Sunday, December 26, 2010

TV TALK BEST OF 2010 – NOMINEES

Happy Holidays to you all! As another year ends, I select the best of television in the year gone by. This list is special, as it gives credit to a lot of people and shows that don’t get their due at all the big awards, and I know that many of you will be more familiar with these shows than those. Read on, and let me know what you liked most on television during 2010

As the year comes to an end, I look back at all that I’ve watched on television, and I can safely say that television has had a major role to play in my life this year. Besides having started TV TALK, I also started watching a few extraordinary shows, and a few that may not have been extraordinary, but have touched me at some level. I started watching House MD, which exceeded every expectation I had from the show, and it showed me what a fantastic actor Hugh Laurie is. I also started Modern Family, which has certainly broken new ground in comedy, with fabulous writing. I saw a major part of Dexter’s last few seasons, and the thriller had me hooked and gripped throughout. And then there was Glee, which was just such a feel-good show, with music that always lifts my spirits.

It was the year Ugly Betty came to an end, which was bittersweet, and it was also the year Damages outdid itself in ways no one could have thought was possible. While Brothers & Sisters saw new levels of intensity, another family drama Parenthood had me in awe of how well every aspect of families and relationships could be portrayed on screen. I also started watching a few rather entertaining crime shows like Castle and White Collar, and I even began watching the very interesting Mad Men, which I’d wanted to do ever since the show started sweeping away every TV award that exists.

Over and above all of that, my favourite shows—Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, which I’ve grown with, over the last six-plus years, had me falling in love with them all over again. It’s been a great year for television, so I wanted to pick out the best of everything that matters to me in a show. I decided to do it with nominees and all, because I feel that even those shows and performances that come close to being the best deserve some mention here. 


So here are my nominees for the TV TALK BEST OF 2010...

Best Series – Drama
Brothers & Sisters
Damages
Desperate Housewives
Dexter
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD

Best Series – Musical or Comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
How I Met Your Mother
Modern Family
Ugly Betty

Performance by an Actress in A Leading Role – Drama
Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Glenn Close, Damages
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters

Performance by an Actor in A Leading Role – Drama
Hugh Laurie, House MD
John Hamm, Mad Men
Michael C Hall, Dexter
Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy
Peter Krause, Parenthood

Performance by an Actress in A Leading Role – Musical or Comedy
America Ferreira, Ugly Betty
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Lea Michele, Glee

Performance by an Actor in A Leading Role – Musical or Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Drea de Matteo, Desperate Housewives
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Lisa Edelstein, House MD
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama
Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl
James Pickens Jr, Grey’s Anatomy
Johnny Lee Miller, Dexter
Justin Chambers, Grey’s Anatomy
Matthew Rhys, Brothers & Sisters
Omar Epps, House MD

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy
Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother
Becki Newton, Ugly Betty
Jane Lynch, Glee
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy
Chris Colfer, Glee
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Fergusson, Modern Family
Michael Urie, Ugly Betty
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother

Writing – Storylines & Dialogues
Damages
Desperate Housewives
Dexter
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD
Modern Family

Character Development
Damages
Dexter
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD

Art Direction
Desperate Housewives
Dexter
Gossip Girl
Mad Men
Modern Family

Costume Design
Desperate Housewives
Glee
Gossip Girl
Mad Men
Ugly Betty

Make-up
Damages
Dexter
Glee
Grey’s Anatomy
House MD
Mad Men

Music – Background Score
Desperate Housewives
Dexter
Glee
House MD
Ugly Betty

Music – Compilation
Brothers & Sisters
Glee
Gossip Girl
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice

Titles – Opening & Closing Credits
Damages
Dexter
House MD
How I Met Your Mother
Mad Men

Please feel free to copy and paste the list in a comment, with only your picks in each category. If you just want to vote for the main categories, you can do so in the polls alongside. Either way, I’d love to know what you guys think, so I look forward to your comments. And before I go, I’d like to wish you all the best for 2011!

The TV TALK BEST OF 2010 will be declared soon (watch this space)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

AWARD FEVER!!

The Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees this week. Here’s what I thought of them. Do let me know what you think

So Award Season 2010-11 has begun! The 68th annual Golden Globe Awards and 17th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards nominees were announced on December 14 and 16, respectively. Even though there weren’t too many surprises, the Globes seem to have become a little adventurous, nominating people they hadn’t before, while the SAGs stuck with several former nominees, however, neglecting to recognise a few brilliant performances. One of the greatest challenges that the SAG faces is that they don’t have supporting cast categories in primetime television, therefore, they end up not doing justice in their nominees, trying to squeeze all the right performances in a list just five nominees in the limited categories. And now, let’s break down the categories...

