tv

  1. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.
    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.
    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.
    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.
    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.
    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls. Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.

    Posters: Simpsons World: If you’re someone who already has every Simpsons episode hardwired into your mind and soul, but hasn’t had the time, inclination or means to download them to your computer via less-than-legal avenues, then the announcement of FXX’s Simpsons World was probably like manna from yellow-skinned, four fingered heaven to you. The service, which allows us Springfield obsessives to stream episodes, create playlists, share and search for specific clips, and even follow along with the original script, launches in October, after a 552 episode - the show’s entire run to date - marathon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from August 21st to September 1st. These posters, designed by Cold Open, Arsonal and Gravillis Inc, to promote the launch are utterly sublime, and there are sure to be more than a few fans clamouring to have these hanging on their walls.

  2. Excellent T-Shirt of the day: Most pop culture mash-up t-shirts end up being kind of lazy or obvious - shoehorning references to Adventure Time or Doctor Who into the iconography of some other beloved nerd property - but this Joy Division x Star Trek: The Next Generation's Worf is truly inspired. Alas, thanks to Threadless' mechanics, it's unlikely to ever be up for sale, but I'm sure the internet can find a way to remedy that.

  3. Most fans, including myself will agree that 24 should have ended sometime around May 2006, at the end of it’s stellar fifth season. The show was at an all-time high and delivered an exhillarating 24 episodes of high-octane, suspenseful action, choked to the fullest with twists, turns and deaths aplenty. Since that fifth season, the show has never really managed to recapture the same energy it had in this season, or the four preceding it, and it unfortunately went out with more of a whimper than a bang. When I had heard that they were bringing the show back for a one-off season, I was skeptical. The nail was already in the coffin and I don’t think any of us thought Live Another Day would feel like the good old days, but surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome and without a shadow of a doubt a lot stronger than the show’s final three seasons. Thank the Lord, Jack really is back this time!
One of the smartest decisions made by the production team and FOX was to make Live Another Day just limited series of 12 episodes and brand it as a “ television special event”. With this considerably shortened season length, the show became immediately that much more enticing. For fans and newbies alike, it meant less of a commitment and more importantly, it made for a tighter story. With just 12 hours on the clock for Jack and co, it meant that there was a greater urgency to the season, and the episodes flew at a terrific pace with hardly a dull moment throughout.
The season takes place four years after Season 8. James Heller (Senator from Season 4) is now President of the United States and is negotiating a treaty with the British Prime Minister (played by the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry) in London. One of the freshest things about Live Another Day is the London setting. Although they certainly could have hired a few more genuinely British actors for the season, it still feels like a nice change of scenery from the LA/NY central seasons of the past. Our hero Jack Bauer is on the run and turns up to London to warn the President of a threat on his life. Fan favourite Chloe O’Brian is part of a hacker collective also situated in London and Jack enlists her help as always with s**t hits the fan.
As with most 24 seasons, there are two main arcs. The first is about Margot Al-Harazi and her family of terrorists who have gained control of six US drones and intends to attack London in order to seek revenge for her husband’s death. This is where it becomes personal for President Heller (doesn’t it always for Presidents in 24?), because Margot blames him for the death and so she wants to assassinate him personally. It’s an exciting arc for sure, and Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley is particularly excellent as the cold-blooded Margot. Jack, with the help of Chloe, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former lover, Audrey Raines, and CIA agent Kate Morgan, manages to save the President’s life and catch the terrorists, like he always does. What 24 always does so brilliantly is create more danger and more villains right where we think the day is saved, and that’s what happens here, too. As it turns out, there was a mole in the CIA (perhaps 24’s biggest cliche) and indeed Chloe’s partner (both hacking and seemingly romantic) has more or less been working for the bad guys too; even if he didn’t know it. A familiar face pops up in the final third of the season, Cheng Zhi and stirs up plenty of shit for Jack to deal with, kidnapping poor Audrey and maliciously bringing China and and the US to the brink of war.
The Al-Harazi plot feels like nothing compared to the scope of danger that is created when Zhi hits the scene. In the history of the show, there has been some ridiculously high stakes, but this one definitely deserves it’s place up there with the highest. For Jack, stopping Zhi is not only for the good of his country, but it’s also very, very personal. Zhi had both Jack and Audrey captured and tortured years before, and for Jack, revenge is  the only thing on his mind. In the season’s saddest and maybe even most shocking turn of events, Audrey is killed at the hands of Zhi’s henchmen and when Jack hears word of this, he goes into all-out commando mode. The finale is one of the best we’ve seen on 24, and the action in the second half of the episode is utterly exhilarating. It’s great to see Jack doing what he does best; kick ass, and he really does it in style. The technicality of these action scenes must be commended too. Again, it’s up there with the best action the show has ever produced. As expected, Jack finally captured Zhi, and after ensuring that the country is safe, he slices his head off with a sword. Badass. In one final twist (literally in the last five minutes of the episode), Chloe has been captured by the Russians, and Jack makes a trade with them; her life for his. It’s a brave, unselfish move by Jack, and we’ve come to expect nothing less than him. Now that Audrey is dead, Chloe really might be the only friend he has left, and as he flies off in that helicopter with the Russians, we wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again. If this really is it for Bauer, at least it’s good to see him go out on a high note. Despite a rocky enough start in the first couple of episodes, Live Another Day quickly found it’s footing, and with a lot of help from fan favourites (O’Brian, Audrey, Heller) and some genuinely great additions to the cast (Kate Morgan) it turned out to be a lot better than most of us had expected. The emotion, action and suspense were all there and despite some predictable plot twists (the mole), there were enough surprises and new ideas to make it feel fresh. Jack Bauer has survived another day, and I for one, am very grateful for that.  Most fans, including myself will agree that 24 should have ended sometime around May 2006, at the end of it’s stellar fifth season. The show was at an all-time high and delivered an exhillarating 24 episodes of high-octane, suspenseful action, choked to the fullest with twists, turns and deaths aplenty. Since that fifth season, the show has never really managed to recapture the same energy it had in this season, or the four preceding it, and it unfortunately went out with more of a whimper than a bang. When I had heard that they were bringing the show back for a one-off season, I was skeptical. The nail was already in the coffin and I don’t think any of us thought Live Another Day would feel like the good old days, but surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome and without a shadow of a doubt a lot stronger than the show’s final three seasons. Thank the Lord, Jack really is back this time!
One of the smartest decisions made by the production team and FOX was to make Live Another Day just limited series of 12 episodes and brand it as a “ television special event”. With this considerably shortened season length, the show became immediately that much more enticing. For fans and newbies alike, it meant less of a commitment and more importantly, it made for a tighter story. With just 12 hours on the clock for Jack and co, it meant that there was a greater urgency to the season, and the episodes flew at a terrific pace with hardly a dull moment throughout.
The season takes place four years after Season 8. James Heller (Senator from Season 4) is now President of the United States and is negotiating a treaty with the British Prime Minister (played by the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry) in London. One of the freshest things about Live Another Day is the London setting. Although they certainly could have hired a few more genuinely British actors for the season, it still feels like a nice change of scenery from the LA/NY central seasons of the past. Our hero Jack Bauer is on the run and turns up to London to warn the President of a threat on his life. Fan favourite Chloe O’Brian is part of a hacker collective also situated in London and Jack enlists her help as always with s**t hits the fan.
As with most 24 seasons, there are two main arcs. The first is about Margot Al-Harazi and her family of terrorists who have gained control of six US drones and intends to attack London in order to seek revenge for her husband’s death. This is where it becomes personal for President Heller (doesn’t it always for Presidents in 24?), because Margot blames him for the death and so she wants to assassinate him personally. It’s an exciting arc for sure, and Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley is particularly excellent as the cold-blooded Margot. Jack, with the help of Chloe, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former lover, Audrey Raines, and CIA agent Kate Morgan, manages to save the President’s life and catch the terrorists, like he always does. What 24 always does so brilliantly is create more danger and more villains right where we think the day is saved, and that’s what happens here, too. As it turns out, there was a mole in the CIA (perhaps 24’s biggest cliche) and indeed Chloe’s partner (both hacking and seemingly romantic) has more or less been working for the bad guys too; even if he didn’t know it. A familiar face pops up in the final third of the season, Cheng Zhi and stirs up plenty of shit for Jack to deal with, kidnapping poor Audrey and maliciously bringing China and and the US to the brink of war.
The Al-Harazi plot feels like nothing compared to the scope of danger that is created when Zhi hits the scene. In the history of the show, there has been some ridiculously high stakes, but this one definitely deserves it’s place up there with the highest. For Jack, stopping Zhi is not only for the good of his country, but it’s also very, very personal. Zhi had both Jack and Audrey captured and tortured years before, and for Jack, revenge is  the only thing on his mind. In the season’s saddest and maybe even most shocking turn of events, Audrey is killed at the hands of Zhi’s henchmen and when Jack hears word of this, he goes into all-out commando mode. The finale is one of the best we’ve seen on 24, and the action in the second half of the episode is utterly exhilarating. It’s great to see Jack doing what he does best; kick ass, and he really does it in style. The technicality of these action scenes must be commended too. Again, it’s up there with the best action the show has ever produced. As expected, Jack finally captured Zhi, and after ensuring that the country is safe, he slices his head off with a sword. Badass. In one final twist (literally in the last five minutes of the episode), Chloe has been captured by the Russians, and Jack makes a trade with them; her life for his. It’s a brave, unselfish move by Jack, and we’ve come to expect nothing less than him. Now that Audrey is dead, Chloe really might be the only friend he has left, and as he flies off in that helicopter with the Russians, we wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again. If this really is it for Bauer, at least it’s good to see him go out on a high note. Despite a rocky enough start in the first couple of episodes, Live Another Day quickly found it’s footing, and with a lot of help from fan favourites (O’Brian, Audrey, Heller) and some genuinely great additions to the cast (Kate Morgan) it turned out to be a lot better than most of us had expected. The emotion, action and suspense were all there and despite some predictable plot twists (the mole), there were enough surprises and new ideas to make it feel fresh. Jack Bauer has survived another day, and I for one, am very grateful for that. 
    Most fans, including myself will agree that 24 should have ended sometime around May 2006, at the end of it’s stellar fifth season. The show was at an all-time high and delivered an exhillarating 24 episodes of high-octane, suspenseful action, choked to the fullest with twists, turns and deaths aplenty. Since that fifth season, the show has never really managed to recapture the same energy it had in this season, or the four preceding it, and it unfortunately went out with more of a whimper than a bang. When I had heard that they were bringing the show back for a one-off season, I was skeptical. The nail was already in the coffin and I don’t think any of us thought Live Another Day would feel like the good old days, but surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome and without a shadow of a doubt a lot stronger than the show’s final three seasons. Thank the Lord, Jack really is back this time!
One of the smartest decisions made by the production team and FOX was to make Live Another Day just limited series of 12 episodes and brand it as a “ television special event”. With this considerably shortened season length, the show became immediately that much more enticing. For fans and newbies alike, it meant less of a commitment and more importantly, it made for a tighter story. With just 12 hours on the clock for Jack and co, it meant that there was a greater urgency to the season, and the episodes flew at a terrific pace with hardly a dull moment throughout.
The season takes place four years after Season 8. James Heller (Senator from Season 4) is now President of the United States and is negotiating a treaty with the British Prime Minister (played by the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry) in London. One of the freshest things about Live Another Day is the London setting. Although they certainly could have hired a few more genuinely British actors for the season, it still feels like a nice change of scenery from the LA/NY central seasons of the past. Our hero Jack Bauer is on the run and turns up to London to warn the President of a threat on his life. Fan favourite Chloe O’Brian is part of a hacker collective also situated in London and Jack enlists her help as always with s**t hits the fan.
As with most 24 seasons, there are two main arcs. The first is about Margot Al-Harazi and her family of terrorists who have gained control of six US drones and intends to attack London in order to seek revenge for her husband’s death. This is where it becomes personal for President Heller (doesn’t it always for Presidents in 24?), because Margot blames him for the death and so she wants to assassinate him personally. It’s an exciting arc for sure, and Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley is particularly excellent as the cold-blooded Margot. Jack, with the help of Chloe, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former lover, Audrey Raines, and CIA agent Kate Morgan, manages to save the President’s life and catch the terrorists, like he always does. What 24 always does so brilliantly is create more danger and more villains right where we think the day is saved, and that’s what happens here, too. As it turns out, there was a mole in the CIA (perhaps 24’s biggest cliche) and indeed Chloe’s partner (both hacking and seemingly romantic) has more or less been working for the bad guys too; even if he didn’t know it. A familiar face pops up in the final third of the season, Cheng Zhi and stirs up plenty of shit for Jack to deal with, kidnapping poor Audrey and maliciously bringing China and and the US to the brink of war.
The Al-Harazi plot feels like nothing compared to the scope of danger that is created when Zhi hits the scene. In the history of the show, there has been some ridiculously high stakes, but this one definitely deserves it’s place up there with the highest. For Jack, stopping Zhi is not only for the good of his country, but it’s also very, very personal. Zhi had both Jack and Audrey captured and tortured years before, and for Jack, revenge is  the only thing on his mind. In the season’s saddest and maybe even most shocking turn of events, Audrey is killed at the hands of Zhi’s henchmen and when Jack hears word of this, he goes into all-out commando mode. The finale is one of the best we’ve seen on 24, and the action in the second half of the episode is utterly exhilarating. It’s great to see Jack doing what he does best; kick ass, and he really does it in style. The technicality of these action scenes must be commended too. Again, it’s up there with the best action the show has ever produced. As expected, Jack finally captured Zhi, and after ensuring that the country is safe, he slices his head off with a sword. Badass. In one final twist (literally in the last five minutes of the episode), Chloe has been captured by the Russians, and Jack makes a trade with them; her life for his. It’s a brave, unselfish move by Jack, and we’ve come to expect nothing less than him. Now that Audrey is dead, Chloe really might be the only friend he has left, and as he flies off in that helicopter with the Russians, we wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again. If this really is it for Bauer, at least it’s good to see him go out on a high note. Despite a rocky enough start in the first couple of episodes, Live Another Day quickly found it’s footing, and with a lot of help from fan favourites (O’Brian, Audrey, Heller) and some genuinely great additions to the cast (Kate Morgan) it turned out to be a lot better than most of us had expected. The emotion, action and suspense were all there and despite some predictable plot twists (the mole), there were enough surprises and new ideas to make it feel fresh. Jack Bauer has survived another day, and I for one, am very grateful for that.  Most fans, including myself will agree that 24 should have ended sometime around May 2006, at the end of it’s stellar fifth season. The show was at an all-time high and delivered an exhillarating 24 episodes of high-octane, suspenseful action, choked to the fullest with twists, turns and deaths aplenty. Since that fifth season, the show has never really managed to recapture the same energy it had in this season, or the four preceding it, and it unfortunately went out with more of a whimper than a bang. When I had heard that they were bringing the show back for a one-off season, I was skeptical. The nail was already in the coffin and I don’t think any of us thought Live Another Day would feel like the good old days, but surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome and without a shadow of a doubt a lot stronger than the show’s final three seasons. Thank the Lord, Jack really is back this time!
One of the smartest decisions made by the production team and FOX was to make Live Another Day just limited series of 12 episodes and brand it as a “ television special event”. With this considerably shortened season length, the show became immediately that much more enticing. For fans and newbies alike, it meant less of a commitment and more importantly, it made for a tighter story. With just 12 hours on the clock for Jack and co, it meant that there was a greater urgency to the season, and the episodes flew at a terrific pace with hardly a dull moment throughout.
The season takes place four years after Season 8. James Heller (Senator from Season 4) is now President of the United States and is negotiating a treaty with the British Prime Minister (played by the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry) in London. One of the freshest things about Live Another Day is the London setting. Although they certainly could have hired a few more genuinely British actors for the season, it still feels like a nice change of scenery from the LA/NY central seasons of the past. Our hero Jack Bauer is on the run and turns up to London to warn the President of a threat on his life. Fan favourite Chloe O’Brian is part of a hacker collective also situated in London and Jack enlists her help as always with s**t hits the fan.
As with most 24 seasons, there are two main arcs. The first is about Margot Al-Harazi and her family of terrorists who have gained control of six US drones and intends to attack London in order to seek revenge for her husband’s death. This is where it becomes personal for President Heller (doesn’t it always for Presidents in 24?), because Margot blames him for the death and so she wants to assassinate him personally. It’s an exciting arc for sure, and Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley is particularly excellent as the cold-blooded Margot. Jack, with the help of Chloe, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former lover, Audrey Raines, and CIA agent Kate Morgan, manages to save the President’s life and catch the terrorists, like he always does. What 24 always does so brilliantly is create more danger and more villains right where we think the day is saved, and that’s what happens here, too. As it turns out, there was a mole in the CIA (perhaps 24’s biggest cliche) and indeed Chloe’s partner (both hacking and seemingly romantic) has more or less been working for the bad guys too; even if he didn’t know it. A familiar face pops up in the final third of the season, Cheng Zhi and stirs up plenty of shit for Jack to deal with, kidnapping poor Audrey and maliciously bringing China and and the US to the brink of war.
The Al-Harazi plot feels like nothing compared to the scope of danger that is created when Zhi hits the scene. In the history of the show, there has been some ridiculously high stakes, but this one definitely deserves it’s place up there with the highest. For Jack, stopping Zhi is not only for the good of his country, but it’s also very, very personal. Zhi had both Jack and Audrey captured and tortured years before, and for Jack, revenge is  the only thing on his mind. In the season’s saddest and maybe even most shocking turn of events, Audrey is killed at the hands of Zhi’s henchmen and when Jack hears word of this, he goes into all-out commando mode. The finale is one of the best we’ve seen on 24, and the action in the second half of the episode is utterly exhilarating. It’s great to see Jack doing what he does best; kick ass, and he really does it in style. The technicality of these action scenes must be commended too. Again, it’s up there with the best action the show has ever produced. As expected, Jack finally captured Zhi, and after ensuring that the country is safe, he slices his head off with a sword. Badass. In one final twist (literally in the last five minutes of the episode), Chloe has been captured by the Russians, and Jack makes a trade with them; her life for his. It’s a brave, unselfish move by Jack, and we’ve come to expect nothing less than him. Now that Audrey is dead, Chloe really might be the only friend he has left, and as he flies off in that helicopter with the Russians, we wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again. If this really is it for Bauer, at least it’s good to see him go out on a high note. Despite a rocky enough start in the first couple of episodes, Live Another Day quickly found it’s footing, and with a lot of help from fan favourites (O’Brian, Audrey, Heller) and some genuinely great additions to the cast (Kate Morgan) it turned out to be a lot better than most of us had expected. The emotion, action and suspense were all there and despite some predictable plot twists (the mole), there were enough surprises and new ideas to make it feel fresh. Jack Bauer has survived another day, and I for one, am very grateful for that. 

