]

Ugly Betty [ABC]

9:00pm

The Office [NBC]

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [CBS]

Grey’s Anatomy [ABC]

10:00pm

ER [NBC]

Without a Trace [CBS]

Big Shots [ABC]

September 28th

8:00pm

Ghost Whisperer [CBS]

Deal of No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

Moonlight [CBS]

10:00pm

Las Vegas [NBC]

Numb3rs [CBS]

September 30th

7:00pm

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2 hours) [ABC]

9:00pm

Desperate Housewives [ABC]

9:30pm

American Dad [FOX]

10:00pm

Brothers & Sisters [ABC]

October 1st

8:00pm

Everybody Hates Chris [The CW]

8:30pm

Aliens in America [The CW]

9:00pm

Girlfriends [The CW]

9:30pm

The Game [The CW]

October 2nd

8:00pm

Cavemen [ABC]

8:30pm

Carpoolers [ABC]

October 3rd

8:00pm

Pushing Daisies [ABC]

October 4th

8:30pm

30 Rock [NBC]

9:00pm

Supernatural [The CW]

October 5th

9:00pm

Friday Night Lights [NBC]

October 12th

8:00pm

20/20 [ABC]

9:00pm

Women’s Murder Club [ABC]

10:00pm

Men in Trees [ABC]

October 15th

9:30pm

Samantha Who? [ABC]

October 18th

10:00pm

Viva Laughlin (Preview) [CBS]

October 21st

8:00pm

Viva Laughlin [CBS]

October 25th

9:30pm

Scrubs [NBC]

November 27th

10:00pm

Cashmere Mafia [ABC]

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Filed under 'Til Death, 2007 Fall Preview, 30 Rock, Brothers & Sisters, Cavemen, Chuck, CSI: Miami, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, FOX, Friday Night Lights, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, NBC, New Amsterdam, Prison Break, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Scrubs, Shark, Supernatural, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Ugly Betty

The 2007 Emmy Awards Nominations: Lost Snubbed, Sopranos Praised

After months of coverage and more than a little bit of analysis, it is has finally come down to this: this morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have officially announced their nominations for what their voters believed to be the best in television over the past year. Are they right on the money, or are they off the mark once again?

The Big Stories

- Lost and Friday Night Lights snubbed, although Lost dominates in Supporting Actor with Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson! Woo!

- The Sopranos leads with 15 nominations.

- Battlestar Galactica and Lost each garnered writing and directing nods on the Drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office dominated the categories in terms of Comedy series.

- There’s a lot of snubs all over the place, I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, but Michael C. Hall is the worst one. Yes, worse than Lost.

- Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer break through as supporting contenders for The Office, which garnered a whole lot of nominations once you factor in writing and directing.

And the Nominees Are…

Oustanding Drama Series

The Sopranos

Heroes

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy

House

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Entourage

Two and a Half Men

30 Rock

Ugly Betty

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Filed under 24, ABC, Award Shows, Battlestar Galactica, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Emmy Awards, Entourage, FOX, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, Monk, My Name is Earl, NBC, Reality TV, Scrubs, Television, The Amazing Race, The Office, Ugly Betty, Weeds

Cultural Learnings’ 2007 Emmy Nominations: Final Predictions

Tomorrow morning at 5:35am PDT, the nominations for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced. I will now put myself out there on a limb with my own predictions of whose names will be called. I’ll have all the final nomination information as soon as it breaks, as long as my plan to be online at that point in time works out. I will literally stop working to do this for you, remember that.

NOTE: Some of these predictions have changed thanks to the leaked Top 10 lists. Most have not.

Oustanding Drama Series

Lost

I think it’s the best show on television, and I think that its season was certainly worthy of an Emmy nomination. The show is unmatched on network television in terms of writing, production and performances.

Grey’s Anatomy

It’s season was uneven, but its popular support and wide-range of acting talents will be too hard for the ATAS to ignore.

The Sopranos

The show’s final season kept the buzz level high, and the finale basically clinched it: no one will be forgetting The Sopranos this year.

House

It’s the second biggest drama on television, and people just seem to love the show to death. I think that it is a show that has proven itself worthy in the past, unlike Heroes which still hasn’t won that level of respect.

Friday Night Lights

Admittedly, this is a sentimental choice. However, I can’t not believe that Emmy voters will find the heart of this series too endearing to pass up. With Kyle Chandler making the Drama Actor Top 10, I think the show has a shot.

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Last year’s winner had another strong and buzz-worthy season. It was a bit of a dark horse last year, but this time around it’s absolutely a front-runner…but in a category full of them.

