“Television’s Biggest Day!” is this weekend when NBC airs the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at 5 PM pacific time Sunday. Hosted by the energetic and mostly inoffensive Jimmy Fallon, this show, with far too many categories and awards, is great to speed through after recording on your DVR.
Despite the best efforts to “reinvent” these award shows every year, they more or less stay the same – void of any real surprise or magic. Plus, most winners don’t know how to deliver a proper acceptance speech. Winners act shocked while rattling off a list of names that would be better served with a phone call or letter – completely ignoring the millions in the audience they are addressing.
Fallon does offer the promise of some real fun. Still, with so many awards to slog through, his opportunity to serve his particularly appealing brand of zaniness will be limited.
The buzz this year is all around Glee. This Fox summer replacement for American Idol turned-prime-time series of high schoolers who “mash-up” various popular songs is nothing short of a phenomenon. Downloads for cast renditions of Madonna, Queen, Journey, and Lady Gaga hits now outsell everything from American Idol on iTunes.
Glee represents a real shot in the arm for the music business and music as entertainment as audiences rediscover the wholesome joys of well-executed song and dance numbers. Glee is the most critical TV going, hands down for the music business. Plus, star Leah Michele can sing as well as anyone working in music.
Glee is more than just a show of musical numbers. However, it is a comedy and a relatively weak one at that. Outside of Jane Lynch’s turn as snarky sweatsuit-wearing-cheer-coach Sue Sylvester – the rest of the show is a little too smug and not as funny or clever as Modern Family or last year’s Seinfeld-reunion-arc Curb Your Enthusiasm – both far better comedies.
Despite these weaknesses, this is Glee’s moment, and I suspect I will be the night’s big winner (if the Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards wins are any indications). This will be a good thing for Glee as the grind of staging new numbers each week that outperforms the weeks previous might be too much for Glee to sustain. The novelty might wear off. This year is the show’s moment, and I suspect it will win wherever it is nominated.
On the drama front, things are not as clear. Indeed, The Pacific will win for best mini-series, but other than that, the competition is too close to call in the drama category. Mad Men and Breaking Bad had tremendously high-quality seasons with award-worthy performances for all those nominated. Lost’s touching farewell was ratings and critical hit. Dexter and True Blood might be edgier contenders than the more traditional network-based Good Wife.
I am hoping for what was quickly the best drama series of the year, yet not nominated. A spectacular fourth season Friday Night Lights, once again brought the drama with bushels of heart while walking the tightrope of transitioning key characters and introducing new ones. All done brilliantly.
What would be a moment of justice would be awarding Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton Emmys for their brilliant portrayals of Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami. This show, which ranks among the best, rides squarely on the reactions and expressions of these two under-appreciated actors who work to create one of the most realistic relationships between husband and wife on TV.
Other actors get how incredible what these two do each week and each season. They do it so well you don’t even notice all they do to suck us into this west Texas emotionally natural world that has a little bit of all of us who ever went to high school. It would be poetic justice for them to take home the awards.
Then again, maybe the award will go home with Tony Shaloub, who will thank a bunch of people we have never heard of…