    Most fans, including myself will agree that 24 should have ended sometime around May 2006, at the end of it’s stellar fifth season. The show was at an all-time high and delivered an exhillarating 24 episodes of high-octane, suspenseful action, choked to the fullest with twists, turns and deaths aplenty. Since that fifth season, the show has never really managed to recapture the same energy it had in this season, or the four preceding it, and it unfortunately went out with more of a whimper than a bang. When I had heard that they were bringing the show back for a one-off season, I was skeptical. The nail was already in the coffin and I don’t think any of us thought Live Another Day would feel like the good old days, but surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome and without a shadow of a doubt a lot stronger than the show’s final three seasons. Thank the Lord, Jack really is back this time!

    One of the smartest decisions made by the production team and FOX was to make Live Another Day just limited series of 12 episodes and brand it as a “ television special event”. With this considerably shortened season length, the show became immediately that much more enticing. For fans and newbies alike, it meant less of a commitment and more importantly, it made for a tighter story. With just 12 hours on the clock for Jack and co, it meant that there was a greater urgency to the season, and the episodes flew at a terrific pace with hardly a dull moment throughout.

    The season takes place four years after Season 8. James Heller (Senator from Season 4) is now President of the United States and is negotiating a treaty with the British Prime Minister (played by the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry) in London. One of the freshest things about Live Another Day is the London setting. Although they certainly could have hired a few more genuinely British actors for the season, it still feels like a nice change of scenery from the LA/NY central seasons of the past. Our hero Jack Bauer is on the run and turns up to London to warn the President of a threat on his life. Fan favourite Chloe O’Brian is part of a hacker collective also situated in London and Jack enlists her help as always with s**t hits the fan.

    As with most 24 seasons, there are two main arcs. The first is about Margot Al-Harazi and her family of terrorists who have gained control of six US drones and intends to attack London in order to seek revenge for her husband’s death. This is where it becomes personal for President Heller (doesn’t it always for Presidents in 24?), because Margot blames him for the death and so she wants to assassinate him personally. It’s an exciting arc for sure, and Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley is particularly excellent as the cold-blooded Margot. Jack, with the help of Chloe, Heller’s daughter and Jack’s former lover, Audrey Raines, and CIA agent Kate Morgan, manages to save the President’s life and catch the terrorists, like he always does. What 24 always does so brilliantly is create more danger and more villains right where we think the day is saved, and that’s what happens here, too. As it turns out, there was a mole in the CIA (perhaps 24’s biggest cliche) and indeed Chloe’s partner (both hacking and seemingly romantic) has more or less been working for the bad guys too; even if he didn’t know it. A familiar face pops up in the final third of the season, Cheng Zhi and stirs up plenty of shit for Jack to deal with, kidnapping poor Audrey and maliciously bringing China and and the US to the brink of war.

    The Al-Harazi plot feels like nothing compared to the scope of danger that is created when Zhi hits the scene. In the history of the show, there has been some ridiculously high stakes, but this one definitely deserves it’s place up there with the highest. For Jack, stopping Zhi is not only for the good of his country, but it’s also very, very personal. Zhi had both Jack and Audrey captured and tortured years before, and for Jack, revenge is  the only thing on his mind. In the season’s saddest and maybe even most shocking turn of events, Audrey is killed at the hands of Zhi’s henchmen and when Jack hears word of this, he goes into all-out commando mode. The finale is one of the best we’ve seen on 24, and the action in the second half of the episode is utterly exhilarating. It’s great to see Jack doing what he does best; kick ass, and he really does it in style. The technicality of these action scenes must be commended too. Again, it’s up there with the best action the show has ever produced. As expected, Jack finally captured Zhi, and after ensuring that the country is safe, he slices his head off with a sword. Badass. In one final twist (literally in the last five minutes of the episode), Chloe has been captured by the Russians, and Jack makes a trade with them; her life for his. It’s a brave, unselfish move by Jack, and we’ve come to expect nothing less than him. Now that Audrey is dead, Chloe really might be the only friend he has left, and as he flies off in that helicopter with the Russians, we wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again. If this really is it for Bauer, at least it’s good to see him go out on a high note. 

    Despite a rocky enough start in the first couple of episodes, Live Another Day quickly found it’s footing, and with a lot of help from fan favourites (O’Brian, Audrey, Heller) and some genuinely great additions to the cast (Kate Morgan) it turned out to be a lot better than most of us had expected. The emotion, action and suspense were all there and despite some predictable plot twists (the mole), there were enough surprises and new ideas to make it feel fresh. Jack Bauer has survived another day, and I for one, am very grateful for that. 

  4. Video: Game Of Thrones’ new cast members: Thanks to ComicCon currently whipping up a frenzy in San Diego, we’re getting a wealth of news and material from the biggest shows and film franchises around, and even though it’s barely been ten minutes since the fourth season of Game Of Thrones ended, but already the hype machine trundles on for the next eagerly-awaited instalment. HBO have given us a look at the new additions to the world of Westeros, with most having real names which seem like they could very well come from the mind of George R.R. Martin. The new cast members include:

    • Alexander Sellig (who looks remarkably like Community’s Danny Pudi in ten or twenty years) playing the Prince Of Dorne Doran Martell.
    • Toby Sebastian (clearly the show’s new aggravatingly handsome heartthrob) playing Trystane Martell.
    • Nell Tiger Free playing the oft-recast role of Cersei’s daughter Myrcella Baratheon.
    • DeObia Oparei playing Areo Hotah, a guard of Doran’s who married his axe. Yes, really.
    • Enzo Cilenti playing Yezzan, the richest man in Yunkai.
    • Jessica Henwick plays Nymeria Sand, one of Oberyn Martells’s bastard daughters and one of the infamous Sand Snakes.
    • Rosabell Laurenti Sellers plays Tyene Sand, another of Oberyn’s bastard daughters and a Sand Snake.
    • Keisha Castle-Hughes plays Obara Sand, another of Oberyn’s bastard daughters and Sand Snake (fun fact: Castle-Hughes was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for Whale Rider).
    • Jonathan Pryce plays The High Sparrow, who, if fan theories are found to come true, will be a very important player indeed.

    In slightly disappointing news, it’s also been revealed that none of the major directors to work on Game Of Thrones over the past four seasons - Tim Van Patten, Neil Marshall, Michelle McClaren, Alex Graves, Alan Taylor - will be returning to helm these new episodes. The fifth season of Game Of Thrones is set to start airing in spring 2015

  5. In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic. In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic.
    In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic. In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic.
    In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic. In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 
Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 
The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 
The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 
Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic.

    In the opening minutes of the new season of Channel 4’s Utopia, Rose Leslie’s Milner balances on one foot over a drop into the guest in a lavish mansion party. For those familiar with the show, it will hardly come as a surprise - the superb first season of Utopia continually did this; knife-edge tension during moments of extreme calm and beauty. The show’s return for a previously uncertain second season began in wholly unfamiliar territory. Through a 4:3 aspect ratio and ’70s TV filter, we see the early origins of the Utopia story, a young Jessica Hyde, and a young Arby, as more of the show’s clandestine villains are exposed and their motivations explained. 

    Philip Carvel, the writer of the fabled Utopiamanuscript from the first season, is played superbly with a Kubrickian tint by Tom Burke, not only in appearance but in character traits, which only lends itself to the retro interiors and sets. There’s a distinctly familiar feeling to the opening episode, as we watch the bittersweet and uneasy, but relatively undisturbed lives of Milner and Carvel before the events of the first series, scored impeccably by Cristobal Tapia De Veer who uses childlike theremins and choirs in equally effective measure. Rose Leslie as a young Milner is brilliant, a zealot for her cause whose descent (or ascent) into the character we know is brilliantly spelled out. It’s once again, pretty tough going, but honestly, with Utopia, it’s hard to have it any other way. 

