Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmys: My Brief Thoughts

I had a bit of a crazy whirlwind weekend where, for the first time in a very long time, I wasn't online... and I somehow completely forgot the Emmys were on last night (instead last night my husband and I made a valiant attempt to get in as many episodes of Fringe as we could, since I STILL haven't caught up to the end of season 2... we ended on White Tulip, which was FANTASTIC. But anyway...)

So when I turned on my computer and saw some story on my Yahoo news page about George Clooney at the Emmys, I kinda smacked myself on the forehead and then excitedly went to the winners' page... to see that Lost had been shut out of everything. Acting, writing, directing, everything.

At first, anger. But then I realized, I think this is a good thing. Battlestar Galactica was not named Best Drama Series in any of its years. Buffy never got an acting nom, and never won a writing one. Angel was never recognized at all, and yet Alexis Denisof put in one of the performances of the decade, in my eyes. The Beatles never won Band of the Year at the Grammys, OK Computer didn't win Best Album, and Pulp Fiction didn't win Best Picture at the Oscars.

History is filled with shows, music, movies that are still remembered decades after they first appeared, and every year after their snub they are built up more and more as legendary. But awards shows are not there to recognize legends; they're there to recognize something that was good for that one year. Maybe Bryan Cranston put in a better performance than Matthew Fox (I think Fox put in the performance of a lifetime, but it didn't match Cranston's, I have to say). Perhaps many Academy members didn't like the finale of Lost or the final season or the spirituality of the ending or what have you, but as a series, that show was phenomenal. None of the other nominees will be remembered 10 years from now as being as groundbreaking as Lost was. Mad Men is brilliant, but the writing, style, and even the look of it is very much like the Sopranos. Breaking Bad is a tour de force of acting, but will people still be talking about it in 15 years? To be honest, aside from TV critics, most people aren't talking about it NOW. Aside from my very astute and well-viewed friends, not many people actually watch Breaking Bad (it doesn't air on any network in Canada). That doesn't mean it's not good (I love that show and wished everyone watched it), I'm just saying I'm not sure if people will be talking about it now.

But who knows what the future holds? All I can say is, when you look back at what we're still talking about on a regular basis now, most of those shows were entirely overlooked in their own time.

Lost got people talking and thinking, and we'll still be talking and thinking about it years from now. So I hope Lost simply accepts the lack of awardage as an honour, putting it right up there with Empire Strikes Back, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Star Trek, Supernatural, and all the other great material in pop culture that don't need awards to know they're good.

UPDATE: Just wanted to clarify that A) I love Breaking Bad (some people seem to think I'm dissing it, which I absolutely am not), and B) I don't think if you DO win an award that you're necessarily bad. That's just stupid. I didn't realize I had to come on here and reiterate my love of Mad Men (that would be like saying partway through a post, "And I LOVE Lost," like that needed saying) but let me say again that I love Mad Men. I pretty much love anything on Showtime, HBO, and AMC. Too bad about those networks, for the most part.

32 comments:

yourblindspot said...

I actively dislike awards shows and don't to pay much attention to their outcomes, any more than I used to pursue friendships based on who was popular in school. Regardless of who voted what, LOST gets the big award from me -- my favorite television show ever. There weren't even any other nominees.

Jen said...

THANKS so much Nikki, I'm feeling better about this now. I was gut-wrenchingly depressed last night, and angry. But now I can let it go. I only hope Damon and Carlton, Jack Bender, Matthew, Michael, Elizabeth, Terry, and Michael G, et al., feel the same way!

Lisa said...

I never thought a TV show would surpass Twin Peaks for me, but LOST certainly has. Once Damon and Carlton didn't win last night, I knew it would be a shut out. The other shows are just shows. LOST is epic and will stay with me forever.

Jerry Chappell said...

I was thinking about this, and it's just that there's no category that LOST fits into. And that's OKAY, because it's what we said from the beginning--this show has been unique from day 1.

It's still the best show I've ever watched, and yet even now I can't say that it had better writing/directing/acting than every other show, so it's not possible to argue with the Emmy voting results.

It was the mystery, the surprises, and the fun of watching each episode for the first time (too bad we can't go back and experience it all again for the very first time).

Marebabe said...

Way to keep things in perspective, Nikki! Very well said.

humanebean said...

