Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Emmy Nominations 2009

Yup it's late but I honestly haven't the time to sit and blog recently. I managed to get some novel stuff done using pen and paper in Cornwall from where I got back from on Saturday only to immediately go down to Wales the next day to look at the renovations done to our house down there. Today was mostly spent sleeping and watching anything I may have missed on television over the past week. But now I'm back and it's Emmy Nominations!!!

To start with yes there are snubs. Some quite obvious ones but honestly the only one that really pisses me off is Chuck not getting any big nominations. Pushing Daises got one for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Kristen Chenowith) so I can live with that loving since the show was mercilessly canceled. Chuck is massive snub however considering how good it is, but as well all know geek shows don't get nominated. Take Battlestar Galactica, whilst it still gets more acclaim than other shows (*cough*TheWire*cough*) it just didn't get any respect for it's final season even when it's one of the most critical acclaimed shows on television and it's lead actors (again highly acclaimed) don't get any respect. Same goes for two other shows, The Shield and Friday Night Lights both of which got no respect. Also True Blood, it might be so bad it's good but it's still better than 95% of current television. However I'm behind on almost all of these shows so it doesn't affect me as much as their die hard fans.

Brief overview of the Best Comedy Series nominations:


Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock


Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program


Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Rainn Wilson, The Office

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Alan Alda, 30 Rock
Beau Bridges, Desperate Housewives
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock
Steve Martin, 30 Rock
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

Jennifer Aniston, 30 Rock
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Gena Rowlands, Monk
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
Betty White, My Name Is Earl

James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Flight of the Conchords ("Prime Minister")
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock ("Kidney Now!")
Robert Carlock, 30 Rock ("Apollo, Apollo")
Matt Hubbard, 30 Rock ("Reunion")
Ron Weiner, 30 Rock ("Mamma Mia")

Jeff Blitz, The Office ("Stress Relief")
James Bobin, Flight of the Conchords ("The Tough Brets")
Julian Falino, Entourage ("Tree Trippers")
Todd Holland, 30 Rock ("Generalissimo")
Beth McCarthy, 30 Rock(episode: "Reunion")
Millicent Shelton, 30 Rock ("Apollo, Apollo")

However I'm here to talk about the nominations I do like. For starters, How I Met Your Mother finally got nominated for Best Comedy. Whilst it has no chance against 30 Rock it's great to see it get the respect it deserves. Especially since it's my favourite comedy on television. Not necessarily the best, but my favourite. Also Neil Patrick Harris once more got nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor which with no Jeremy Piven being nominated (he has won for the past three years, God knows why) means he's in with an awesome shot. Especially because he is also the host and really it would make my day that an actor I would see in ANYTHING get the respect he deserves.

In surprising news Family Guy got nominated for Best Comedy Series, the first ever animated show to be nominated. Whilst I think this is great news I have to ask, why Family Guy? Yes it might be because the bracket has been expanded from 5 to 7 so some extra spots were needed, but Family Guy isn't the best animated series on television. Hopefully next year South Park will submit itself and get Family Guy's slot but at the moment Family Guy deserves despite (apparently) not being as good as it used to. On a side note The Simpsons tried to get itself nominated early on in it's tenure, 1993 and 1994, decided to put itself in the Outstanding Comedy slot and they submitted Mr. Plow one of the strongest episodes ever, so it shows how far we've come. Shame they didn't do it back then because maybe The Simpsons would have realised the quality was declining after they stopped getting nominated after about 8 years.

The other surprise comedy nomination was Flight of the Conchords. A small time comedy from a New Zealand music comedy which is extremely funny and only two seasons long. Well worth a look for. Think Tenacious D without the metal (on another note Tenacious D made a TV show in the 90s so why not go check out both now!!)

But when talking about comedy you can't not talk about the elephant in the room, 30 Rock. This year they managed to get a mind boggling 22 nominations. Highest for any comedy series EVER. They've won for the past two years, all five of the main actors for the show have been nominated with acting awards (with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin winning last year), four out of the five nominations for writing and five of the eleven nominations for guest actors. The only show that could compete is The Office but 30 Rock is the critical darling and WILL win. I hope that the votes are split in the Supporting Actor category are split between the 30 Rock actors so Neil Patrick Harris can win an award. Please let that happen.