    The second episode brings us crashing back to present day, catching us up to Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy who is as enigmatic and venomous as ever. In a mirror to the pilot, Ian ( Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is once again stuck in his office job, though his growth since the pilot is immediately apparent, as is Arby’s, who now plays happy families with his girlfriend and her daughter, and insists on being called by his birth name of Pietre. Old characters are dripped into the plot, which doesn’t quite shift into top gear immediately. Parallels can be drawn with the pilot over and over again, as hints of danger and unrest boil below the surface. It’s perhaps for the best, as new viewers of the show are able to watch without feeling overwhelmed with the pace and it benefits from having a slow, anxious buildup to the darker events of the episode. It’s still light-hearted, too, with Grant (Oliver Wooliford) and Ian clashing early in the episode as they’re reunited. 

    The show is still stunningly shot, with a plethora of superb sets and moments of cinematic style that make this show stand out above the rest of British television. There’s no disparity of quality between Utopia and American hit shows, with the exception of the upper strata of television, and like those hit shows, sometimes Utopia is victim of tedious dialogue and writing with patronising plot exposition that was present in the first season rearing its ugly head from time to time. 

    Promising start for the second season of a show which may have ended abruptly enough to never have a second season. Thankfully it’s back and hopefully can cement itself, much like the graphic novel in the show, as a cult classic.

  6. Silicon Valley comes from the minds of Mike Judge (King Of The Hill, Office Space) and longtime writing partners John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (Role Models, Blade Of Glory), who have also been writers on some of Judge’s previous projects. Between the three, there’s plenty of hits and misses, and plenty of silly, crude comedy. Fortunately, HBO’s Silicon Valley feels destined to be a hit, often embracing the crude familiar gags we’ve come to expect from Judge, but also delivering on the clever stuff too. And that’s not to say that Judge hasn’t written clever comedy before. What is brilliant about him is that he’s really a man who uses both sides of his brain when writing; the lower common denominator comedy and the more cognitive, smart comedy. Silicon Valley probably leans more towards the latter, and it’s all the better for that. Considering it’s essentially a show about computer nerds, it could have so easily fallen into traps that the likes of The Big Bang Theory unashamedly falls into week in, week out. But, for the most part, it doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing indeed. 
The premise is a young employee (Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch) working at Microsoft-esque digital mega-corporation Hooli who accidentally creates a compression algorithm that could be revolutionary in the world of computing. The big boss man of Hooli, Gavin Benson, offers him 10 million dollars for his code, but Richard instead decides to go with another investor, brilliant oddball Peter Gregory who offers him a substantially smaller amount for a percentage in his company. This allows Richard to stay in control of his company, Pied Piper and employee his incubation friends and co-workers to build the product from the ground up. 
The team are a group of vibrant characters, each super nerdy in their own way, and each pretty hilarious in their own way too. Martin Starr stars as Gilfoyle, a character which very much resembles the character he played on Party Down a few years back; droll, sarcastic, and well, a Satanist! Kumail Nanjiani plays Dinesh, who is almost the token Indian nerd; a good programmer who’s still with the ladies leave a bit to be desired. Zach Woods (best known as Gabe from the Office) plays Jarred; a fidgety, weird but smart in his own way kinda’ guy, who handles the business-y elements of Pied Piper. T. J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, perhaps the funniest character on the show. A self-proclaimed Jesus who is completely up his own arse, but feels like it’s warranted. It’s his arrogance and confidence that provides the show with some the best awkwardness, and it’s a stark contrast to the likes of Richard, who is a lot more timid and modest than he. They play off each other fairly well, as do the rest of the main cast as a whole.
As pointed out, one of the reasons why the show hits the right notes is it’s balance between crude and clever humour. It delivers the sort of jokes about one character being turned on by another’s code and jokes about “how fast you could jerk off all the dicks in the room”, and they are thrown at us at a nice pace, making it entirely possible to leave viewers smiling ear to ear for the duration of an episode, or indeed the season as a whole. It’s pleasantly surprising just how witty the show is, and being produced by HBO gives it the sort of freedom to go places that network sitcoms aren’t allowed to go. It’s worth noting too that the show isn’t strictly a “sitcom”, although it might appear that way on first glance. There’s some drama in there too, albeit ridiculous and larger than life, but it’s there. And the show is heavily serialised too, something which would make it much more difficult for more casual viewers to jump in and out of, but will reward dedicated TV viewers myself who thrive on such serialisation.
The season pans out at a slow-enough pace, with Pied Piper being put to the test on several occasions. There’s plenty of bumps along the way, with name changes, idea changes, coding errors and of course their main competitor, Hooli, who had stumbled across some of Richard’s algorithm code and have decided to rebrand it as their own, making it bigger and better. By the end of the season, both Hooli and Pied Piper are performing at a software competition and after Hooli’s crowd-pleasing presentation proves that their product is superior to Richard’s, he decides to “pivot” his idea into something even more exciting. The season ends right there, setting up plenty of thick plot-fuel for season two. It’s a show with great wit delivered by a good cast of oddballs, and the heavily serialised nature of the show makes it actually quite exciting and definitely addictive, as if it were created to be binge-watched. Silicon Valley is another worthy recent addition to HBO’s increasingly brilliant catalogue of programming, and will hopefully grace our screens for quite a few seasons yet. Silicon Valley comes from the minds of Mike Judge (King Of The Hill, Office Space) and longtime writing partners John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (Role Models, Blade Of Glory), who have also been writers on some of Judge’s previous projects. Between the three, there’s plenty of hits and misses, and plenty of silly, crude comedy. Fortunately, HBO’s Silicon Valley feels destined to be a hit, often embracing the crude familiar gags we’ve come to expect from Judge, but also delivering on the clever stuff too. And that’s not to say that Judge hasn’t written clever comedy before. What is brilliant about him is that he’s really a man who uses both sides of his brain when writing; the lower common denominator comedy and the more cognitive, smart comedy. Silicon Valley probably leans more towards the latter, and it’s all the better for that. Considering it’s essentially a show about computer nerds, it could have so easily fallen into traps that the likes of The Big Bang Theory unashamedly falls into week in, week out. But, for the most part, it doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing indeed. 
The premise is a young employee (Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch) working at Microsoft-esque digital mega-corporation Hooli who accidentally creates a compression algorithm that could be revolutionary in the world of computing. The big boss man of Hooli, Gavin Benson, offers him 10 million dollars for his code, but Richard instead decides to go with another investor, brilliant oddball Peter Gregory who offers him a substantially smaller amount for a percentage in his company. This allows Richard to stay in control of his company, Pied Piper and employee his incubation friends and co-workers to build the product from the ground up. 
The team are a group of vibrant characters, each super nerdy in their own way, and each pretty hilarious in their own way too. Martin Starr stars as Gilfoyle, a character which very much resembles the character he played on Party Down a few years back; droll, sarcastic, and well, a Satanist! Kumail Nanjiani plays Dinesh, who is almost the token Indian nerd; a good programmer who’s still with the ladies leave a bit to be desired. Zach Woods (best known as Gabe from the Office) plays Jarred; a fidgety, weird but smart in his own way kinda’ guy, who handles the business-y elements of Pied Piper. T. J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, perhaps the funniest character on the show. A self-proclaimed Jesus who is completely up his own arse, but feels like it’s warranted. It’s his arrogance and confidence that provides the show with some the best awkwardness, and it’s a stark contrast to the likes of Richard, who is a lot more timid and modest than he. They play off each other fairly well, as do the rest of the main cast as a whole.
As pointed out, one of the reasons why the show hits the right notes is it’s balance between crude and clever humour. It delivers the sort of jokes about one character being turned on by another’s code and jokes about “how fast you could jerk off all the dicks in the room”, and they are thrown at us at a nice pace, making it entirely possible to leave viewers smiling ear to ear for the duration of an episode, or indeed the season as a whole. It’s pleasantly surprising just how witty the show is, and being produced by HBO gives it the sort of freedom to go places that network sitcoms aren’t allowed to go. It’s worth noting too that the show isn’t strictly a “sitcom”, although it might appear that way on first glance. There’s some drama in there too, albeit ridiculous and larger than life, but it’s there. And the show is heavily serialised too, something which would make it much more difficult for more casual viewers to jump in and out of, but will reward dedicated TV viewers myself who thrive on such serialisation.
The season pans out at a slow-enough pace, with Pied Piper being put to the test on several occasions. There’s plenty of bumps along the way, with name changes, idea changes, coding errors and of course their main competitor, Hooli, who had stumbled across some of Richard’s algorithm code and have decided to rebrand it as their own, making it bigger and better. By the end of the season, both Hooli and Pied Piper are performing at a software competition and after Hooli’s crowd-pleasing presentation proves that their product is superior to Richard’s, he decides to “pivot” his idea into something even more exciting. The season ends right there, setting up plenty of thick plot-fuel for season two. It’s a show with great wit delivered by a good cast of oddballs, and the heavily serialised nature of the show makes it actually quite exciting and definitely addictive, as if it were created to be binge-watched. Silicon Valley is another worthy recent addition to HBO’s increasingly brilliant catalogue of programming, and will hopefully grace our screens for quite a few seasons yet.
    Silicon Valley comes from the minds of Mike Judge (King Of The Hill, Office Space) and longtime writing partners John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (Role Models, Blade Of Glory), who have also been writers on some of Judge’s previous projects. Between the three, there’s plenty of hits and misses, and plenty of silly, crude comedy. Fortunately, HBO’s Silicon Valley feels destined to be a hit, often embracing the crude familiar gags we’ve come to expect from Judge, but also delivering on the clever stuff too. And that’s not to say that Judge hasn’t written clever comedy before. What is brilliant about him is that he’s really a man who uses both sides of his brain when writing; the lower common denominator comedy and the more cognitive, smart comedy. Silicon Valley probably leans more towards the latter, and it’s all the better for that. Considering it’s essentially a show about computer nerds, it could have so easily fallen into traps that the likes of The Big Bang Theory unashamedly falls into week in, week out. But, for the most part, it doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing indeed. 
The premise is a young employee (Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch) working at Microsoft-esque digital mega-corporation Hooli who accidentally creates a compression algorithm that could be revolutionary in the world of computing. The big boss man of Hooli, Gavin Benson, offers him 10 million dollars for his code, but Richard instead decides to go with another investor, brilliant oddball Peter Gregory who offers him a substantially smaller amount for a percentage in his company. This allows Richard to stay in control of his company, Pied Piper and employee his incubation friends and co-workers to build the product from the ground up. 
The team are a group of vibrant characters, each super nerdy in their own way, and each pretty hilarious in their own way too. Martin Starr stars as Gilfoyle, a character which very much resembles the character he played on Party Down a few years back; droll, sarcastic, and well, a Satanist! Kumail Nanjiani plays Dinesh, who is almost the token Indian nerd; a good programmer who’s still with the ladies leave a bit to be desired. Zach Woods (best known as Gabe from the Office) plays Jarred; a fidgety, weird but smart in his own way kinda’ guy, who handles the business-y elements of Pied Piper. T. J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, perhaps the funniest character on the show. A self-proclaimed Jesus who is completely up his own arse, but feels like it’s warranted. It’s his arrogance and confidence that provides the show with some the best awkwardness, and it’s a stark contrast to the likes of Richard, who is a lot more timid and modest than he. They play off each other fairly well, as do the rest of the main cast as a whole.
As pointed out, one of the reasons why the show hits the right notes is it’s balance between crude and clever humour. It delivers the sort of jokes about one character being turned on by another’s code and jokes about “how fast you could jerk off all the dicks in the room”, and they are thrown at us at a nice pace, making it entirely possible to leave viewers smiling ear to ear for the duration of an episode, or indeed the season as a whole. It’s pleasantly surprising just how witty the show is, and being produced by HBO gives it the sort of freedom to go places that network sitcoms aren’t allowed to go. It’s worth noting too that the show isn’t strictly a “sitcom”, although it might appear that way on first glance. There’s some drama in there too, albeit ridiculous and larger than life, but it’s there. And the show is heavily serialised too, something which would make it much more difficult for more casual viewers to jump in and out of, but will reward dedicated TV viewers myself who thrive on such serialisation.
The season pans out at a slow-enough pace, with Pied Piper being put to the test on several occasions. There’s plenty of bumps along the way, with name changes, idea changes, coding errors and of course their main competitor, Hooli, who had stumbled across some of Richard’s algorithm code and have decided to rebrand it as their own, making it bigger and better. By the end of the season, both Hooli and Pied Piper are performing at a software competition and after Hooli’s crowd-pleasing presentation proves that their product is superior to Richard’s, he decides to “pivot” his idea into something even more exciting. The season ends right there, setting up plenty of thick plot-fuel for season two. It’s a show with great wit delivered by a good cast of oddballs, and the heavily serialised nature of the show makes it actually quite exciting and definitely addictive, as if it were created to be binge-watched. Silicon Valley is another worthy recent addition to HBO’s increasingly brilliant catalogue of programming, and will hopefully grace our screens for quite a few seasons yet. Silicon Valley comes from the minds of Mike Judge (King Of The Hill, Office Space) and longtime writing partners John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (Role Models, Blade Of Glory), who have also been writers on some of Judge’s previous projects. Between the three, there’s plenty of hits and misses, and plenty of silly, crude comedy. Fortunately, HBO’s Silicon Valley feels destined to be a hit, often embracing the crude familiar gags we’ve come to expect from Judge, but also delivering on the clever stuff too. And that’s not to say that Judge hasn’t written clever comedy before. What is brilliant about him is that he’s really a man who uses both sides of his brain when writing; the lower common denominator comedy and the more cognitive, smart comedy. Silicon Valley probably leans more towards the latter, and it’s all the better for that. Considering it’s essentially a show about computer nerds, it could have so easily fallen into traps that the likes of The Big Bang Theory unashamedly falls into week in, week out. But, for the most part, it doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing indeed. 
The premise is a young employee (Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch) working at Microsoft-esque digital mega-corporation Hooli who accidentally creates a compression algorithm that could be revolutionary in the world of computing. The big boss man of Hooli, Gavin Benson, offers him 10 million dollars for his code, but Richard instead decides to go with another investor, brilliant oddball Peter Gregory who offers him a substantially smaller amount for a percentage in his company. This allows Richard to stay in control of his company, Pied Piper and employee his incubation friends and co-workers to build the product from the ground up. 
The team are a group of vibrant characters, each super nerdy in their own way, and each pretty hilarious in their own way too. Martin Starr stars as Gilfoyle, a character which very much resembles the character he played on Party Down a few years back; droll, sarcastic, and well, a Satanist! Kumail Nanjiani plays Dinesh, who is almost the token Indian nerd; a good programmer who’s still with the ladies leave a bit to be desired. Zach Woods (best known as Gabe from the Office) plays Jarred; a fidgety, weird but smart in his own way kinda’ guy, who handles the business-y elements of Pied Piper. T. J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, perhaps the funniest character on the show. A self-proclaimed Jesus who is completely up his own arse, but feels like it’s warranted. It’s his arrogance and confidence that provides the show with some the best awkwardness, and it’s a stark contrast to the likes of Richard, who is a lot more timid and modest than he. They play off each other fairly well, as do the rest of the main cast as a whole.
As pointed out, one of the reasons why the show hits the right notes is it’s balance between crude and clever humour. It delivers the sort of jokes about one character being turned on by another’s code and jokes about “how fast you could jerk off all the dicks in the room”, and they are thrown at us at a nice pace, making it entirely possible to leave viewers smiling ear to ear for the duration of an episode, or indeed the season as a whole. It’s pleasantly surprising just how witty the show is, and being produced by HBO gives it the sort of freedom to go places that network sitcoms aren’t allowed to go. It’s worth noting too that the show isn’t strictly a “sitcom”, although it might appear that way on first glance. There’s some drama in there too, albeit ridiculous and larger than life, but it’s there. And the show is heavily serialised too, something which would make it much more difficult for more casual viewers to jump in and out of, but will reward dedicated TV viewers myself who thrive on such serialisation.
The season pans out at a slow-enough pace, with Pied Piper being put to the test on several occasions. There’s plenty of bumps along the way, with name changes, idea changes, coding errors and of course their main competitor, Hooli, who had stumbled across some of Richard’s algorithm code and have decided to rebrand it as their own, making it bigger and better. By the end of the season, both Hooli and Pied Piper are performing at a software competition and after Hooli’s crowd-pleasing presentation proves that their product is superior to Richard’s, he decides to “pivot” his idea into something even more exciting. The season ends right there, setting up plenty of thick plot-fuel for season two. It’s a show with great wit delivered by a good cast of oddballs, and the heavily serialised nature of the show makes it actually quite exciting and definitely addictive, as if it were created to be binge-watched. Silicon Valley is another worthy recent addition to HBO’s increasingly brilliant catalogue of programming, and will hopefully grace our screens for quite a few seasons yet.

