The TV Gazette #2: Emmy predictions, fall premieres, and more

Welcome to the second edition of the TV Gazette!

The TV Gazette is a concept that I’m trialling: a weekly bulletin where I’ll round up anything interesting I’ve watched this week and what I’m looking forward to next week. The length of the post will depend on what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up, but I should be able to put something down every week.

This week’s post goes up just before the Emmy award ceremony, but fear not, as I will be covering the award winners in a separate post in the next few days.

So, what happened in the past week?

Emmy predictions

TV critics around the web are publishing their predictions for the Emmys this weekend, and the common thread in their analyses is that this year’s results may be less predictable than the previous years.

As Alan Sepinwall points out in his predictions post:

At least in previous years, the brave prognosticator could at least lean on the knowledge that the voters in each category have actually watched the submitted episode or episodes, and try to make decisions accordingly…

This year, though, the rules are literally different. The TV Academy expanded the voting pool beyond the traditional blue-ribbon panel concept to allow virtually the entire membership to vote in everyone’s respective categories. Everyone is still technically supposed to watch the submissions, but it’s now done entirely on the honor’s system.

Todd VanDerWerff has this to say in his post here:

The new system, then, tosses all of that out the window. That could lead to some happy occurrences — I think it’s much more likely Jon Hamm finally wins an award for “Mad Men” under this new, more populist system than the old one that tended to prefer showier performances — but it could also lead to voters simply checking off the names of shows in category after category, as happens at the Oscars (another award show where the system to police whether voters have seen every film is spotty/nonexistent).

With this new voting process in mind, Sepinwall makes some daring predictions, tipping Game of Thrones to win Best Drama, Lena Headey to win Best Supporting Actress (Drama) and Ben Mendelsohn for Best Supporting Actor (Drama). I’m sticking to my picks, but we’ll see who wins what come Sunday.

For brevity, here’s a summary of my Emmy predictions:

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men
Outstanding Comedy Series: Transparent
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jon Hamm
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeffrey Tambor
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Christina Hendricks

Now, onto a definite winner…

Margo Martindale, double Emmy winner

It’s official: Margo Martindale is a multi-Emmy winner. The character actress took home an Emmy during the Creative Arts Emmys awards ceremony for her guest performance as Claudia on The Americans, adding to her 2011 award for playing Mags Bennett on Justified.

“I’m so happy to be part of the show [The Americans] and honored to be on the show,” she said backstage, as quoted in Deadline. “It’s ridiculous that everybody else isn’t nominated and winning awards. It’s just the greatest show.”

Martindale seems to have found her niche playing steely, cunning characters, and she deserves this win fully. Meanwhile, this is the first Emmy win for The Americans – I’m hoping for more to come.

 “Talk Salads and Scrambled Eggs”

The legendary comedy Frasier debuted on 16 September 1993, almost exactly 23 years ago. It’s a good time as any to bring up a podcast discussing this very show, titled “Talk Salads and Scrambled Eggs (Frasier reconsidered with Matt Mira and Kevin Smith)”.

Unwieldy title aside, the initial episode (which I linked to) is a great introduction for anyone new to Frasier. Mira and Smith are huge fans of Frasier, and they plan to cover two episodes of the show per podcast episode. Watch out (or keep listening) for subsequent episodes, which feature Ken Levine (one of the show’s writers) and Peri Gilpin (who was part of the main cast) as guests.

And here’s what’s coming up next week…

Fall premieres

Next week, we’ll see a wave of premieres as the fall season starts. And what better premiere to start with than the irresistible Empire? The smash hit returns for its second season, and surely we can expect more twists, more groove and more sass this time round.

Another second-season premiere: Fresh Off the Boat returns, hoping to build on a solid first season. Watch out for Constance Wu, who was easily the star of the show instead of the higher-profile Randall Park.

Onto reality shows: The Voice returns for its ninth season. The show seems to be heading into its inevitable slow slide into staleness unless the format is changed up somehow, and I doubt that. But the show can still count on its effortless chemistry between its judges, and of course, the music.

What’s nine seasons compared to thirty-one? Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance features 20 returning contestants who were picked by a public vote for the first time ever. Expect familiar faces all around, and a higher standard of gameplay? We can hope.

Finally, Downton Abbey is coming to an end with its sixth season. It’s time to say goodbye to the staff and family of the Crawley household, and I also hope that the final episodes will provide some much-needed momentum to a show that often dithered in its recent seasons.

The back page

And that’s the end of the TV Gazette!

  • A few days ago, I wrote a short introduction to Survivor here.
  • If you want to catch up with Empire, I reviewed the first season here.
  • Check out the first TV Gazette here.

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