My sweetheart and I watch the major awards shows regularly (exercising our scorn and derision muscles) and have always found the Emmys to be the most idiosyncratic popularity contest in the bunch. Nominees judged by solo episode entry, voters who don't necessarily watch a lot of TV and who are easily swept up in the groundswell for a show/movie separate from a more balanced estimate of its worth, etc.

I can't say that I disagree with the majority of the winners in the LOST-nominated categories. (Except Terry O'Quinn - I mean, C'MON! The guy played TWO complete characters! AND the essential qualities of a third were shown to be emerging from within one of them. He rocked. 'Nuff said.) While this season had a power and resonance of its own, IMO none of their best episodes were submitted for Academy consideration. *sigh*

Personally, I think the Hammster was gypped out of the Best Actor in a Drama award, even after submitting "The Gypsy and the Hobo" in which his amazing range and powerful acting chops were on full display. Hey, if he couldn't win for THAT performance articulating each of his two-sided persona as Betty confronted him on her discovery of his past, he may never win. Unless, of course, he's even better this year [possible but not yet] or it's a weaker category next time and they give him the "career makeup-for-past-omissions" award.

I have to disagree a smidge about "Breaking Bad", Nik. Lots more people are watching it here in the states and ALL of them seem to be talking about it, urging friends, strangers and extraterrestrial visitors to tune in. I haven't caught up yet but have to agree that what I've seen of the performances has been uniformly excellent, the writing is multi-faceted and the production values are extraordinary.

While it was a quick cult-classic, mainstream America didn't really catch on to "The Sopranos" until a bit later and its style and tone indeed proved to be ground-breakers for TV. Certainly, "Breaking Bad" likely wouldn't have gotten made if it weren't for "Sopranos" redefining what people would watch/tolerate/root for in a bunch of anti-heroes on TV. While I prefer "Mad Men" in all of its colorizations and deft management of humor and pathos, I can't say unequivocally that the lead performances are better without a fuller basis for comparison. "Breaking Bad", while fleshed out with an excellent supporting cast, doesn't have quite the ensemble that "Mad Men" boasts.

Still ... NO LOST love?? Good thing I've got me some DVD's to watch ...

David Kociemba said...

Yet the Emmys did take the time to salute a mass-murdering anti-disability bigot like ex-doctor Kevorkian and give an award to a very misleading and manipulative HBO biopic of his life. As I've been writing about on my Facebook wall, this explains a great deal as to why the industry doesn't hire actors with disabilities.

Jazzygirl said...

I'm still grumbling and pouting. My one word for last night was "ROBBED". I feel a teensy bit better after reading your post, Nikki, but I still think they got shafted. Last night, I kept checking your for tweets from you all through the show and when there was nothing, I felt like I had NO ONE to commiserate with. To add insult to injury, my boyfriend kept crooning that Lost would not win a thing because it's done now and it's no one's thinking about it anymore. Yup, you can only imagine the teeth grinding that was going on with that comment. In order to avoid bodily harm, I just said "shut up, you don't know what you're talking about".
Anyway, I really felt Bender should have won. I mean c'mon.

Fred said...

What gets remembered in the years ahead and win tons of Emmys? Answer: programs with a great theme song.

Who doesn't know about Green Acres, Gilligan's Island, Hawaii 5-O, The Munsters, and Mission Impossible. See, all LOST needed was a theme song, something snappy with a memorable melody and some crazy lyrics. Who knows, maybe a theme song might have endeared LOST to the Emmy's voters. Carlton and Lindelof, here's a shout out, next time get Giacchino to write a snappy theme song.

shobiz said...

Great post, Nikki. It makes me sad to see that some LOST fans were so upset that it didn't win anything at something so Hollywood-phony, insider-political and fickle as the Emmys. No one should ever feel "gut-wrenchingly depressed" about something like this. I admit, I hoped to at least see O'Quinn or Emerson get a statue. But despite being one of the best TV shows in history, and IMO a superior show for every one of its six seasons, I didn't think LOST had much of a chance this year, and here's why:

By the time LOST made it to its sixth season, I have to assume that, like a big chunk of LOST's early audience, a lot of Emmy voters had long since stopped watching. LOST's buzz was once like Glee's is now, but that was about five years ago, and Hollywood has a very short memory (e.g.: they're already rebooting Spider-man, and one of this year's new shows is yet another La Femme Nikita update, etc.).

