Saturday, January 24, 2009

SAG Winner Predictions: Television Categories

I expect to see a general repeat of the victories we’ve been seeing a lot of this season. Paul Giammati and Laura Linney are almost guaranteed to win the mini-series or TV movie categories for their performances in “John Adams.” In the comedy categories, I see no reason why last year’s winners Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Tina Fey (30 Rock), and the ensemble cast of The Office shouldn’t repeat. No one else in the categories has remotely any buzz. New nominees David Duchovny (Californication) and out-of-left-field Tracey Ullman (State of the Union) are unlikely to garner enough support for a win. Similarly, no cast works together as cohesively as that of “The Office.” The drama categories are a bit tougher to predict, since only Hugh Laurie has ever won a SAG award out of all the nominees in all three categories. Last year, departing series “The Sopranos” swept. This year, I think the highly popular and as-of-yet-unrewarded Mad Men should find itself with twin victories, for best ensemble and star Jon Hamm. In the drama actress category, I’m just taking a guess, but maybe Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)? She’s never won a SAG, and they gave Jennifer Garner a trophy for “Alias” a few years into the show. Even though the show has far less buzz these days, that doesn’t mean it’s not her time.

Note: This year, I won’t be watching the SAG Awards because they’re not being shown in Italy.

Winner Predictions:
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Paul Giammati
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Laura Linney
Best Actor in a Drama Series: Jon Hamm
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Kyra Sedgwick
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series: Mad Men
Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Friday, January 16, 2009

TV Blog on Hold

I'm currently in Florence adjusting to my surroundings, and I'm really not watching much TV. I can tell you that I'm enjoying "24" a lot more than I have recently, and while I probably plan on keeping up with at the very least "Battlestar Galactica" and "Lost," I doubt I'll have the time to review each show. I'll be back with detailed thoughts on every show as I catch up this May.

For the moment, I'll be posting infrequently and the next thing coming up should be my brief SAG Awards winner predictions.

If you're interested in following my personal adventures, visit my Florence blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition: “Californication,” “Entourage,” “The Office,” “30 Rock,” and “Weeds”
For your information: No first-time nominees are among these five. Both “The Office” and “Weeds” were last nominated in 2006. Interestingly enough, none of these shows have ever won this trophy. “Entourage” has been nominated for its entire run of five years, and both “Californication” and “30 Rock” earned their second nominations this year. Past winners include “Extras,” “Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives,” and the British version of “The Office.”
Who should win: “Californication” and “30 Rock” were top-notch this year
Who will win: None of these shows has any particularly strong buzz, but the one that’s probably hottest would be 30 Rock.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best TV Series – Drama

The competition: “Dexter,” “House,” “In Treatment,” “Mad Men,” and “True Blood”
For your information: “Mad Men” won last year. Otherwise, this is the first nomination for “Dexter” as well as freshmen series “In Treatment” and “True Blood.” In the past ten years, a different show has won every time.
Who should win: I’m happy with this list, and while “Mad Men” is incredible, I’m currently most excited about “True Blood”
Who will win: I’m not sure how gung-ho voters will truly be about the odd “True Blood” (although creator Alan Ball’s “Six Feet Under” won this award for its first season), and while “Mad Men” could repeat, I think In Treatment, which scored five nominations, should prevail.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

The competition: “Bernard and Doris,” “Cranford,” “John Adams,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” and “Recount”
For your information: Last year, “Longford” triumphed over Emmy champ “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” Miniseries and TV movies win pretty much equally in this category.
Who should win: I watched the first installments of “Cranford” and “John Adams” as well as “Recount,” and I’m fine with either “John Adams” or “Recount”
Who will win: None other than John Adams

Friday, January 9, 2009

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

The competition: Eileen Atkins’ stern mentor (Cranford), Laura Dern’s Katharine Harris (Recount), Melissa George’s unstable patient (In Treatment), Rachel Griffiths’ devoted mother (Brothers & Sisters), and Dianne Wiest’s therapist’s therapist (In Treatment).
For your information: The only returning nominee is Rachel Griffiths. Dianne Wiest won a Golden Globe in 1994, and Laura Dern won a Globe in 1992. In the past ten years, this award has gone to the start of a regular television series five times: Sandra Oh for “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2005, Kim Cattrall for “Sex and the City” in 2002, Rachel Griffiths for “Six Feet Under” in 2001, Nancy Marchand for “The Sopranos” in 1999, and Camryn Manheim for “The Practice” in 1998.
Who should win: Atkins
Who will win: Atkins eclipsed Dern at the recent Emmy race, and Wiest triumphed over Griffiths in their race (George wasn’t nominated). It’ll be tough competition, but I think Dern will win here.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

