Saturday, September 21, 2013

Emmy Time!

Tomorrow the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences throws itself a big, boffo party on TV to hand out its annual primetime Emmy Awards for excellence in acting, directing, writing, choreography, and in general, putting on the shows we see on our tellies, whether they're reality TV-paloozas, comedies, dramas, mini-series, made-for-TV movies, animation, variety specials or pretty much anything else you can think of.

This will be Neil Patrick Harris's sixth year as host, and stars like Elton John, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bob Newhart, LL Cool Jay, Jon Hamm, and Jimmies Fallon and Kimmel will drop by to help out.

Who wins is generally a fairly predictable affair, although this year there's a little more drama with non-televised, made-just-for-Netflix entries like House of Cards and Arrested Development. Will Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright win acting honors for the former or Jason Bateman for the latter? Can anybody upset the Homeland juggernaut from previous years? Will Breaking Bad break through and steal the hardware in the drama categories? Is Modern Family still the comedy to beat? Will HBO's Behind the Candelabra continue to clean up like it did at the technical awards ceremony last week?

I wouldn't be against any of those things, although I suppose someone has to emerge in the Homeland vs. Breaking Bad battle for Best Drama.

Because 2013 marks "the 50th Anniversary of two events that changed the face of our world," we will see a tribute to television milestones in 1963, with Don Cheadle and Carrie Underwood telling us about the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and how John F. Kennedy's assassination made TV come of age.

Jonathan Winters
And because television lost TV legends James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties, Spin City), Jean Stapleton (All in the Family) and Jonathan Winters (The Steve Allen Show, The Garry Moore Show, Mork and Mindy) this year, there will be a a special In Memoriam segment to honor the passing of these luminaries along with Cory Monteith of Glee. Monteith's career wasn't nearly as long as the others and not nearly as important in my mind. But Monteith was current and his death was shocking, and I guess that counts for something with the Academy. You'll excuse me while I spend my extra mourning time on Jonathan Winters, a comic genius and someone my mom absolutely loved. Today would've been her 89th birthday, and she would've been really cranky that her favorite had to share his In Memoriam time with a callow youth from Glee.

Much better examples of television icons who passed away this year? Larry Hagman of Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie fame, who was nominated for Emmys twice, and Jack Klugman, who starred in Quincy and The Odd Couple and won three Emmys. Come on, Academy! It's pretty clear who does and does not belong in the special group that gets extended tributes. And it ain't Cory Monteith.

Oh well. This complaint's for you, Mom.

Edie Falco will pay tribute to her Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini, while Michael J. Fox will step up for Family Ties and Spin City producer Gary David Goldberg, Rob Reiner will say a few words about Jean Stapleton and their All in the Family days; and Robin Williams will speak on behalf of his friend and mentor Jonathan Winters. And Jane Lynch, also of Glee, gets the Cory Monteith assignment.

The 65th Annual Emmy Awards will start at 7 pm Central on CBS tomorrow, September 22, 2013. You can see all kinds of extra info and behind-the-scenes video at the Emmys site.

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