Also, Emmy voters are busy working in the TV industry, and don't have the time to watch TV shows with the same obsession as we in fandom do. And we all know that LOST requires careful viewing and close attention to detail in order to fully appreciate it. Most Emmy voters will have seen only a screener for the one episode submitted in each category. In LOST's case, that means "The Substitute," for Terry O'Quinn, "Dr. Linus" for Michael Emerson, and "The End" for Darlton. If you were the average Emmy voter, probably a casual LOST viewer at best, having seen only a few hours of LOST over the past three years, and you were asked to evaluate what's going on in any of those episodes, could you give it a fair assessment? To appreciate O'Quinn's dual performance as Sideways-Locke/Smokey alone, you'd have to have watched most of season 5 and, at minimum, the premiere ep of season 6. (And to understand most of season 5, you’d have had to watch a lot of season 4, and… you get the idea.) This also assumes that every Emmy voter watched every screener and didn’t allow any personal bias or conflict of interest to affect their votes (yeah, right).

The "best drama" award is equally absurd in the case of a show like LOST. Imagine judging a great novel based only on a single chapter. Emmy voters prefer shows they can understand in single episode chunks. That's the only reason I can come up with for why ‘Monk’ still gets nominated.

So, don't feel bad for LOST. I agree with Nikki -- this show will be remembered and praised for a long time to come. Not winning big at the Emmys is actually a tribute to LOST's sweeping scope and vision. When we're talking about it decades from now, there will be no doubt it survived because it succeeds as a complete epic, not in terms of seasonal buzz-worthiness or because it won awards for a few memorable episodic fragments. Its artistic legacy is that it was consistently good from its first moment to its last. Fleeting, fluffy awards shows be damned.

shobiz said...

I should clarify that I realize 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' (both excellent shows I enjoy, especially 'Breaking Bad') are not shows one can fully appreciate in "single episode chunks." However, those shows do not have LOST's supernatural/mythological elements, which only became more pronounced than ever in season 6. When it comes to evaluating the acting and writing of any given episode, I still think those AMC shows are easier for the average Emmy voter to get their head around. I maintain that LOST's lack of Emmy love is due to the fact that you have to go down the rabbit hole all the way to get it.

LRTFaraday said...

I loved watching the Emmy awards and though they didn't win anything last night, they did take home one Emmy last weekend (editing)and I would have felt far far worse had they not been nominated. 12 nominations is huge for a final season and reason for them to get together and celebrate one last time!

Seeing Jorge Garcia dancing in the opening number was fantastic, and the goodbye tribute to Lost by Green Day was hilarious!!
To the tune of "time of your life"
...."the island it was spirtual but in the end they died, I didn't understand it but I tried"

Darlton must have been splitting their guts laughing!!

Squiggy said...

I think if Lost had not won awards for past seasons it would be bad, but they've got their Emmys. It's not like Lord of the rings where they waited until the last installment to give them any awards.

Plus the last season was probably as "polarizing" (I hate that cliche) to voters as any other fans.

Shelb said...

Breaking Bad airs on AMC in Canada. Why wouldn't it?

paleoblues said...

Congrats to Jim Parsons, Modern Family and Jimmy Fallon for channeling Bruce.

JS said...

Agreed. I was upset, but you are right, it is kind of an honor. I feel bad for the actors. But, hey, ET didn't win anything either, and I remember it all.

Let's put it this way - I will not be buying Breaking Bad DVD's.

Nikki Stafford said...

Shelb: You're right about Breaking Bad...it's now available on AMC in Canada, but very few people get it. And in fact, up until about 2 months ago, it was only Rogers subscribers who had it available to them at all. Bell only recently added the channel to their available line-up. I'm not sure about other providers. Season 3 aired on it, but not Seasons 1 and 2.

But I really hope no one thought I was dissing Breaking Bad. Because I DO think Bryan Cranston's performance was better than Matthew Fox's (I say as much in my post) and that the show is one of the best things on TV, along with Sons of Anarchy (which does NOT air in Canada unless you get a Superchannel), Mad Men, and most of the cable stuff. Lost was by far the best of the network offerings, but cable is where it's at right now.