Brief overview of the Drama Series nominations:

Big Love
Breaking Bad
Mad Men

Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House

Glenn Close, Damages
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Michael Emerson, Lost
William Hurt, Damages
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Shatner, Boston Legal
John Slattery, Mad Men

Rose Byrne, Damages
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy

Edward Asner, CSI: NY
Ted Danson, Damages
Ernest Borgnine, ER
Michael J. Fox, Rescue Me
Jimmy Smits, Dexter

Brenda Blethyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Carol Burnett, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Ellen Burstyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Sharon Lawrence, Grey's Anatomy
CCH Pounder, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, Lost ("The Incident")
Kater Gordon and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men ("Meditations in an Emergency")
Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men ("Six Month Leave")
Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men ("A Night to Remember")
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men ("The Jet Set")

Phil Abraham, Mad Men ("The Jet Set")
Bill D'Elia, Boston Legal ("Made In China/Last Call")
Rod Holcomb, ER ("And in the End")
Todd A. Kessler, Damages ("Trust Me")
Michael Rymer, Battlestar Galactica ("Daybreak Part 2")

These nominations, apart from the Guest Actress Nominations (seriously Law & Order for most the nominations?!?) and William Fucking Shatner, are perfect. Whilst yes The Shield and Battlestar Galactica aren't nominated, for me as a massive fan of Dexter, Lost, Mad Men and Breaking Bad these nominations are awesome.

Dexter, whilst season 3 wasn't it's best, it's still one of the best shows on television and thankfully both Michael C. Hall and Jimmy Smitts got nominations for their show stopping performances. If you want to see an acting master class, watch these two in Dexter Season 3.

Breaking Bad, season 2 far outstripped season 1 and it got an Emmy nomination to back up last years win for Bryan Cranston as Lead Actor (seriously the guy is a fucking God) plus Aaron Paul got a Supporting Actor nomination which makes me warm inside because he too is amazing and at times can stand toe to toe with Bryan Cranston himself.

Lost got a surprise nomination for Best Drama. Surprise not because the show is bad but because we leaped headfirst into science fiction this year with time travel. Whilst Heroes did get nominated in Season 1 (hard to believe after how shit it has become) science fiction tends to get ignored so good to see the Lost love spreading (even if Season 5 wasn't as good as Season 4). To back this up we got a nomination for Michael Emerson, who had better win. Whilst I've said Aaron Paul was awesome just above, Michael Emerson has yet to win an Emmy for his work on Lost and he needs one. Terry O'Quinn got one, so just give it to Michael Emerson please? Not fucking Willaim Shatner. Then the writing nomination. Lost this year has the distinction of being the only non-Mad Men show to be nominated for Drama Writing this year. This means Lost has got a nomination ever year for writing (I refuse to believe that The Constant wasn't nominated last year) meaning that if you have yet to check it out, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Just a brief bit on the Lead Actor race before I go onto the elephant in the room (yes that does mean we currently have two elephants in the room). This year it looks tight. Every single one of the nominations is amazing, whilst my personal favourites are Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston, I know that Hugh Laurie is amazing and that seriously any one of these guys could take it. Television spoils us with amazing actors. The Drama series nominations too are awesome, so much so I have pledged to watch Damages and may get round to Big Love and House eventually. So Drama has some all round good choices.

However if you know anything the favourite for this year is Mad Men and rightfully so. It is probably the best show on television at the moment and currently leads with 16 nominations. It won last year and got 2 Golden Globes so there isn't really of question of whether it will win at all. Jon Hamm is amazing as are Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery however I will say I am annoyed that January Jones didn't get nominated for Best Actress as she is probably the strongest female actress on television at the moment (if you don't know her she plays one of the American girls in Love Actually and the American fiance in The Boat That Rocked, completely tangential but people need to know who she is). It also got four of the nominations for Best Writing however I do hope Lost wins because they have yet to win for writing despite having both Walkabout and Through the Looking Glass Nominated Before.

Finally in other Emmy nomination bits, David Simon's miniseries Generation Kill is one of only two nominations for Best Miniseries so hopefully it'll win and I can forgive the egregious snubbing of The Wire the past few years. Also in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog has been given a special nomination making it the only thing completely unrelated to television to receive and Outstanding Special Class nomination. Good luck to Mr. Whedon and cohorts.

And because it's been a while, trailer roundup!!!
District 9

Moon In cinemas this week!!! (review next week!!!)

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Of Torchwood: Children of Earth

This new season of Torchwood, is very much in line with what is becoming known in Britain as 'event television', wherein we get five episodes, one shown every wweek night, and Torchwood seems just the show to do this with. It could have been incredibly interesting to follow people as they react to an alien invasion. Some amazing action sequences as the humans fight back agains the opressors. However the show doesnt go this route and instead makes a far more political agenda, focusing on the government's reaction and how they will do anyting to satiate the 456 and cover up previous goings on from 1965. Whilst this is all actually very interesting and at some points quite bleak (the government offering the 456 all the children asylum seekers and then later all underachieving school children) it defintiely isn't Torchwood. In fact the Torchwood are given more or less a back seat to the politcal dealings. Most of the time they're running away or sat starring at computer screens, something many people will say is 'boring' and whilst I wouldn't go that far, it definitely isn't what I expected from Torcwhood.

