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Entries in TV (336)

Thursday
Jun112015

FYC: Ruth Wilson for Best Lead Actress, Drama

Each member of Team Experience was asked to celebrate a dream pick for the Emmys. Here's Jose...

At first, Ruth Wilson’s Alison Bailey in The Affair seems to be the kind of person you'd never really notice. And yet for some strange reason we, like the male lead (played by Dominic West) are immediately drawn to her, perhaps because of how she seems careless and worried at the same time, or perhaps because of her effortless beauty which she seems to carry with shame, as if she’s concealing something. Whatever the reason, Alison owes her appeal to the magic of Wilson who in less than a year had a two-punch breakout success with this show (for which she won the Golden Globe) and her Tony nominated Broadway turn in Constellations.

Wilson is a two time Olivier Award winner so her breathtaking ease onstage was no surprise to people who knew her work in the West End, audiences on our side of the pond however were given the opportunity to discover a fresh new face that Hollywood had been using for silly or underchallenging supporting roles in films like The Lone Ranger and Saving Mr Banks. What remains most surprising about Wilson is that without any physical transformation she makes you truly believe she is the two very different women she's playing in The Affair and Constellations.

The same is true even within The Affair, which often repeats events from two sides (a "he said/she said" kind of thing) so Wilson has to approach each scene in a two different ways. When the events are seen through Alison's perspective they carry an aura of both helplessness and tenacity in the face of adversity, but those same moments seen through the eys of her lover, sometimes practically turn her into a femme fatale.

Whichever version of events you believe, trust this: We are only starting to discover what Wilson can do.

Tuesday
Jun092015

Cara Seymour on Playing Sister Harriet in "The Knick"

Cara Seymour (Adaptation, American Psycho, The Savages) is Guest Blogging all day today! - Editor
 

-by Cara Seymour

Getting to work on "The Knick" has been one of the greatest experiences of my career. I screamed with joy when I got the part and I'm not a big screamer of joy.  Amazing director, talented and really fun cast and all round impeccable team of super talented people in every department.  I'm madly appreciative of this.

Michael Begler, Jack Amiel and Steve Katz wrote this extraordinary character of Sister Harriet - she leapt off the page. But I wanted to know more about nuns in 1900 when The Knick takes place, so I ordered nun books.

"Through the Narrow Gate,"  by Karen Armstrong was an unflinching account of her life as a nun in a convent pre Vatican II -- read every word of that!

Didn't read them all from cover to cover. Not quite that crazy!

(more on The Knick after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun082015

FYC: "Jane the Virgin" For Best Comedy Series

Team Experience shares their preferred picks in top Emmy categories as voters ready their ballots. Here's Denny...

Jane the Virgin shouldn't work. But it does, in every way, in every episode. Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, the show tells the story of Jane (luminous Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez), a straight-A college student working at a posh Miami hotel as she completes her degree in Education, who gets accidentally artificially inseminated.

Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman pulled off a miracle with Jane's first season. There is not a single bad episode. NOT. ONE. And that feat is even more impressive when you consider what a high-wire act each episode of Jane is: Each episode juggles an ever-expanding cast of major characters, multiple flashbacks, in-show telenovelas, fantasy and/or dream sequences, one character (Jane's abuela Alba) who speaks exclusively in subtitled Spanish, and a third-person omniscent narrator who has become a character in his own right.

Oh yeah, and onscreen text, including the only onscreen twitter hashtags that are not only usable but laugh-loud funny. AND real-world issues that surround the show's beautifully-written Latina/o characters

All of this may sound like too much, but somehow it isn't. There's a lightness of touch here missing from most TV comedies - heck, most TV shows PERIOD. The show is able to earn copious amounts of tears while still remaining one of the funniest shows on TV, thanks in equal part to the remarkably assured writing, the tremendous performances (#emmyforrogelio), and the smart direction on display.

While it's true that Emmy hasn't noticed anything on The CW before, honoring Jane the Virgin with a nomination for Best Comedy Series would not only add diversity to the usually lily-white category, it would add credibility. It would show that Emmy voters not only care about quality, but that they don't care where they find it.

P.S. Two brilliant FYC ads if you haven't seen them after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun052015

FYC: Jon Hamm for Best Lead Actor in a Drama

Team Experience share their personal Emmy dream picks daily at Noon. Here's Deborah on everyone's favorite ad man...