Ugly Betty

One-hour comedies have a distinct advantage over half-hour ones, but even ignoring that Ugly Betty was a charming series that features some great performances. With Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams making the Top 10, I also think this show is a shoe-in.

30 Rock

The other new show to make this list, 30 Rock is a show made for the Emmys: prestigious talent (Fey, Baldwin, Krakowski), relevant and relatable theme (Show about a show), and it’s incredibly liberal. Plus, it’s kind of also the best new comedy of the year. Just sayin’.

Two and a Half Men

The only traditional sitcom left in the Emmy race, I think that voters will trend towards it like the sheep they are. That being said, the show is not the worst sitcom ever: it’s just similar to them in every way.

Entourage

While Scrubs did have the musical episode, I think that Entourage is the closest the category has to a hip show that hasn’t quite gotten its due. 30 Rock is actually quite safe, The Office is now almost too popular, so it’s Entourage that best fits the bill. With Kevin Dillon breaking the Top 10 for Supporting Actor, the show has a shot.

Extra Prediction:

The Sopranos will garner the most nominations on the drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office will fight it out for the most comedy nominations with Ugly Betty not far behind.

The rest of the nominations can be found below, with full explanations found here (Drama) and here (Comedy).

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Filed under 24, 30 Rock, Award Shows, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Emmy Awards, Entourage, Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, Monk, NBC, Television, The Office, The Sopranos, Ugly Betty, Weeds

The Leak: Emmy Top 10s in Acting Categories Emerge

Tom O’Neill at The Envelope is teasing readers once again by revealing the Top 10 lists at a ludicrously slow pace that is only dragging this thing out further. With nominations coming on Thursday, who is going to make the cut? Here’s the lists so far.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Conchata Ferrell, “Two and a Half Men”
Jenna Fischer, “The Office”
Ashley Jensen, “Extras”
Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl”
Holland Taylor, “Two and a Half Men”
Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty”

My Thoughts: Yay for Becki Newton and Jenna Fischer, who will duel in the battle of the receptionists. The only real suprise is Kathryn Joosten, who is always an Emmy favourite but is only credited as a guest star on DH. Very interesting, Emmy voters.

Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role

Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Eddie Izzard, “The Riches”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
James Spader, “Boston Legal”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

My Thoughts: Good to see Matthew Fox make it in, and there really aren’t any huge snubs here other than Michael Chiklis for The Shield.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos”
S. Epatha Merkerson, “Law & Order”
Rachel Griffiths, “Brothers & Sisters”
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
CCH Pounder, “The Shield”
Aida Turturro, “The Sopranos”
Kay Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Patricia Wettig, “Brothers & Sisters”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”

My Thoughts: Where the hell is Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost? Her performance as Juliet was the one that was supposed to actually have a chance at a nomination for the series, and she doesn’t make the Top 10 over S. Epatha Merkerson who barely does anything on Law & Order anymore? Le sigh. I’m glad to see Patricia Wettig get her due, and I like that Kate Walsh made it, but not over my beloved Mitchell. Boourns, Emmy voters.

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For Your Consideration: Drama Series – “Brothers & Sisters”

[As part of Cultural Learnings’ For Your Consideration Emmy Nominations Preview, the next two weeks will feature 7 Drama Series and 7 Comedy Series worthy of Emmy consideration. Check back daily for a different series, with drama and comedy alternating positions. For all of Cultural Learnings’ Emmy Coverage featuring Supporting and Lead Acting candidates, check out our For Your Consideration Index.]

Outstanding Drama Series

Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

If there was a success story in television this past year, I believe that it would have to be Greg Berlanti. After the unfortunate cancellation of Everwood last year, Berlanti was out of a job. However, there was a show in need of assistance: ABC’s Brothers & Sisters was spiraling out of control with showrunner Marti Noxon and they needed some help. Berlanti was asked to step in, and he took a show headed off the rails and turned it into one of the strongest dramas of the season. Jobless a year ago, Berlanti now has two pilots ordered by ABC and a returning drama series with a plum timeslot.

But let’s face it: he had a fairly good slate to work with here. If I had to pick up the pieces of a show in peril, I would like to have Sally Field sitting there waiting for a script to knock out of the park. And the supporting cast of this series has created a family of people that, although not perfect, have just enough charm to overcome their idiocy. Brothers & Sisters no longer has a shot at being nominated for an Emmy after failing to make the Top 10 shows in a popular vote, but that reality is unfortunate. The series came into its own to become a strong dramatic contender, and it is worthy of Emmy consideration.

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