Tag Archives: Grey’s Anatomy

Twitter-reviewed: Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters

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Once I get this enormously far behind with some of the week’s shows, writing blog posts isn’t really possible – I’d have loved to have dedicated a half hour to ranting about the one-dimesional Grey’s Anatomy, but if I did I wouldn’t have had time to see the tribes finally merge on Survivor.

So, I did what any self-respecting and laptop-owning soul would do: I sat with my laptop, caught up on four shows from this past week, and Tweeted my thoughts. The end result was perhaps an over-explosion of tweets for my poor followers (Sorry! I’ll spread it out more next time), but it’s also some bite-sized thoughts on these episodes.

So, if you’re wondering why I’m not covering some shows, following me on Twitter might just be a great way to continue to have a discourse on them here at Cultural Learnings!

Grey’s Anatomy

Started watching Grey’s, and Alias flashbacks had me pausing it and digging into some media studies essays instead.

Onto ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Melissa George? Decent. Mary McDonnell? A bit one-dimensional. Ghost Denny? Le sigh.

‘Grey’s’: A week after dumping Hahn, introducing two new characters that only have one speed is not going to help the controversy.

‘Grey’s’: I think the Izzie/Denny storyline would have taken a more interesting turn if she had burned down the clinic to erase his memory.

[I didn’t tweet it, but seriously: Ghost Denny is physically real? Ugh.]

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Cultural Learnings’ 2008 60th Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

Last year, during this important period of the pre-Emmy festivities, I had a bit more time to really delve into some key issues. This year, things are busier, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to make some prognostications about the end results. I’m going to be discussing more themes and the like tomorrow in my Emmy Preview, but for now let’s get to what we really care about: predicting who is actually going to walk home with Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boston Legal (ABC)
  • Damages (FX)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • House (FOX)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)

There is some wiggle room here, as each some has something (Pedigree, viewership, buzz, etc.) that makes it stand out, but there is nothing on this list quite as emphatically received and, more importantly, different from your standard fare than Mad Men. I’ll discuss more of this tomorrow, but its combination of a small network, a small fanbase, fresh-faced actors and its attention to detail will be unstoppable.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • James Spader (Boston Legal)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
  • Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment)

This is a category where only one thing is important: that James Spader finally loses. Either Hamm, C. Hall or Laurie are in a position to usurp last year’s winner, and I’ve got my money on Michael C. Hall. After getting snubbed here last year, and with his show in the big race, voters might choose to recognize his brave and fantastic performance even when the show itself loses them with its dark atmosphere. But, this is maybe the night’s most up in the air race.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
  • Holly Hunter (Saving Grace)
  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU)

This race, however, is not up in the air at all. Its highly serialized nature and red herring use might keep it from being the best drama series on television, but there is no way that Emmy Voters can ignore Close’s pedigree with such a richly portrayed character (even if I’d argue that character isn’t nearly as important as voters might think it is to the show’s success).

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Dissecting the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

Emmy nomination morning is kind of like Christmas morning – you’re all excited about it as it approaches, wary of the potential surprises and the like, etc. But, unlike Christmas that ends in the complete elimination of suspense, the Emmy Awards are the start of a whole new game. In this case, not only do we react to what just happened (The good, the bad and the ugly of it) but also to what will happen in September when somebody in each of these categories has to win one of the darn things.

For now, it’s time to take a look at the big stories out of this morning’s nominations (You can check out the fill list here).

30 Rock Domination

The Good: With a ridiculous 17 nominations, 30 Rock is the most nominated series at the awards. This includes nods for the series itself, Alec Baldwin, and Tina Fey, along with two writing and one directing nomination for the series, along with well deserved guest acting noms for Elaine Stritch, Edie Falco, Carrie Fisher, Will Arnett and Rip Torn.

The Bad: The rather unfortunate snubs of Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer sting a little bit, but they had tough races and this isn’t too much of a surpise.

The Ugly: Steve Buscemi and Tim Conway do not deserve guest acting nominations for this show – Buscemi was great, but he was barely in the episode, while Conway coasted on his past success with a role that never fit into the episode. Matthew Broderick, Dean Winters and David Schwimmer all did considerably better work on the series, and that they are not represented here is extremely unfortunate.