But I don't want anyone to NOT watch Mad Men or Breaking Bad, because you're missing out on some incredible TV if you aren't.

leor said...

as much as i am a huge fan of lost, and not particularly a fan of awards shows, i have to disagree somewhat with your thoughts. while it would have been great to see some awards for LOST, and you are absolutely correct about some classic snubs (one that you didn't mention was THE WIRE, which despite 5 brilliant seasons, has ZERO emmys to its credit), your bias is clouding your judgment somewhat.

we have no idea what people will be talking about ten years from now, and either way, it's irrelevant to the awards show, unless the award is for "show from 10 years ago that people are still talking about", or some kind of lifetime achievement award. the award show is about honouring the best of right now (well, the past year), which of course is always debatable itself. and i never agree with simply giving awards to a particular show just because it was its last season.

among the general public, the final season of LOST (and for that matter, just about any season of LOST) was very divisive. the ending tainted the show for some people (yours truly not included).

this was a great year for TV and i would have been happy to see any of MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, or LOST to win (i don't watch the others so i can't comment on their quality), and in the acting category, Bryan Cranston, Matthew Fox, Jon Hamm, and Hugh Laurie (again, counting just the actors whose shows i watch) all had incredible seasons, and it was a VERY difficult award to predict.

i think the producer from THE DAILY SHOW had the best line of the night when he said about beating the other contenders in the category that "it's tough to feel bad. we work really hard". and i think that's true for every category.

Nikki Stafford said...

leor: Good to see you on here again!!

I don't think I'm biased -- all of the shows you just mentioned happen to be among my favourite shows, and I talk about them all the time on here (anyone who reads this blog regularly knows the love I have for them, and I didn't think I needed to reiterate that in my post). What I was saying was that if you look at the shows from 10 or 20 years ago that we're still watching, many of them didn't win any awards. The Wire is an excellent example of a show that was consistently shut out. Do you honestly think no one will be talking about The Wire 10 years from now?

I mentioned Buffy, and if you go and check the dates on it, it's been 13 years since it premiered. But we're still talking about it. I wasn't actually talking about the future as much as what is seen as a classic now -- Pulp Fiction -- as opposed to what was awarded that year.

That's what I meant.

leor said...

hey nikki, yeah i'm still around and kicking, just not commenting much :)

and i absolutely didn't mean to imply that you don't love any of those other shows, and certainly didn't mean to imply that we won't still be talking about THE WIRE in ten years (interesting point about THE WIRE is that its audience seems to have grown since it went off the air…it never got great ratings, but buzz has built up for it over the years to the point that people now play catch up…i did that a couple of years back, myself).

but let's be honest…you and your readers may still talk about BUFFY, but i'm not sure that it's still in the general public's pop culture lexicon. i do agree that it is extremely likely that LOST will continue to merit discussion and re-watching/finding new viewers as time goes on, but to me that's still not quite the point of the awards in question. of course, bringing up classic films like PULP FICTION (or perhaps the most robbed ever, CITIZEN KANE) is a valid point, but hindsight is 20/20, and voters at the time disagreed for whatever reason.

your reference to PULP FICTION made me have to check IMDB for the Oscars that year. the nominees for best picture were FORREST GUMP (overrated, IMHO), PULP FICTION, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, QUIZ SHOW, and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. that's a pretty solid group right there, and sometimes there is no clear winner, but it just comes down to how the votes split.

sorry if i've rambled off the original topic! haha! always fun to dialogue and debate, though. that's what this series of tubes is for, right? :)

LoyallyLOST said...

You do make some good points! I just don't think the kid from Breaking Bad could have, in a million years, outacted & outshined Ben & Locke! No one can make me believe that.
I honestly don't watch Breaking Bad. Don't like Brian Cranston. Never have. But, I have watched a bit, here & there, of Mad Men. Very slick. I guess if a show had to beat out LOST, it should be them. I guess.
Still, it's hard to justify any reason for LOST being shutout. It just doesn't make sense that they walked away completely empty handed. Isn't this the start of awards season? Isn't there still the Golden Globes & People's Choice?
I guess if you are in this industry only for the accolades, you are in it for the wrong reasons. You should be in it for the love of what you do. The awards should be a great little fringe benefit.
I just don't see why Burn Notice wasn't nominated for anything! 'Nothing turns a woman on more than something that goes boom'! LOVE it! That is a great show!
Yes, LOST will 'live in imfamy', for SURE! I can't even begin to remember some of the shows that have come & gone in the last six years. Even those I was upset about being cancelled! But, I will never forget LOST!
I just hope everyone connected with LOST knows how much we treasure them & how we will always hold this show dear to our hearts!
I think they know. I think they are holding a special place in their hearts for us.

