by Julian Spivey
I’ve never been a big superhero fan. I can count the number of superhero movies and television shows I’ve ever seen on one hand. A few years ago, I decided to give Fox’s “Gotham” a shot after seeing good reviews of it and I started to enjoy it because it worked on two levels: superhero and cop show. The cop how aspect of it worked for me, along with its talented cast. The superhero moments at times have made me roll my eyes. I’m sure I’m in a large minority here. I decided this fall to give another Fox superhero series “The Gifted” a chance. My decision was mostly because of how much I enjoyed Amy Acker’s performance on the highly underrated CBS series “Person of Interest.” I also enjoyed Stephen Moyer this past spring in Fox’s limited series “Shots Fired.”
I feel about “The Gifted” much the same way I do about “Gotham.” It works on two levels and the superhero one at times bothers me. I prefer realism in much of the fiction I watch and a mutant gene giving those that have it an individual quality that makes them different is somewhat laughable to me. I didn’t realize until I started watching the premiere of this series that it was in the ‘X-Men’ universe and while that won’t keep me from watching (I entered “Gotham” obviously knowing it was in the Batman universe) it does bother me somewhat. I was kind of hoping that “The Gifted” would be an original in its own universe, but that simply doesn’t seem to be something that happens in the superhero genre. They’re all based on previous comic book universes.
Throughout the first three episodes I can say that the main reason why I began watching this show – Amy Acker – has been somewhat disappointing because 1) she’s being underused as the worried mother of two children with the mutant gene who are being hunted like animals (that will hopefully change) 2) she’s too good for this show.
Back to the second level of “The Gifted” that works for me and will keep me going for at least the time being. It’s “us vs. them” storyline of the mutants being sought after and persecuted by the non-mutants is very relevant in our current world. I’m not sure I would’ve cared as much had the show premiered a few years ago, but in Donald Trump’s America it really does hit home. The mutants obviously work as a stand-in for any group of people being persecuted in this world. But, don’t worry too much if you don’t want politics in your TV shows because you can also easily take this simply as “mutants vs. non-mutants.” You shouldn’t. But, you can.
The show also works well on a family trying to stay together against all odds level. The mutant gene is something that can rip families apart and when Moyer and Acker’s parents find that their teenage children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) have this gene it makes them realize that life can change in an instant and family is the most important thing.
I feel like most people who like superhero type shows and especially the ‘X-Men’ universe will find “The Gifted” to meet their expectations and needs. But, if you’re like me and you don’t really care about that kind of stuff there is still something worth viewing in this series and Fox and the showrunners of “The Gifted” have done a fine job in crafting a series that works on multiple levels.
“The Gifted” airs on Fox on Mondays at 8 p.m. The first three episodes can be seen on Fox OnDemand and Hulu.
by Julian Spivey
Best Drama Premiere: This Is Us
“This Is Us” knocked us all off our feet in the season one premiere with a reveal that instantaneously put it on the map as the network show to watch. The second season premiere certainly couldn’t shock us all that way again, but it did put forth another thing we’re already accustomed to seeing from this show – all around dramatic perfection. Every story line in the premiere was great from the trouble in the previously seemingly perfect marriage of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), the adoption drama causing a rift between Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and the fight for Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) attention between her twin brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) and her fiancé Toby (Chris Sullivan). The episode showed well that every single character on the show is perfectly crafted and incredibly well-acted. The premiere also gave us insight into one of its big secrets we’ve been dying to know for a while.
Best Comedy Premiere: Will & Grace
I’ve been fairly cynical when it has come to the latest television fad of rebooting classic television shows with the original casts. “Will & Grace,” which aired on NBC from 1998-2006, returned last week to uproariously laughter from our original four friends: Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally). The show hasn’t missed a beat in the more than a decade it’s been off our televisions and has brought with it a great bit of political humor upon its return giving our gay and feminist heroes a major punching bag in the current Presidential Administration.
Best New Premiere: Ghosted
Fox’s new comedy “Ghosted,” starring veteran TV comics Craig Robinson and Adam Scott, is a unique idea for a television comedy pitting two completely different strangers together to take on the supernatural and paranormal. “Ghosted” could easily become “The Odd Couple” meets “The X-Files” and after a pilot that wasn’t just the funniest of the new fall sitcoms, but one of the funniest sitcom premieres of the fall in general I have high hopes for this one.
Worst New Premiere: Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Despite the “Law & Order” series of NBC crime procedurals being on television for nearly 30 years and airing more than 1,000 episodes between them I had somewhat managed to never catch a single hour. I decided to change that with “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” NBC’s foray into scripted true crime after the success of FX’s ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ in 2016. Frankly, ‘The Menendez Murders’ didn’t really need to be part of the “Law & Order” brand it’s just that it was created and produced by Dick Wolf. I have hopes for the remainder of the eight-episode limited series, but the premiere introducing us to the Menendez brothers and the murder of their rich parents was frankly the most boring hour of TV I saw all premiere week. Maybe it’s just the Menendez bros. aren’t as interesting as O.J.?