    Silicon Valley comes from the minds of Mike Judge (King Of The Hill, Office Space) and longtime writing partners John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (Role Models, Blade Of Glory), who have also been writers on some of Judge’s previous projects. Between the three, there’s plenty of hits and misses, and plenty of silly, crude comedy. Fortunately, HBO’s Silicon Valley feels destined to be a hit, often embracing the crude familiar gags we’ve come to expect from Judge, but also delivering on the clever stuff too. And that’s not to say that Judge hasn’t written clever comedy before. What is brilliant about him is that he’s really a man who uses both sides of his brain when writing; the lower common denominator comedy and the more cognitive, smart comedy. Silicon Valley probably leans more towards the latter, and it’s all the better for that. Considering it’s essentially a show about computer nerds, it could have so easily fallen into traps that the likes of The Big Bang Theory unashamedly falls into week in, week out. But, for the most part, it doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing indeed. 

    The premise is a young employee (Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch) working at Microsoft-esque digital mega-corporation Hooli who accidentally creates a compression algorithm that could be revolutionary in the world of computing. The big boss man of Hooli, Gavin Benson, offers him 10 million dollars for his code, but Richard instead decides to go with another investor, brilliant oddball Peter Gregory who offers him a substantially smaller amount for a percentage in his company. This allows Richard to stay in control of his company, Pied Piper and employee his incubation friends and co-workers to build the product from the ground up. 

    The team are a group of vibrant characters, each super nerdy in their own way, and each pretty hilarious in their own way too. Martin Starr stars as Gilfoyle, a character which very much resembles the character he played on Party Down a few years back; droll, sarcastic, and well, a Satanist! Kumail Nanjiani plays Dinesh, who is almost the token Indian nerd; a good programmer who’s still with the ladies leave a bit to be desired. Zach Woods (best known as Gabe from the Office) plays Jarred; a fidgety, weird but smart in his own way kinda’ guy, who handles the business-y elements of Pied Piper. T. J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, perhaps the funniest character on the show. A self-proclaimed Jesus who is completely up his own arse, but feels like it’s warranted. It’s his arrogance and confidence that provides the show with some the best awkwardness, and it’s a stark contrast to the likes of Richard, who is a lot more timid and modest than he. They play off each other fairly well, as do the rest of the main cast as a whole.

    As pointed out, one of the reasons why the show hits the right notes is it’s balance between crude and clever humour. It delivers the sort of jokes about one character being turned on by another’s code and jokes about “how fast you could jerk off all the dicks in the room”, and they are thrown at us at a nice pace, making it entirely possible to leave viewers smiling ear to ear for the duration of an episode, or indeed the season as a whole. It’s pleasantly surprising just how witty the show is, and being produced by HBO gives it the sort of freedom to go places that network sitcoms aren’t allowed to go. It’s worth noting too that the show isn’t strictly a “sitcom”, although it might appear that way on first glance. There’s some drama in there too, albeit ridiculous and larger than life, but it’s there. And the show is heavily serialised too, something which would make it much more difficult for more casual viewers to jump in and out of, but will reward dedicated TV viewers myself who thrive on such serialisation.

    The season pans out at a slow-enough pace, with Pied Piper being put to the test on several occasions. There’s plenty of bumps along the way, with name changes, idea changes, coding errors and of course their main competitor, Hooli, who had stumbled across some of Richard’s algorithm code and have decided to rebrand it as their own, making it bigger and better. By the end of the season, both Hooli and Pied Piper are performing at a software competition and after Hooli’s crowd-pleasing presentation proves that their product is superior to Richard’s, he decides to “pivot” his idea into something even more exciting. The season ends right there, setting up plenty of thick plot-fuel for season two. It’s a show with great wit delivered by a good cast of oddballs, and the heavily serialised nature of the show makes it actually quite exciting and definitely addictive, as if it were created to be binge-watched. Silicon Valley is another worthy recent addition to HBO’s increasingly brilliant catalogue of programming, and will hopefully grace our screens for quite a few seasons yet.

  7. Wonderful Coincidence of the day: If there’s a fictional character who deserves a grandiose statue, it’s Parks & Recreation's Ron Swanson. Someone on Reddit posted this photo of a statue found in Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, which bares a startling resemblance to Nick Offerman’s moustachieod begrudging government worker, albeit in Roman garb. It turns out it’s actually a likeness of legendary Philadelphia actor Edwin Forrest… either that or Offerman is a Time Lord.

  8. For the first time in what feels like an age, the Emmy voters have managed to shake up the nominations for the 2014 awards, but only by a little bit. But, hey, isn’t a little bit of a shake up better than having pretty much the same nominations year in, year out? I don’t envy the Emmy voters. Even as a regular punter who just watches TV for fun, and occasionally for work, I find it extraordinarily difficult to keep on top of all the shows going on that might have a chance at grabbing themselves an Emmy nom. I’m pretty far behind on Boardwalk Empire, I still haven’t even started the latest season of Hannibal, and I’ve only just caught up with Trophy Wife, so goodness knows how the Emmy voters try and cram everything in to make a decision.
But there are still some problems with the Emmy nominations, and they’re blatantly obvious this year. Of course, TV is now moving into completely different realms, with the non-traditional viewing methods of Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, no doubt, will be accepted more willingly thanks to the successes of the likes of Orange Is The New Black) and with network TV finally being considered as worthy as their cable siblings thanks to stellar seasons of The Good Wife and (apparently) Hannibal, but there are some nominations placed in the oddest categories. It is a common phenomenon, moving a show or an actor into a less crowded category to give them a bigger chance of winning, but it does also make it look like the Emmys have no clue what a show actually is. But before we get on to more specifics, let’s break down each of the main categories, shall we?
Let’s start with the big guns, Outstanding Drama Series. There’s not much surprise in this category, the biggest being that apparently people are still giving a shit about Upstairs, Downstairs…I mean…Downton Abbey. Even the people that are still watching it don’t seem to care that much about it. Homeland has finally been given the boot after a pretty awful last season to be replaced by True Detective which, from the outset, was always going to be a shoe in for a nomination with such big names on board. It is odd, however, that True Detective has wormed its way into the Outstanding Drama Series category despite it essentially being a miniseries. Both Fargo and American Horror Story, which follow the same anthology style True Detective is set to follow, have been submitted as miniseries. It makes the Drama series category pretty crowded and has also led to a fair few big snubs. The Good Wife had one of its best seasons yet, The Americans had an incredibly strong start and has only grown since its first season, as did Hannibal yet all have been passed over in favour of the kind-of-blotchy second season of House Of Cards. Christ, if you want a schlocky political drama, chuck Scandal in there. There’s definitely a lot of squatting going on here, keeping much better shows out, but that’s just how the Emmys work.  Although Mad Men has had a pretty brilliant last season so far, the real race is probably between Breaking Bad and True Detective; the veteran finally throwing in the towel and the rookie already making a scene. Whilst I did enjoy True Detective, for me, it just doesn’t stack up to the final season of Breaking Bad which was as intense as the tracking shot in True Detective but spread out over a whole half season of edge of your seat tension.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, aka, which actor is going to beat Jon Hamm to an Emmy is also pretty typical. Jeff Daniels is a pretty weird nomination seeing as, although he makes a decent effort of trying to make a pretty poorly written character interesting, The Newsroom is pretty damn awful. Swap him out for Matthew Rhys and his terrible disguises (but great acting) in The Americans or even Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal and I’d be happy. Jon Hamm, at this point, probably just goes along to the Emmys for the booze and food (although he might have a shot at it next year if they submit the final half season what with Cranston finally out and no Harrelson and McConaughey). Again, as with drama series, it seems nicest to give it to Cranston as a final hurrah for his role as one TV’s greatest characters but then again both Harrelson and McConaughey brought their big screen acting chops to the small screen and did it with great aplomb. Even though True Detective’s story was a bit ropey, it was the chemistry between those two that kept it so interesting.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is also pretty standard fare with yet more nominations for Claire Danes’ cry face and Kerry Washington for getting shit done while having sexy times all the time. It also features a nice nod for Lizzy Caplan who blew everyone away in Masters Of Sex, though it is the only major nom for a brilliant show which came along nicely as Breaking Bad finished, working as almost a palate cleanser for the intensity of Breaking Bad’s final half season.  Julianna Margulies is my pick for this category because, even in the worst episodes of The Good Wife, she’s always been utterly captivating, particularly recently. My only major issue with this category is the complete lack of Tatiana Maslany in her half a dozen roles on Orphan Black. Even from that first season, she was the reason why the general absurdity of Orphan Black worked, because she managed to flip from one clone to the next with such ease, each clone as interesting and complex as the last. It’s kind of understandable why she, and Orphan Black in general, was mostly passed over given the Emmys not being too big on sci-fi, particularly on a channel such as BBC America.
It’s kind of getting a bit samey now, you guys.  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is basically last year’s selection with Jon Voight thrown in for some reason. Peter Dinklage has a pretty good chance in this category this year, particularly if voters are considering this past season which was packed full of scenes that are perfect for an Emmy sizzle reel (the end of Tyrion’s trial being one of the major ones in which he spits his words out with such venom and loathing, it’s electric). But, then again, as with Cranston there’s always the chance that they might give it to Aaron Paul who already has two awards to his name to see him home and making him suffer with people asking him to say “bitch” in the street for just a little bit longer. The biggest omission here is another Breaking Bad alum, Dean Norris, who had always been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon that was finally brought out in this final season with superb results. Maybe he’ll get something soon for Under The Dome and we can pretend it’s for Breaking Bad? Nah, probably not.
Lena Headey finally being given some nod for her fantastic work in Game Of Thrones makes the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category actually pretty good. Maggie Smith is obviously there (because duh!) and both Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski return after respective stellar seasons, particularly for Hendricks in Mad Men.  The real winner here, though, is going to be Anna Gunn and we all know it really. You just need to watch Skyler through one episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, “Ozymandias” especially, to know this is basically on lock for her.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series needs to go to Reg E Cathey who was actually given something to do in the last season of House Of Cards and was, without a doubt, the best thing about the otherwise patchy season. I would be happy, however, with Dylan Baker taking it home for The Good Wife seeing as he is consistently my favourite guest star on the show to the point where I get overly excited when I see his name in the opening credits. He’s so brilliantly slimy and loaded with black humour, transforming the show into a whole other beast for an episode. Similarly, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series has a pretty obvious winner in Diana Rigg who swooped into Game Of Thrones and added so much sass and shade it was like watching a medieval special episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Eye rolling, sarcasm and just out-and-out disdane for people, Diana Rigg transformed the Queen of Thorns into the most fascinating character who stole any scene she was a part of, especially when paired with Charles Dance and the two chewed away at the scenery like hungry termites.
Outstanding Comedy Series is where things start to get a little interesting, and also a little bit weird. Of course we have The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family because do you even fucking follow this damn awards show? But then we also have Silicon Valley of all things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed its first season but it did definitely feel like it was still trying to find its feet. Still, more to Mike Judge et al for making such an impact straight away. Veep gets a nod too, particularly after its frankly incredible last season which was just packed with incredible jokes and fantastic performances, and even Louie gets a shout out, though I feel that it’s more of a “look at who arty we can be. It’s not gonna win, we just want to you to know that us Emmy lot are cool too!” nomination than anything else, though it’s nice to see it get a nod for an interesting last season.  The confusion in this category comes from the placement of Orange Is The New Black. Sure it can be funny as hell but it can quickly turn into something altogether very bleak, particularly post-the Tricia incident in its first season. Although, being placed in the comedy category it might have more of a chance of the victory it rightly deserves for being one of the best damn shows of probably all time. Overlooked in this category, though, is the stellar Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which came out running creating what felt like one of the most confident premiere seasons in a long time. It already surprised by taking home the Golden Globe so it seemed like a sure thing that it would grab an Emmy nod but apparently not. Broad City also managed to get overlooked despite being one of my favourite comedies of this past year but, then again, I don’t decide these bloody things, do I?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty awful category by most accounts.  As with Orange Is The New Black, Shameless is apparently now being classed as a comedy but I suppose it does move William H Macy out of the pretty hefty Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, making it a bit easier for him. Jim Parsons is back, obviously, and will probably run away with it again but I would like to see Louis CK win it just so he’d go up in stage in his signature black t-shirt instead of a fancy suit.
With Amy Poehler, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lena Dunham, and Edie Falco, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series is a pretty strong category with all pretty deserving of the award, but I would quite like to see Poehler take home the Emmy despite the last season of Parks & Recreation being neither here nor there. Julia Louis Dreyfus is probably going to take it, though, and I’m pretty OK with that. Taylor Schilling for Orange Is The New Black is pointless, though, because she definitely is not a lead in that show. OITNB is an ensemble show through and through and is held up by its stellar supporting cast.
Andre Braugher or we riot! Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty great category too, with yet more Tony Hale who really does deserve any praise he gets for his role in Veep, but Andre Braugher is the true stand out here who showed that the once hard-boiled detective in Homicide: Life On The Street had some proper comedy chops in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the deadpan police captain who is a constant highlight. His nomination kind of makes up for the snub of the show itself but only a little bit. Adam Driver might also have a shot, given that he actually had a fair bit to do in this last season of Girls, though nothing will really beat the Adam-centric episode, “Boys”, which was a highlight of Season 2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series does see a fair bit of shaking up occurring, with both Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch being replaced by Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live’s real MVP, and Kate Mulgrew. I have never seen Mums but I really just want Alison Janney to win it because I love Alison Janney! That’s a good enough reason to want someone to win something, right? Of course it is!
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty unexciting category, though Steve Buscemi’s nom for his role as a man tasked with making celery cool again in Portlandia is truly inspired. I would, however, like to see Gary Cole take this home for Veep who, although didn’t have much to do this past season, was always a treat when he popped up on screen. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series this year should just be renamed “Which OITNB star is going to win it” because, let’s be fair, they pretty much all deserve it. If they could do a Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and just an award to the entire cast like they did the entire GB Olympic team, then I’d be more than happy, but it definitely is a tough fight between Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox.
Having True Detective in another category has hopefully made things much easier for a Fargo Outstanding Miniseries win. It doesn’t have much competition, its main rival probably being American Horror Story who pop up every year to no avail. The White Queen and Bonnie & Clyde aren’t likely to put up a fight and Luther’s last season wasn’t exactly amazing compared to its previous two, so I have my fingers crossed for Fargo which is one of my favourite shows of 2014 so far. I don’t know much about the Outstanding TV Movie category, but apparently one episode of Sherlock counts as a TV movie? Crazy Americans!
Martin Freeman sees himself with a nomination for both Oustanding Lead Actor and Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Fargo and Sherlock respectively. Though his dodgy American accent in Fargo might let him down in the Lead Actor category, as well as facing off with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton whose performance was a highlight of that show for me, he might have a chance as John Watson, though there is such a glut of nominees from The Normal Heart (nope, no idea) that law of averages means one of those will probably win. Colin Hanks does get his first nom for Fargo which is nice (cause he definitely wasn’t going to get it for Dexter now, was he?)
Today I learned that Kristen Wiig was apparently in a miniseries. The Oustsanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category is slightly lost on me because I haven’t seen any of the shows in it but I like Jessica Lange and she always looks pretty frightening in AHS so I’ll plump for her. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie is all about Allison Tolman in Fargo, though, who came along and just stole everyone’s hearts. She is, however, facing up against some big names such as Kathy Bates and Julia fucking Roberts but I have every appendage crossed that Tolman wins this one so she can give a no doubt adorable speech.
To finish off, we need to talk about the biggest snub of this Emmy season. Forget The Good Wife, forget Orphan Black, forget Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s an absolute travesty that RuPaul’s Drag Race was passed over for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. My first experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race was this past season when I finally decided to take the plunge into the sequin and shade filled pool and became well and truly obsessed. I have since become an ardent supporter of the show and so to see it ignored in favour of Top Chef (which also managed to knock out Masterchef US as well!) is terrible Emmy news.

