It’s that time of year again. Time for me to consider what shows to mark on my Primetime Emmy nomination ballot. As a member of the Public Relations Peer Group within the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, I am not eligible to nominate for the individual Emmy categories, but I can nominate for the program and special class Emmy categories. Still, It is pretty neat to have a voice in determining the finalists for best drama or comedy television series of the season.
It is impossible for one person to view every minute of original programming throughout the year. It is just as impossible to view all the DVDs or online screenings that studios and production companies make available to Academy members in hope of being considered for a nomination ballot. As an Academy member, I have a deeper understanding of the process, skill, hard work and luck involved in getting a series, movie or special to air or distribution, which encourages me to view these creative works openly. However, I still must use my preferences, experiences and friend recommendations to choose what shows I want to view and enjoy, selecting my nominations from this group. There are plenty of Academy members with different preferences and experiences to give the full slate of works an honest viewing.
In the comedy category, the FX series, Louie, starring Louis C.K., has been touted in glowing terms in press and by some Facebook friends, so I will take time to view the DVD FX sent me. However, I am not a big fan of gritty or crude material just for the sake of being crude. Ultimately, the message or theme is the last word. Humor by its nature can be cruel. In fact, comedy has been defined as tragedy with a happy ending. For me, I prefer lighter fare where condescension tinged with ignorance is skewered and insecure characters actually find a road to redemption and community through their comic antics. Something like The Big Bang Theory. With its syndication over TBS and the local Fox affiliate over the past two years, I was able to binge view the previous seasons, turning it into a current favorite. In the past season, as the characters have grown, I did feel that a few episodes this season were more filler episodes to stretch out the life of the series, but there were good seminal moments. I find it interesting that perhaps the most insecure character is Penny, the beautiful girl among the geeks who is actually scared that she is not as smart as the friends she has around her. Another series I have come to enjoy is the skit-infused Portlandia on IFC. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein take on many characters in vignettes that gently poke fun at the casual culture of Portland, Oregon. Deep thoughts in a shallow pool.
In the drama category, I am not a fan of non-redemptive, ultra-twisted series, based on foundations of sex and violence. These are valid themes to explore in the challenges of life, but for me, they are hard to take over the extended period of a series. This is why I have avoided fan-favorites like HBO’s Game of Thrones or AMC’s The Walking Dead. The key for me is the underlying sense of redemption that inspires growth in the main character, allowing me to empathize and root for this character. To me, an empathetic anti-hero is a character living a survivalist, immoral lifestyle that is unexpectedly thrust in a heroic position to lead against or uncover a greater conspiracy of evil, which requires the character to grow in a redemptive manner. BBC America’s Orphan Black, a series about a woman who discovers that she is a clone to the woman whose identity she took over, is a perfect example of this and definitely on my consideration list.
As for reality programming, this is divided into two categories – reality and reality competition. The standard reality category mostly contains docu-series like Real Housewives, Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I generally do not have any interest in this type of programming. A reality series that focuses on a person or a small group of people tends to be almost unrealistically larger than life in order to keep it from getting stale. However, I am more impressed with a reality series which educates while it entertains. A good example of this is Discovery’s Mythbusters. As for the reality competition category, there is one show that consistently expands our global perspective in the challenge, The Amazing Race. It is definitely one of my favorites.
I have a couple more weeks to consider my choices for my ballot before mailing it in, so I’ll check out a few more shows for consideration. Maybe I’ll have time to view the NetFlix series, House of Cards.