Biggest Reveal: This Is Us
I’ll never forget how stunned I was at the end of the pilot for “This Is Us” last season when it was revealed that the story was being told of one family in two different eras. Then the series would throw another shocker at us midway through the season when it was revealed that Jack had died somewhere during his children’s teenage years. Since then we’ve been waiting to find out what exactly happened to him and a big reveal toward that was shown at the very end of the season two premiere when it’s revealed that the Pearsons home had caught fire and burned down. The how and why is still to be seen and knowing this show it will be done in the most emotionally dramatic way possible.
Worst Reveal: Kevin Can Wait
Anybody that had paid attention to news surrounding “Kevin Can Wait,” the now sophomore CBS sitcom, during the summer months knew that the show was going to be writing off Erinn Hayes’ character Donna, the wife of Kevin James’ lead. James’ old “The King of Queens” co-star Leah Remini had guest starred toward the end of season one and people liked the chemistry so much they decided to reboot the show after just one season to bring her along. The most obvious way to write Hayes’ character out of the show would be to kill the character off – this was no surprise – but the show decided to do so in essentially the most callous and least emotional way ever with a one-line bit of dialogue about how it had been a year since Donna passed away – telling us the show had a bit of a time jump, as well. It was basically a 101 on how not to kill off a character.
Best Performance: Michael Weatherly (Bull)
The network premiere week was filled with numerous emotional performances this week that knocked viewers off their feet. In fact, I could easily give this honor to the entire cast of NBC’s “This Is Us,” it really was a perfect premiere. Donnie Wahlberg of “Blue Bloods” mourning the loss of his wife Linda (Amy Carlson) in the CBS crime drama showed a bit of emotional range I previously didn’t know the actor had in him. Then you have the duo of Freddie Highmore and Richard Schiff just absolutely chewing up scenery in the tear-jerking pilot of ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” There was almost so much emotion on TV this week it was hard to choose one great performance. My choice is, frankly, even a surprise to me. I’ve always found Michael Weatherly to be an entertaining and likable actor whether it was his decade-plus spent on CBS’ “NCIS” or his new series “Bull,” which just entered its second year. Weatherly has this suave, pompous charm to him that can both be a winning characteristic and at times make his Dr. Jason Bull someone you want to smack in the back of the head like Mark Harmon used to do to Weatherly’s character on “NCIS.” The season two premiere of “Bull” where Dr. Bull tries to prove that a woman shot and killed her husband and stabbed herself to make it appear like self-defense for his billions was one of the show’s best yet and showcased Weatherly’s smugness in all its full glory. It’s easy to play emotionally drained or sad and get the audience to fall in your lap. It’s not always easy to play pomposity the way Weatherly can and make it so damn enjoyable.
by Julian Spivey
The 43rd season of “Saturday Night Live” kicked off on Saturday (Sept. 30) with a somewhat uneven episode hosted by Ryan Gosling, in his second stint as host.
Gosling in just two hosting stints already seems a favorite among the cast and has become known as a giggler with the Oscar-nominated actor breaking character in most sketches he’s involved with – though you can’t really blame him when he’s essentially being molested on live television by Kate McKinnon.
It’s highly unusual for a host’s monologue to be the biggest highlight or funniest moment from an episode of ‘SNL,’ especially a season premiere, but that’s exactly what happened last night. Gosling was hosting ‘SNL’ to promote “Blade Runner 2049,” which opens next weekend, but he hilariously spent the monologue bragging about how “he saved jazz music” playing off the slight controversy his film “La La Land” garnered last year about a white man basically reviving the mostly African-American genre. The funniest moment of the monologue was Gosling pronouncing “New Orleans” as “Nerlens.” In the night’s most surprising cameo Gosling was joined by “La La Land” co-star and Oscar-winner Emma Stone at the end of the bit.
Bad: Henrietta and The Fugitive
Sometimes a bad sketch can cause at least a few slight giggles. This one certainly caused some giggles out of Gosling and cast member Aidy Bryant, which in turn allowed us watching at home to do the same. Overall, the concept is of a classic movie where a fugitive is hiding out in a barn from the law and falls in love with a chicken (yes, you read that correctly). How do the writers come up with this crap? And, why do they feel a season premiere is the right time to showcase it?
Ugly: Guy Who Just Bought a Boat on Dating
The season opening Weekend Update guests were weak for the occasion, though McKinnon’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel did provide some decent laughs. But, I don’t ever want to see Alex Moffat’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat on Dating ever again. Apparently, it’s his second appearance; the first must have been so bad I wiped it from my mind. The character is basically every rich douche overcompensating for a small penis wrapped into one highly-annoying person.