Emmy voters, you assholes, now is your chance to make it right! 

You have nominated Jon Hamm seven times for his work on Mad Men. Seven times. It’s like you’ve got the hiccups and then, when the actual award-giving comes around, you’re all holding your breath. Stop it!

Okay, so, irritation out of the way, let’s talk about the work this extraordinary actor has done on this show. 

First of all, Mad Men is not an ensemble show. There’s an amazing cast doing supporting work, yes. Kiernan Shipka, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, and especially Elisabeth Moss all deserve acknowledgement. Nonetheless, its Hamm’s Don Draper who carries the show, and the nuance of his performance is what delivers the show to greatness, matching the lofty ambitions of its writing with flawless execution. 

There are moments when the writers of Mad Men have simply stripped out the dialogue, and allowed Hamm’s face to do all the heavy lifting—to go from serene to angry to defeated in a few seconds. To break down and then build back up. There are times when no words are spoken, because words are for lesser actors. (That's especially true in the series' finale which should be fresh in your memory.)

Now, listen, Emmys. You’ve denied Hamm the award when he delivered the Season 3's The Gypsy and the Hobo, the complete breakdown of his façade, as Betty Draper confronted her husband with the evidence that he was another man. You’ve denied it to him when he delivered The Suitcase, the season 4 episode widely considered Mad Men’s finest hour, a two-hander in which Don falls apart, bit-by-bit, as he and Peggy Olson (Moss) tear apart their complex relationship in one long, grueling, drunken night. 

But how about now? How about an award for the series finale, Person to Person, when he learns that Betty has cancer, and silently, eloquently, lets her know he loves her? How about an award for Field Trip, as Don waits to hear about getting his job back, starting with absolute confidence, believing he is already hired, and bit-by-bit, hour by hour, becomes more nervous and more humble, all without any dialogue directly addressing the fact. Or just, you know, give it to him for kissing Peggy on top of her head as they dance in Season The Strategy.

There are many great actors on television today. I’m not saying other people aren’t worthy. I’m saying no one can do what Jon Hamm does. No one is more complex, more plastic, more impressive. Maybe someone out there is equally good, but no one is better, and seven years is too damn long to wait.
 

Wednesday
Jun032015

The Toughest Emmy Quandary: Supporting Actress in a Drama Series?

We begin an Emmy FYC series tomorrow (Daily at Noon) since voting commences this month for nominations for the 67th Annual Emmy Awards. Emmy rules allow for 6 acting nominees per category. Though I shudder when any pundit suggests expanding lineups in any awards show -- it reduces the meaning if it's easy to get nominated -- if there were ever a convincing argument against honoring twice as many actors as usual, isn't it the 2015 Supporting Actress in a Drama Series field? 

THE FACTS
For the past three years the category has been almost exclusively dominated by five women. The 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons saw a nominated shortlist that always included Christine Baranski (5 nominations for The Good Wife, 7 previous nominations with 1 win), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, 5 nominations), Maggie Smith (4 nominations and 2 wins for Downton Abbey, 4 previous nominations with another win) and Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad, 3 nominations and 2 wins). Joanna Froggatt (Downton Abbey, 2 nominations) was usually in the lineup as well leaving very little wiggle room for other fine actresses. Essentially voters had one free spot each year that they were then quite fickle with. All but one of these five women are still eligible (Breaking Bad is finally off the air) which begs the question of how Emmy will deal with so many new and valuable players from freshman series or players who've been coalescing fans and momentum towards nominations without quite breaking in for other series.

Unless Emmy is willing to ditch one of their four beloveds (and it better not be Hendricks who had such a great sendoff in Mad Men and has been robbed in the past) there's only room for two newbies or returning players and there are a couple dozen of them (at least) to consider after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun022015

Grace & Frankie. Final Thoughts & Emmy Wishes

We recapped the first half of Grace and Frankie and then abruptly quit talking about it, but since it's been renewed, we should tie this up in a neat bow. As with other Netflix shows in the past like OITNB and Daredevil it didn't quite engage people in the blogging model as weekly series coverage does despite the fact that it was clear that most readers were watching. The problem, as documented in ongoing media hand-wringing and cultural conversations about binge-watching, is that nobody's ever on the same page. 

But on the other hand people do seem to have ended up on (mostly) the same page with Grace & Frankie in terms of its overall quality. More...

Click to read more ...

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