Archive for the ‘FOX’ Category

There weren’t any new series premieres on the big four last week and I was going to just skip a scorecard. But then I thought now might be a good time to catch up with our “Subscribes” and “Keep an Eye Ons” to see how things are faring.

As a rule, I watch at least 2 episodes of a positively-reviewed series before forming a final opinion. There’s only so many hours in a day and by then the closet lemons have started to stink, or conversely, a show with a shaky pilot starts to find its footing. An added bonus, the networks will often help you make the live or die decision by canceling a series or ordering a full season.

The “Kill and Bury” shows remain as such, but here’s how I’m feeling on the so-so new series a few weeks in.

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Limitless (CBS)

As expected, Limitless has chosen to walk the familiar road of case-of-the-week buddy-cop crime procedural (also known as the COTWBCCP), and its becoming apparent that the show’s writers aren’t quite up to the task of creating challenges that rise to the mental capacity of their protagonist. For a man who is made genius by taking a pill, he doesn’t seem all that more capable than your typical TV sleuth.

But, as was the case with the pilot, Limitless continues to make use of a confident sense of style and a je ne sais quoi that elevates that puts it a cut above the rest. It’s not great, but it’s better than many, and since I finally shed Castle from my TV roster I have a little bandwidth for a weekly whodunit.

Updated status: Still watching, but a few episodes behind.

Network action: Full season order

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The Muppets (ABC)

The pilot was rough, and the second episode wasn’t much better. But by episode 3 the show seemed to find its pacing and land some jokes. The cameos were used judiciously, and the ensemble dynamic buzzed. It’s not a safe bet at this point, but at least now we have an idea of what The Muppets could be if the writers can get it there.

Updated status: I’m not exactly optimistic, but I’m rotting for this show

Network action: Full season order (updated 10/29/15)

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Heroes Reborn (NBC)

Do you ever open a bag of chips, intending to have a quick snack before dinner, only to find yourself 30 minutes later holding an empty bag in your grease- and shame-covered fingers?

That’s Heroes Reborn, a plate of useless, salty nonsense. You know there’s better things out there, but here you are and you can’t help yourself.

I have no doubt that when the miniseries ends, I’ll regret having spent so many hours with these baffling, 2-dimensional characters and their nonsensical plots. Yet here I am.

Updated status: Bumbling along

Network Action: Nothing beyond limited-run series

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The Player (NBC)

Veteran TV critic Ken Tucker recently described The Player as “the best of the worst new shows.” I completely agree.

Player is not a good show, but it’s also not a terrible way to check out and waste an hour.

Updated status: I have 3 episodes in my Hulu queue, and I intend to watch them

Network action: Episode order trimmed to 9

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Quantico (ABC)

Quantico is the perfect example of why it takes two episode to spot a dud. The pilot wasn’t great, but the next week was an exercise in rapidly escalating implausibility, replete with an ambiguous love polygon of intersecting romances.

Updated status: Step off the ride before it makes you sick

Network Action: Full season order

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Grandfathered/The Grinder (Fox)

The fox duo continue to be my picks of the season, with later episodes making good strides at rounding out their casts and solidifying their narratives. I’m still worried about their longevity, particularly in the case of Grandfathered, but both shows are impressively consistent, which is high praise in the modern era of broadcast television.

Updated Status: Mostly sunny skies

Network Action: Full season orders

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Code Black (CBS)

I lied, sometimes I don’t make it to episode 2. Try as I might, I have zero energy for another minute of this series. My apologies to Mr. Guzman.

Updated Status: Retroactive kill and bury

Network Action: Additional scripts ordered, not yet full season

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)

It was unprecedented when I watched the premiere of CEG (a CW show? As if!) so I was in completely uncharted waters when I ventured out for the second episode. That risk was rewarded, as Rachel Bloom’s Frankenstein’s Monster of a show is still one of the most ineffably entertaining, maddeningly unique enigmas on television.

Updated Status: Crazy like a fox

Network Action: Additional scripts ordered

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Did you miss week 1, or need a refresher on what we’re doing? Then click here.

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Quantico (ABC)

Quantico kicks off with a bang, literally. We fade in on our heroine Alex Parrish lying in the rubble of the now-decimated Grand Central Terminal. But before you can get too comfortable, we zip back to 9 months earlier to when Alex and a diverse cadre of new recruits arrived at the FBI’s Quantico training academy.

There’s the Mormon and the Muslim, the beefcake and the blond, the gay guy (or is he?) and the hipster. All of them are harboring a secret and their first assignment to pair up and expose each other. This matters because one of them is a traitor who, in 9 months time, will evidently blow up GCT and pin it on Parrish.

It’s implied that the story will track along both timelines as the series continues, which raises some fairly obvious questions about what a future beyond season 1 would look like (it’s the Prison Break dilemma). There’s also a healthy layer of melodrama caked on top of the pilot, with every line seemingly read through pouty lipss and arched eyebrows.

However, it’s a relatively out-of-the box premise for broadcast television, allusions to 24 and Homeland notwithstanding. I’m willing to award it a few points for trying something different.

Grade: B-

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Blood and Oil (ABC)

ABC’s latest primetime soap opera is confused and chaotic. Ostensibly about the oil industry (or blood, I suppose), the pilot follows newlyweds Billy and Cody who set off to a North Dakota boomtown with the dream of owning a laundromat. That dream is derailed, however, after Billy runs their truck off the road and destroys their merchandise, landing them in a shanty town of sorts while Billy wheels and deals and ends up a millionaire by the end of the first episode.