Lost is Back in the Race

The Good: In perhaps my favourite news of the ceremony, a bump to six nominees in the Drama Series category sees Lost make it into the fray ahead of Grey’s Anatomy, securing its first nomination in the category since its first season. Michael Emerson also grabbed a Supporting Actor nomination, as expected, while I’m extremely pleased to see Michael Giacchino pick up a nod for his great composing for “The Constant.”

The Bad: Still a bit annoyed that so few other supporting players were eligible for the major awards, so it’s a bit disheartening to see most of the show’s nominations coming from sound editing, mixing, editing, etc. when the cast is so deserving.

The Ugly: Despite getting the show nominated for an Emmy, no room is found for “The Constant” in writing or directing categories; the latter isn’t too disappointing, but the former is a bit more surprising and disheartens me as to Lost’s chances in the major categories.

Pushing Daisies Blooms…and Busts

The Good: Announcing the nominees was good luck for the ever charming Kristin Chenoweth, who along with co-star Lee Pace picked up an acting nomination to go with the series numerous technical, writing and directing awards resulting in the third highest total with 12 nominations.

The Bad: Unfortunately, they weren’t joined by their co-star Chi McBride, who really should have made the Supporting Acting Top 10.

The Ugly: And yet, despite all of this, the show failed to net a nomination for Best Comedy Series, an omission that just doesn’t make any sense. I will rant about who I think should have gotten the boot in a moment, but this is an oversight that will haunt the Emmys for a long time in my books, and is surprising considering both Pace and Chenoweth making their respective races.

Damages Gets it Right

The Good: So much, mainly the fantastic inclusion of Zejlko Ivanek in the Supporting Actor race, is right with this picture. Along with Ted Danson, they are a strong force in that category, and they’re joined by Glenn Close in the Best Actress race, and writing/directing/series nominations for the fantastic pilot.

The Bad: While it’s not quite what I’d call a bad thing, it’s a big surprise to see Rose Byrne snubbed in Supporting Actress Drama. Mind you, I was never a fan of her performance so I would personally not put her into the category, but that Emmy voters didn’t is surprising.

The Ugly: Not much, to be honest – while I felt the series fell apart at the end, the nominated performers and the Pilot were both great, so I’m content with this performance.

The Rise and Fall of The Office

The Good: Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell return to the nominations circle along with their series this year, including a number of directing and writing nominations for the uneven but very solid fourth season.

The Bad: Amy Ryan, fantastic in the finale “Goodbye, Toby” gets snubbed for her great turn in the episode, joining Sarah Chalke as examples of Emmy voters ignoring great performances from younger female competitors in favour of older ones (With Sarah Silverman being the only youth candidate, and a kind of annoying one).

The Ugly: Jenna Fischer, deserving of a win last year, doesn’t even break into Supporting Actress Comedy this year, and John Krasinski literally has his spot stolen away in Supporting Actor. Apparently the love for Jam at the Academy is limited, which is unfortunate as they both do great work.

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Cultural Learnings’ 2008 60th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions

When I started my Emmys coverage for this year’s ceremony a while ago, I (as always) had a lot of plans: previews of every category (Got through a lot), reviews of every submitted episode (Almost got through those), and all sorts of other grand schemes that never come to fruition. This is the nature of being a television critic of sorts: you have a lot to say, but balancing it and the rest of your life (See: Watching Television, clearly) can be a bit of a challenge. Let it be known I took most of that free time doing my duty and finally watching shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under and Flight of the Conchords.

However, there’s no way I could possibly procrastinate on writing up my various predictions. Predictions are one of those things that I think about more than I write about (I tried writing more this year, and after a while it petered off). Great sites like AwardsHeaven or Coco at the Movies or TV with Abe keep detailed lists for weeks or months ahead of time updating when the Top 10s come out, but I tend to ruminate a bit more introspectively. We’ll see how that goes this time around, when our access to the Top 10 lists for various categories makes this task easier, yes, but also far more competitive. But, I’m not in it to win it, so to speak; I’m just an Emmy fanatic who enjoys the thrill of participation.