It is pretty difficult to try recognise every show equally (love you Broad City, you’re a winner in my heart) but this year’s nominations have some pretty crazy omissions and it does find itself stuck in a bit of a rut despite being open to new entrants.  Still, come August 25th, we will still all watch it and complain when our favourites won’t win and I’ll just be sat in the corner waving my Broad City flag in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, some last minute surprise might occur and they win. Maybe. For the first time in what feels like an age, the Emmy voters have managed to shake up the nominations for the 2014 awards, but only by a little bit. But, hey, isn’t a little bit of a shake up better than having pretty much the same nominations year in, year out? I don’t envy the Emmy voters. Even as a regular punter who just watches TV for fun, and occasionally for work, I find it extraordinarily difficult to keep on top of all the shows going on that might have a chance at grabbing themselves an Emmy nom. I’m pretty far behind on Boardwalk Empire, I still haven’t even started the latest season of Hannibal, and I’ve only just caught up with Trophy Wife, so goodness knows how the Emmy voters try and cram everything in to make a decision.
But there are still some problems with the Emmy nominations, and they’re blatantly obvious this year. Of course, TV is now moving into completely different realms, with the non-traditional viewing methods of Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, no doubt, will be accepted more willingly thanks to the successes of the likes of Orange Is The New Black) and with network TV finally being considered as worthy as their cable siblings thanks to stellar seasons of The Good Wife and (apparently) Hannibal, but there are some nominations placed in the oddest categories. It is a common phenomenon, moving a show or an actor into a less crowded category to give them a bigger chance of winning, but it does also make it look like the Emmys have no clue what a show actually is. But before we get on to more specifics, let’s break down each of the main categories, shall we?
Let’s start with the big guns, Outstanding Drama Series. There’s not much surprise in this category, the biggest being that apparently people are still giving a shit about Upstairs, Downstairs…I mean…Downton Abbey. Even the people that are still watching it don’t seem to care that much about it. Homeland has finally been given the boot after a pretty awful last season to be replaced by True Detective which, from the outset, was always going to be a shoe in for a nomination with such big names on board. It is odd, however, that True Detective has wormed its way into the Outstanding Drama Series category despite it essentially being a miniseries. Both Fargo and American Horror Story, which follow the same anthology style True Detective is set to follow, have been submitted as miniseries. It makes the Drama series category pretty crowded and has also led to a fair few big snubs. The Good Wife had one of its best seasons yet, The Americans had an incredibly strong start and has only grown since its first season, as did Hannibal yet all have been passed over in favour of the kind-of-blotchy second season of House Of Cards. Christ, if you want a schlocky political drama, chuck Scandal in there. There’s definitely a lot of squatting going on here, keeping much better shows out, but that’s just how the Emmys work.  Although Mad Men has had a pretty brilliant last season so far, the real race is probably between Breaking Bad and True Detective; the veteran finally throwing in the towel and the rookie already making a scene. Whilst I did enjoy True Detective, for me, it just doesn’t stack up to the final season of Breaking Bad which was as intense as the tracking shot in True Detective but spread out over a whole half season of edge of your seat tension.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, aka, which actor is going to beat Jon Hamm to an Emmy is also pretty typical. Jeff Daniels is a pretty weird nomination seeing as, although he makes a decent effort of trying to make a pretty poorly written character interesting, The Newsroom is pretty damn awful. Swap him out for Matthew Rhys and his terrible disguises (but great acting) in The Americans or even Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal and I’d be happy. Jon Hamm, at this point, probably just goes along to the Emmys for the booze and food (although he might have a shot at it next year if they submit the final half season what with Cranston finally out and no Harrelson and McConaughey). Again, as with drama series, it seems nicest to give it to Cranston as a final hurrah for his role as one TV’s greatest characters but then again both Harrelson and McConaughey brought their big screen acting chops to the small screen and did it with great aplomb. Even though True Detective’s story was a bit ropey, it was the chemistry between those two that kept it so interesting.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is also pretty standard fare with yet more nominations for Claire Danes’ cry face and Kerry Washington for getting shit done while having sexy times all the time. It also features a nice nod for Lizzy Caplan who blew everyone away in Masters Of Sex, though it is the only major nom for a brilliant show which came along nicely as Breaking Bad finished, working as almost a palate cleanser for the intensity of Breaking Bad’s final half season.  Julianna Margulies is my pick for this category because, even in the worst episodes of The Good Wife, she’s always been utterly captivating, particularly recently. My only major issue with this category is the complete lack of Tatiana Maslany in her half a dozen roles on Orphan Black. Even from that first season, she was the reason why the general absurdity of Orphan Black worked, because she managed to flip from one clone to the next with such ease, each clone as interesting and complex as the last. It’s kind of understandable why she, and Orphan Black in general, was mostly passed over given the Emmys not being too big on sci-fi, particularly on a channel such as BBC America.
It’s kind of getting a bit samey now, you guys.  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is basically last year’s selection with Jon Voight thrown in for some reason. Peter Dinklage has a pretty good chance in this category this year, particularly if voters are considering this past season which was packed full of scenes that are perfect for an Emmy sizzle reel (the end of Tyrion’s trial being one of the major ones in which he spits his words out with such venom and loathing, it’s electric). But, then again, as with Cranston there’s always the chance that they might give it to Aaron Paul who already has two awards to his name to see him home and making him suffer with people asking him to say “bitch” in the street for just a little bit longer. The biggest omission here is another Breaking Bad alum, Dean Norris, who had always been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon that was finally brought out in this final season with superb results. Maybe he’ll get something soon for Under The Dome and we can pretend it’s for Breaking Bad? Nah, probably not.
Lena Headey finally being given some nod for her fantastic work in Game Of Thrones makes the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category actually pretty good. Maggie Smith is obviously there (because duh!) and both Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski return after respective stellar seasons, particularly for Hendricks in Mad Men.  The real winner here, though, is going to be Anna Gunn and we all know it really. You just need to watch Skyler through one episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, “Ozymandias” especially, to know this is basically on lock for her.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series needs to go to Reg E Cathey who was actually given something to do in the last season of House Of Cards and was, without a doubt, the best thing about the otherwise patchy season. I would be happy, however, with Dylan Baker taking it home for The Good Wife seeing as he is consistently my favourite guest star on the show to the point where I get overly excited when I see his name in the opening credits. He’s so brilliantly slimy and loaded with black humour, transforming the show into a whole other beast for an episode. Similarly, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series has a pretty obvious winner in Diana Rigg who swooped into Game Of Thrones and added so much sass and shade it was like watching a medieval special episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Eye rolling, sarcasm and just out-and-out disdane for people, Diana Rigg transformed the Queen of Thorns into the most fascinating character who stole any scene she was a part of, especially when paired with Charles Dance and the two chewed away at the scenery like hungry termites.
Outstanding Comedy Series is where things start to get a little interesting, and also a little bit weird. Of course we have The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family because do you even fucking follow this damn awards show? But then we also have Silicon Valley of all things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed its first season but it did definitely feel like it was still trying to find its feet. Still, more to Mike Judge et al for making such an impact straight away. Veep gets a nod too, particularly after its frankly incredible last season which was just packed with incredible jokes and fantastic performances, and even Louie gets a shout out, though I feel that it’s more of a “look at who arty we can be. It’s not gonna win, we just want to you to know that us Emmy lot are cool too!” nomination than anything else, though it’s nice to see it get a nod for an interesting last season.  The confusion in this category comes from the placement of Orange Is The New Black. Sure it can be funny as hell but it can quickly turn into something altogether very bleak, particularly post-the Tricia incident in its first season. Although, being placed in the comedy category it might have more of a chance of the victory it rightly deserves for being one of the best damn shows of probably all time. Overlooked in this category, though, is the stellar Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which came out running creating what felt like one of the most confident premiere seasons in a long time. It already surprised by taking home the Golden Globe so it seemed like a sure thing that it would grab an Emmy nod but apparently not. Broad City also managed to get overlooked despite being one of my favourite comedies of this past year but, then again, I don’t decide these bloody things, do I?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty awful category by most accounts.  As with Orange Is The New Black, Shameless is apparently now being classed as a comedy but I suppose it does move William H Macy out of the pretty hefty Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, making it a bit easier for him. Jim Parsons is back, obviously, and will probably run away with it again but I would like to see Louis CK win it just so he’d go up in stage in his signature black t-shirt instead of a fancy suit.
With Amy Poehler, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lena Dunham, and Edie Falco, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series is a pretty strong category with all pretty deserving of the award, but I would quite like to see Poehler take home the Emmy despite the last season of Parks & Recreation being neither here nor there. Julia Louis Dreyfus is probably going to take it, though, and I’m pretty OK with that. Taylor Schilling for Orange Is The New Black is pointless, though, because she definitely is not a lead in that show. OITNB is an ensemble show through and through and is held up by its stellar supporting cast.
Andre Braugher or we riot! Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty great category too, with yet more Tony Hale who really does deserve any praise he gets for his role in Veep, but Andre Braugher is the true stand out here who showed that the once hard-boiled detective in Homicide: Life On The Street had some proper comedy chops in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the deadpan police captain who is a constant highlight. His nomination kind of makes up for the snub of the show itself but only a little bit. Adam Driver might also have a shot, given that he actually had a fair bit to do in this last season of Girls, though nothing will really beat the Adam-centric episode, “Boys”, which was a highlight of Season 2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series does see a fair bit of shaking up occurring, with both Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch being replaced by Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live’s real MVP, and Kate Mulgrew. I have never seen Mums but I really just want Alison Janney to win it because I love Alison Janney! That’s a good enough reason to want someone to win something, right? Of course it is!
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty unexciting category, though Steve Buscemi’s nom for his role as a man tasked with making celery cool again in Portlandia is truly inspired. I would, however, like to see Gary Cole take this home for Veep who, although didn’t have much to do this past season, was always a treat when he popped up on screen. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series this year should just be renamed “Which OITNB star is going to win it” because, let’s be fair, they pretty much all deserve it. If they could do a Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and just an award to the entire cast like they did the entire GB Olympic team, then I’d be more than happy, but it definitely is a tough fight between Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox.
Having True Detective in another category has hopefully made things much easier for a Fargo Outstanding Miniseries win. It doesn’t have much competition, its main rival probably being American Horror Story who pop up every year to no avail. The White Queen and Bonnie & Clyde aren’t likely to put up a fight and Luther’s last season wasn’t exactly amazing compared to its previous two, so I have my fingers crossed for Fargo which is one of my favourite shows of 2014 so far. I don’t know much about the Outstanding TV Movie category, but apparently one episode of Sherlock counts as a TV movie? Crazy Americans!
Martin Freeman sees himself with a nomination for both Oustanding Lead Actor and Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Fargo and Sherlock respectively. Though his dodgy American accent in Fargo might let him down in the Lead Actor category, as well as facing off with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton whose performance was a highlight of that show for me, he might have a chance as John Watson, though there is such a glut of nominees from The Normal Heart (nope, no idea) that law of averages means one of those will probably win. Colin Hanks does get his first nom for Fargo which is nice (cause he definitely wasn’t going to get it for Dexter now, was he?)
Today I learned that Kristen Wiig was apparently in a miniseries. The Oustsanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category is slightly lost on me because I haven’t seen any of the shows in it but I like Jessica Lange and she always looks pretty frightening in AHS so I’ll plump for her. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie is all about Allison Tolman in Fargo, though, who came along and just stole everyone’s hearts. She is, however, facing up against some big names such as Kathy Bates and Julia fucking Roberts but I have every appendage crossed that Tolman wins this one so she can give a no doubt adorable speech.
To finish off, we need to talk about the biggest snub of this Emmy season. Forget The Good Wife, forget Orphan Black, forget Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s an absolute travesty that RuPaul’s Drag Race was passed over for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. My first experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race was this past season when I finally decided to take the plunge into the sequin and shade filled pool and became well and truly obsessed. I have since become an ardent supporter of the show and so to see it ignored in favour of Top Chef (which also managed to knock out Masterchef US as well!) is terrible Emmy news.