Which is all well and good, I suppose, except for the clunky dialogue, nonsensical character decisions and plot points that are, quite simply, baffling. The show feels more like a made-for-tv movie, except those productions have the decency of ending after two hours. No such luck here.

Grade: C

Class: Kill and Bury

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Grandfathered/The Grinder (Fox)

Normally I wouldn’t review two shows at once, but Grandfathered and The Grinder make it hard not to. Besides the similar alphabetization of their titles, both series are half-hour comedies, airing back-to-back on Fox, starring Men Of A Certain Age as lovable yet juvenile man-children.

They’re also the most promising shows I saw this week.

In Grandfathered, we have John Stamos as Jimmy, a successful restaurant-owning playboy bachelor who learns abruptly that he has an adult son and an infant granddaughter. His world is shaken, obviously, but after some scolding from his staff he leans in to the challenge, embracing his new family as best he can.

Across the street we have The Grinder, about an imbecilic actor (Rob Lowe) who *played* a lawyer on a popular television show and who is inspired to become a real lawyer after visiting his attorney brother (Fred Savage) in Boise, Idaho.

Both shows provide some genuine laughs during their pilots, which is no easy feat. And they show promise in contradictory ways. Grandfathered has the more polished premiere, but is also more likely to run out of creative steam moving forward. On the other hand, The Grinder’s pilot is sloppy (a shot meant to establish the scene as Boise, Idaho is actually Park City, Utah) but it has the potential to be quirky fun once the rough edges are smoothed out.

They also get bonus points for their supporting casts, namely Paget Brewster in GFd and The Waitress in TG (and before you make the jokes, “Grinder” is a common term for lawyers).

Grade: B (Grinder)/B+ (Grandfathered)

Class: Subscribe

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Code Black (CBS)

In hospital vernacular, a “Code Black” designates a critical medical emergency and in the context of Code Black on CBS, it means a point at which the show’s ER staff are effectively overrun with patients.

The drama, starring Marcia Gay Harden, is like a mix of Scrubs and ER, in that it focuses on a cohort of medical residents and their supervisors but is not, even remotely, funny. Also there’s Luis Guzman, who is awesome.

It’s a good cast, and effective narrative drama, but at the end of the day it’s just another hospital show where patients come and patients go and the doctors fight and/or sleep with each other. The main set is also burdensome in its claustrophobia, packing several trauma patients and their attending hospital staff in a space the size of a New York studio apartment.

If you like this type of thing, I suppose it’s better than most.

Grade: B

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Dr. Ken (ABC)

Ken Jeong is a great supporting player, but he is not a leading man. After 6 seasons (and hopefully a movie) of Community, he’s landed at the center of his own show on ABC, where his strategy is apparently to waive his hands and overreact for 22 minutes.

Jeong plays Ken, a California doctor with a wife and two children. In the pilot, his daughter receives her driving license, sending Ken into a fit of over-protective anxiety that briefly lands him in lockup. But don’t worry, the omnipresent laugh tracks clues us in that everything will turn out ok.

It’s weird to me that these cheaply-made multicamera sitcoms still exist. I suppose we have The Big Bang Theory to blame. Were it not for TBBT’s untold millions of inexplicably loyal viewers, the whole format would have been sent to a farm upstate where it has room to run and play and never be sad ever again.

Grade: D

Class: Kill and Bury

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Every year it gets a little harder to review the fall premieres. The repetition is mind-numbing, like Sisyphus cursed to watch the same tired plotlines roll down the hill of broadcast television ad infinitum.

Just this week, we have the premieres of Blindspot, Minority Report, Limitless and Rosewood, all variations of the crime procedural that pairs a traditional cop with an unconventional partner to solve weekly mysteries.

And there’s a reboot as well, as if attaching the word “Reborn” to Heroes will suddenly make us all forget how terrible the original series became during its four-season run.

Suffice it to say, we’re one week into the season and I’m feeling confidently pessimistic. But we soldier on.

As always, I’ll be reviewing the pilot episodes of each new series on the major broadcast networks (that means NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox). Each episode will be given a letter grade based on its standalone quality, as well as a classification based on what it suggests for the upcoming season.

Together, we’ll make it through this. And if you get depressed just remember, we still have cable and Netflix.

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Minority Report (Fox)

Minority Report, the movie, is great. Minority Report, the television show, is not.

For the uninitiated, MR takes place in a not-too-distant future, where three psychic pre-cognitives or “Pre-Cogs” are used to catch and convict murderers before the crime of murder was actually committed.

The program is ultimately shut down (Spoiler alert for the movie), resulting in the release of the Pre-Cogs to normal civilian life. Enter the TV show, where Dash, Pre-Cog number 3, has returned to Washington, D.C. with an itch to fight crime.

He quickly teems up with an attractive detective, who waxes nostalgic for the pre-crime days, and together they go about checking off the case-of-the-week box while planting seeds from an ominous “Big Picture” looming on the horizon regarding Dash’s twin brother and Agatha, the remaining two Pre-Cogs.

The series’ makes a brave attempt at paying homage to its predecessor, but the cheap CG and prop gadgetry is no match for the dynamic future world that Steven Spielberg created for his film. It’s formulaic and tiresome, especially considering the novel concept and goodwill handed to them by an established franchise.

