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"True Detective," HBO's first-year anthology series that was expected to make a showing at the 66th prime-time Emmy nominations announcement Thursday morning, made a showing -- and then some. The series scored a nod for best drama, catapulting it instantly into a rarefied orbit with multiple nominees "Breaking Bad," Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men" -- each of which also received a best drama nod.
In addition, both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson -- the series' leads -- scored best actor nominations. That was a bit of a surprise, in that only McConaughey was considered an absolute lock. McConaughey is, by the way, almost certainly the favorite to win going into the August ceremony.
Meanwhile in terms of sheer numbers, FX's "Fargo" and "Game of Thrones" ended up in the winner's circle. "Fargo" got a total of eighteen nominations. "GoT" got nineteen.
The list of comedy award nominees was virtually a mirror of last year's list, with one notable exception: HBO freshman "Silicon Valley" also made the cut. Yes, indeed, it was a very, very good morning for HBO -- much less so for Showtime which got shut out for "Masters of Sex," but which did score one very big hit: Lizzy Caplan in the best actress category.
Meanwhile, "Modern Family" -- nominated of course -- now has a chance to win five best statues in a row. Here's your list... and do check back for more analysis, and head here for the snub list.
"Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards," "Mad Men," "True Detective"
What it means: That the strong remain strong. This list was absolutely predicted by everyone on the planet with a Twitter account and love of good-to-great TV. Certainly "TD" will have a few detractors -- HBO managed to get it into the prestigious drama category as opposed to the much less prestigious miniseries one. "TD" deserves to be here but "Fargo" fans would argue that it does as well. "Fargo" did well this morning - both Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton got nods - but it was still relegated to the mini cat. Will "TD" upset "Bad," which is looking to repeat? I kind of doubt that -- in Emmys, advantage usually, but not always, lies with the incumbent. But, of course, we shall see.
Comedy series: "Big Bang Theory," "Louie, "Modern Family," "Orange is the New Black," "Silicon Valley," "Veep"
What it means: "Orange is the New Black" is a comedy? Did voters happen to see a different version from the one I saw? "Orange" is not a comedy, but it is a drama, although Netflix -- now a powerhouse in this industry -- managed to convince voters and the Emmy management apparatchiks otherwise. "Bang" certainly has the advantage here.
Lead actor in a drama: Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey
What it means: Clearly it means just one thing -- will Jon Hamm finally win for crying out loud? I mean enough already.
Lead actress in a drama:
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex"; Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"; Julianna Marguiles, "The Good Wife"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"; Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
What it means: As always, the lead actress is the most hotly contended category is all of Emmydom; this extremely strong list still managed to leave out other quality candidates, yet no one can really argue with what's here. Caplan's inclusion is not a surprise but given the tough competition, a real achievement nonetheless. My hunch is that this race will come down to Wright and Margulies.
Lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Martin Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Billy Bob Thornton
Lead actor in a comedy:
Louie CK, "Louie"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Ricky Gervais, "Derek"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
What it means: Gervais is the huge upset here. I certainly didn't see this coming. But again, Parsons remains the fave.
Lead actress in a comedy:
Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"; Melissa McCarthy, "Mike and Molly"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Rec"; Taylor Schilling, "Orange is the New Black"
What it means: Without knowing just yet which episodes were submitted, it's hard to know how this will shake out. But I very much like Dunham's chances here. Nevertheless, this is Louis-Dreyfus's to lose -- which she pretty much has not yet. She's won the last two lead actress awards, and has to be absolute favorite to win again. Under normal circumstances, I would complain bitterly about the Emmys' utter predictability -- except that she is excellent and so is her show. No crime at all if she does win again. But still, Dunham is your dark horse.
Lead actress in mini/movie: Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor"; Minnie Driver, "Return to Zero"; Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, both "American Horror Story"; Cicely Tyson, "Trip to Bountiful"; Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils of Babylon"
For those obsessed "Mad Men" fans who wondered whether Don Draper, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, Roger Sterling and Company would ever fade from the scene, to become part of our cherished TV memories, the moment has arrived. "Mad Men" has slipped into history.
The show held its wrap party during the weekend in Los Angeles, and -- old show biz maxim -- that which has been wrapped cannot be unwrapped, except for the TV movie or perhaps special limited-run series. (Another old show business maxim: Money always talks.)
But "Mad Men" is over and it is inconceivable that it could ever again continue in any fashion, even though "Breaking Bad" has reinterred part of its soul for "Better Call Saul." Now consider this: All those stars and producers who congregated Saturday at The Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles know something you and I don't know -- how it all ends.
What a perfect place for a burial. The old Roosevelt is one of those grand, beautiful, dowdy, heavily rouged LA landmarks -- the Norma Desmond of hotels. (Some might also imagine it evokes the "Barton Fink" Hotel Earle, but that was shot in the lobby of a classic silent era theater on Western Boulevard, so no relation.)
The Roosevelt is also haunted or reputed to be, and of course Don saw a ghost in the closing seconds of the midseason finale. (Actually, not exactly a "ghost," but we've already discussed this at length.)
Also: This was the Roosevelt hotel where the first Academy Awards were held. Maybe "MM" held the wrap here to confer good karma onto Jon Hamm, who will most certainly be honored with another Emmy nomination for best actor next week and most certainly deserves to finally win.