Recently off his Emmy Award win for his portrayal as President Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin rejoined the show to poke fun at the President – who had an even worse week than usual. There were funny moments to the cold opening, but I’ve got to say the Trump performances and constant airings on ‘SNL’ have gotten a bit stale and I don’t even think it’s the fault of the show’s writers or Baldwin. It’s just that many of us are so sick of Trump that we’d rather not see him anywhere, even being lambasted on a comedy show.
When Gosling made his hosting debut in 2015 he starred with McKinnon and Cecily Strong as a group of people abducted by aliens and being interviewed about it by government officials. Gosling and Strong’s characters have glorious experiences with the extraterrestrial, but McKinnon’s character always seems to be taken advantage of sexually. That first sketch two years ago is probably already among the show’s all-time greats. This was just basically a rehashing with most of the jokes coming when McKinnon using Gosling’s backside to show those at the Pentagon exactly how the aliens touched her.
The highlight of the episode other than Gosling’s monologue was the pre-recorded “Papyrus” sketch featuring Gosling as a man distraught by the use of the Papyrus font for the “Avatar” title card almost a decade after the movie’s release. It allows Gosling to use his dramatic actor chops to thoroughly blast through a bit that’s so “how in the hell did this enter anyone’s mind?” that it becomes genius.
by Aprille Hanson
It’s been 11 years since the on-air antics of best friends Will and Grace have played out on the small screen. On Sept. 28, Karen’s string of questions sucked fans right back in: “What’s going on? What’s happening? Who won the election?”
NBC’s reboot of the popular late ’90s sitcom that brought gay characters to a mainstream audience, found Will (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, once again living with his best friend, Grace (Debra Messing), an interior designer. Jack (Sean Hayes), beloved for his flair, still lives across the hall and Karen (Megan Mullally), Grace’s rich assistant is still the snobby caricature of a politically incorrect socialite who is just as sassy and loved as ever.
The show opened with the foursome playing a game, but Karen has spaced out while holding a drink. One shake of her pill bottle and she’s back with that beloved string of questions.
The series ended in 2005 after eight seasons, with Will and Grace having significant others and children. Because the reboot wanted to erase the children, fans find out that finale episode was simply Karen’s daydream. As she pointed out, “Nobody wants to see you two raise kids.”
Instead of spending much time on what’s happened in the past 11 years – aside from the mention of Grace’s divorce and Jack’s string of failed entrepreneurial endeavors – it took aim at the big Cheeto leading the United States.
Almost the entire episode poked fun at President Donald Trump and though some fans were shocked and outraged that the typically light-hearted show got political, it was a stunning and hilarious episode. Despite its political humor, it never strayed from its roots.
Will winds up in the Rose Garden to protest a senator who is against environmental rights, but is just too cute for him to resist. As Jack points out, “You want to hook up with a power gay. It’s called an Anderson Cooper. It used to be called an Elton John. And before that an Abraham Lincoln.”
Jack was able to get Will in since, as most should know, all secret service agents are gay because “who better to read a room?”
Grace and Karen wind up in the Oval Office at the same time, as Karen gets Grace a shot at redecorating the Oval Office. Karen is of course a good friend of First Lady Melania, who called her during a night terror saying, “the hubster’s been pouting cause his office is a real dump.”
While Will and Grace both compromise some moral integrity, when the two discover that they’re both at the White House, a hilarious pillow fight ensues in the Oval Office.
It wasn’t deep or overly hateful humor per say, like Grace trying to find the perfect coloring for new drapes in the Oval by holding up a Cheeto to the curtain.
The most cutting joke came from Grace, who standing in the Oval says, “I am awed by the majesty of this office. Just think of the great minds that sat at this desk, shaped the course of history” and opening a box on Trump’s desk deadpans, “A Russian-English dictionary and a fidget spinner.”
In general, it was cutesy jabs that made absolute sense for these characters. The show could have easily returned with a few punchlines about the president, but the fully-loaded one liners were masterful. The show has never been for staunch conservatives and it was a chance for their fanbase to laugh in the midst of all the hate being spewed daily.
This episode was important, topical and on point, one that the writers should be proud to have written.
It will be a thrill to watch upcoming episodes that get back to that fun, punchy humor and maybe just a jab here or there at the leader of the free world. The writers seem to elude to that with the final scene of the episode:
Karen: “When you two talk about politics you get too preachy.”
Grace: “We should just be what we’ve always been.”
Jack: “A sad middle-aged lady. And Grace.”
by Julian Spivey
Even though it has become staid at times in the last few seasons, “NCIS” has always managed to do season premieres and season finales right. That’s pretty impressive 15 years into its run.