Grade: C

Grade: Kill and Bury

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Blindspot (NBC)

NBC clearly pumped a lot of money into its newest high-concept cops and robbers thriller, going so far as to shut down Times Square in March so that Jamie Alexander could crawl out of a duffel bag shivering and stark naked save for the freshly-inked tattoos covering her from head to toe. It’s a satisfactory cold open, using carefully placed arms and lens flares to obscure Alexander’s PTC-offending naughty bits, but any hope that Blindspot would be more than the soft-boiled amalgamation of Blacklist and Prison Break immediately evaporate after the credits roll.

The generic FBI agent called in to untangle the mystery is played by Sullivan Stapleton, aka Discount Gerard Butler from 300: Rise of an Empire. He glowers and broods in just the right tones, setting up the obvious romantic subplot with Alexander’s Jane Doe and demonstrating his devil-may-care machismo by tearing an explosive device apart with his bare hands.

After saving the day, the pilot ends with the predictable tease of restored memories for Jane Doe, and the more predictable reveal that she may not be who she seems (Gasp!). But the showrunners apparently spent so much time concocting the tattoo treasure map on Alexander’s objectified body that they forgot to provide us with a reason to care about what happens to her character, or any character for that matter.

Grade: C+
Class: Kill and Bury

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Life in Pieces (CBS)

Think of it as a version of Modern Family, only one that is told as four separate vignettes and isn’t even remotely funny.

The four-part structure is clearly designed to distance LiP from it’s ABC counterpart and it’s a terrible creative choice, giving the various narratives so little breathing time that it feels like a series of long setups to punchlines that don’t land. And without narrative cohesion – an awkward first date, a college visit, childbirth and a  mock funeral – each commercial break ushers in a jarring tonal shift and a change of character and scenery, like a showcase of one-act plays written by high school seniors for their required fine art credit.

And the cast is all over the map, with a rogues gallery of supporting actors from better series thrown into a bowl with an against-type James Brolin and a seemingly lost Collin Hanks. In time the family dynamic could provide some through-lines, but for now Life In Pieces plays like a craven attempt to put a fresh gimmick on old tropes.

Grade: C-
Class: Kill and Bury

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Limitless (CBS)

A funny thing happened while I was watching Limitless. I realized I was actually invested in the plot, so I pushed pause and poured myself a drink so I wouldn’t have to interrupt the flow later.

Unlike most pilots, which collapse under the gravitational pull to save the world in 44 minutes, Limitless was taking its sweet time setting up a story and it was doing so with an unexpected amount of showmanship for a CBS drama.

Like the movie of the same name, Limitless deals with a drug named NZT which grants to its consumers a quasi-superhuman level of brain function. Our protagonist is Bryan Finch, a stunted musician who stumbles upon the drug after reconnecting with an old bandmate while temping at said bandmate’s investment firm.

Limitless was a C+ movie elevated to a B by the star power of Bradley Cooper, he who is all that is man. And in a particular coup for CBS, Cooper drops into Limitless, the TV show, midway through to provide some connective tissue. The moment is handled well, classing up the joint without being too distracting and leaving the door open for future appearances.

All would be well, except the episode ends with an unfortunate suggestion of lesser things to come. Having sorted out most of the complications of the pilot, Bryan is appropriated by the FBI to serve as a super-powered consultant. That likely means a case of the week, in which our hero pops a pill and is gifted with the mental tools necessary to bring down whatever murderer/thief/kidnapper/etc is causing trouble. In other words, that likely means bad television.

Still, there’s enough pieces in place to do something interesting. Here’s hoping CBS doesn’t do what they do best and ruin it.

Grade: B+

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Scream Queens (Fox)

Scream Queens, the latest from the Ryan Murphy dream machine, is painfully bad. Centered around a college sorority targeted by a Devil-costumed serial killer, Murphy has created a world wholly populated with unlikable characters who simply can’t die quickly enough.

Jamie Lee Curtis seems to be having the most fun, and Abigail Breslin the least, but at some point the novelty of watching Ariana Grande get stabbed in the head while tweeting or Nick Jonas getting his throat slit just aren’t enough to prop up two hours – TWO HOURS! – of inexplicable character motivations and dated references.

Grade: D+

Class: Kill and Bury

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The Muppets (ABC)

ABC’s reboot of The Muppets had the slickest promotional campaign of the fall season, but the actual finished product is chock full of rough edges.

Constructed as a mockumentary, The Muppets sees our felt favorites relegated to backstage status as they grind out a late night talk show hosted by Miss Piggy. That means shoehorning in Sam The Eagle as the network censor and the Sweedish Chef as craft service, and a litany of sexual innuendo and dating subplots replacing the musical numbers we expect from Jim Henson’s creations.

There’s enough charm to earn a second viewing, but The Muppets needs to find its voice quickly if this gamble on an “adult” tone is going to pay off.

Grade: B-

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Rosewood (Fox)

Morris Chestnut is Beaumont Rosewood, a man who solves crimes because his extremely lucrative private pathology business isn’t fulfilling enough. Or something. I honestly don’t understand what this show is about. It’s like Bones, only male-centric and set in Miami.