It is pretty difficult to try recognise every show equally (love you Broad City, you’re a winner in my heart) but this year’s nominations have some pretty crazy omissions and it does find itself stuck in a bit of a rut despite being open to new entrants.  Still, come August 25th, we will still all watch it and complain when our favourites won’t win and I’ll just be sat in the corner waving my Broad City flag in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, some last minute surprise might occur and they win. Maybe.
    For the first time in what feels like an age, the Emmy voters have managed to shake up the nominations for the 2014 awards, but only by a little bit. But, hey, isn’t a little bit of a shake up better than having pretty much the same nominations year in, year out? I don’t envy the Emmy voters. Even as a regular punter who just watches TV for fun, and occasionally for work, I find it extraordinarily difficult to keep on top of all the shows going on that might have a chance at grabbing themselves an Emmy nom. I’m pretty far behind on Boardwalk Empire, I still haven’t even started the latest season of Hannibal, and I’ve only just caught up with Trophy Wife, so goodness knows how the Emmy voters try and cram everything in to make a decision.
But there are still some problems with the Emmy nominations, and they’re blatantly obvious this year. Of course, TV is now moving into completely different realms, with the non-traditional viewing methods of Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, no doubt, will be accepted more willingly thanks to the successes of the likes of Orange Is The New Black) and with network TV finally being considered as worthy as their cable siblings thanks to stellar seasons of The Good Wife and (apparently) Hannibal, but there are some nominations placed in the oddest categories. It is a common phenomenon, moving a show or an actor into a less crowded category to give them a bigger chance of winning, but it does also make it look like the Emmys have no clue what a show actually is. But before we get on to more specifics, let’s break down each of the main categories, shall we?
Let’s start with the big guns, Outstanding Drama Series. There’s not much surprise in this category, the biggest being that apparently people are still giving a shit about Upstairs, Downstairs…I mean…Downton Abbey. Even the people that are still watching it don’t seem to care that much about it. Homeland has finally been given the boot after a pretty awful last season to be replaced by True Detective which, from the outset, was always going to be a shoe in for a nomination with such big names on board. It is odd, however, that True Detective has wormed its way into the Outstanding Drama Series category despite it essentially being a miniseries. Both Fargo and American Horror Story, which follow the same anthology style True Detective is set to follow, have been submitted as miniseries. It makes the Drama series category pretty crowded and has also led to a fair few big snubs. The Good Wife had one of its best seasons yet, The Americans had an incredibly strong start and has only grown since its first season, as did Hannibal yet all have been passed over in favour of the kind-of-blotchy second season of House Of Cards. Christ, if you want a schlocky political drama, chuck Scandal in there. There’s definitely a lot of squatting going on here, keeping much better shows out, but that’s just how the Emmys work.  Although Mad Men has had a pretty brilliant last season so far, the real race is probably between Breaking Bad and True Detective; the veteran finally throwing in the towel and the rookie already making a scene. Whilst I did enjoy True Detective, for me, it just doesn’t stack up to the final season of Breaking Bad which was as intense as the tracking shot in True Detective but spread out over a whole half season of edge of your seat tension.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, aka, which actor is going to beat Jon Hamm to an Emmy is also pretty typical. Jeff Daniels is a pretty weird nomination seeing as, although he makes a decent effort of trying to make a pretty poorly written character interesting, The Newsroom is pretty damn awful. Swap him out for Matthew Rhys and his terrible disguises (but great acting) in The Americans or even Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal and I’d be happy. Jon Hamm, at this point, probably just goes along to the Emmys for the booze and food (although he might have a shot at it next year if they submit the final half season what with Cranston finally out and no Harrelson and McConaughey). Again, as with drama series, it seems nicest to give it to Cranston as a final hurrah for his role as one TV’s greatest characters but then again both Harrelson and McConaughey brought their big screen acting chops to the small screen and did it with great aplomb. Even though True Detective’s story was a bit ropey, it was the chemistry between those two that kept it so interesting.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is also pretty standard fare with yet more nominations for Claire Danes’ cry face and Kerry Washington for getting shit done while having sexy times all the time. It also features a nice nod for Lizzy Caplan who blew everyone away in Masters Of Sex, though it is the only major nom for a brilliant show which came along nicely as Breaking Bad finished, working as almost a palate cleanser for the intensity of Breaking Bad’s final half season.  Julianna Margulies is my pick for this category because, even in the worst episodes of The Good Wife, she’s always been utterly captivating, particularly recently. My only major issue with this category is the complete lack of Tatiana Maslany in her half a dozen roles on Orphan Black. Even from that first season, she was the reason why the general absurdity of Orphan Black worked, because she managed to flip from one clone to the next with such ease, each clone as interesting and complex as the last. It’s kind of understandable why she, and Orphan Black in general, was mostly passed over given the Emmys not being too big on sci-fi, particularly on a channel such as BBC America.
It’s kind of getting a bit samey now, you guys.  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is basically last year’s selection with Jon Voight thrown in for some reason. Peter Dinklage has a pretty good chance in this category this year, particularly if voters are considering this past season which was packed full of scenes that are perfect for an Emmy sizzle reel (the end of Tyrion’s trial being one of the major ones in which he spits his words out with such venom and loathing, it’s electric). But, then again, as with Cranston there’s always the chance that they might give it to Aaron Paul who already has two awards to his name to see him home and making him suffer with people asking him to say “bitch” in the street for just a little bit longer. The biggest omission here is another Breaking Bad alum, Dean Norris, who had always been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon that was finally brought out in this final season with superb results. Maybe he’ll get something soon for Under The Dome and we can pretend it’s for Breaking Bad? Nah, probably not.
Lena Headey finally being given some nod for her fantastic work in Game Of Thrones makes the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category actually pretty good. Maggie Smith is obviously there (because duh!) and both Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski return after respective stellar seasons, particularly for Hendricks in Mad Men.  The real winner here, though, is going to be Anna Gunn and we all know it really. You just need to watch Skyler through one episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, “Ozymandias” especially, to know this is basically on lock for her.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series needs to go to Reg E Cathey who was actually given something to do in the last season of House Of Cards and was, without a doubt, the best thing about the otherwise patchy season. I would be happy, however, with Dylan Baker taking it home for The Good Wife seeing as he is consistently my favourite guest star on the show to the point where I get overly excited when I see his name in the opening credits. He’s so brilliantly slimy and loaded with black humour, transforming the show into a whole other beast for an episode. Similarly, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series has a pretty obvious winner in Diana Rigg who swooped into Game Of Thrones and added so much sass and shade it was like watching a medieval special episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Eye rolling, sarcasm and just out-and-out disdane for people, Diana Rigg transformed the Queen of Thorns into the most fascinating character who stole any scene she was a part of, especially when paired with Charles Dance and the two chewed away at the scenery like hungry termites.
Outstanding Comedy Series is where things start to get a little interesting, and also a little bit weird. Of course we have The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family because do you even fucking follow this damn awards show? But then we also have Silicon Valley of all things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed its first season but it did definitely feel like it was still trying to find its feet. Still, more to Mike Judge et al for making such an impact straight away. Veep gets a nod too, particularly after its frankly incredible last season which was just packed with incredible jokes and fantastic performances, and even Louie gets a shout out, though I feel that it’s more of a “look at who arty we can be. It’s not gonna win, we just want to you to know that us Emmy lot are cool too!” nomination than anything else, though it’s nice to see it get a nod for an interesting last season.  The confusion in this category comes from the placement of Orange Is The New Black. Sure it can be funny as hell but it can quickly turn into something altogether very bleak, particularly post-the Tricia incident in its first season. Although, being placed in the comedy category it might have more of a chance of the victory it rightly deserves for being one of the best damn shows of probably all time. Overlooked in this category, though, is the stellar Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which came out running creating what felt like one of the most confident premiere seasons in a long time. It already surprised by taking home the Golden Globe so it seemed like a sure thing that it would grab an Emmy nod but apparently not. Broad City also managed to get overlooked despite being one of my favourite comedies of this past year but, then again, I don’t decide these bloody things, do I?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty awful category by most accounts.  As with Orange Is The New Black, Shameless is apparently now being classed as a comedy but I suppose it does move William H Macy out of the pretty hefty Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, making it a bit easier for him. Jim Parsons is back, obviously, and will probably run away with it again but I would like to see Louis CK win it just so he’d go up in stage in his signature black t-shirt instead of a fancy suit.
With Amy Poehler, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lena Dunham, and Edie Falco, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series is a pretty strong category with all pretty deserving of the award, but I would quite like to see Poehler take home the Emmy despite the last season of Parks & Recreation being neither here nor there. Julia Louis Dreyfus is probably going to take it, though, and I’m pretty OK with that. Taylor Schilling for Orange Is The New Black is pointless, though, because she definitely is not a lead in that show. OITNB is an ensemble show through and through and is held up by its stellar supporting cast.
Andre Braugher or we riot! Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty great category too, with yet more Tony Hale who really does deserve any praise he gets for his role in Veep, but Andre Braugher is the true stand out here who showed that the once hard-boiled detective in Homicide: Life On The Street had some proper comedy chops in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the deadpan police captain who is a constant highlight. His nomination kind of makes up for the snub of the show itself but only a little bit. Adam Driver might also have a shot, given that he actually had a fair bit to do in this last season of Girls, though nothing will really beat the Adam-centric episode, “Boys”, which was a highlight of Season 2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series does see a fair bit of shaking up occurring, with both Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch being replaced by Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live’s real MVP, and Kate Mulgrew. I have never seen Mums but I really just want Alison Janney to win it because I love Alison Janney! That’s a good enough reason to want someone to win something, right? Of course it is!
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty unexciting category, though Steve Buscemi’s nom for his role as a man tasked with making celery cool again in Portlandia is truly inspired. I would, however, like to see Gary Cole take this home for Veep who, although didn’t have much to do this past season, was always a treat when he popped up on screen. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series this year should just be renamed “Which OITNB star is going to win it” because, let’s be fair, they pretty much all deserve it. If they could do a Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and just an award to the entire cast like they did the entire GB Olympic team, then I’d be more than happy, but it definitely is a tough fight between Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox.
Having True Detective in another category has hopefully made things much easier for a Fargo Outstanding Miniseries win. It doesn’t have much competition, its main rival probably being American Horror Story who pop up every year to no avail. The White Queen and Bonnie & Clyde aren’t likely to put up a fight and Luther’s last season wasn’t exactly amazing compared to its previous two, so I have my fingers crossed for Fargo which is one of my favourite shows of 2014 so far. I don’t know much about the Outstanding TV Movie category, but apparently one episode of Sherlock counts as a TV movie? Crazy Americans!
Martin Freeman sees himself with a nomination for both Oustanding Lead Actor and Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Fargo and Sherlock respectively. Though his dodgy American accent in Fargo might let him down in the Lead Actor category, as well as facing off with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton whose performance was a highlight of that show for me, he might have a chance as John Watson, though there is such a glut of nominees from The Normal Heart (nope, no idea) that law of averages means one of those will probably win. Colin Hanks does get his first nom for Fargo which is nice (cause he definitely wasn’t going to get it for Dexter now, was he?)
Today I learned that Kristen Wiig was apparently in a miniseries. The Oustsanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category is slightly lost on me because I haven’t seen any of the shows in it but I like Jessica Lange and she always looks pretty frightening in AHS so I’ll plump for her. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie is all about Allison Tolman in Fargo, though, who came along and just stole everyone’s hearts. She is, however, facing up against some big names such as Kathy Bates and Julia fucking Roberts but I have every appendage crossed that Tolman wins this one so she can give a no doubt adorable speech.
To finish off, we need to talk about the biggest snub of this Emmy season. Forget The Good Wife, forget Orphan Black, forget Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s an absolute travesty that RuPaul’s Drag Race was passed over for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. My first experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race was this past season when I finally decided to take the plunge into the sequin and shade filled pool and became well and truly obsessed. I have since become an ardent supporter of the show and so to see it ignored in favour of Top Chef (which also managed to knock out Masterchef US as well!) is terrible Emmy news.