Season 14 ended on a major cliffhanger with NCIS Agents Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and McGee (Sean Murray) left behind in Paraguay on a humanitarian mission to save children from the Revolutionary Armed Council. The children were saved, but only Agents McGee and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) reached the helicopter evac in time. McGee jumped out last second to not leave Gibbs behind alone. This is where season 15 picked up on Tuesday (Sept. 26).
Season 15 picks up two months after Gibbs and McGee are left behind. Hearings are ongoing because NCIS underwent the Paraguay mission without proper consent. The DOD has banned NCIS from investigating the matter further, but the team, now being led by Agent Bishop (Emily Wickersham) is, of course, doing so on the down-lo. We see that Gibbs and McGee have been kept prisoner for two months by the RAC and are about the meet the head honcho in charge of the group. The big boss wants something out of the agents, but are fearless heroes obviously aren’t going to give in. This leads to Gibbs being tortured via waterboarding.
Back in D.C. a drug mule has been killed while trying to contact NCIS and mysteriously his hair is falling out. It turns out he had radiation positioning. The team quickly finds out the drug mule was smuggling in uranium being made by the RAC in Paraguay. Yes, this is convenient, but that’s a network crime procedural for you.
In Paraguay, Gibbs and McGee devise a plan to take control of their dire situation though the audience isn’t privy to this leading to a moment where you wonder if a plan is in place or if Gibbs and McGee are really at each other’s throats after spending two months held captive together.
The plan succeeds and Gibbs and McGee reach el jefe and take control of the situation. In another convenient, but what are you going to do moment, Bishop calls a satellite phone number and it’s answered by McGee. The team is thrilled to hear he and Gibbs are still alive. They devise a plan to get Paraguayan military to the top of the ship where the two have been held captive. The only problem is Gibbs and McGee must get to the top deck without being killed by the terrorists of the RAC.
I was a little bit surprised that “NCIS” decided to wrap this storyline up in one episode. It seemed like one they might draw out to two episodes and honestly, I wouldn’t have been bothered by that one bit. This series has always been at its best during multiple episode arcs.
The relationships among characters on the show have always been one of its highlights and it’s nice, but not surprising, to see McGee – who’s newly married and expecting a baby – would put his life in danger to save his longtime boss and mentor Gibbs. Harmon and Murray really were the stars of this premiere.
Really the only awkward part of the season premiere was the writing off Jennifer Esposito’s character Quinn, the rare one-season-and-done “NCIS” character. Esposito announced she was leaving the show over the summer and the show wrote her off with a one-sentence explanation about how she left to take care of her sick mother. CBS shows are having somewhat of a bad premiere week when it comes to writing off characters as sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” took some heat for killing off Erinn Hayes’ character (the way of Kevin James’ lead) with an emotionless one-sentence reveal about how the show has moved forward a year.
by Julian Spivey
The fall network television season is upon us and thus far the critics don’t seem too highly on it. Some critics have been referring to the new fall slate of television as the weakest in quite a while. But, there are still a few shows debuting this fall that have my interest piqued.
Here are the top 5:
1. “The Good Doctor” (ABC)
It’s been an awful long time since there has been a network medical drama that I’ve enjoyed and I hope ABC’s “The Good Doctor” can feel that void. “The Good Doctor,” starring Freddie Highmore (who was fantastic in the recently ended and underrated “Bates Motel”), is about a young autistic doctor with savant syndrome who goes from a small, country hospital to a big city one. The series is from producer David Shore, who successfully led Fox’s “House” to a long tenure. “The Good Doctor” premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m.
2. “Me, Myself & I” (CBS)
CBS is usually the least creative when it comes to sitcoms, but a few years ago debuted “Life in Pieces” which uniquely told the story of one family in vignettes. This fall comes “Me, Myself & I,” which similarly will show the life of one man – Alex Riley – through three periods of his life. Jack Dylan Grazer will portray Riley as a 14-year in 1991, recent “Saturday Night Live” alum Bobby Moynihan will portray the modern-day Riley and award-winning TV vet John Larroquette will portray the retired Riley of the future. Moynihan and Larroquette are actors I greatly enjoy and on that alone makes me look forward to this one, which premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m.
3. “Ghosted” (Fox)
“Ghosted,” premiering on Fox on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m., is another unique idea for a sitcom as it takes on the world of the supernatural. The series stars television sitcom veterans Craig Robinson (of “The Office”) and Adam Scott (of “Parks & Recreation”) as polar opposites who are recruited to investigate paranormal activity in Los Angeles. The two series leads also co-created this series, which should mean they are completely invested in making it a hit.
4. “The Mayor” (ABC)
ABC has a good track record when it comes to successful sitcoms and the network, as well as myself, are hoping “The Mayor,” which premieres Tuesday, Oct. 3, will be the next big hit. “The Mayor” stars relative newcomer Brandon Michael Hall as Courtney Rose, a struggling hip-hop artist who runs for mayor of his hometown to promote his latest mixtape. Of course, Rose somehow wins the election and I’m sure hilarity will ensue from there. “The Mayor” will also co-star “Glee” alum Lea Michele and “Community” alum Yvette Nicole Brown.