Everything about Rosewood feels like it was created by committee, from the ambiguous legality of the title character’s legal consultations to the prominently displayed sexual orientation of his sister-slash-assistant. It’s “hip” and “fun” with a hidden darkness lurking in the past of our smiling sun-kissed protagonist.

Snore.

Grade: C-

Class: Kill and Bury

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Heroes Reborn (NBC)

Resurrecting a series is a tricky web filled with fan expectations and critical skepticism. And when you lost your fans years ago, as the original Heroes did, the job is even harder.

The latest incarnation sees a world in which the existence of super-powered humans, or “Evos,” is public knowledge, resulting in paranoia and fear. A few key faces from the original series return (notably Jack Coleman and his horn-rimmed glasses) but by and large this is the story of a new generation of Heroes.

There’s a big bang to set things in motion before the premiere skips through more characters and plot lines than I can count or keep track of (there’s a masked vigilante, a young teleporter, a guy with a suitcase full of pennies and an angry Zachary Levi). All-in-all its a slick episode promising plenty of disparate plot lines to slowly connect, but it can’t escape the creeping dread that we’ve been here before, with disastrous results.

Grade: B-

Class: Keep an Eye on

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The Player (NBC)

When the pilot opened with Wesley Snipes overlooking a dead body, then flashing to a foreign diplomat getting a security briefing I thought “Woah, is this a network procedural about a hit man?”

I would watch that show. The Player is not that show, but it is willing to take some unconventional risks, like showing a character death (or did they?) in the cold open that normally would be parceled out as pre-pilot flashbacks, hinting at our hero’s tortured soul.

One part The Fugitive one part Person of Interest and one part Las Vegas, The Player centers on Alex Kane, a former FBI agent turned private security consultant who gets looped into an organization that uses algorithms to predict (and bet on) crime.

The cat and mouse is fun, and the action scenes arrive quickly and frequently. But the pace is mired by occasional bouts of clunky dialogue and a premise that is, to put it mildly, unconventional. For now I’m intrigued, but I’m far from sold.

Grade: B

Class: Keep an Eye on

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Brooklyn-Nine-Nine-Season-2-Premiere-PicturesBrooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

Fox’s freshman office/cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended its first season on a creatively intriguing note, with class clown Jake Peralta being falsely booted from the police force in order to go under cover with the mob for the FBI. It was a bold move for a new show, suggesting that already in season B99 would be shooting off in a new direction.

Nope. Instead of getting to see Don Peralta in action, we flash forward to the end of Jake’s undercover stint, when the NYPD detective returns for duty at the precinct. It’s a creatively disappointing decision that jettisons the intrigue left by season one’s cliff hanger, but in returning to the status quo the show retains its acerbic wit and office high jinx that made it a winner last year.

Grade: B-

Class: Subscribe

SEAMUS DEVER, JON HUERTAS, STANA KATICCastle (ABC)

I gotta hand it to Castle, as perturbed as I was by the last minute Diabolus Ex Machina that closed out season 6, I never could have guessed what the writers had cooking.

When Rick Castle’s car was found burning in a ditch by his soon-to-be-wife Kate Beckett, the smart money was on Big Bad Sen. Bracken, serial killer 3XK or another member of the Castle rogues gallery. I assumed we’d find Rick chained up in an empty warehouse, only to be saved one or two episodes later by Becket and the gang and establishing the new stakes for the season.

Instead, we find that Castle is part of an elaborate ruse concocted by an as-yet-unknown villain meant to give the impression that our ruggedly handsome mystery writer has gotten a case of cold feet and run away from his commitments. After months of searching, he literally washes up in a dingy with an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting that he’s been laying low in a tent.

What happened remains unsolved, and while Castle is able to prove that he was, in fact, the victim of an abduction the damage done to his friends and, especially, fiance remain. All things considered, it’s a rather novel way to maintain conflict between the show’s will-they-or-won’t-they couple, allowing the show to go on with its formula while justifying yet another postponement of Castle and Beckett’s happy ever after.

Grade: B

Class: Subscribe

selfieSelfie (ABC)

A modern retelling of My Fair Lady is an interesting idea for broadcast TV, and much like how there may be a decent person underneath the superficial and attention-obsessed shell of Eliza Dooley there may proof to be a funny and interesting television show in Selfie, but not yet.

The chemistry between Karen Gillan and John Cho is winning, as is the surrealist humor offered by the supporting cast (a staff meeting about a nasal spray that *allegedly* causes demonic hallucinations is a high point in the pilot) but the show’s insistence on meme-ready #PopCulture references fall flat and a Bad Romance sing-a-long is physically painful to watch. Also, way too much vomit for a 22 minute sitcom.

Grade: C+

Class: Keep an Eye On

manhattanlovestoryManhattan Love Story (ABC)

The “gimmick” is a temperamental nut to crack. In a crowded TV marketplace, it’s easy to see why writers feel the need to separate their show from the flock. But as time goes on, the gimmick becomes the insatiable monster that devours a show’s creative resources at the expense of character, humor and plot.

In the case of Manhattan Love Story, the gimmick is that the audience is treated to the private thoughts of its two stars and it takes all of 5 minutes to wear out its welcome, reducing what could have been three-dimensional characters to a loose collection of shallow gender stereotypes. The man boasts of his ability to ogle his date’s breasts unnoticed while the woman’s steely resolve melts at the sight of lilies in a bouquet of flowers.

