The television Academy is even more clueless about quality than the motion picture Academy, so it doesn't necessarily bother me to see overrated, mediocre stuff (Desperate Housewives) or total crap (Will & Grace) get tons of nominations. It's pretty much what I expect. At the same time, I always foolishly hold on to a sliver of hope that some good stuff will get its due, probably fueled by the recent nominations and wins for Arrested Development (which I don't even think is that great but is at least intelligent and critically acclaimed). But, for example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer never got any major nominations, nor did Freaks and Geeks, nor Felicity, etc. So I shouldn't have been hoping to see Veronica Mars plastered all over this year's nominations, but I sort of was, thinking in vain that actual consistent quality (rather than hype backed up by quickly declining quality) might be recognized. But no, it's the same old tired names and faces, for the most part, although I was pleased to see Lost do as well as it did. Do we need to encourage the already ridiculously self-congratulatory cast and crew of Desperate Housewives any more? No. Do we need to pretend that The West Wing is anything other than a shadow of its former self? No. Do we need to reward the genial but unadventurous Everybody Loves Raymond one last time? Well, okay, I guess I can let that one slide.
Some more random thoughts, both positive and negative:
- I like seeing Scrubs acknowledged, even though I don't usually watch it. It's clever and smart, like Arrested Development, but isn't smarmy or self-consciously hip, and appears to have actual characters.
- It's strange to see The 4400 nominated in the mini-series category, but probably lucky, since it'd never have a chance in the regular drama series category. Not that I think it deserves one; it's a guilty pleasure at best, but at least its appearance offers a little variety.
- As much as I have been down on Rescue Me recently, it completely deserved more than technical nominations. It's at least better than 24, which has been treading water for two seasons now.
- Boston Legal got exactly the nominations it deserved - it's a silly show, but Spader and Shatner are great, and I would be really happy to see Shatner win.
- The Lead Actress in a Comedy category is one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen: three Desperate Housewives, bland Patricia Heaton from Raymond, and Jane Kaczmarek, playing one of the most abrasive characters on one of the absolute worst shows (Malcolm in the Middle) ever to get critical acclaim and a lengthy run. Clearly there are no good lead comedic roles for women on TV.
- Almost as pathetic: the Guest Actor in a Comedy category, with four big names who showed up on Will & Grace and played "against type" as gay men. I'm sure of it, even though I didn't see any of the episodes.
- Two nominations for Desperate Housewives in the Guest Actress in a Comedy category, and neither is for Harriet Sansom Harris? What the hell?
Unlike for the Oscars, I don't have the sad compulsion to watch the Emmys, so I'll probably just tune into bits and pieces of it and then bitch about the winners the next day. It's the critic's prerogative.
[Full list of nominees here.]