5. “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” (NBC)
I’ve admittedly never seen a single episode of any of the “Law & Order” crime series, which is quite the feat as the multiple series have totaled 1,105 episodes (no kidding). However, the new ‘True Crime’ take from producer Dick Wolf inspired by the popularity of FX’s “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” from 2016 has me at least somewhat interested. ‘The Menendez Murders’ tackles the case of Erik and Lyle Menendez accused of the 1989 murder of their parents and the ensuing trial. The eight-episode limited series stars the talented Edie Falco, Julianne Nicholson, Anthony Edwards and Josh Charles in various roles.
*Parts of this were excerpted and edited from a 2014 article.
by Julian Spivey
Multiple-time Emmy Award winning actor Jay Thomas died today at age 69 from cancer. I honestly don’t know a whole lot about Thomas, but his death legitimately made me sad because while I couldn’t tell you his bio without looking it up I do know he was a part of my favorite pop culture Christmas tradition for a good chunk of my life.
I’ll get to that in a bit.
Thomas was a guy many wouldn’t likely know by name, but you’ve more than likely seen his face pop up in terrific TV shows over the years. His most notable role was that of Jerry Gold on “Murphy Brown” throughout the ‘90s where he would become a love interest for Candice Bergen’s titular role. Thomas would win two Emmy Awards for his performance in the series. He would also have recurring roles in sitcom classics “Mork & Mindy” and “Cheers” and most recently the Showtime drama “Ray Donovan.” His last TV appearances came in 2015 guest starring on Fox’s “Bones” and CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Thomas started his career in the radio industry and he seemingly never lost a desire for it becoming possibly more well-known for his SiriusXM radio show “The Jay Thomas Show” he hosted since 2005.
It was his start in radio that lead to my favorite pop culture Christmas tradition, though it partially had nothing to do with Christmas at all.
Every year in David Letterman’s, one of my many pop culture heroes, final episode of ‘Late Show’ before Christmas he invited Thomas onto the show to throw footballs at a giant meatball that sat atop the ‘Late Show’ Christmas tree. This tradition began on an episode in 1998 when then New York Jets NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde was a guest on Letterman’s show and he and Letterman attempted to knock the meatball off the tree. The pro football player struggled mightily to knock the meatball down, so Thomas, also a guest on the night’s show, ran out from the green room, grabbed a football and threw a perfect bull’s-eye on his first throw. An impressed Letterman invited him back every year since, except for 2013 when Thomas had to cancel due to surgery (John McEnroe stepped in to swat tennis balls at the meatball). The second part of Thomas’ traditional Christmas appearance is the telling of what Letterman has referred to as “the greatest story in late night history.” Thomas would tell the story of the time he was a radio DJ in Charlotte, N.C. and did a promotional gig with Clayton Moore, the actor who portrayed the original Lone Ranger on television. Forgetting to order a car for Moore, in full Lone Ranger costume, Thomas offered to give him a ride and what happened next is what makes the story the “greatest in late night history.” If you’ve never seen it you truly must and hopefully thanks to the power of YouTube it will become an annual tradition for you as it has for me. I can think of no better way to fondly remember Thomas.
by Julian Spivey
There are frankly so many quality shows on television now and so few spots for nominees in each category, even with the Emmys adding slots over the last few years, that it’s kind of hard to throw the word “snub” around. There are going to be many deserving shows and actors/actress who aren’t going to be able to be nominated on a yearly basis just based on this.
Still, here are 10 actors/actresses, shows or episodes that I wish would have been nominated for Emmys when the nominations came out this week.
10. “Memphis” – This Is Us
NBC’s hit “This is Us” received so many nominations for its first season, 11 in total, including the majority of the show’s cast that it’s hard to complain that the show was snubbed in anyway. But, “Memphis,” the episode where Randall (nominee Sterling K. Brown) and William (nominee Ron Cephas Jones) travel to William’s hometown one final time before the end of William’s life, was the best episode of television I saw all year and I feel like it deserved a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for executive producer Dan Fogelman, who wrote the episode.
9. Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham frequently appears on lists of worst Emmy Award snubs of all-time, as she was never nominated for her fast-talking performance as Lorelai Gilmore in WB’s “Gilmore Girls.” Hell, I thought she should’ve been nominated for her incredibly dramatic performance in NBC’s “Parenthood.” Many thought the Emmys might right that wrong this year by giving the veteran actress a nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series for the four-episode Netflix revival “Gilmore Girls: A Year in a Life.” However, with a supremely packed field including Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon for FX’s “FEUD,” Carrie Coon for FX’s “Fargo” and Felicity Huffman for ABC’s “American Crime” there just wasn’t enough space.