Not only is in an ineffective storytelling device, it also manages to make what would be a pair of bland characters utterly unlikeable.

Grade: C-

Class: Kill and Bury

cbs-stalker-pilot-dylan-mcdermott-maggie-qStalker (CBS)

Much has been said about the offensive nature of Kevin Williamson’s (The Following) new show Stalker, which follows Dylan McDermott (or is he Dermot Mulroney?) and Maggie Q as a pair of mis-matched investigators who specialize in stalking cases. The Stalking Resource Center, a division of the National Center for Victims of Crime went so far as to write a scathing rebuke of the show to CBS President Les Moonves, asking if the network would “air a show called ‘Rapist’ and justify it as a way to raise awareness about sexual violence?”

I’ll leave the questions of gender and criminal politics to wiser men and women, but suffice it to say that independent of whether Stalker is morally misguided, it’s also bad television. The pilot is underwritten, the characters underdeveloped and the constant subtext of misogyny and violence is off-putting. It’s as if you took all the weakest episodes of Law and Order: SVU, compressed them down to the basic elements and reconstructed a haphazard story with a glossy network sheen. It may be cinematic, but it’s nonsense masquerading as drama.

Grade: D

Class: Kill and Bury

bad-judge-series-premiereBad Judge (NBC)

NBC’s Bad Judge defies description. It is truly one of the most bizarre pilots I have ever seen.

Kate Walsh stars as a booze-swilling, irresponsible, philandering, unkempt judge who staggers her way from one mess of her own making to another. After donning her robes over a pair of cut-off short shorts, she cracks wise from the bench, hands off a pregnancy test to her bailiff (the one redeeming character of the show) has a quickie in her chambers with an expert witness, inserts herself into a disciplinary action at a local elementary school and comes around full circle to pronounce a sentencing in a case by requiring a bigamist to attend a class on feminism while adorned in a t-shirt boasting of his crimes.

At some point during those proceedings I suppose we were supposed to care about Walsh’s character, but instead I found myself anxiously waiting for the gavel.

Grade: D-

Class: Kill and Bury

gracepointFEATGracepoint (Fox)

America has been ripping off Britain’s hits for a long time (see: The Office, House of Cards, Inspector Spacetime) it seems especially crass to cast the original star in a remake, asking him to turn in an exact replica of his performance only with a yankee accent this time around.

Such is the case in Gracepoint, in which once and future Doctor David Tennant stars as a detective on the hunt for a child’s killer.

The “event miniseries” is an obvious attempt to cash in on the popularity of short-run serials like True Detective, but in crafting Gracepoint Fox has found itself with a whodunit that is heavy on substance but has no style to speak of. The pilot is exceptionally boring and visually uninteresting, as a series of unmemorable characters (with the exception of the always underrated Michael Pena) hem and haw about justice and grief in a series of washed out monochromatic settings.

Also there’s NIck Nolte, who, I’m sorry to say it, has gotten to a point where his guttural voice is physically uncomfortable to listen to.

I love a good thriller as much as the next guy, and a brief moment involving Anna Gunn’s son deleting his text message history suggests that there are a few tricks up the show’s heretofore nondescript sleeves. But I can’t say I’ll be around long enough to find out if the show ever gains its sea legs.

Grade: C+

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Every year the fall TV season becomes slightly less important, as summer series, cable programming and online services chip away at the once-Herculean dynasty that is broadcast television.

If you’re like me, you’ve been too busy watching Married, You’re the Worst and The Strain to be overly concerned with the new slate of Big Four shows that will, in large number, not survive long enough to see the calendar turn on 2015. But alas, here we are, networks at the door, advertisers in the wings, ready to fall in love and hate all over again.

As a refresher, we at Wood’s Stock (read: me) will be watching all the new shows and our (my) returning favorites and each week we will issue a letter grade based on the quality of the premiere and a rating of either “Subscribe,” “Keep an Eye On,” or “Kill and Bury” based on the outlook for the new season.

Let’s begin.

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A to Z (NBC)

Technically A to Z hasn’t premiered yet but the pilot has been available online for more than a month and I’ll take every chance I get to stay ahead of the unyielding tide of new premieres.

Andrew works at a highly successful online dating website and believes in love and destiny. He meets the more cynical Zelda and is immediately smitten, asking her out to drinks only to blow it by suggesting they were fated to meet each other after a chance passing at a concert years earlier. Zelda is overwhelmed by this, states emphatically that it was not she at the concert and then after a brief separation the pair are reunited by the end of the episode to establish the premise of the show, in which we see the evolution of their relationship from beginning to end, ominously predicted to arrive sometime at the end of the 1st season by voice over narration (the inevitable fact that the “end” won’t be an “end” makes the framing device all the more obnoxious).

If the archetypes sounds similar to (500) Days of Summer it’s because they are, as are many of the other elements of the show to the general tone, in which a whimsical narrator coos about opposites attracting while dulcet tones play.

It’s a little thin, but not without potential. The shows stars, Mad Men’s Ben Feldman and HIMYM’s Cristin Milioti, are likable in spades and if the writers can begin loosening the reigns on structure and let the funny come in there’s a chance A to Z could turn out to be one of the season’s pleasant surprises.

