Friday, July 07, 2006

Oh, Shut Out!

The Emmy nominations were announced yesterday. Supposedly there are new nominating procedures to bring in a lot of new faces, but even to the casual observer it still looks like the usual suspects have made the final line-up in the main categories.

With so many shows ending their runs or cancelled, the ceremony is in danger of becoming a swanky retirement party with the statuette becoming the equivalent of a gold watch. Some are deserving; The West Wing getting a seventh consecutive Best Drama Series nod, and nominations for Martin Sheen, Alan Alda and Allison Janney.

Others you just want to see the back of. Will & Grace (thankfully not nominated for Best Comedy Series) replaced comedy with stunt casting long ago and with Debra Messing channelling Lucie Ball and the rest acting like boorish tits, it really is a case of “Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out!” Out the door and head-first into the wood-chipper!

More interesting are the no-shows. No Lost, the big winner or last year, or Desperate Housewives, bizarrely listed in the comedy category before. I’ve got no problem with the latter. It always struck me as a show that so desperately wanted to be on HBO. No Hugh Laurie, who surely should have been nominated for House.

HBO once again came top of the networks with 95 nominations, even without nods for James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, or Deadwood, whose third season had premiered too late to be in with a consideration. Maybe next year it’ll be given its due. Hopefully the same can be said for Battlestar Galactica which only appeared in categories for Best Costume, Sound-Mixing and Special Visual Effects. Hopefully by the next ceremony the voters will see fit to have included Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell in the relevant categories.

In the meantime the BBC/WGBH-Boston production of Bleak House got 10 nominations. Huzzah! And Channel4/HBO’s Elizabeth I starring Helen Mirren racked up 13 nods.

The BBC news website ran an online poll to discover who makes the best TV; the US or the UK. Last I checked, 18102 votes had been cast with 67% in favour of the UK, which put me in mind of James Donald walking across the exposed sandbank in the River Kwai muttering, “Madness! Madness!”

I can understand the lead when it comes to natural history - Planet Earth illustrating just how it should be done - and documentary series like Horizon and the Timewatch strand. But in terms of comedy and drama, on the whole America beats us hands down.

They have The Wire and The Shield, we have The Bill and... Dalziel and Pascoe? The one with the posh bloke and his scruffy assistant who looks like she takes cocks for money? They have ER and House, we have Casualty and Holby City. Although Bodies helps redesss the balance.

Okay, the UK produces Spooks and Shameless. But the US has The Sopranos and The West Wing. Deadwood. Curb Your Enthusiasm and Scrubs and My Name is Earl, which craps on the likes of My Family and the rubbish in-house productions BBC Three and Channel 4 soil their schedules with.

The US resurrects Battlestar Galactica. The UK resurrects... Doctor Who.

Of course, that’s why we win! Oh, good grief.


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