Sunday, September 16, 2018

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2018: The Players

Hello there! It’s been a while, I know. Working a demanding job with a 60 mile commute while managing a couple chronic health issues didn’t leave much time or energy for blogging. I now live in the same city where I work again (Hello, Charm City, I’m back!), so I’m going to try easing back into this blogging thing. What better way to get back into this than talking about one of my favorite events on the TV calendar, the Primetime Emmy Awards! The telecast will be tomorrow night on NBC, and "Saturday Night Live" stars Colin Jost and Michael Che will have hosting duties. Late Night talk show hosts are your typical Emmy host, so I’m interested to see how Jost and Che handle the telecast. I’m sure their improvisation skills will serve them well, and I hope they use their Weekend Update sensibility to bring a political bent to the telecast. Yes, I know everything seems to be politicized right now, but we’re in such a dire situation that everything needs to be politicized. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. As I do every year here, I’m going to go through a few categories and tell you who I would like to see win. It’s not a prognostication, just wishful thinking on my part.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Donald Glover (Atlanta)
Bill Hader (Barry)
Anthony Anderson (black-ish)
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)

My Pick: Donald Glover

My pick this year is the same as last year: Donald Glover for his portrayal of Earnest “Earn” Marks on FX’s “Atlanta.” I’ll admit I’m only one episode in to Atlanta Season 2 (aka “Robbin’ Season), but I think it still holds up. “Atlanta” feels like nothing else on television to me, and I think that Glover’s vision is a big part of that. I look forward to watching the continued adventures of Earn and his family and acquaintances, and I’m happy to see Glover continue to get recognition for doing innovative work and showing us all something we don’t usually see on television.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)
Issa Rae (Insecure)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

My Pick: Rachel Brosnahan

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was pretty much the deciding factor to make me finally subscribe to Amazon Prime. I really enjoyed the pilot and wanted to see what was next as Midge Maisel pursued stand-up comedy in the 1950’s. Brosnahan’s winning personality really makes the show work. You can see Midge desperately trying to be the perfect 1950’s housewife, especially as her marriage falls apart, but at the same time she has a raunchy side that comes out when she gets in front of a microphone. Brosnahan makes both parts of Midge’s personality come to life, and it is really a joy to watch.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Keri Russell (The Americans)
Claire Foy (The Crown)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

My Pick: Claire Foy

This one was tough. I had to decide between Tatiana Maslany, who did incredible work playing more characters than I can name on Orphan Black, and Claire Foy, who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II with such grace on “The Crown.” In the end, since Maslany has won an Emmy for her work on Orphan Black already, I went with Foy. Foy played the Queen on the first two seasons of The Crown – the role will be portrayed by “Broadchurch’s” Olivia Coleman. While “The Crown” has tended to go a bit too much in the direction of being all about poor, put-upon Prince Philip, I think Foy has done extraordinary work infusing the role with the dignity of the real QEII. I am still only part-way through season 2 of “The Crown,” but I still think Foy deserves to be recognized.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Matt Smith (The Crown)
Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale)

My Pick: David Harbour

The second season of “Stranger Things” was a great showcase for David Harbour, as his character, Sheriff Jim Hopper, tried to be a father figure to recently-released-science-experiment and teenage girl Eleven. Hopper and Eleven’s relationship could be tumultuous, but they really do care about each other. As Hopper lost his own daughter to cancer before the series started, the relationship he builds with Eleven is especially poignant. Harbour shows a range of emotion throughout the season as he tries and fails to keep Eleven safe. Their fights and their eventual reunion were all pretty epic.

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Silicon Valley
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: GLOW

This was yet another tough one. “Atlanta,” “GLOW,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are all shows I really enjoy. I’ve given props to actors from two out of those three shows already, though, so I’d like to give the series nod to “GLOW.” “GLOW,” which chronicles the production of a 1980 all-female wrestling show, really celebrates women. With just a couple exceptions, most of the characters are women, and the show is written by women as well. This is something we don’t commonly see on television. The relationships between the GLOW ladies, particularly stars Debbie (Betty Gilpin) and Ruth (Allison Brie), director Sam (Marc Maron, whose podcast helped keep me going during those 60 mile a day commutes I mentioned earlier), and producer Bash (Chris Lowell, of “Veronica Mars” fame) are complex. In the second season, Debbie and Ruth’s relationship is especially tested, and Gilpin and Brie both offer up fantastic performances.

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