Grade: B-

Class: Keep an Eye On

red-band-society-review_article_story_largeRed Band Society (Fox)

That Fox is teeing up RBS as its next Glee is apparent, even while great pains have gone into crafting an original and interesting show. Set in a children’s ward of an implausibly beautiful hospital, Red Band Society focuses on a group of children suffering from a range of physical ailments. It’s a grimm subtext, made all the more apparent by the omniscient and potentially supernatural narrator, but it’s also awash in bright cinematic colors to keep things from getting overly dreary.

The adult cast is superb (particularly Octavia Spencer), and used well throughout the pilot, but the children who make up the show’s core range from cloying saccharine caricatures to aggressively off-putting annoyances. The production quality is highly cinematic, making it one of the best looking pilots I’ve seen in years, but the final product is a tonal quagmire with a vague target audience.

Grade: B

Class: Keep an Eye On

lauraThe Mysteries of Laura (NBC)

Where to begin. Mysteries of Laura is what happens when you take a sitcom about an exhausted single mother and fuse it with the rotted carcass of whatever hour-long police drama that failed during last year’s TV season. It stars Debra Messing as what is intended to be a charmingly sloppy New York Detective who plays by her own rules, taking down bad guys before running home to extinguish the likely literal fires lit by her two hyperactive spawn.

Problem is, it fails as a crime procedural, fails as a family comedy, fails as a workplace comedy and just fails, fails, fails.

The tonal shifts in the pilot alone are enough to give you whiplash, playing blood-drenched walls as a sight gag and cracking wise about death and murder before halting the plot for a heart to heart about love and parenting with the ex, Josh Lucas, who is shoehorned into the plot in a groan-inducing 11th hour twist in order to maintain relevance for the character. Also, the native advertising for Target hasn’t been this egregious since that Christmas episode of Modern Family.

Everyone in this show, as well as the audience, deserves better.

Grade: C-

Class: Kill and Bury

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New Girl (Fox)

New Girl took a bit of a stumble during its 3rd season. I was never particularly interested in seeing Nick and Jess as a couple and it became pretty clear after a few episodes, and maybe during that initial horror of a premiere in season 3 when the pair ran off to Mexico, that the writers had run out of ideas for the relationship, instead electing to kick it to an early death by the time the final episode aired.

What makes the fourth season’s premiere so brilliant is that it is not trying to be a grand arrival but instead accepts the show as being several years into a sitcom about a group of misfit friends. It ships our characters off to a wedding where they can stumble into comedic pratfalls and shenanigans that are cozily wrapped up in 22 minutes. If you didn’t know any better, the episode could have been the 1st, 5th, 15th or even last of the season.

And that’s ok. It’s more than ok, it was pretty great. Also, “hooves.”

Grade: A-

Class: Keep an Eye On

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Orange is the New Black

As I read through this mornings Emmy nominations list there were two thoughts that immediately popped into my head:

1) Broadcast television is truly dead

2) Emmy voters like what they like and if they do change it will be slowly thank you very much.

For years it’s been accepted that the drama categories are the domain of the flashier pay-cable networks, with traditional broadcasters left to scramble over the comedic offerings. But with this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series noms including Netflix’ Orange is the New Black, HBO’s Silicon Valley and Veep and FX’s Louie, that leaves just perennial nominees Big Bang Theory (CBS) and Modern Family (ABC) representing the big four.

And that OK, since OITNB, Silicon Valley, Veep and Louie are all outstanding comedies well-deserving of the honor. But it’s unfortunate that if broadcast TV only has two slots to fill, the Emmy Voters chose to waste them on the most overrated show on television (BBT) and a once-great sitcom in decline (MF).

In fact, the Modern Family situation is emblematic of the overall Emmy nominations list, which is basically a lukewarm dish of leftovers peppered with a few justified fresh faces. True Detective and Fargo got the love they deserve, but another nomination for Jim Parsons? A repeat for The Newsroom’s Jeff Daniels? And why are we still nominating Downton Abbey for best drama when the show is a shadow of its former self?

HBO again reigned supreme in total nominations and Netflix expanded it’s footprint with OITNB, offering a glimpse of what the dystopian hellscape of television’s future will look like. Adapt or die, broadcast, adapt or die.

The Good:

• A lot has been written about the importance of Orange is the New Black – its character diversity, socio-political subject matter, female-centric storylines, etc – and it’s great to see the Emmy voters throw a nod to not only lead actress Taylor Schilling, but also Kate Mulgrew’s as supporting character Red and guest actress nods (more on that later) for Laverne Cox, Natasha Lyonne and “Crazy Eyes” Uzo Aduba.

• I, for one, am glad that True Detective went for the top prize of Outstanding Drama rather than play the miniseries game a la American Horror Story. I love me some AHS but when 75 percent of your cast returns every year the argument that you’re not a series can be kind of sneaky. Ironically, the leads of True Detective will not return next year, meaning it could actually justify it’s existence as a miniseries but why sell yourself short, eh?

• Another nomination for Veep’s Tony Hale, because the world can never have enough Tony Hale.

• [UPDATE] I am absolutely thrilled that Reg E. Cathey scored a guest actor nod for his work as Freddy on House of Cards. It’s weird how much I found myself caring about the fate of Freddy during season 2 considering the show deals with murder and corruption at the highest levels of American government, but I just want him to get his barbeque back.

The Bad:

• I try not to play the snub game because it’s petty and unproductive, but having said that I’m surprised to see James Spader miss out on a nomination for his quasi-performance-art scenery chewing on The Blacklist. The NBC procedural is mostly melodramatic cheese, but Spader is delicious as antihero Red Reddington and the person solely responsible for Blacklist being the success that it was.