Series/Ensemble Cast—Drama and Comedy
With three Globe wins, two SAG wins and victory at the Emmys earlier this year, Mad Men is probably going to take away the awards in the Drama categories this year as well. As mentioned here before, the show is highly overrated. While it is very well made, does the jury not consider the content before deciding on Best Series? And even though the performances of the Ensemble are quite intense, none of them make any real powerful impact. I can only hope that the show doesn’t win yet again; for whatever they are worth, they’ve had their share of victory. While I’d give the awards to Dexter, I feel that in case Mad Men doesn’t win, this year, we might see Boardwalk Empire or The Good Wife taking it away.

30 Rock, another overrated show has won too many awards in these categories. Thankfully, Glee broke that pattern last year at the Globes and SAGs, and I even thought they would walk away with the Emmy. Unfortunately for them, before they could see an Emmy win, Modern Family outshone them, and rightfully so. While Glee is rather entertaining, and well made, owing to the fabulous, well-compiled music, Modern Family is the smarter and more superior show. Besides, the second season has proven to be disappointing; in comparison to the first season and the magic it created. So I’d say that Modern Family deserves to win at least the Globe. But Glee does have some fantastic performances (thanks to the singing and dancing), from the cast as a whole, so I’d probably give them the SAG ensemble.

Actress—Drama/Comedy
Here’s an area where the Globes have disappointed me, by not nominating Glenn Close for Damages. She may have won before, but she still deserves to be nominated every year, till the show ends! The SAGs have recognised her though, and I hope they give it to her. I think they might just, because they’re sometimes better at awarding the right people, having honoured the very deserving Sally Field for Brothers & Sisters two years ago. However, with Julianna Margulies’ Globe-and-SAG victory last year for The Good Wife, she stands a greater chance, or maybe they’ll recognise the latest Emmy winner, Kyra Sedgwick’s work in The Closer. Of course, I’d want the SAGs to at least consider Mariska Hargitay for her work in Law & Order – Special Victims Unit, but sadly, as always, she’ll probably just remain a nominee.

Where it comes to actresses in the SAGs, they face a real challenge having no categories for supporting cast. Fine actresses like Jane Lynch (Glee) and Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) might not stand a chance against the award hog Tina Fey (30 Rock), and the latest Emmy winner Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie). Betty White’s nomination for Hot in Cleveland really seems like a forced courtesy extended to the senior actress (they already gave her the special achievement award last year!), depriving some more deserving women of a chance to win! The Globes, might honour the fabulous Toni Collette (United States of Tara) again, but Fey and Falco will provide stiff competition!

Actor—Drama/Comedy
In Drama, I’d definitely want to give it to Hugh Laurie, for the way he’s brilliantly portrayed his character development in House MD, this year, but since he’s already won several times at the Globes and SAGs, I don’t think they’ll give it to him. Last year’s Globe-and-SAG winner Michael C Hall (Dexter) does stand a chance, but given Bryan Cranston’s heavily acclaimed and Emmy-winning performance in Breaking Bad, I think he’ll sweep both this year. Whatever the result, I’m quite sure that John Hamm (Mad Men) doesn’t stand a chance this year!

This is where the SAGs have really missed out on getting it right! While I agree that Chris Colfer (Glee) and Ty Burrell (Modern Family) deserve the nods, and while Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Steve Carell (The Office) being nominated is no surprise, Ed O’Neil (Modern Family) certainly doesn’t deserve to be among these performers, especially since Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) have been completely ignored! So I wouldn’t be surprised if SAG gives it to Alec Baldwin again (sadly, a fifth consecutive time)! On the other hand, it would be disappointing if the Globes make the same blunder, after giving Parsons his deserved nomination. I hope he wins, like he did the Emmy this year.

Supporting Cast (Globes only)
The Globes generally love giving the supporting awards to performances in mini-series and TV-movies, but this year, there are definitely two very strong contenders from mainstream TV—Jane Lynch and Eric Stonestreet.

Of course, the Emmy went to Lynch, hands down, but that was probably because they can afford to, given that they have separate supporting cast categories for drama and comedy. The Globes, on the other hand, are slightly partial to drama (maybe because they try so hard to be like the Oscars), so I think Hope Davis (The Special Relationship) and Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) might be strongly considered as well. I wouldn’t be surprised, and I certainly wouldn’t mind, if they gave it to the brilliant Julia Stiles for Dexter, as they did honour John Lithgow last year for his work on the show. A surprise win would be Sofia Vergara, but it’d still be a deserving win.