So, without further adieu, my predictions for the nominations for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boston Legal (ABC)
  • Damages (FX)
  • House (FOX)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)

This is a very hard category to call, and admittedly I’m following my own interests here: there’s every chance of Grey’s Anatomy replacing Lost on this list based on its popularity alone, but something tells me that Lost’s episode submission (The fantastic “The Constant”) will elevate them through. Mad Men and Damages represent the new crop of summer cable hits, while Boston Legal and House should ride baity submission and Hugh Laurie, respectively, to nods.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • James Spader (Boston Legal)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

The first four are pretty much locks: while his show is too bloody to make it into major categories, Hall’s Emmy pedigree and the fantastic nature of his performance should get him the nomination he deserved last year. Meanwhile, “should have won before” Laurie and newcomer and Golden Globe winner Hamm will try to dethrone undefeated Emmy king Spader, and that last slot is up for grabs. I’ve gone with Bryan Cranston’s brave performance in the AMC series, one I need to finish watching at some point (Only got through the opening two episodes). Gabriel Byrne is the other option, but I believe that if Cranston made the Top 10 people were watching, and he would have performed well on the panels.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
  • Holly Hunter (Saving Grace)
  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)

Those following the Emmy race will sigh at that last name – while the first four are more or less locks based on name recognition and showy performances, the fifth candidate in this category is somewhat more open. However, with previous nominees like Mariska Hargitay and Minnie Driver waiting in the wings, the chances of an actress from a science fiction series breaking through are slim. However, frak that kind of logical thinking: I want to have hope, for once, that they’ll see through the Science Fiction and discover a tremendous performance that is worthy of consideration.

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Assessing the Contenders: Drama Series Catchup (Dexter, FNL, Grey’s, House)

So, last week I was all set to really dig into all of the various submissions that the panels saw in both Comedy and Drama a few weeks ago now, but then life got in the way and I’ve been distracted. It also didn’t help that I had actually seen most of the episode, so I had already formulated opinions and therefore didn’t feel an urgency to write about them (Something I do have when I’m seeing something for the first time). So, I figure I’ll provide some short-form reviews of at least some of the remaining episodes over the next few days, and then offer a more comprehensive overview next week leading up to the nominations themselves. First, a view into the drama contenders.

Drama Series

Dexter – “The Dark Defender”

Synopsis: Dexter, with the help of his similarly crazy friend Lila, confronts his mother’s murderer in an emotional attempt to achieve closure.

My Thoughts: I hate Lila with a fiery passion, and found the character ultimately disruptive, but her role as Dexter’s kindred spirit of sorts was strong. Michael C. Hall is great in the episode, and it displays the show’s usual great use of violence and gore to serve story purposes.

Panel Potential: Unfortunately, its use of blood and gore has been what has held it back, as pretty well all awards potential goes out the window when older voters can’t stomach the show’s bloody reality. So, all signs point to a rough panel performance.

Friday Night Lights – “Leave No Man Behind”

Synopsis: Tension between coach and quarterback reaches its climax, and love triangles and parental strife round out the episode.

My Thoughts: The best episode of the show’s second season, it is most importantly a view into where football and life intersect as opposed to simply the lives of these characters. For the scene where Eric Taylor throws Matt Saracen into a cold shower to wake him up from his depressive state alone, this one’s a winner.

Panel Potential: There’s a lot of strong elements here, from performance to relativity to the standard lives of panelists, so it should have a decent performance (but likely not enough to make up for its poor Popular vote showing).

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Emmy Nominations: How They Work and Who They Benefit (2008)

[The following is a post I wrote last year around this time, explaining how the Emmy Awards nomination process works. Tomorrow is the deadline for the first stage of the process, where the popular vote will be completed and the Top 10s will be tabulated. Look for more coverage here at Cultural Learnings of the various categories as the process continues, but in the meantime enjoy this updated explanation.]