It is pretty difficult to try recognise every show equally (love you Broad City, you’re a winner in my heart) but this year’s nominations have some pretty crazy omissions and it does find itself stuck in a bit of a rut despite being open to new entrants.  Still, come August 25th, we will still all watch it and complain when our favourites won’t win and I’ll just be sat in the corner waving my Broad City flag in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, some last minute surprise might occur and they win. Maybe. For the first time in what feels like an age, the Emmy voters have managed to shake up the nominations for the 2014 awards, but only by a little bit. But, hey, isn’t a little bit of a shake up better than having pretty much the same nominations year in, year out? I don’t envy the Emmy voters. Even as a regular punter who just watches TV for fun, and occasionally for work, I find it extraordinarily difficult to keep on top of all the shows going on that might have a chance at grabbing themselves an Emmy nom. I’m pretty far behind on Boardwalk Empire, I still haven’t even started the latest season of Hannibal, and I’ve only just caught up with Trophy Wife, so goodness knows how the Emmy voters try and cram everything in to make a decision.
But there are still some problems with the Emmy nominations, and they’re blatantly obvious this year. Of course, TV is now moving into completely different realms, with the non-traditional viewing methods of Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, no doubt, will be accepted more willingly thanks to the successes of the likes of Orange Is The New Black) and with network TV finally being considered as worthy as their cable siblings thanks to stellar seasons of The Good Wife and (apparently) Hannibal, but there are some nominations placed in the oddest categories. It is a common phenomenon, moving a show or an actor into a less crowded category to give them a bigger chance of winning, but it does also make it look like the Emmys have no clue what a show actually is. But before we get on to more specifics, let’s break down each of the main categories, shall we?
Let’s start with the big guns, Outstanding Drama Series. There’s not much surprise in this category, the biggest being that apparently people are still giving a shit about Upstairs, Downstairs…I mean…Downton Abbey. Even the people that are still watching it don’t seem to care that much about it. Homeland has finally been given the boot after a pretty awful last season to be replaced by True Detective which, from the outset, was always going to be a shoe in for a nomination with such big names on board. It is odd, however, that True Detective has wormed its way into the Outstanding Drama Series category despite it essentially being a miniseries. Both Fargo and American Horror Story, which follow the same anthology style True Detective is set to follow, have been submitted as miniseries. It makes the Drama series category pretty crowded and has also led to a fair few big snubs. The Good Wife had one of its best seasons yet, The Americans had an incredibly strong start and has only grown since its first season, as did Hannibal yet all have been passed over in favour of the kind-of-blotchy second season of House Of Cards. Christ, if you want a schlocky political drama, chuck Scandal in there. There’s definitely a lot of squatting going on here, keeping much better shows out, but that’s just how the Emmys work.  Although Mad Men has had a pretty brilliant last season so far, the real race is probably between Breaking Bad and True Detective; the veteran finally throwing in the towel and the rookie already making a scene. Whilst I did enjoy True Detective, for me, it just doesn’t stack up to the final season of Breaking Bad which was as intense as the tracking shot in True Detective but spread out over a whole half season of edge of your seat tension.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, aka, which actor is going to beat Jon Hamm to an Emmy is also pretty typical. Jeff Daniels is a pretty weird nomination seeing as, although he makes a decent effort of trying to make a pretty poorly written character interesting, The Newsroom is pretty damn awful. Swap him out for Matthew Rhys and his terrible disguises (but great acting) in The Americans or even Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal and I’d be happy. Jon Hamm, at this point, probably just goes along to the Emmys for the booze and food (although he might have a shot at it next year if they submit the final half season what with Cranston finally out and no Harrelson and McConaughey). Again, as with drama series, it seems nicest to give it to Cranston as a final hurrah for his role as one TV’s greatest characters but then again both Harrelson and McConaughey brought their big screen acting chops to the small screen and did it with great aplomb. Even though True Detective’s story was a bit ropey, it was the chemistry between those two that kept it so interesting.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is also pretty standard fare with yet more nominations for Claire Danes’ cry face and Kerry Washington for getting shit done while having sexy times all the time. It also features a nice nod for Lizzy Caplan who blew everyone away in Masters Of Sex, though it is the only major nom for a brilliant show which came along nicely as Breaking Bad finished, working as almost a palate cleanser for the intensity of Breaking Bad’s final half season.  Julianna Margulies is my pick for this category because, even in the worst episodes of The Good Wife, she’s always been utterly captivating, particularly recently. My only major issue with this category is the complete lack of Tatiana Maslany in her half a dozen roles on Orphan Black. Even from that first season, she was the reason why the general absurdity of Orphan Black worked, because she managed to flip from one clone to the next with such ease, each clone as interesting and complex as the last. It’s kind of understandable why she, and Orphan Black in general, was mostly passed over given the Emmys not being too big on sci-fi, particularly on a channel such as BBC America.
It’s kind of getting a bit samey now, you guys.  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is basically last year’s selection with Jon Voight thrown in for some reason. Peter Dinklage has a pretty good chance in this category this year, particularly if voters are considering this past season which was packed full of scenes that are perfect for an Emmy sizzle reel (the end of Tyrion’s trial being one of the major ones in which he spits his words out with such venom and loathing, it’s electric). But, then again, as with Cranston there’s always the chance that they might give it to Aaron Paul who already has two awards to his name to see him home and making him suffer with people asking him to say “bitch” in the street for just a little bit longer. The biggest omission here is another Breaking Bad alum, Dean Norris, who had always been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon that was finally brought out in this final season with superb results. Maybe he’ll get something soon for Under The Dome and we can pretend it’s for Breaking Bad? Nah, probably not.
Lena Headey finally being given some nod for her fantastic work in Game Of Thrones makes the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category actually pretty good. Maggie Smith is obviously there (because duh!) and both Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski return after respective stellar seasons, particularly for Hendricks in Mad Men.  The real winner here, though, is going to be Anna Gunn and we all know it really. You just need to watch Skyler through one episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, “Ozymandias” especially, to know this is basically on lock for her.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series needs to go to Reg E Cathey who was actually given something to do in the last season of House Of Cards and was, without a doubt, the best thing about the otherwise patchy season. I would be happy, however, with Dylan Baker taking it home for The Good Wife seeing as he is consistently my favourite guest star on the show to the point where I get overly excited when I see his name in the opening credits. He’s so brilliantly slimy and loaded with black humour, transforming the show into a whole other beast for an episode. Similarly, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series has a pretty obvious winner in Diana Rigg who swooped into Game Of Thrones and added so much sass and shade it was like watching a medieval special episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Eye rolling, sarcasm and just out-and-out disdane for people, Diana Rigg transformed the Queen of Thorns into the most fascinating character who stole any scene she was a part of, especially when paired with Charles Dance and the two chewed away at the scenery like hungry termites.
Outstanding Comedy Series is where things start to get a little interesting, and also a little bit weird. Of course we have The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family because do you even fucking follow this damn awards show? But then we also have Silicon Valley of all things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed its first season but it did definitely feel like it was still trying to find its feet. Still, more to Mike Judge et al for making such an impact straight away. Veep gets a nod too, particularly after its frankly incredible last season which was just packed with incredible jokes and fantastic performances, and even Louie gets a shout out, though I feel that it’s more of a “look at who arty we can be. It’s not gonna win, we just want to you to know that us Emmy lot are cool too!” nomination than anything else, though it’s nice to see it get a nod for an interesting last season.  The confusion in this category comes from the placement of Orange Is The New Black. Sure it can be funny as hell but it can quickly turn into something altogether very bleak, particularly post-the Tricia incident in its first season. Although, being placed in the comedy category it might have more of a chance of the victory it rightly deserves for being one of the best damn shows of probably all time. Overlooked in this category, though, is the stellar Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which came out running creating what felt like one of the most confident premiere seasons in a long time. It already surprised by taking home the Golden Globe so it seemed like a sure thing that it would grab an Emmy nod but apparently not. Broad City also managed to get overlooked despite being one of my favourite comedies of this past year but, then again, I don’t decide these bloody things, do I?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty awful category by most accounts.  As with Orange Is The New Black, Shameless is apparently now being classed as a comedy but I suppose it does move William H Macy out of the pretty hefty Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, making it a bit easier for him. Jim Parsons is back, obviously, and will probably run away with it again but I would like to see Louis CK win it just so he’d go up in stage in his signature black t-shirt instead of a fancy suit.
With Amy Poehler, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lena Dunham, and Edie Falco, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series is a pretty strong category with all pretty deserving of the award, but I would quite like to see Poehler take home the Emmy despite the last season of Parks & Recreation being neither here nor there. Julia Louis Dreyfus is probably going to take it, though, and I’m pretty OK with that. Taylor Schilling for Orange Is The New Black is pointless, though, because she definitely is not a lead in that show. OITNB is an ensemble show through and through and is held up by its stellar supporting cast.
Andre Braugher or we riot! Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty great category too, with yet more Tony Hale who really does deserve any praise he gets for his role in Veep, but Andre Braugher is the true stand out here who showed that the once hard-boiled detective in Homicide: Life On The Street had some proper comedy chops in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the deadpan police captain who is a constant highlight. His nomination kind of makes up for the snub of the show itself but only a little bit. Adam Driver might also have a shot, given that he actually had a fair bit to do in this last season of Girls, though nothing will really beat the Adam-centric episode, “Boys”, which was a highlight of Season 2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series does see a fair bit of shaking up occurring, with both Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch being replaced by Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live’s real MVP, and Kate Mulgrew. I have never seen Mums but I really just want Alison Janney to win it because I love Alison Janney! That’s a good enough reason to want someone to win something, right? Of course it is!
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty unexciting category, though Steve Buscemi’s nom for his role as a man tasked with making celery cool again in Portlandia is truly inspired. I would, however, like to see Gary Cole take this home for Veep who, although didn’t have much to do this past season, was always a treat when he popped up on screen. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series this year should just be renamed “Which OITNB star is going to win it” because, let’s be fair, they pretty much all deserve it. If they could do a Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and just an award to the entire cast like they did the entire GB Olympic team, then I’d be more than happy, but it definitely is a tough fight between Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox.
Having True Detective in another category has hopefully made things much easier for a Fargo Outstanding Miniseries win. It doesn’t have much competition, its main rival probably being American Horror Story who pop up every year to no avail. The White Queen and Bonnie & Clyde aren’t likely to put up a fight and Luther’s last season wasn’t exactly amazing compared to its previous two, so I have my fingers crossed for Fargo which is one of my favourite shows of 2014 so far. I don’t know much about the Outstanding TV Movie category, but apparently one episode of Sherlock counts as a TV movie? Crazy Americans!
Martin Freeman sees himself with a nomination for both Oustanding Lead Actor and Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Fargo and Sherlock respectively. Though his dodgy American accent in Fargo might let him down in the Lead Actor category, as well as facing off with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton whose performance was a highlight of that show for me, he might have a chance as John Watson, though there is such a glut of nominees from The Normal Heart (nope, no idea) that law of averages means one of those will probably win. Colin Hanks does get his first nom for Fargo which is nice (cause he definitely wasn’t going to get it for Dexter now, was he?)
Today I learned that Kristen Wiig was apparently in a miniseries. The Oustsanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category is slightly lost on me because I haven’t seen any of the shows in it but I like Jessica Lange and she always looks pretty frightening in AHS so I’ll plump for her. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie is all about Allison Tolman in Fargo, though, who came along and just stole everyone’s hearts. She is, however, facing up against some big names such as Kathy Bates and Julia fucking Roberts but I have every appendage crossed that Tolman wins this one so she can give a no doubt adorable speech.
To finish off, we need to talk about the biggest snub of this Emmy season. Forget The Good Wife, forget Orphan Black, forget Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s an absolute travesty that RuPaul’s Drag Race was passed over for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. My first experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race was this past season when I finally decided to take the plunge into the sequin and shade filled pool and became well and truly obsessed. I have since become an ardent supporter of the show and so to see it ignored in favour of Top Chef (which also managed to knock out Masterchef US as well!) is terrible Emmy news.