Or maybe this is just practical: A large part of the seventh season after all has been West Coast-based, and maybe the West Coast is where it will all end up.
The Manhattan-based Roosevelt, or just The Roosevelt, like its West Coast counterpart, is of the same vintage. Both were built in the middle of the Jazz Age, honoring a president who at that moment must have seemed the epitome of American ambition and energy. It also happens to figure prominently in "Mad Men" history, as this was the place Don repaired after Betty kicked him out of the house in one of the early seasons.
The Roosevelt of the 1960s -- and like the LA one, has since been refurbished -- was a perfect place for a disgraced ad man looking to hang his hat for a night or two -- a seen-better-times dinosaur that did in fact look like the Hotel Earle, and a quick overnight stop if one missed the last train out of Grand Central, or one's wife had just kicked one out of the house.
The wrap party in LA was sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Why booze? Why need you ask with regards to "Mad Men?" Plus, Christina Hendricks was JW's prominent spokeswoman star not too long ago.
(Brooks Brothers was also a sponsor, and as fans know, BB -- just across Madison Avenue from The Roosevelt -- supplied Don's classic suits over the years, and even began a "Mad Men" line. )
I'm going on at length here only for reasons of sentimentality. It's over. Maybe you too feel the slightest sense of loss.
The last half of the seventh season arrives sometime next year. I'll hold my own private wrap party then, maybe at The Roosevelt.
We're not going to have a discussion (are we?) about whether Don Draper saw a ghost on the seventh midseason finale of "Mad Men." A ghost of Bert Cooper, or a moment of overwrought imagination ... or a dream?
Too late for the semi-obligatory "spoiler alert" by this point -- it has been two days after all -- but Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) has died, and not just died, but returned for one last...Read more »
OK, so how to make Roger Sterling lovable (or at least respected) again? I guess we learned "how" in Sunday night's "Field Trip," the third episode of the seventh season before which Roger had morphed into a hapless hippy wannabe with uncertain judgment, terrible fathering skills, and irredeemably irreversibly awful talents for friendship and loyalty. (Roger just being Roger.)
Except: Maybe...Read more »
Surprise, surprise: Jon Hamm is now a series regular on "Parks and Recreation." Except that he's not -- a series regular that is -- but who knows, really. Hired, so to speak, then fired, so to speak, in the closing seconds of last night's smart, funny, cleverly baited "Parks and Recreation" sixth season finale, at least this classic established the possibility that he will return, at least for some "prequel" episodes that establish how he got to this point (hired/fired) in the first place.
(Quick spoiler: "P&R" ended three years in the future, with Leslie's triplets already born and walking.)
Hamm, an excellent comic actor, did standout work on "30 Rock," so there's no real reason why he should not find a second or third act to an already charmed career here, especially as "P&R" sails through a seventh and what could very well be a final season.
It was indeed a smart move -- and finale -- by a show that tends to get very little audience attention these days -- plenty of fan action, and critics remain devotees, but as the sixth ends, not all that much widespread attention. Last night was stuffed with cameos (Michelle Obama), biggish name bands and acts, like the Decemberists, Land Ho, Mouse Rat, Ginuwine, even Night Ranger (remember them!), "P&R" is probably getting an enormous amount of viral action this morning if only because it was one of those season wraps that demand day-after attention.
Consider the questions that were left dangling in the Pawnee breeze:
- Will Leslie in the Future be Happy in the Future, with her big job and the demands of a big new National Parks job that clearly competes for attention with that threesome brood? (Two boys, one girl.)
- Will Tom's Bistro be a success, maybe even a chain or will Ron's chair bill bankrupt TB in the crib?
- How is Jerry's dog, by the way? And why is his name suddenly Terry?
- Why is there a media lockdown?
- And what could poor Jon Hamm have done that would have necessitated a brutal beheading so quickly by an obviously toughened-by-the-cold-cruel-world Leslie Knope?
Smart finale, because obviously some of these questions will have to be answered, and the show will clearly have to rewind, a la "Lost," to fill in the backstory, and . . . finally, it will have to explore exactly what happens at the end of that elevator ride to who knows where.
(Another question: Will President Obama be standing there when the doors open? "P&R" wants him, badly, but a standing president on a TV sitcom is not exactly good PR, particularly for a president who has huge problems in Japan, the domestic economy, the Ukraine, and so forth . . . yet still finds time to shoot a cameo?! Maybe if he's allowed to make a pitch for affordable health care.)
Excellent season finales change the dynamic of the entire show -- not just do cheap "cliffhanging" stunts -- and "P&R" did precisely that Thursday night. A new show is coming that still has the same irreverence of the old. Most of all, "P&R" has offered some compelling reasons to tune in again next season. Good going.
(App readers, watch a scene from the finale here: http://nwsdy.li/RSxPUk)
What it's about: As per custom, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner asked that no plot details of the seventh and final season opener are offered here, so, instead, some broad strokes.
The end of last season fell around Thanksgiving, 1968, and Don (Jon Hamm) was essentially fired from his own agency after suffering a breakdown in a client meeting with Hershey.
However, he had already told...Read more »