Tomorrow, June 20th, the first stage of the Emmy Nomination process ends. Getting nominated for an Emmy Award is not an easy task, and the entire process was recently made even more complicated in an effort to create fairness. To help you follow the process as it unfolds over the next month, here’s a rundown on how the decision is made and who benefits from each stage.

Stage One: The Popular Vote

How it Works: Voters select their favourite candidate from all individuals who have submitted themselves for nomination. They read For Your Consideration ads, watch screeners, but in the end likely just pick who they like, allowed to vote for as many as Ten candidates who gets more points the higher they are on their list.

Who it Benefits: Shows that are either perennial nominees or extremely buzz-worthy, and actors that are well-known in Hollywood. Thus, voters don’t really even need to see what these candidates have to offer, they just assume they’re really good. Examples of shows that perform well at this stage are big winners last year like 30 Rock, current awards season sensation Mad Men, or highly rated shows like Grey’s Anatomy, while perennial Emmy favourites like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (New Adventures of Old Christine) or William Shatner (Boston Legal) will place highly based on their past acclaim.

Who it Harms: Ratings-deprived, critically acclaimed programs without any of the above, and actors or actresses who lack star power or past Emmys attention. Friday Night Lights and The Wire are generally the two best examples, shows that so few people watch that their unquestioned quality (Mostly unquestioned, anyways) goes unrecognized when they can’t make their Top 10. Performers, meanwhile, have an even tougher time even on hit shows; multiple Lost performers will make it onto the next part of the process, but for relative unknowns like Yunjin Kim standing out amongst over 100 other names is tougher. It also does nothing for fan favourite shows, as Emmy voters don’t tend to watch recently canceled shows like Jericho or Moonlight, and therefore they have very little chance of emerging out of this round.

Stage Two: The Top 10 Run-Off

How it Works: The Top 10 series from the popular vote are isolated and screened in front of a blue ribbon panel. Each show/actor/actress selects an episode that will be screened for the panel if it makes the Top 10. They also prepare a short written statement explaining their show and the episode in context with the show. For example, should Mad Men make the Best Drama Series panel (Count on it), they will be screening the shows’s pilot, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”

Then, each member of the panel will rank the shows from 1 to 10, and a final ranking will be decided.

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60th Primetime Emmy Awards Preview: Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

The biggest news to emerge from the depths of the Emmy obsessed into mainstream media this year is certainly the news that last year’s winner in this category, Katherine Heigl from Grey’s Anatomy, is not in the running. That itself is a surprise, but it was her reasoning that has sent shockwaves through Hollywood. As she first told TheEnvelope.com’s Tom O’Neill, after GoldDerby reader KellyClarksonFan discovered the omission:

“I am truly grateful for the honor that the Academy bestowed upon me last year. I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the Academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

Now, the AP amongst others have taken this to its logical location: it’s a clear slap in the face to the show’s writers, and yet another moment where Heigl’s mouth has made more headlines than her acting ability. For the record, I think she’s right on the money in terms of the material she was given, but this is still a bit much. However, I choose to look at the positive side of this: with last year’s (arguably undeserving) winner gone, there’s more room for some of the fantastic candidates in this category.

And there are fantastic candidates: you have multiple candidates who are due for an Emmy win after numerous nominations, a few dark horses who won’t make the Top 10 but deserve recognition, one or two who might slip in based on series hype, and plenty of room for surprises at the top. And with Heigl gone, more of these deserving contenders have a shot.

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60th Emmy Awards Preview – Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

[Leading up to the announcement of the nominees in mid-July, Cultural Learnings will be delving into each of the major categories to highlight a major theme or a certain selection of potential nominees.]

As far as categories go, they don’t get too much more wide open than this year’s race for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. It’s long been a category dominated by the show of the moment: both The Sopranos and The West Wing saw multiple nominees on multiple occasions, and Lost was added to that list in recent years. So, for a show like Lost, the question isn’t whether one of its actors will get a nomination: it’s which one, and how many.