It is pretty difficult to try recognise every show equally (love you Broad City, you’re a winner in my heart) but this year’s nominations have some pretty crazy omissions and it does find itself stuck in a bit of a rut despite being open to new entrants.  Still, come August 25th, we will still all watch it and complain when our favourites won’t win and I’ll just be sat in the corner waving my Broad City flag in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, some last minute surprise might occur and they win. Maybe.

    For the first time in what feels like an age, the Emmy voters have managed to shake up the nominations for the 2014 awards, but only by a little bit. But, hey, isn’t a little bit of a shake up better than having pretty much the same nominations year in, year out? I don’t envy the Emmy voters. Even as a regular punter who just watches TV for fun, and occasionally for work, I find it extraordinarily difficult to keep on top of all the shows going on that might have a chance at grabbing themselves an Emmy nom. I’m pretty far behind on Boardwalk Empire, I still haven’t even started the latest season of Hannibal, and I’ve only just caught up with Trophy Wife, so goodness knows how the Emmy voters try and cram everything in to make a decision.

    But there are still some problems with the Emmy nominations, and they’re blatantly obvious this year. Of course, TV is now moving into completely different realms, with the non-traditional viewing methods of Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, no doubt, will be accepted more willingly thanks to the successes of the likes of Orange Is The New Black) and with network TV finally being considered as worthy as their cable siblings thanks to stellar seasons of The Good Wife and (apparently) Hannibal, but there are some nominations placed in the oddest categories. It is a common phenomenon, moving a show or an actor into a less crowded category to give them a bigger chance of winning, but it does also make it look like the Emmys have no clue what a show actually is. But before we get on to more specifics, let’s break down each of the main categories, shall we?

    Let’s start with the big guns, Outstanding Drama Series. There’s not much surprise in this category, the biggest being that apparently people are still giving a shit about Upstairs, Downstairs…I mean…Downton Abbey. Even the people that are still watching it don’t seem to care that much about it. Homeland has finally been given the boot after a pretty awful last season to be replaced by True Detective which, from the outset, was always going to be a shoe in for a nomination with such big names on board. It is odd, however, that True Detective has wormed its way into the Outstanding Drama Series category despite it essentially being a miniseries. Both Fargo and American Horror Story, which follow the same anthology style True Detective is set to follow, have been submitted as miniseries. It makes the Drama series category pretty crowded and has also led to a fair few big snubs. The Good Wife had one of its best seasons yet, The Americans had an incredibly strong start and has only grown since its first season, as did Hannibal yet all have been passed over in favour of the kind-of-blotchy second season of House Of Cards. Christ, if you want a schlocky political drama, chuck Scandal in there. There’s definitely a lot of squatting going on here, keeping much better shows out, but that’s just how the Emmys work.  Although Mad Men has had a pretty brilliant last season so far, the real race is probably between Breaking Bad and True Detective; the veteran finally throwing in the towel and the rookie already making a scene. Whilst I did enjoy True Detective, for me, it just doesn’t stack up to the final season of Breaking Bad which was as intense as the tracking shot in True Detective but spread out over a whole half season of edge of your seat tension.

    Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, aka, which actor is going to beat Jon Hamm to an Emmy is also pretty typical. Jeff Daniels is a pretty weird nomination seeing as, although he makes a decent effort of trying to make a pretty poorly written character interesting, The Newsroom is pretty damn awful. Swap him out for Matthew Rhys and his terrible disguises (but great acting) in The Americans or even Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal and I’d be happy. Jon Hamm, at this point, probably just goes along to the Emmys for the booze and food (although he might have a shot at it next year if they submit the final half season what with Cranston finally out and no Harrelson and McConaughey). Again, as with drama series, it seems nicest to give it to Cranston as a final hurrah for his role as one TV’s greatest characters but then again both Harrelson and McConaughey brought their big screen acting chops to the small screen and did it with great aplomb. Even though True Detective’s story was a bit ropey, it was the chemistry between those two that kept it so interesting.

    Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is also pretty standard fare with yet more nominations for Claire Danes’ cry face and Kerry Washington for getting shit done while having sexy times all the time. It also features a nice nod for Lizzy Caplan who blew everyone away in Masters Of Sex, though it is the only major nom for a brilliant show which came along nicely as Breaking Bad finished, working as almost a palate cleanser for the intensity of Breaking Bad’s final half season.  Julianna Margulies is my pick for this category because, even in the worst episodes of The Good Wife, she’s always been utterly captivating, particularly recently. My only major issue with this category is the complete lack of Tatiana Maslany in her half a dozen roles on Orphan Black. Even from that first season, she was the reason why the general absurdity of Orphan Black worked, because she managed to flip from one clone to the next with such ease, each clone as interesting and complex as the last. It’s kind of understandable why she, and Orphan Black in general, was mostly passed over given the Emmys not being too big on sci-fi, particularly on a channel such as BBC America.

    It’s kind of getting a bit samey now, you guys.  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is basically last year’s selection with Jon Voight thrown in for some reason. Peter Dinklage has a pretty good chance in this category this year, particularly if voters are considering this past season which was packed full of scenes that are perfect for an Emmy sizzle reel (the end of Tyrion’s trial being one of the major ones in which he spits his words out with such venom and loathing, it’s electric). But, then again, as with Cranston there’s always the chance that they might give it to Aaron Paul who already has two awards to his name to see him home and making him suffer with people asking him to say “bitch” in the street for just a little bit longer. The biggest omission here is another Breaking Bad alum, Dean Norris, who had always been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon that was finally brought out in this final season with superb results. Maybe he’ll get something soon for Under The Dome and we can pretend it’s for Breaking Bad? Nah, probably not.

    Lena Headey finally being given some nod for her fantastic work in Game Of Thrones makes the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category actually pretty good. Maggie Smith is obviously there (because duh!) and both Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski return after respective stellar seasons, particularly for Hendricks in Mad Men.  The real winner here, though, is going to be Anna Gunn and we all know it really. You just need to watch Skyler through one episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, “Ozymandias” especially, to know this is basically on lock for her.

    Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series needs to go to Reg E Cathey who was actually given something to do in the last season of House Of Cards and was, without a doubt, the best thing about the otherwise patchy season. I would be happy, however, with Dylan Baker taking it home for The Good Wife seeing as he is consistently my favourite guest star on the show to the point where I get overly excited when I see his name in the opening credits. He’s so brilliantly slimy and loaded with black humour, transforming the show into a whole other beast for an episode. Similarly, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series has a pretty obvious winner in Diana Rigg who swooped into Game Of Thrones and added so much sass and shade it was like watching a medieval special episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Eye rolling, sarcasm and just out-and-out disdane for people, Diana Rigg transformed the Queen of Thorns into the most fascinating character who stole any scene she was a part of, especially when paired with Charles Dance and the two chewed away at the scenery like hungry termites.

    Outstanding Comedy Series is where things start to get a little interesting, and also a little bit weird. Of course we have The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family because do you even fucking follow this damn awards show? But then we also have Silicon Valley of all things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed its first season but it did definitely feel like it was still trying to find its feet. Still, more to Mike Judge et al for making such an impact straight away. Veep gets a nod too, particularly after its frankly incredible last season which was just packed with incredible jokes and fantastic performances, and even Louie gets a shout out, though I feel that it’s more of a “look at who arty we can be. It’s not gonna win, we just want to you to know that us Emmy lot are cool too!” nomination than anything else, though it’s nice to see it get a nod for an interesting last season.  The confusion in this category comes from the placement of Orange Is The New Black. Sure it can be funny as hell but it can quickly turn into something altogether very bleak, particularly post-the Tricia incident in its first season. Although, being placed in the comedy category it might have more of a chance of the victory it rightly deserves for being one of the best damn shows of probably all time. Overlooked in this category, though, is the stellar Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which came out running creating what felt like one of the most confident premiere seasons in a long time. It already surprised by taking home the Golden Globe so it seemed like a sure thing that it would grab an Emmy nod but apparently not. Broad City also managed to get overlooked despite being one of my favourite comedies of this past year but, then again, I don’t decide these bloody things, do I?

    Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty awful category by most accounts.  As with Orange Is The New Black, Shameless is apparently now being classed as a comedy but I suppose it does move William H Macy out of the pretty hefty Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, making it a bit easier for him. Jim Parsons is back, obviously, and will probably run away with it again but I would like to see Louis CK win it just so he’d go up in stage in his signature black t-shirt instead of a fancy suit.

    With Amy Poehler, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lena Dunham, and Edie Falco, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series is a pretty strong category with all pretty deserving of the award, but I would quite like to see Poehler take home the Emmy despite the last season of Parks & Recreation being neither here nor there. Julia Louis Dreyfus is probably going to take it, though, and I’m pretty OK with that. Taylor Schilling for Orange Is The New Black is pointless, though, because she definitely is not a lead in that show. OITNB is an ensemble show through and through and is held up by its stellar supporting cast.

    Andre Braugher or we riot! Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty great category too, with yet more Tony Hale who really does deserve any praise he gets for his role in Veep, but Andre Braugher is the true stand out here who showed that the once hard-boiled detective in Homicide: Life On The Street had some proper comedy chops in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the deadpan police captain who is a constant highlight. His nomination kind of makes up for the snub of the show itself but only a little bit. Adam Driver might also have a shot, given that he actually had a fair bit to do in this last season of Girls, though nothing will really beat the Adam-centric episode, “Boys”, which was a highlight of Season 2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series does see a fair bit of shaking up occurring, with both Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch being replaced by Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live’s real MVP, and Kate Mulgrew. I have never seen Mums but I really just want Alison Janney to win it because I love Alison Janney! That’s a good enough reason to want someone to win something, right? Of course it is!

    Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is a pretty unexciting category, though Steve Buscemi’s nom for his role as a man tasked with making celery cool again in Portlandia is truly inspired. I would, however, like to see Gary Cole take this home for Veep who, although didn’t have much to do this past season, was always a treat when he popped up on screen. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series this year should just be renamed “Which OITNB star is going to win it” because, let’s be fair, they pretty much all deserve it. If they could do a Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and just an award to the entire cast like they did the entire GB Olympic team, then I’d be more than happy, but it definitely is a tough fight between Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox.

    Having True Detective in another category has hopefully made things much easier for a Fargo Outstanding Miniseries win. It doesn’t have much competition, its main rival probably being American Horror Story who pop up every year to no avail. The White Queen and Bonnie & Clyde aren’t likely to put up a fight and Luther’s last season wasn’t exactly amazing compared to its previous two, so I have my fingers crossed for Fargo which is one of my favourite shows of 2014 so far. I don’t know much about the Outstanding TV Movie category, but apparently one episode of Sherlock counts as a TV movie? Crazy Americans!

    Martin Freeman sees himself with a nomination for both Oustanding Lead Actor and Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Fargo and Sherlock respectively. Though his dodgy American accent in Fargo might let him down in the Lead Actor category, as well as facing off with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton whose performance was a highlight of that show for me, he might have a chance as John Watson, though there is such a glut of nominees from The Normal Heart (nope, no idea) that law of averages means one of those will probably win. Colin Hanks does get his first nom for Fargo which is nice (cause he definitely wasn’t going to get it for Dexter now, was he?)

    Today I learned that Kristen Wiig was apparently in a miniseries. The Oustsanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category is slightly lost on me because I haven’t seen any of the shows in it but I like Jessica Lange and she always looks pretty frightening in AHS so I’ll plump for her. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie is all about Allison Tolman in Fargo, though, who came along and just stole everyone’s hearts. She is, however, facing up against some big names such as Kathy Bates and Julia fucking Roberts but I have every appendage crossed that Tolman wins this one so she can give a no doubt adorable speech.

    To finish off, we need to talk about the biggest snub of this Emmy season. Forget The Good Wife, forget Orphan Black, forget Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s an absolute travesty that RuPaul’s Drag Race was passed over for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. My first experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race was this past season when I finally decided to take the plunge into the sequin and shade filled pool and became well and truly obsessed. I have since become an ardent supporter of the show and so to see it ignored in favour of Top Chef (which also managed to knock out Masterchef US as well!) is terrible Emmy news.

    It is pretty difficult to try recognise every show equally (love you Broad City, you’re a winner in my heart) but this year’s nominations have some pretty crazy omissions and it does find itself stuck in a bit of a rut despite being open to new entrants.  Still, come August 25th, we will still all watch it and complain when our favourites won’t win and I’ll just be sat in the corner waving my Broad City flag in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, some last minute surprise might occur and they win. Maybe.