• TBBT and Jim Parsons

• The Best Actor in a Comedy category includes Don Cheadle for House of Lies. I don’t watch House of Lies and as a vocal fan of Community I understand that viewership and buzz ≠ quality, but really House of Lies? or Ricky Gervaise in Derek? Basically, what I’m trying to say is Joel McHale deserves a lead actor Emmy.

• [UPDATE] Again, I don’t like the snub game but Hannibal’s second season was incredible. Darren Franich at EW devoted an entire Entertainment Geekly post to how Bryan Fuller’s NBC serial is a better version of both True Detective and Fargo. And particularly considering the decline of broadcast television, what Hannibal manages to pull off every week is nothing short of astounding. I won’t say it was snubbed, but it is some of the finest television I’ve ever seen.

The Interesting:

• I understand the strategy of not having your cast compete with itself, but can we really call Martin Freeman’s Watson a “supporting” character to Cumberbatch’s Sherlock?

• When the Golden Globes decided to name freshman comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and its star Andy Sandberg as best comedy and best comedy actor, it was a little bit of a surprise but also in line with the boozy antics of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Funny, then, that the elder statesmen at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gave only a supporting actor nod to the very funny (who knew?) Andre Braugher.

• Viewers may be surprised to see three prominent Orange is the New Black characters listed as “guest” roles, but as explained by TIME, that distinction is due is due to wonky contract legalize. BUT since all three actresses were bumped up to series regulars for the show’s second season, it will be even more competitive for them to receive repeat nods next year.

Here’s the list of the major categories. Are you surprised? Shocked? Infuriated? Talk about it in the comments.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Louie
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Veep

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
Fargo
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzie Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luthor
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

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The 2012 Emmy Nominations were announced this morning and, once again, its hard to not feel a sense of crushing disappointment topped off with a sprinkle of dread. Besides the fact that excellent programming like Community and Happy Endings was completely overlooked while Kathy Bates gets yet another nomination for a show no one watches (nor should), the Big Four have once again been completely shut out of the drama competitions which means broadcast television is one year closer to its grave. Hold on to Comedy, buddy!

But mostly, my disappointment comes from the utter predictability of the nominations. With the exception of the pleasant and well deserved nod to New Girl’s M.V.P Max Greenfield (pictured above with the same expression I had this morning after reading the noms list) the major categories look like they nominators just recycled last year’s ballots. Yes, EVERYONE in Modern Family is nominated, defeating any chance of lesser-known (and arguably more deserving considering MF’s mediocre season) actors from the comedy genre to break into the pack. Jon Cryer inexplicably is included in the lead actor category (not because he isn’t a lead, but because 2.5 Men is rubbish) and whatever is left goes to big bang theory…again. Even I admit that as wonderful as Tina Fey is, this season of 30 Rock was undeserving of awards attention.

And seriously, I love Don Cheadle but…house of lies? Dear voters, I have 3 words for you: JOEL F***ING MCHALE (not actually his middle name).

I suppose I should give credit where credit is due, the nominators were smart enough to include HBO’s breakout “Girls” AND it’s writer/director/creator/muse Lena Dunham. They also came to their sense and all but excluded “Glee” except for a guest-starring role which, frankly, who cares. The temptation is always there to include shows like Glee as an appeal to the Bieber crowd and I’m glad they were not swayed.

They resisted the temptation to give Hugh Laurie a send-off nomination for House, which is the right decision. I love Hugh Laurie and, at various points during its run, have loved House, but this last season was not one of those points. Laurie, and the show as a whole, looked tired and much like how the BCS SHOULD be, we’re rewarding this year’s season, not every season that came before it.

Community also scored a writing nom, and I submit that if it does not win we Burn This Mother Down!

Other things are just plain ridiculous. “Missing” as a miniseries? There was a little bit of an uproar last year when Downton went the mini-series route but, at the time, it had not been renewed for a second season and was intended as a one-off. Not so with Missing. The Ashley Judd thriller was fully intended to be a multiple-season before it got yanked off the air for failing to even remotely stir the attention of the audience and just failing in almost every measurably way. Apparently we’re rewarding that sort of thing now.

The (for all intents and purposes) full list of nominees:

COMEDY SERIES

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“Girls” (HBO)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“Veep” (HBO)

COMEDY ACTOR

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”
Larry David as Himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan in “House of Lies”
Louis C.K. as Louie in “Louie”
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in “30 Rock”
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper in “Two and a Half Men”

COMEDY ACTRESS

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in “Girls”
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn in “Mike & Molly”
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day in “New Girl”
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in “Nurse Jackie”
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in “Parks and Recreation”
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in “30 Rock”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in “Veep”

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR

Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in “Modern Family”
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker in “Modern Family”
Max Greenfield as Schmidt in “New Girl”
Bill Hader as various characters in “Saturday Night Live”

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS

Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in “The Big Bang Theory”
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey in “Desperate Housewives”
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy in “Modern Family”
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in “Modern Family”
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow in “Nurse Jackie”
Kristen Wiig as various characters in “Saturday Night Live”

DRAMA SERIES

“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“Mad Men” (AMC)

DRAMA ACTRESS

Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in “Damages”
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in “Downton Abbey”
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in “The Good Wife”
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn in “Harry’s Law”
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in “Homeland”
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in “Mad Men”