The competition: Neil Patrick Harris’ ridiculous playboy (How I Met Your Mother), Denis Leary’s foul-mouthed strategist (Recount), Jeremy Piven’s dedicated agent (Entourage), Blair Underwood’s troubled pilot (In Treatment), and Tom Wilkinson’s Benjamin Franklin (John Adams).
For your information: This is Piven’s fifth straight nomination in this category, which is a big deal since this category combines nominees from four different television media. He won last year. In the past ten years, this award has gone to the star of a regular television series only three times: Piven in 2007, William Shatner for “Boston Legal” in 2004, and Robert Downey Jr. for “Ally McBeal” in 2001.
Who should win: Underwood
Who will win: I’m hoping voters will choose to recognize Underwood, but Wilkinson has just as good a shot

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

The competition: Judi Dench (Cranford), Catherine Keener (An American Crime), Laura Linney (John Adams), Shirley MacLaine (Coco Chanel), and Susan Sarandon (Bernard and Doris)
For your information: MacLaine has won seven Golden Globes, and Dench has won two. Recent winners in this category include Queen Latifah, Helen Mirren, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Glenn Close.
Who should win: I’ve only sampled Dench, Linney, and Keener, and as long as it’s not Dench I don’t care.
Who will win: I think “John Adams” is really popular and Linney will prevail.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

The competition: Ralph Fiennes (Bernard and Doris), Paul Giammati (John Adams), Kevin Spacey (Recount), Kiefer Sutherland (24: Redemption), and Tom Wilkinson (Recount)
For your information: It’s bad to be an American in this category. The past four winners (Geoffrey Rush, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Bill Nighy, and Jim Broadbent) have been Australian, Irish, and British. Sutherland was nominated five times and won once for the show “24,” and is nominated this year for a prequel to the coming season of the series.
Who should win: I’ve only seen Giammati, Spacey, and Sutherland, and out of those definitely Giammati
Who will win: I don’t think anyone is popular enough to beat Giammati

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition: Christina Applegate’s amnesiac on “Samantha Who,” America Ferrera’s desperate assistant on “Ugly Betty,” Tina Fey’s harried television writer on “30 Rock,” Debra Messing’s divorcee on “The Starter Wife,” and Mary-Louise Parker’s pot-dealing mom on “Weeds.”
For your information: Fey, Ferrera, and Parker are the past three winners in this category. Messing was nominated last year for the mini-series lead up to the “Starter Wife” series. The other four nominees were recognized last year as well.
Who should win: Fey is consistently excellent on “30 Rock”
Who will win: No clear frontrunner. The incredibly hot Fey eclipsed Applegate’s freshman turn last year. Messing’s show has zero buzz, and Ferrera’s dead in the water. I suspect the reinvigorated “Weeds” may give Parker a shot, but I’ll still go with Fey.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition: Alec Baldwin’s sarcastic TV executive on “30 Rock,” Steve Carrell’s hapless manager on “The Office,” Kevin Connolly’s actor manager on “Entourage,” David Duchovny’s sex-addicted writer on “Californication,” and Tony Shalhoub’s obsessive-compulsive detective on “Monk.”
For your information: This is Connolly’s first nomination, and each of the other four nominees has won exactly once. It’s worth pointing out that Charlie Sheen once won this award for “Spin City,” so I guess anything’s possible.
Who should win: Baldwin, Carrell, or Duchovny – I have no preference
Who will win: No one had a particularly standout year. Connolly just isn’t that great on “Entourage,” and people thought the show went downhill, so unless Globe voters really didn’t get the memo, count him out. Same goes for Shalhoub, unless they’re happy with comfort (this is his fifth nomination). I’ll go with a repeat victory for Duchovny, but it could easily be one of the eternally dueling Baldwin or Carrell.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

The competition: Sally Field’s neurotic matriarch on “Brothers & Sisters,” Mariska Hargitay’s cop on “Law & Order: SVU,” January Jones’ scorned wife on “Mad Men,” Anna Paquin’s mind-reading waitress on “True Blood,” and Kyra Sedgwick’s stubborn deputy chief on “The Closer.”
For your information: Hargitay and Sedgwick have each won once before. Last year’s winner, Glenn Close, wasn’t eligible this year because “Damages” didn’t air in 2008. This is the first nomination for Jones and for Paquin. This was the first season of “True Blood.”
Who should win: Paquin
Who will win: Buzz is dead for the three returning nominees, and while Jones’ show might be more respected, I think curiosity and hype for Paquin will serve her well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