LoyallyLOST said...

This is what I love about this blog! We all have our opinions & no one gets offended or mad at each other! Makes me all teary eyed!
I didn't know they won for editing. Well, good!
Yes, there are pros & cons for not winning. They WERE recognized & that is SOMEthing, I guess.
THANK you LRTFaraday!~I couldn't figure out who Fallon was trying to emulate there! THAT was really good!
The opening was a hoot! I loved that they used Jorge! He was really good! Did anyone see his interview with Chris Harrison on the TVGuide channel before the Emmy's? He is really sad to leave Hawaii & I don't blame him! They were left alone while they were there. The locals(I learned this on the LOST Legends Tour)don't rush them asking for their autographs or Kodak moments.(Me? I would have quietly done that!)They don't brag about having anything to do with the show as extras, locations shots, etc. Also, I found out that, thru the interview, London is doing a complete showing of LOST, from beginning to end. You bring your sleeping bags, etc. Jorge said that that was crazy. You need to take a break to let it digest. Chris Harrison said that by the time you finished all 80 hours, you would be seeing your own polar bears & smoke monsters! I laughed my fat little hiney off!
So, I guess I now have mixed emotions about last night. No one nominated really 'lost'(pardon the pun!). They WERE recognized for their phenominal work! A whopping 13 Emmy nods! AMAZING! (1+3=4!)I believe that is the most behind Glee & Mad Men. Awesome! Not bad for your last year!

Terri said...

It's kinda sad cause in Adam B. Vary's column today about the behind the scenes at the Emmy's, he said that Damon and Carton et al. were all very saddened by the Lost Farewell song.
"...the Lost peeps did have a visible reaction to Jimmy’s gentle lyrical tease about not quite understanding the show’s finale. But as it was becoming increasingly clear that Lost was headed to goose egg city, that reaction — from director Jack Bender, Abrams, Lindelof, Burk, even the unflappably affable Cuse — was one of uniform stone faces and crumpled postures."
:(

Suzanne said...

I just to support Nikki's point that Buffy is still remembered. I never watched the show when it aired but my husband, son, and I just watched all seven seasons in the last year! We adored it! Now that it is shown on Hulu and Netflix, a whole new audience can experience it. I also noticed all of the DVD sets available at SAM's club last Christmas. Of course, I bought them all! I think Lost will be remembered in a decade, too. I envy those who will experience it for the first time.

JS said...

@Terri - I actually did cringe a bit when he sang that. I thought he was a big fan, and as a big fan, wouldn't take the casual fan viewpoint.

Darlton answered the "what is the worst note you got from the execs" and they choose to speak about the 6 vs. 4 toes, and I thought they should have mentioned the guns versus fist fights, since more people could have related to that. But maybe they aren't trying to get people to warm up to them. IDK

leor said...

@LoyallyLOST you're right, it would be impossible to convince you that Aaron Paul outacted/outshone Ben/Locke, because you yourself admit to never having seen BREAKING BAD. my nitpick with your critique is that, despite not having seen "the kid" act, you're biased against him. but believe me when i say he did a PHENOMENAL job this past season on BB, and truly deserved the award (i'm not saying he deserved it more than anyone else, but just that it was a fair win...unlike, say Jon Cryer in previous years in the comedy section!)

i remember two years ago, when Bryan Cranston won his first Emmy for BB, i hadn't seen the show, and was so surprised at the win. and again last year. but then i actually caught up on all 3 seasons earlier this summer, and discovered why. so now, despite wanting Jon Hamm to get one at some point, i have no problems with the academy continually awarding Cranston for his performances.

but i also totally agree with the point made by Nikki and several posters here that awards aren't everything :)

Anonymous said...

I can almost taste the grapes beginning to sour.