Obviously we also have the big reason as to why the 456 want children. After they took 12 children in 1965 (which Captain Jack was a part of and is the reason why he is blown up at the end of episode 1) there should have been no reason for them to come back. But back they've come and this time they want 10% of the worlds population of children (surprisingly good at maths as well because they work out 10% of them in every country in the world). The reason of course is that the 456 are getting high off of the children and in fact leads us onto the adult content for this season of Torchwood, we've had sex monsters so now we might as well have intergalactic druggies.

The other part of the story that is brought on by the 1965 incident (not including the politcal plotline of the Americans losing complete faith in our government) is the Clement McDonald character and how he ties in with the eventual conclusion. Whilst at first seeming to be an easy to introduce a pregnacy storyline for Gwen, we eventually find out he is 'The Remnant' and is the only thing that can kill the 456 due to his links to them. Of course after he is killed (The 456 send of a signal causing his brain to explode) we find out it isn't the only way to destroy the aliens as Captain Jack goes on to kill his grandson for the greater good by sending feedback, through his grandson to the 456, killing his grandson in the process. Of course this leads to Jack's disillusionment even more, especially following another death which is what causes his decision at the end of the season. However the image of the mother clutching her dead sons body with blood all over his face is yet another dark moment that Torchwood can add to their ever growing list.

Now to move onto big spoiler territory. For a series where the aliens spend all their time in a box they still manage to kill some people, including some of the Torchwood team. Which obviously leads to biggest moment, in that Ianto is now dead. This literally came as a massive shock to me. I didn't think they'd actually do it, but at the end of Day 4 Ianto gets poisoned and isn't credited throughout Day 5, so yup look likes Ianto has definitely left the show. Boy Torchwood get through employees quickly. Also again they've destroyed yet another happy romance on the show and this only comes four episodes after the last cull of the main cast on the show, showing Russell T. Davies does have balls....when he isn't working on Doctor Who. I just wish that the deaths were a bit further apart rather than being so close together, especially compared to Doctor Who where every single main character is still alive, even in parallel universes or with the potential for brain explosions.

To follow this we then have the wild card move of Captain Jack going off into space. Just a comment, but seriously he literally takes off like a Power Ranger, same special effect and all! I had flashbacks to being five. Obviously John Barrowman is in the last two specials of Doctor Who this year, but we can't really say where they land timelinewise so we don't really know if this in fact the end for Torchwood. Looking at the ratings I wouldn't say it is but there is definite finality to this season in the fact that we only have main character left on the show (Gwen) and the most charismatic actor on the show has gone into space and could assumedly become the Face of Boe and finish off the time loop. No need for Season 4, we could end here. But do we really want to?

Well to be honest I'm not entirely sure. Torchwood has always been a lot weaker than Doctor Who, I've consistently enjoyed Torchwood but it always feels like it loses some of the magic. John Barrowman is still great, in fact most of the cast is great, but something is lacking and honestly it's the magic that The Doctor brings to the universe. The frequent references to The Doctor throughout the special are actually welcome because you honestly want David Tennant to just show up and save the day. The show has a load of great actors and story ideas but it just lacks in some of the final product. John Barrowman is just more to watch in Doctor Who than Torchwood and Torchwood is literally Doctor Who without the Doctor but with swearing and sex. It's the same reason Sarah Jane Adventures doesn't pop in the same way (hopefully to change with David Tennant's appearance this year). But still Torchwood can churn out some great stories (which this is) that sadly aren't always as good as the best of Doctor Who.

I must give massive props to one scene from Day 5 though wherein John Frobisher is told that his children are to be given to the 456 and then we get a scene, narrated by his assistant saying how much of a great man he is, walks up the stars with a gun behind is back, walks into their room where they're having fun with their mother. The door closes and we hear three gunshots, followed by a pause and then the fourth shot. It's amazingly dark and is a testament to Russel T. Davies resilience as a writer, I just wish he was able to stuff like this more often. Maybe not as dark in Doctor Who, but still showing that life isn't always fantastic, he's done it before but quite often he brings things back to the status quo rather than actually staying in the dark place. This is one of the areas that Torchwood is better at, but sadly it is just one of the few.