DRAMA ACTOR

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in “Dexter”
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in “Downton Abbey”
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in “Homeland”
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in “Mad Men”

SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS

Anna Gunn as Skyler White in “Breaking Bad”
Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Froggatt as Anna in “Downton Abbey”
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma in “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris in “Mad Men”

SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad”
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring “Breaking Bad”
Brendan Coyle as John Bates in “Downton Abbey”
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones”
Jared Harris as Lane Pryce “Mad Men”

MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE

“American Horror Story” (FX)
“Game Change” (HBO)
“Hatfields & McCoys” (History)
“Hemingway & Gellhorn” (HBO)
“Luther” (BBC America)
“Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia” (PBS)

LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE

Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon in “American Horror Story”
Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in “Game Change”
Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Ashley Judd as Rebecca Winstone in “Missing”
Emma Thompson as She in “The Song of Lunch”

LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE

Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt in “Game Change”
Kevin Costner as ‘Devil’ Anse Hatfield in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Idris Elba as John Luther in “Luther”
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE

Frances Conroy as Moira in “American Horror Story”
Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon in “American Horror Story”
Sarah Paulson as Nicolle Wallace “Game Change”
Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy in “Hatfields & McCoys”
Judy Davis as Jill Tankard in “Page Eight”

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE

Denis O’Hare as Larry Harvey in “American Horror Story”
Ed Harris as John McCain in “Game Change”
Tom Berenger as Jim Vance in “Hatfields & McCoys”
David Strathairn as John Dos Passos in “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson in “Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia”

VARIETY SERIES

“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

REALITY PROGRAM

“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)
“Jamie Oliver’s Food” (ABC)
“MythBusters” (Discovery Channel)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Undercover Boss” (CBS)
“Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC)

REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“Dancing With The Stars” (ABC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“So You Think You Can Dance” )FOX)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)

HOST FOR A REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race”
Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol”
Betty White, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”
Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With The Stars”
Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”

ANIMATED PROGRAM

“American Dad!” (FOX)
“Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
“Futurama” (Comedy Central)
“The Penguins Of Madagascar: The Return Of The Revenge Of Dr. Blowhole” (Nickelodeon)
“The Simpsons” (Fox)

SHORT-FORMAT ANIMATED PROGRAM

“Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network)
“Phineas and Ferb” (Disney Channel)
“MAD” (Cartoon Network)
“Regular Show” (Cartoon Network)
“Robot Chicken” (Cartoon Network)

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

“Degrassi” (TeenNick)
“Good Luck Charlie” (Disney Channel)
“iCarly” (Nickelodeon)
“Victorious” (Nickelodeon)
“Wizards of Waverly Place” (Disney Channel

CHILDREN’S NONFICTION, REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

“It Gets Better” (MTV)
“Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger” (PBS)
“The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO)

GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Dot-Marie Jones as Coach Shannon Beiste in “Glee”
Maya Rudolph, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Melissa McCarthy, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Elizabeth Banks as Avery Jessup in “30 Rock”
Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-il in “30 Rock”
Kathy Bates as Charlie Harper in “Two and a Half Men”

GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Michael J. Fox as himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Greg Kinnear as Tad in “Modern Family”
Bobby Cannavale as Dr. Mike Cruz in “Nurse Jackie”
Jimmy Fallon, host in “Saturday Night Live”
Will Arnett as Devon Banks in “30 Rock”
Will Arnett as Devon Banks in “30 Rock”

GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Martha Plimpton as Patti Nyholm in “The Good Wife”
Loretta Devine as Adele Webber in “Grey’s Anatomy”
Jean Smart as D.A. Roseanna Remmick in “Harry’s Law”
Julia Ormond as Marie Calvet in “Mad Men”
Joan Cusack as Sheila Jackson in “Shameless”
Uma Thurman as Rebecca Duvall in “Smash”

GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Mark Margolis as Tio Salamanca in “Breaking Bad”
Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney in “The Good Wife”
Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning in “The Good Wife”
Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett in “Justified”
Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg in “Mad Men”
Jason Ritter as Mark Cyr in “Parenthood”

VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE

Brenda Strong as Mary-Alice Young in “Desperate Housewives”
Dan Povenmire as Doctor Doofenshmirtz in “Phineas and Ferb”
Rob Riggle as Noel in “Disney Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice”
Maurice LaMarche as Clamps, Donbot, Hyperchicken, Calculon, Hedonismbot, Morbo in “Futurama”
Kristen Wiig as Lola in “The Looney Tunes Show”
Hank Azaria as Moe Szyslak, Duffman, Mexican Duffman, Carl, Comic Book Guy, Chief Wiggum in “The Simpsons”

DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

Robert B. Weide, “Curb Your Enthusiasm ”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Louis C.K., “Duckling”
Jason Winer, “Modern Family”
Steven Levitan, “Modern Family”
Jake Kasdan, “New Girl”

WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

Chris McKenna, “Community”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Michael Schure, “Parks and Recreation”

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Tim Van Patten, “Boardwalk Empire”
Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad”
Brian Percival, “Downton Abbey”
Michael Cuesta, “Homeland”
Phil Abraham, “Mad Men”

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey”
Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon & Gideon Raff, “Homeland”
Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men”
Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton, “Mad Men”
Erin Levy & Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men”

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