There hasn’t been any real pattern in the supporting actor category at the Globes these last few years, so the chances of any of the performers is quite strong. Since I haven’t seen any of the drama performances, I can only comment on the comedy. Chris Colfer being nominated is fine, but I seriously think his performances are a little overdone, hence, I think Eric Stonestreet deserves it, hands down! 

So that’s what I thought of the Globe and SAG’s TV nominees. For me, this is the most exciting time of the year. Besides winter being my favourite season, I get to enjoy all the awards fever that goes around... So pass on the fever, and share your views here, ’cause I’d love to know what you think of the nominees.

To see the complete lists of nominees, click the links below:

(Coming Soon: The TV TALK Best of 2010 List)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

THE THING ABOUT DAMAGES

Season 3 of Damages further solidifies its position as one of the best dramas on television. Read on



The thing about Damages is that it’s the one show that has no flaws; nothing that is not plausible, nothing that is unreal. That’s what makes it brilliant. The writing is fantastic and clever. It stays completely true to its genre, i.e. a legal thriller. The first season put the show on the map of quality television. It has always been an underrated show, and definitely not spoken about or written about enough. This show is one that deserves all the critical acclaim that it gets, and certainly deserves the awards that it receives. I would like to see it winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama, a category that has been swept by an overrated show like Mad Men these last few years. However, Glenn Close winning Emmys and a Golden Globe for Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama is good consolation for that, because she hits the nail on the head with her portrayal of the ruthless Patty Hewes. The character is so complex, with so many shades, and only a brilliant performer like Glenn Close could have done justice to it. On the other hand, Rose Byrne is equally exceptional, while playing the wronged Ellen Parsons, who then grows stronger, and learns to stand up to Patty. That brings me to S3.

To say it in one sentence, it was the best season of the show yet! We can’t really take away from the brilliance of S1, which had the Frobisher case as the backdrop. That was indeed fantastic, especially since it was the season when Byrne’s character enters the big bad world of Patty Hewes and her cases. However, this season brought out sides to the characters that had not been revealed earlier. And as long as the complicated and twisted Arthur Frobisher is still around, I’m certainly loving it, especially after a rather lukewarm S2.  

It was unfortunate to see Tom Shayes die, since Tate Donovan was such an effective actor in the role, really matured since his earlier days of acting. Your heart had to go out to him seeing him suffer because of others’ mistakes, and because of the way Patty treated him. His end was tragic and brutal. It kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the season, as they make that revelation right in the beginning, thanks to the enticing format of flash forwards of the season finale throughout. Now right from the beginning of the season, it was thrilling to just see Ellen working at the District Attorney’s office and the friction that that brought about between her and Patty. It was so poetic, even though it came only in small doses. Later, when they team up to fight the Tobins, seeing Ellen and Patty on the same level, with Ellen looking her in the eye and being upfront with her, is something that we’ve all been waiting for since S1. When Ellen tells Tom to let her take the blame for his indiscretions, in front of Patty, and says, “What’s she going to do? Fire me?” it was just so exciting!

As for the case, the Tobin case was simple, but complex, with so many levels and so much opportunity to dig out dirt and drama from the family concerned. Campbell Scott did a phenomenal job as Joe Tobin, who got dragged into a financial and lethal mess of betrayal, left by his father. Other actors this season, like Lily Tomlin and Martin Short also played a big role in ensuring a strong cast. The secrets within the family and the lies and betrayal revealed one after the other, ensured that I was hooked till the end. Almost every episode had some deadly cliffhanger, even with the main cast. When patty’s relationship with her son reaches another low, it brings out their darkest sides. Ellen grows stronger as a character, as she makes peace with her past losses. Tom deals with a deteriorating marriage, with financial problems, and Arthur is in a conflict between his past and present, fighting his dark side. Eventually, a lot of things go wrong, and the writers have left us in the lurch, more than at the end of S2, with a shocking end to a phenomenal season. Will Patty and her son call a truce? Will Arthur’s arrest make him the focus of S4? Will Ellen come back and work with Patty? These are all the questions that I’m waiting to get answers for!

It’s a pity that FX had to give the show up because of poor ratings. But the good thing is that DirecTV has made a deal with Sony to buy two more seasons that they will exclusively air starting January 5, 2011. Just a month to go, and I cannot wait for it to come! I’m just thrilled that this show won’t die for another two years at least!