8. Andre Braugher
Andre Braugher, who has previously won an Emmy for his dramatic performance on “Homicide: Life in the Streets,” had been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his pitch-perfect performance as Capt. Ray Holt in Fox’s hilarious “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for three consecutive years. I’d hoped Braugher would finally break through and win, but has been beaten out by Ty Burrell for “Modern Family,” Tony Hale for “Veep” and Louie Anderson for “Baskets.” His streak of nominations was snapped this year. Did the Emmys really need to nominate Burrell again?
7. Benito Martinez
ABC’s “American Crime” was one of the most brilliantly realistic dramatic series on television for its three-year run and the fact that it aired on network television made it even more surprising. The show has been nominated for 16 Emmys over its three seasons and has won two Emmys for Regina King, who’s going for the trifecta this year. Benito Martinez’s performance as Luis Salazar, a Mexican father searching for his missing son who came to America searching for a better life, was the most intriguing and impressive performance of the third season of the series, which is impressive given most of his dialogue was in Spanish (with not all of it being subtitled). The emotion on his face was all he needed to convey the character’s feelings.
6. Kaitlin Olson
I doubt you’ll see Kaitlin Olson appearing on any other “Emmy Snubs” lists, but I really would’ve loved to see her get recognition for her wildly entertaining and raucous performance on Fox’s freshman comedy “The Mick.” Olson goes all out in her performance as an incredibly inappropriate aunt tasked with taking care of her niece and two nephews when the parents flee the country due to fraud charges. The only comedic performance on television that likely rivals Olson’s in term of sheer tenacity is Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep,” which has won her five consecutive Emmys.
5. Lamorne Morris
Fox’s “New Girl” is obviously outside of its Emmy recognition window with the show not receiving a single nomination since its first season when it was nominated for five awards, including Zooey Deschanel (Lead Actress in a Comedy) and Max Greenfield (Supporting Actor in a Comedy). However, I think Lamorne Morris’ performance as Winston Bishop in the show’s sixth season was among the show’s best work and one of the funniest performances of any comedy on television this decade.
4. Orange Is the New Black
With the way the eligibility works for the Emmy Awards this snub is for the popular Netflix show’s fourth season, which aired last summer, and not the fifth season, which debuted on Netflix last month. It’s the first season in which the show hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy, but the switch from Comedy Series to Dramatic Series has likely hurt its chances from now on (even though that was a good switch – and one “Transparent” on Amazon really needs to make, as well). I believe ‘OITNB’ should’ve been nominated as an Outstanding Drama Series this year because season four was the show’s best season in my opinion with it taking on a more realistic portrayal of what was going on in the real world with policing (or in the show’s example guards) running amuck and profiles of racial issues.
3. Freddie Highmore
It’s almost psychotic that Freddie Highmore was never nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of a young Norman Bates on A&E’s “Bates Motel.” When you’re following in the footsteps of the incredibly creepy Anthony Perkins performance of Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho” you absolutely must knock it out of the park and Highmore did consistently for five seasons with his best work ultimately coming in the show’s final season this past spring. It’s an incredibly packed category to fit in, but many think Liev Schreiber for “Ray Donovan” or Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards” could’ve taken a step back this year.
2. Joe Morton
Joe Morton has won an Emmy before for his tenaciously scary performance as Rowan Pope on ABC’s “Scandal” as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2014. But, ever since Morton’s role was expanded to the regular cast he hasn’t been able to slip back into the nominations (there definitely seems to be a bias against network show performances), despite the quality remaining at a high caliber. I’d argue that Morton’s finest performance on the show came this year and the Emmy voting body should’ve found space for him in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama category, perhaps taking a spot from frequent nominees Mandy Patinkin (Homeland) or Michael Kelly (House of Cards).
1. Late Night with Seth Meyers
A lot of articles feel like the biggest snub in late night television is that of NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” which had been nominated the three previous years, but I believe the show that airs directly after Fallon’s, “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” is the bigger snub. In fact, I believe it’s the single most egregious snub of this year’s nominations. Meyers has brought a sophisticated brand of political humor to network late night television of the variety that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had done for years on Comedy Central and John Oliver has been doing on HBO and he should be feted for it. This isn’t really meant to be criticism of Colbert, but his ‘Late Show’ on CBS did receive a nomination for Outstanding Variety Series Talk Show this year when I believe Meyers hosts a similar, yet better show.
by Julian Spivey
They all stay filed away in my head – my favorite “Doctor Who” episodes – I can think instantly of favorite episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith. But, despite being The Doctor for three full seasons and doing a fine job of it I honestly don’t have many Peter Capaldi episodes that instantly come to mind, except for “The Husbands of River Song,” the Christmas special from 2015.