Overall Torchwood: Children of Earth is great. It isn't superb but it is definitely the bleakest and possibly smartest thing to come from British television in quite a while. Whilst some will get bored with the fact there is very little action throughout, I have to say the set-up is quite often exceedingly interesting and helps build into the story. Also luckily the ending isn't as jarring as previous Doctor Who finales. However the fact that this is literally one five hour long episode, I would have been pissed if it had been a deus ex machina ending. Torchwood: Children of Earth is definitely a very enjoyable series, but compared to Doctor Who it still lacks some of the pop that makes that one of the best shows on television. Luckily some darker moments, great acting (John Barrowman and Peter Capaldi) and some actual twists (seriously they killed Ianto!) make this season immensely enjoyable, just not as great as it's older brother.

However I will concede that whilst it is completely unlike Season 1 and 2 it is probably the best of overall season, with the most interesting story and character moments. Good acting all around and probably the smartest writing the show has produced. Whilst individual episodes of the show are possibly better (such as Adrift), Children of Earth offers the most consistant season of the show, by far the most adult and bleakest story the show has told. With this season Torchwood found a leaping point from which I only hope it can leap off onto bigger and better things, I just hope that this isn't the last story for Jack and the team


*Just a small note, still no clue why the 456 was vomiting everywhere. Probably just missed an explanation in my marathon viewing last night. Still really odd and kind of not scary due to the gunge sound effect they used EVERY time it happened.

**I do realise that this review is extremely different from where it started, but my opinion of this Season just keeps improving, which only the opposite can be said for Transformers 2 which I believe now sits at around a 3/10 in my mind.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Of July 2009

Would you believe that we're already half way through the year? Quite a depressing factoid, especially since deep down I wish it were still December 2007, just an insanely happy period of my life that I would trade almost anything to go back to.

But what the hell it's 2009 and there's reason to at least be slightly happy. Once again it is the holiday period so from next Saturday through till about August expect me to be able to sit down and do more frequent blog postings. However I am going to be busy with filming, driving lessons, going away, my over abundance of television (which went into hibernation recently) and my quite frequent wishes to write something that hasn't been asked to be done by a friend. At the moment I have no fucking clue what I want to do, could be sci-fi, romantic or dramatic. Remember when I say romantic though it will probably be a very depressing and kind of pessimistic view on love, whereby everyone ends up fucked over by emotions. There may also be fucking (but quite probably not by the main character). This feels like something that I really need to get off of my chest so I might write it and just hide it away. Or it might get filmed. Who knows. But at the moment as I say I want to do something romantic with a tinge of pessimism before I move onto the science fiction idea I've been rocking around for a while. As well as some slight edits to a friends script and if it ever gets off the road completely an episode of two of my friends zombie project. All in all I predict this to be the summer where I can actually say I got one step closer to my life goal.

Hopefully as well I might be able to post some brief clips of what me and my friends are doing on the film, or at least some behind the scenes things. Last year we went around with two cameras, one was the main movie and the other was just ramblings from the cast, director and moi (aka writer). It didn't actually get finished, the film was done and we even recorded a commentary for it and there a few copies of a dvd knocking around. But I definitely won't be able to post it on the internet despite being one third of the production company.

But for the next five days I have to go and do bullshit work experience. At which I will be doing something and being a bit of a hypocrite considering my actual views on part of what I'll be working with (namely Copyright laws and how in this new era of the internet they REALLY need to be changed). But that might make for a fun week, who knows I might learn something. But as soon as that is done I'm settling down into a summer swing. I think writing is going to take place in the first few weeks due to filming not possibly starting till late July.

Plus since this post is 5 days late I've already this July interesting. Namely a Leaver's party which was a lot of fun. Talking, drinking and just general laughs. Whilst some bad stuff did happen (guy in my year got kicked in the face for accidentally nudging someone on the dance floor) and I'm kicking myself for saying something to someone. However I had a lot of fun. I didn't manage to get one friend off his head drunk but I did manage to give my shirt to a random Australian girl and then spend the rest of the night being lambasted for not getting off with her.

Oh and Pixar got an unanimous "Yay" meaning that unsurprisingly they do make good movies. Really who could possibly vote no? Apart from Armond White but he's a twat who honestly doesn't count for shit.

But that is July in a nutshell so here come the little formality bits

Stuff Coming Soon
No fucking clue, look back over the past few months and anything I haven't done I'll try and do alright?

Currently Listening To - Seven Nation Army - White Stripes
Currently Reading - The Beach - Alex Garland*
Currently Watching (Movie) - There Will Be Blood

*I've actually read a lot recently with in the past two weeks having read The Road, The Catcher in the Rye and The Handmaid's Tale. I can tell I'm going to read a lot this summer.