Television is Much Better than the 2017 Emmy Nominations Would Have You Believe

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For the Emmy nominations to “get it right” in 2017 — when there has never been more television shows or places to find them — they must reflect the landscape’s diverse options by rewarding shows that expand the boundaries of the medium or innovate within it.

With so much to choose from, it’s never been harder for the Emmy nominations to get it completely right. But it’s still not that hard for them to get it wrong. Case in point: Yesterday!

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Things I Loved This Year: The Kids Are More Than Alright

Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: kids!

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You never want to admit when a child actor isn’t quite cutting it. I wouldn’t want to be the director on a set with a kid who just can’t nail the take, or isn’t quite right for the role. It’s one thing to tell a full-grown adult that they missed the mark — most of them can take it. But a child? What kind of monster tells a child they’re just not good enough?

Luckily, this year, I don’t have to wrestle with that moral dilemma. There were so many great kids on TV this year! Here are a few.

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2015 in Review: My Ten (Okay, Eleven) Favorite TV Shows

Leftovers

Diversity of many varieties was on the brain for many spheres of television this year. Network executives, showrunners, critics and audiences alike engaged in thoughtful discourse about what it means to make diverse television in 2015. There are more places than ever to watch TV, and more places than ever to distribute it. It makes logical sense that TV offerings this year would touch on a wider range of issues, feature a wider range of character types and demographics and explore a wider range of stories and universes than ever before.

But with great power comes great responsibility. My favorite shows in 2015 were the ones that used the expanding boundaries of what’s possible on television to their fullest advantage, crafting rich and surprising worlds, telling stories that dovetail with the themes, ideas and controversies guiding our daily lives. In relatively arbitrary order of preference (who’s to say whether a dark comedy about an animated horse is superior to one of the most beloved drama series of all time?), here are my ten favorite shows of 2015.

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Emmy Nominations 2015: A List with Good and Bad Qualities

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

It’s impossible to have a unified “take” (hot or otherwise) on the Emmy nominations. Anyone who says differently is lying or deluded. This year’s nominations are not only good or only bad, only surprising or only disappointing. Some of the biggest “disappointments” can be read as disappointments only if you expected the Academy would radically alter its modus operandi this year. Some of the biggest pleasant surprises are probably more accidental than intentional. As with every year, the Emmy nominations are a list to be plundered, commented upon, regarded from a safe distance and with a reasonable proportion of salt grains.

With that perspective in mind, here’s a list of my thoughts on the Emmy nominations, in no particular order and with varying degrees of sophistication and seriousness. (And here’s my list from yesterday of wish-list nominees. A few made it to the actual list!)

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Emmy Nominations 2015: Forget Me Not

Emmys

Here’s an admittedly incomplete, scattered list of shows and performances I’d love to hear on Emmy nomination morning, tomorrow at 11:30am Eastern. If it’s not on here, I either haven’t seen it, don’t like it, or like it but think it’s so likely to get a nomination that writing about it now is just superfluous.

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“Jane the Virgin”: Watch It, Por Favor

And now, a humble request from a TV fanatic: don’t be a Jane the Virgin virgin.

In an era when the term “prestige television” means dark antihero dramas and niche single-camera sitcoms, Jane the Virgin stands out. This loving parody of and homage to Spanish-language telenovelas is a complex, character-driven show with a specific point of view, an eye towards diverse perspectives and an array of colorful performances. Watching the pilot, I was overwhelmed by the seemingly unsustainable tangle of plot threads. And yet, by some miracle, the show has sustained those threads and deepened beyond them.

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2014 in Review: Television is a Beautiful Mess

Transparent

When Breaking Bad departed from television in a trail of crystal blue persuasion last September, television lost its center of gravity. At the time, this development seemed troubling. Without a consensus show around which to rally on social media, television fans and critics alike had to search elsewhere to find a show worthy of their devoted attention and undying affection. But a year removed from Walter White’s final blaze of glory, the loss of Breaking Bad seems more like a gift.

The consensus about this year’s television is that there is no consensus. Continue reading