Rufus said...

There just isn't enough awards to go around for the deserving actors and shows out there. It could be worse, lots of awards with nothing but crap to honour. Every actor who got an Emmy deserved it. Cranston won't be in the running for emmy 4 as the show won't start until July. I'm so glad that there are shows who will ease my pain of Lost being over.

I'm a lucky Canadian who just got amc on cable so I'll be watching Mad Men on my tv instead of my netbook.

Rufus said...

There just isn't enough awards to go around for the deserving actors and shows out there. It could be worse, lots of awards with nothing but crap to honour. Every actor who got an Emmy deserved it. Cranston won't be in the running for emmy 4 as the show won't start until July. I'm so glad that there are shows who will ease my pain of Lost being over.

I'm a lucky Canadian who just got amc on cable so I'll be watching Mad Men on my tv instead of my netbook.

LT McDi said...

A couple of points.

I posted this someplace else but I think it bears repeating...
somebody name me the show that won Best Drama the year Joss Wedon penned and directed "Hush" without having to resort to google. I'm sure there's a handful of you but that's it.
There's stuff that earns the awards "in the moment" and then there's what lasts. I don't think two and three months post finale of The West Wing (wonderful as it was) there was still discussion about what it all meant.
I also think the Emmy award itself has a problem. How does anyone judge the season of any show based on one or two episodes.
You don't choose the Oscar by just watching 10 minutes of a nominated movie or pick a grammy based on three seconds of a nominated song but basically that's what the Emmys do with most nominated programming.
Lost won an Emmy the first season out...a lot of wonderful shows never got recognized at all by the Emmys.
And judging by the DVD sales....it will be around for a long time.

Loretta said...

I'm so behind the times on commenting on this, but just have to make one point (okay, maybe two).

I think that you're correct in saying that, yes, we can't predict what people are going to be talking about in 10 years. That being said, the age of the DVD (and Netflix, and streaming media) is here to stay, and consuming media is only going to get easier, not harder, over the next decade. So I'd say all of the great shows of the past decade will actually only continue to get more popular as time passes.

For example, no one I know talked about "The Wire" in 2005. Now, in 2010, tons of my friends have seen it, and most of them (including myself) only caught up with the series after it ended, usually via Netflix (though I got so impatient waiting for the next discs to come, I ended up just buying the series). At the time that it aired, despite all the critical praise, "The Wire" was barely a blip on the average viewer's radar. I almost think of it as the work of one of those famous painters (Van Gogh for example) who were never famous in their lifetime, but were revered after death. "The Wire" is already getting that kind of eminence, slowly but surely, and though I can't predict it, I could see "Breaking Bad" viewed in the same way--perhaps not as a grounbreaking series but (deservedly so) as an acting tour-de-force (and I LOVED Lost, but I thought Aaron Paul gave the performance of the season, in any category, comedy/drama/actor/actress/guest/whatever).

Sorry if that was a tad long and rambling, but my point is that I don't see "Breaking Bad," or "Mad Men," as being the kind of disposable TV as something like, say, "Bones" for example (a show I enjoy, but one that will surely be forgotten quickly). So-called "cult" shows do tend to get the more fervent fan base--I don't predict any Mad Men conventions in the future--but I'm certain message boards and the like will continue to exist and be populated by fans looking to talk about a subtle moment they *just* noticed on their fifth reviewing.

All that being said, oddly enough, I felt the win for the third season was a tad undeserved--it's a great show, but that was probably the most uneven season to-date. The fourth has been excellent. In my (probably not-so-humble) opinion, the best show statue should have gone to Breaking Bad this season, even with part of me wanting the sentimental nod to go to Lost, but then I haven't been that quiet about the sixth season not being my favorite.

I would have supported Lost getting a writing win though, for The End.

LT McDi said...

The Wire ran from 2002 to 2008. That it caught on with more people in between those two dates is great but not an example of a show lasting in the way Star Trek or Buffy have.
IMO...a tv show that "lasts" has to be acquiring viewers long after they've gone off the air.
DVD and Netflex...well one still has to want to access those forms of media. Syndication runs of old tv shows which was how Star Trek introduced itself to new audiences long before DVDs showed up.

So really...again...there's no predicting what show will still be talked about 15 years from now.