Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Encore Emmy Ballot: Dramas (Pt. 1)

Ryan and I still are doing our Emmy predictions, but I'm back with my own personal ballots - now headed over to the drama categories. If you love Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, United States of Tara or even Mad Men look out below...
-Boardwalk Empire
-Big Love
-The Good Wife
-The Killing
-Mad Men
-True Blood

Johnny Lee Miller and Julia Stiles alone would secure Dexter a mention here. The two period dramas, Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, both depend on casting the players to participate in their businesses – one legal, and the other not so much. Regardless of where you stand on The Killing its excellent casting was imperative to its run through this past season but The Good Wife and True Blood rule this category. Both have expansive casts and both depend so much on getting the right people to play opposite their regulars. And both succeed.

Runners-Up: Parenthood / Dexter / United States of Tara

-Eddie Izzard in United States of Tara
-Zach Grenier in The Good Wife
-Jonny Lee Miller in Dexter as Jordan Chase
-Denis O’Hare in True Blood as Russell
-Dallas Roberts in The Good Wife
-Peter Weller in Dexter

Sure, Miller’s Jordan Chase was the real villain on the past season of Dexter but Weller’s Liddy was just as distressing. Dexter is a show that often thrives on its guests and both men were worthy foes to Dexter. Both Roberts and Grenier have that sarcastic charm that works so excellently on The Good Wife. The entire fiasco with Derek Bond was brilliant for two reasons, giving Baranski material and allowing Grenier to work all the caustic witticisms the writers could come up with and other than Panjabi Roberts is the best actor to bring out the warmth in Margulies. At first Izzard seemed intent on playing his character in broad strokes but the closer it got to his exist the more personal his performance became leading to that phenomenal performance in “Bryce Will Play” and everything about Russell was superlative. A villain for the ages.

Runners-Up: Kevin in The Closer; Michael J. Fox in The Good Wife; Dennis O’Hare in The Good Wife

-Frances Conroy in United States of Tara
-Mary McDonnell in The Closer
-Gretchen Mol in Boardwalk Empire
-Mamie Gummer in The Good Wife
-Alfre Woodard in True Blood
-Anika Noni Rose in The Good Wife

This category is always filled with greatness. Mol and Woodward both play mothers but they’re worlds apart. Woodard does well as Lafayette's mom, her few scenes she manages to create an affecting relationship with Ellis. Mol does the same with Pitt in Boardwalk Empire. She plays a more significant character, with a number of facets, but it’s her work as an atypical mother precipitating a slight oedipal arc which is strongest. McDonnell and Rose both play working women in high positions. One of the great things about The Good Wife is how they steered clear of making Rose’s Wendy a villain without making her too perfect. Rose does wonderfully in her scenes and manages to play well against the big names in the cast – her scenes with Margulies are especially taut. The same goes for McDonnell who’s best when opposite Sedgwick. Gummer might not be her mother, but she’s a fine actress and her interesting quirks have made her work incredibly well in the fabric of The Good Wife. Conroy’s done a few guest spots this season, but it’s her work opposite the Gregson clan that was most memorable. In fact, the entire of “Crunchy Ice” seemed dedicated to giving her more to do and she succeeded excellently.

Runners-Up: Evan Rachel Wood in True Blood / Mary Kay Place in Big Love / Frances Conroy in Grey’s Anatomy / Mary Beth Peil in The Good Wife / Doris Roberts in Grey’s Anatomy

-Alan Cumming in The Good Wife as Eli Gould for “Wrongful Termination”
-Keir Cilchrist in United States of Tara for “Crunchy Ice”
-Vincent Kartheiser in Mad Men for “The Rejected”
-Ryan Kwanten in True Blood for “Trouble”
-Michael Shannon in Boardwalk Empire for “Paris Green”
-Sam Trammell in True Blood for “Hitting the Ground”
True Blood has such an expansive cast (and a principally male ensemble) that the actors have little time to make their mark. Kwanten and Trammell have been most effective for the past season. Watching Kwanten do his usual dance between melodrama and comedy continues to be interesting and Trammell has never been as interesting as he was this past season dealing with a family from hell. Kartheiser continues to be underrated on Mad Men but he’s been incredible in season 4. Pete can be arrogant without losing his humanity and Kartheiser makes his attempts to balance his work and family more than a repeat of Don’s issues. I’ve not been especially fond of Marshall this season, but Gilchrist has been phenomenal. Sure, he was good in the New York episodes and dealing with Lionel’s death but it’s the confrontation with Bryce that I remember most. Shannon reaches a new level of creepy on Boardwalk Empire when he gets religious fever and Eli Gould is, as always, untouchable.
Runners-Up: Joel Kinnaman in The Killing / Sam Jaegar in Parenthood / Justin Chambers in Grey’s Anatomy / Billy Campbell in The Killing / Brent Sexton in The Killing

- Christine Hendricks in Mad Men for “The Good News”
- Brie Larson inUnited States of Tara for “Wheels”
- Kelly MacDonald in Boardwalk Empire for “Belle Femme”
- Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy as Cristina Yang for “That’s Me, Trying”
- Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife for “Getting Off”
- Chloe Sevigny in Big Love as Nicolette Grant for “The Noose Tightens”

Brie Larson is the one member of the show whose comedic work has been more plentiful than her dramatic work this season but that doesn’t mean she’s not adept at both. Is there any sibling relationship more beautiful than Kate and Marshall? Brie manages to work that arc while being incomparable in what could have been a rote romance with Evan and on the topic of rote Cristina’s journey on Grey’s Anatomy this season could have fallen flat with a lesser actor but Oh is such a brilliant thespian (where, oh where, is her Emmy) that it lands with resounding force. I was uncertain of MacDonald in the first few episodes of Boardwalk Empire, but somewhere around the halfway point the series realised how to use her and she became astonishing trouncing Buscemi in their scenes together. The Roger/Joan fiasco seemed a bit too reprisal last season, but unlike Slattery Hendricks managed to make it works as moments of poignant development for her character, “The Good News” depends on her. It’s so tough to choose between Sevigny and Panjabi. Both play women with issues revealing their true selves, and both ruled their shows. In both cases I loved them most when their walls came down. Kalinda was continuously excellent, but that breakdown in the elevator in the penultimate episode is the stuff Emmy’s are made of as was Nicolette’s breakdown with Bill. They’re both difficult to understand, performed by excellent women.

Runners-Up: Julia Stiles in Dexter/ Rosemarie DeWitt in United States of Tara / Michelle Forbes in The Killing / Christine Baranski in The Good Wife / Ginnifer Goodwin in Big Love; Monica Potter in Parenthood
What are your drama favourites? Who wins in the supporting categories for you?

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