Monday, May 27, 2013

My Eighth Annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot

For all intents and purposes, the 2012-13 television season is in the books. A little speculation is already brewing for this year's Emmys, and for the eighth year in a row I will throw my most educated guesses into the gauntlet. It was a weak year for first-year series so I don't expect too many fresh faces, but the rise of pay-on-demand original programming (thanks, Netflix!) might prove to be a curious X-factor. Than again, I predicted minimal turnover last year and look at how that turned out.

With that said, here is my 2013 Fantasy Emmy Ballot:

Writing in a Variety/Comedy/Music Series: (name listed is head writer) Barry Julien, The Colbert Report; Mike Sweeney, Conan; Steve Bodow, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; A.D. Miles, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher; Colin Jost and Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live.
Outstanding Variety/Comedy/Music Series: "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central; "Conan," TBS; "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Comedy Central; "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC; "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," NBC; "Saturday Night Live," NBC.

Outstanding Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: "American Horror Story: Asylum," FX; "Behind the Candelabra," HBO; "Political Animals," USA; "Phil Spector," HBO; "Top of the Lake," Sundance Channel.

Supporting Actress, Comedy: Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Jessica Walter, Arrested Development; Allison Williams, Girls.
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Max Greenfield, New Girl; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Ed O'Neill, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family.
Supporting Actress, Drama: Morena Baccarin, Homeland; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey; Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men; Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey.
Supporting Actor, Drama: Jim Carter, Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Gabriel Byrne, Vikings; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; James Purefoy, The Following; John Slattery, Mad Men.

Lead Actress, Comedy: Lena Dunham, Girls; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation.
Lead Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jason Bateman, Arrested Development; Louie C.K. Louie; Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Matthew Perry, Go On.
Lead Actress, Drama: Connie Britton, Nashville; Claire Danes, Homeland; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Keri Russell, The Americans; Kerry Washington, Scandal.
Lead Actor, Drama: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Damian Lewis, Homeland; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.

Best Comedy Series: "30 Rock," NBC; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS; "Girls," HBO; "Modern Family," ABC; "Parks & Recreation," NBC; "Veep," HBO.
Best Drama Series: "Boardwalk Empire," HBO; "Breaking Bad," AMC; "Game of Thrones," HBO; "Homeland," Showtime; "House of Cards," Netflix; "Mad Men," AMC.

I look forward to the debate that will ensue.

Next Week: my Class of '13 memory list.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Taxing Matters

Say what you will about President Obama, but one thing is now certain: the "second term curse" is in full swing.  Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra, Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, Bush 43 had the triple-whammy of Scooter Libby, a failing war, and Hurricane Katrina. Our current president has a situation in three different fronts: alleged IRS penalties on organizations tied to the Tea Party, suspected invasions of privacy on White House reporters, and of course Benghazi.

After some initial waffling, the White House is taking some accountability for the IRS conspiracy.  The story of President Obama's chief of staff knowing three weeks before he did is troubling, to put it mildly. The layman's theory --one I'm still debating in my head-- is that these Tea Party organizations and their established opposition to any and all taxation made them easy targets. At the same time, maybe they really are tax cheats, it's all politics and they're simply crying foul to get the president right where they want him. Even then, the Watergate comparisons are tricky to ignore.

Other notes:

+ It's a shame of sorts that "Other Voices," The Doors' first album after Jim Morrison's death, has been largely forgotten. It was written immediately after "L.A. Woman" with the assumption that Jim would return from France and do his thing. Instead, the three surviving members (but mostly Ray Manzarek) would take turns on lead vocals; collectively they couldn't match Morrison's power and charisma, but the effort was noble. All in all, "Other Voices" is a forgotten gem of the early '70s. Break on through, Ray.

+ I am not doing that well in fantasy baseball this year. Both of my teams are second-division, a mild indignation for some but a rarity for me. My pre-season rankings were erased by a glitch on Yahoo Fantasy the day before my first draft, forcing me to piece something together. I did alright during the first week but I've been lagging over since.

Next week: my 8th Annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sanford's Sun

I was convinced Mark Sanford would lose in a nailbiter. I was not expecting a Colbert-Busch blowout, but a realistically narrow victory in an unapologetically red state. With his victory last week, Sanford found gainful employment in the government again, but he still paid a price for the sex scandal that resulted in his censure by the South Carolina government. In other words, this was a short-term victory for the Palmetto State but a long-term loss for the GOP.

I am not willing, however to call Sanford's win a redemption story. It's barely even a comeback. More than likely, he'll spend the rest of his political career in the more crowded chamber, with any potential run for senate or even the presidency tainted by his infidelities. In a way, this news blurb reminds me of George O'Leary, who briefly (emphasis on "briefly") served as head coach of the once-hallowed Notre Dame football program. O'Leary embarrassed himself in the public eye --he lied about his credentials-- than redeemed himself in a somewhat obscure scouting position. Both men found a pretty decent glass ceiling.

Other notes:

+ Good news! The treatment is apparently working, and the growth in my dad's skull seems to be shrinking. As a result, the surgery was postponed again; if and when it actually does happen, it'll probably be in early June. Keep sending the good vibes!

+ What happened in Benghazi in September 2012 was a gross act of incompetence; there is no cover-up, nor is there any reason to demonize former Secretary Clinton. Any speculation is just bluster and partisan posturing. That's why the mainstream media isn't paying more attention to the incident.