I think Capaldi may have saved his best performance for last, or likely second to last. The season 10 finale, “The Doctor Falls,” instantly becomes the most memorable performance of his tenure and the best written episode from “Doctor Who” producer Steven Moffat in some time.
We knew this was going to be The Twelfth Doctor’s last hurrah as we saw him beginning to regenerate in last week’s penultimate episode (which was really part one of a two-part finale) “World Enough and Time” at the very opening of that episode, but we didn’t yet know why. We wouldn’t find out until the end of “The Doctor Falls.”
“The Doctor Falls” is rather finite and Moffat does a terrific job of essentially bringing his era of “Doctor Who” toward an end – we aren’t going to have many recurring characters left after this episode – giving future showrunner Chris Chibnall, who’s currently wrapping up his fantastic mystery series “Broadchurch” on BBC America, a completely fresh start.
In “World Enough and Time” we were subjected to two great shocks – the conversion of companion Bill Potts (the excellent Pearl Mackie) into a Mondasian Cyberman, something that hasn’t been seen on “Doctor Who” since 1966, and the stunning return of John Simm as The Master. This was thrilling for fans who got a chance to see two Masters, him and Missy (the terrific Michelle Gomez), together like we had seen multiple Doctors together in “The Day of The Doctor.”
At the beginning of “The Doctor Falls,” The Doctor is teamed up upon by Missy and The Master, who look to use the Cybermen to annihilate the human race. Just one problem – The Doctor shrewdly tricked them by programming the Cybermen to target beings with two hearts, which Time Lords have, putting Missy, The Master and himself in a dire situation, but protecting the humans. The Doctor is struck down by a Cyberman before being rescued by Bill’s Cyberman, which hasn’t completely taken her over.
The group of The Doctor, Bill, Nardole (the great comic relief of Matt Lucas), Missy and The Master outrun the Cybermen to a different sector of the massive spaceship they’ve been on all along, reaching a solar farm with many kids the Cyberman are targeting for conversion. Here The Doctor heals from his wounds, though not completely as he’s showing signs of the regeneration we knew was coming. The first truly tear-jerking moment of this episode comes when Bill, not realizing she’s been converted into a Cyberman, sees herself as a Cyberman for the first time. She sheds a tear, something The Doctor finds hopeful, because Cybermen do not shed tears.
The group is preparing to save the children and fight off the Cybermen, but The Doctor simply isn’t going to get help from his old friends, turned foes The Master and Missy, though he’d hoped all along that he’d be able to turn Missy good again. It’s maybe the most dramatic and best scene of the episode and of the series in quite some time, with Capaldi’s monologue becoming the ultimate moment of his tenure as he tries to persuade the two to help.
Here is that glorious monologue in its entirety:
"Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone … or because I hate someone or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent. And above all, it’s kind. It’s just that. Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live … maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, maybe there’s no point in any of this at all, but it’s the best I can do, and I will stand here doing it until it kills me. You’re going to die, too, someday. When will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.”"
Of course, it doesn’t change the minds or hearts of The Master, though for a split-second we believe he’s gotten through to Missy. She thanks him for trying, but turns down his offer. This leads to another tear-jerker moment when The Master and Missy are trying to escape back to safety when she turns on her prior self, slyly stabs him in the back and attempts to return to help The Doctor before The Master shoots her full blast in the back with his sonic screwdriver. It ends the run of two of the series’ finest villains in The Master and Missy.
Back at the battlefront The Doctor has sent the kids to safety with the aid of Nardole, bringing yet another tear-jerking moment when Nardole is forced to say bye to his friends. It’s crazy how attached you can become to characters like Bill and Nardole in just a 12-episode season, but that shows they’ve left a great mark on the series like other short-lived companions have before.
The Doctor and Bill stand side-by-side one last time together to bring kindness to the universe. The Doctor seemingly sacrifices himself to put an end to the Cybermen. He’s completely dead this time, no regeneration in sight. Then Bill comes upon him to mourn his death, before surprisingly finding herself back in her human form. In a finale full of surprises, one of the biggest was the recurrence of Bill’s love interest Heather from the season opening “The Pilot,” who has freed Bill from the Cyberman’s case, not saving her life, but giving her a happy ending as the two will roam the universe together. This is not before bringing The Doctor’s dead body back to his TARDIS for a proper sendoff. Remembering how important tears are Bill sheds one last tear on The Doctor before leaving. This tear begins the regeneration process all over for The Doctor, who like the ones before doesn’t want to go, he refuses to regenerate – trying to will the regeneration away. In the biggest surprise of the finale the TARDIS lands a snowscape, where The Doctor hears a familiar voice from long ago – it’s his original self as played by David Bradley, recapturing his role as the First Doctor who he portrayed as actual First Doctor actor William Hartnell (who died in 1975) in the 2013 BBC docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time” about the creation of “Doctor Who.” Damn, this show can get weird and tricky at times.
