Sunday, July 22, 2007

Setting Itself Up For Success: Dexter

I was reading an article about the episodes that Showtime plans to submit for Emmy consideration, and it includes very exciting news indeed. Showtime's new offering "Dexter," which aired its freshman season from October to December 2006, has made some excellent choices about what it will be submitting. Most new shows submit their pilot episodes for consideration in the Best Drama Series category, but often that episode stands out from the rest in a not-so-positive way (for instance, the pilots of "Studio 60" and especially "Nip/Tuck" and "Rescue Me" were by no means indicative of how good the shows would get).

Showtime has opted to submit "Born Free," season finale, which was great, to have the show considered for Best Drama Series. "Born Free" was a great episode, and while I would choose "Shrink Wrap" as my favorite with "Truth Be Told," the penultimate episode, a runner-up, "Born Free" is nonetheless a solid choice and more of a standout episode than the still-great pilot.

The stars of "Dexter" also benefit greatly from the submissions. Michael C. Hall, fresh off of his tremendous five-year turn as a gay funeral director on "Six Feet Under," is excellent as forensic-expert by day, serial killer by night Dexter. He also submitted "Born Free," which is an episode which gives him a chance to show some emotion. Julie Benz, who won a Satellite award (a minor but interesting awards guild trophy) for her role as Dexter's unsuspecting girlfriend Rita, is a favorite for a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category, and her submisison, "Truth Be Told," where she begins to suspect Dexter of some foul play, is solid. That episode, however, favors Jennifer Carpenter, who is fantastic as Dexter's cop sister Deb, as she delivers a performance full of range. James Remar, who has more of a recurring role as Dexter's adoptive father who trained him to control his urges to kill, submitted the pilot, which is a good showcase for his role, which would be a lot of fun if it got a nomination.

My favorite submissions are the two for Best Guest Actor. Tony Goldwyn played a dry psychiatrist in the show's best episode, "Shrink Wrap," and he played very well with Hall and certainly merits a nomination. Even more deserving, however, is Christian Camargo, who recurred as Rudy, a doctor who developed a close relationship with Dexter's sister Deb. His performance was stunning, and his best episode was "Truth Be Told." Going with the flow, he submitted "Born Free," which is fine and should hopefully score him a nomination. There is a rule change this year, though, which could be bad for him. It is used to be that any actor who appeared in more than six episodes could no longer be considered a guest actor, but now it is up to the shows to decide where they submit their players. This means more competition for Goldwyn and Camargo, and would have been very useful last year for the criminally snubbed Forest Whitaker on "The Shield" (who appears in only two episodes this year, which does not help matters).

I want to briefly mention the other two Showtime shows I watch but which I have not yet had a chance to see the most recent seasons, which are eligible for this year's awards. "Weeds" was unexpectedly shut out from most categories last year, with Mary-Louise Parker inexplicably and unforgivably getting snubbed in favor of Jane Kaczmarek, Lisa Kudrow, Stockard Channing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Debra Messing. Justin Kirk, also highly deserving of a nomination, was left out, but Elizabeth Perkins, so good as a hateful neighbor, was rewarded with a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. I have high hopes for this season, and hopefully the submissions will help the show to a large number of nominations.

"Sleeper Cell" was originally considered a mini-series, and got one lone nomination for Best Miniseries last year. This year, it is up for Best Drama Series and corresponding nominations. I am planning to watch the second season over the next few days and will follow with a post about the submissions. Unfortunately, last year's best player, Blake Shields, is not in the show's second season (as far as I know), and thus missed out on his recognition. In any case, that would be a thrilling surprise if "Sleeper Cell" slid in for Best Drama Series.

I am more than excited about this year's Emmy race. Lots on that coming soon. I must give credit, of course, for the inspiration of this post, Tom O'Neil's article, found here:

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