This goes for other series as well, as this is certainly a year where there’s a lot of shows that probably have multiple deserving candidates. These types of races are always difficult because of two competing phenomena: vote-splitting, which implies that these candidates will struggle to break into the final five or six nominees, and tape-sharing, where the tapes screened for critics could potentially overlap between candidates. The latter, for example, pretty well won Terry O’Quinn the Emmy last year, as he was in Michael Emerson’s submission almost as much as he was in his own.

This year, it’s three competitors from Boston Legal, four from Lost, and two from Damages that will either be fighting more with each other or working together to multiple nominations. And, well, let’s not forget everyone else, too.

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The Challenge of Streaming Video in Canada

With a flick of a switch, and the power of a battery company, streaming video of shows people actually want to watch (legally) comes to Canada. CTV announced today (Friday) that starting immediately episodes of three of the top-rated shows on television will be available to Canadians on CTV.ca – Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives will see their new episodes available for four weeks after their first airing, allowing those who miss out to catch up.

This is triumphant for CTV, who has oft-struggled to keep their sagging broadband audience at bay after a disappointing lack of continued support beyond certain series, as they can lay claim to the only major Canadian network offering multiple high-tier series in a legal and well-supported platform (All of BellGlobeMedia’s online presences have integrated a new online streaming system far superior to their old one).

This could also be triumphant for people in Canada who have seen “This Video is Not Available in your region” one too many times – with all of the major American streaming sites, whether CBS’ Innertube or ABC.com’s episode viewer, locked out to eyes North of the border due to CRTC regulations, this could be the Great White Hope: a light at the end of the tunnel for an emergence of a broad and all-encompassing broadband presence.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t going to work.

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The 2008 Golden Globe Awards – TV Predictions – Drama

I watched Friday Night Lights last evening, but I felt too ill to really put my thoughts onto paper. Suffice to say that I agree with Sepinwall in that any show in its right mind would not put Tim Riggins’ fingerprints on a gun and have him steal a load of cash just after it got dragged down from a frustrating murder storyline. The rest of the episode I think I enjoyed more than Alan did, but on the whole it feels like we’re going in circles. And, in the preview for next week, did they seriously show Tim Riggins going after LYLA again? That just feels unnecessary.

But, either way, let’s settle into the big TV story this weekend: The now truncated and airing on multiple stations Golden Globes: News Conference Edition. It’s been a wild ride of sorts, and now comes word that the press conference won’t be picketed as it will be aired on multiple networks and not just on NBC. Variety has the full (And ludicrously complicated) story, but the end result is the same: TV personalities will be announcing the winners in an hour-long block at 9pm EST tomorrow. This should be an interesting experience, but since stars will be able to attend (due to the lack of pickets) there might be some excitement. I’ll look at drama nominees today, and comedy tomorrow. And maybe some film predictions – I’m weak like that.

Drama Series

  • Big Love
  • Damages [Predicted Winner]
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • House
  • Mad Men [Myles’ Choice]
  • The Tudors

It’s the biggest TV award of the evening, really, and it’s one that is kind of tough to decide. The two network series are more or less out of contention, their popularity being their only saving grace in an environment that likes new series. Big Love and The Tudors are just not quite unique enough to stand out, and Damages is buzzworthy due to strong performances and a compelling narrative. It also has the most nominations out of any show, although an upset is always possible. Meanwhile, what is lacks in star power Mad Men makes up with quality and a strong awards push – it’s both my choice and a potential spoiler.

Best Actor in a Drama Series

  • Michael C. Hall [Dexter] [Predicted Winner / Myles’ Choice]
  • Jon Hamm [Mad Men]
  • Hugh Laurie [House]
  • Jonathan Rhys-Meyers [The Tudors]
  • Bill Paxton [Big Love]

This is a category that comes down to two people, really, with Jon Hamm just being too much of an unknown to really break through against two heavyweights. Hugh Laurie has won the award already, while Hall has been criminally unrepresented for his fantastic work on Dexter. It is my hope, and my prediction, that this is rectified by the HFPA, and hopefully it can wake up Emmy to his genius. Seriously, Emmys, James Spader? However, you just watch: the Globe will go to Bill Paxton, who isn’t wholly undeserving but still, just to spite me.

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