I guess the Twelfth Doctor and the First Doctor are both going to have themselves a final hurrah in the Christmas special at the end of this year before Chibnall starts the series anew sometime next year. As good as Capaldi and “The Doctor Falls” was, though, it may be somewhat disappointing that his role of The Doctor was completely wrapped up in the Series 10 finale.
In 2010 The Word created its own special awards for broadcast television shows called the Broadys. You may be asking yourself, “Broadys? What is that?” … Well, the Broadys are yearly awards for broadcast network television series and only broadcast network television series. For years I watched the Emmys and Golden Globes and saw almost exclusively cable or premium cable shows (especially in the drama categories) winning all of the awards. Most years you’ll be lucky to see one drama series from broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox & CW) nominated for anything. Why? Because there’s this stigma that because cable and premium shows can show things like graphic violence and sex and harsher language that that somehow makes them more “real” and thus “award-worthy.” That bothers me for two primary reasons: 1) it seems these shows are throwing excess sex and violence that’s unnecessary (don’t get me wrong sex & violence are both fine if they pertain to the story) into their plots and 2) there’s still so many of us television viewers who don’t have networks like HBO and Showtime, etc. and thus we’re not getting to see these shows anyway and want some love for those we do follow. That is why the Broadys exist.
WINNER: The Blacklist (NBC)
Fan Vote: The Blacklist (NBC)
WINNER: Black-ish (ABC)
Fan Vote: The Mick (Fox)
Best Variety Series
WINNER: Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
Fan Vote: Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Best New Drama
WINNER: This Is Us (NBC)
Fan Vote: This Is Us (NBC)
Best New Comedy
WINNER: The Mick (Fox)
Fan Vote: The Mick (Fox)
Best Actor - Drama
WINNER: Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Fan Vote: Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Best Actress - Drama
WINNER: Megan Boone (The Blacklist)
Fan Vote: Megan Boone (The Blacklist) & Kerry Washington (Scandal) - TIE
Best Actor - Comedy
WINNER: Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Fan Vote: Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Best Actress - Comedy
WINNER: Kaitlin Olson (The Mick)
Fan Vote: Kaitlin Olson (The Mick)
Best Supporting Actor - Drama
WINNER: Joe Morton (Scandal)
Fan Vote: Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) & Jeff Perry (Scandal) - TIE
Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Chrissy Metz (This Is Us)
Fan Vote: Chrissy Metz (This Is Us) & Virginia Madsen (Designated Survivor) - TIE
Best Supporting Actor - Comedy
WINNER: Lamorne Morris (New Girl)
Fan Vote: Scott MacArthur (The Mick) & Mel Rodriguez (The Last Man on Earth) - TIE
Best Supporting Actress - Comedy
WINNER: Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth)
Fan Vote: Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth)
Best Guest Actor - Drama
WINNER: Gerald McRaney (This Is Us)
Fan Vote: Gerald McRaney (This Is Us)
Best Guest Actress - Drama
WINNER: Susan Blommaert (The Blacklist)
Fan Vote: Susan Blommaert (The Blacklist)
Best Guest Actor - Comedy
WINNER: Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)
Fan Vote: Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)
Best Guest Actress - Comedy
WINNER: Melissa McCarthy (Saturday Night Live)
Fan Vote: Melissa McCarthy (Saturday Night Live)
Best Episode - Drama
WINNER: "Memphis" (This Is Us)
Best Episode - Comedy
WINNER: "LEMONS" (Black-ish)
Hall of Fame Legend
WINNER: Edward R. Murrow
Television news today is pretty maligned – whether right or wrong – with people going on about “fake news” and people mistrusting the media in an era of people wanting “news” to back up their own opinions in life. There’s no better time to remember one of the original icons of network news, Edward R. Murrow. Murrow got his start in radio, becoming a prominent name in news during World War II. Despite having misgivings about the new form of media television in the 1950s Murrow would join CBS Evening News doing editorials and covering special events. In 1951, his radio show “Hear It Now” was renamed “See It Now” and television news had its first major face. “See It Now” would run for seven years and most prominently took on Sen. Joe McCarthy and his “McCarthyism” witch hunts against suspected communists. The program essentially led to the downfall of McCarthy and showed for the first time how televised news could be used to make the world a better place. Boy, could we use Edward R. Murrow today. He was posthumously inducted into the first class of the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.
Hall of Fame Show
It's truly amazing that comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David could take a “show about nothing” and turn it into what’s generally considered the greatest sitcom in television history. Creators Seinfeld and David took the little everyday things that most would consider boring or even irrelevant and mined it for comedy gold. With a stellar cast including Seinfeld, as a version of himself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards the show would go on to be a major part of the pop culture lexicon. TV Guide ranked the series as the Greatest TV Show of All-Time in 2002.