The competition: Gabriel Byrne’s psychiatrist on “In Treatment,” Michael C. Hall’s serial killer on “Dexter”, Hugh Laurie’s cranky doctor on “House”, Jon Hamm’s advertising man on “Mad Men”, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ King Henry XIII on “The Tudors”.
For your information: This is the first year of Byrne’s show, and the other four are returning nominees. Hamm won last year, and Laurie won twice before that. “In Treatment” leads the nominations this year with five.
Who should win: Hall or Hamm, doesn’t matter to me.
Who will win: While they might pick Hamm again or choose to finally recognize Hall, I think they’ll stick to their tradition of rewarding freshmen series and go with Byrne.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Catching Up: NCIS

I’ve largely lost interest in this show, and as a result, I’ll keep my thoughts brief in order to focus on more compelling shows. It’s not that the show has gotten very bad, but rather that it’s lost that special edge that put it way ahead of “CSI” and “Law & Order” in my mind. The cast still does a decent enough job, but the fire is gone. Each episode has a mediocre crime and seemingly diminished enthusiasm from everyone. While I enjoyed McGee getting tasered, the outlandish and unserious nature of the show is often a problem. I’m not suggesting that it be cut out; merely that it be kept more in check. The Christmas episode from December 16th, “Silent Night,” is probably the best of late, with a meager performance by the sometimes-great Peter Coyote (“The Inside”) but a far better storyline. I particularly enjoyed the very end of the episode, where Gibbs shows that he is in fact human and calls his father to wish him a merry Christmas. Otherwise, this show just isn’t enthralling me anymore, and I’m strongly considering giving it up when I leave the country to go abroad for the spring semester. I may come back to it eventually, but it’s important to note that it’s the only procedural I watch, and for the moment, I’ve had enough.

NCIS returns on Tuesday, January 6th.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Catching Up: Samantha Who?

I thought that James Tupper might be good for Sam, but it appears not. His appearance has drudged up some decent (best friend who’s a girl) and some forced (fight over vegetarianism, faked environmentalism) plotlines that for the most part don’t work too well. This show perhaps shouldn’t have gone into a second season, but at least it’s faring better than fellow ABC sophomore shows “Pushing Daisies” and “Dirty Sexy Money,” whose post-strike seasons have resulted in low ratings and cancellation. Episodes like “The Family Vacation” show how desperate the writers are to keep all the cast members together (Dena, Andrea) with poorly thought-out plots and desperate, uninteresting stories. Most of all, I’ve realized that there’s little more I can say about “Samantha Who.” While I’m abroad in the coming months, I may stop watching the show, but I’ll definitely stop blogging about it. It’s a so-so show that’s currently waning, and I’m not sure it deserves to make it to the end of the year, especially over more creative (“Pushing Daisies”) and entertaining (“Dirty Sexy Money”) fare from the same network.

Samantha Who returns on Monday, January 12th, though I’m not sure I’ll be returning with it..

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Catching Up: Prison Break

This is officially the most ludicrous show on television. There are a lot of ridiculous twists I could point out, but I think I’ll dwell instead on the most preposterous and senseless of all: Agent Don Self is actually a bad guy. Only he’s not really a bad guy, he just wants to get rich. It doesn’t make an ounce of sense, and the countless dead bodies that have been piling up on this show are unbelievable. Everyone’s got some trick up their sleeve, and I’ve had it. To top all that off, things come so annoyingly full circle that everything is negated and Lincoln ends up working for the Company. The news that Michael and Lincoln’s mother is actually still alive isn’t that crazy since no big deal was ever made about her being dead, and the only reason it’s interesting is because now she’s on the opposite side of things from Lincoln. I suspect, however, that she’s actually good and trying to bring down the Company and their corrupt ways, same as Lincoln and Michael. That’s what’s next, anyway, but the way things currently are is inexcusable. Teaming up sworn enemies Lincoln, Gretchen, Self, and T-Bag demonstrates just how far off-base this show, which I’ll remind everyone is titled Prison Break, has gone. This show has to end immediately, and the fact that six more episodes are already slated to air is not a good sign. This show should have ended years ago, at the end of season two, with Mahone and Michael sailing away together, forever escaping the reach of the Company. That’s a show I could have gotten behind.

Prison Break returns sometime in 2009.