Tuesday, September 26, 2017

'Atlanta' and 'Master of None' showcase diversity at the Emmy Awards

I concluded 'Veep' leads comedy series with five Emmy Awards with "I'm not done with comedy.  I plan on writing about the rest of the winners in comedy series tomorrow, then the variety winners beginning on Wednesday."  It's Wednesday, so I'm following up on two comedies that tied for second in their genre with two awards, "Atlanta" and "Master of None."  Both of them were cited by Wochit News, which I quoted first in "Fear the Walking Dead: Passage" contributes to diversity at the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards and again in 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations.
The 69th Primetime Emmy nominees are the most diverse in the program's history.
25 people of color were nominated across 18 onscreen acting awards, while 22 were nominated in 2016. Last year, people of color represented 24.6 percent of the major acting nominees. In 2015, that percentage was 21.9. In 2014, it was 9.7. In addition to the acting nominees, "Atlanta," "black-ish" and "Master of None" received nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. The shows' leads, Donald Glover, Anthony Anderson and Aziz Ansari, will compete for the Lead Actor in a Comedy category.
While "Veep" won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, Donald Glover won both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series.  The Hollywood Reporter reports on that win in 'Atlanta's' Donald Glover Nabs Lead Actor, Best Director for Comedy Series at 2017 Emmys.

Donald Glover cleaned up at the 2017 Emmy Awards winning beast lead actor and best director for a comedy series for 'Atlanta.'
Glover thinks Trump may be responsible for his award.  Not entirely, as he won for Best Actor in a Comedy Series at the Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Awards, both of which awarded him their statues before Trump was inaugurated.  Still, the Emmys cap a very good year for Glover.

It turns out I called one of Glover's victories and half-called another.  For directing:
Last year's winner, Jill Soloway ("Transparent") isn't returning, so this is an open field.  David Mandel and Dale Stern of "Veep" are returning nominees, as is Mike Judge of "Silicon Valley," so under normal circumstances I'd say they were the favorites.  I'm not sure this year is normal and it may not work in favor of "Veep." Instead, I suspect Donald Glover will pull an upset.
And he did.

I was less optimistic about his winning the acting award, as I wrote "The one wild card is Donald Glover.  I don't think he's ready to beat Tambor, even if it seems like his year."  I was wrong; it was Glover's year, but at least I acknowledged the possiblity that he could win.

The Hollywood Reporter also mentioned Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari's win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.  Ansari was a returning winner, so I called this win.  On the other hand, I did not expect "Master of None" to win Outstanding Single camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series.  I thought that would go to "Veep" or "Silicon Valley."  Still, I'm glad to be pleasantly surprised with a victory for diversity instead.

Stay tuned for more about the Emmy Awards after another driving update.

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Veep' leads comedy series with five Emmy Awards

I promised I would return to the Emmy Award winners Friday at the end of Jeff Beal wins the only Emmy for 'House of Cards' this year, but that was a mistake from the get go.  First, even if I had stuck to my schedule, I would have returned Saturday, as Friday was the Autumnal Equinox.  Second, I found more pressing things to blog about, like Vox on nukes for another fake doomsday and 'Star Trek: Discovery' debuting on CBS.  It's not the first time I promised to write about something on this blog and ended up being late about it.  Just the same, it is time to return to the Emmy winners.

Today, I'm revisiting "Veep, which had more nominations than any other scripted comedy series.  It also ended up with more wins, five, for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Cinematography for A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less).  The first two were awarded on the final night and CBS posted both of the acceptance speeches on its YouTube channel.  First, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Wins Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series At The 69th Emmy Awards, which I called earlier this month, calling Dreyfus "a prohibitive favorite."  In between my composing this entry and it being posted, CBS took down its videos, so I'm substituting ones that are still up.  It's now 'Veep's' Julia Louis-Dreyfus Breaks Record With 6th Consecutive Emmy Win from The Hollywood Reporter.

'Veep' and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have done it again. The HBO series won for best comedy series at the Emmy Awards on Sunday and the show's star, Louis-Dreyfus, took home her sixth consecutive win for her role as ex-president Selina Meyer, a record run for any actor.
That was hysterical, although I suspect "House of Cards" will do the impeachment story line first, not the Trump White House (note that Dreyfus is sitting next to Kevin Spacey in the front row -- the two TV presidents together got VIP treatment).  It was also worthy of a record-setting string of wins for the same actress playing the same character.

The other was Veep Wins Outstanding Comedy Series At The 69th Emmy Awards, which I also called, declaring the now three-time winner the favorite.  CBS struck again, so I'm replacing it with 69th Emmys: Veep Press Room Interview from the Television Academy.

Norman Lear and Carol Burnett presented the award. The team from Veep give a press room interview after their Emmy win for Outstanding Comedy Series.
I'm glad to see the comedy legends of Lear and Burnett are still with us.  As for "Veep," if the producer is this funny, no wonder the show is a hoot.  I'm looking forward to the final season, which will air next year.  Until then, congratulations!

I'm not done with comedy.  I plan on writing about the rest of the winners in comedy series tomorrow, then the variety winners beginning on Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

'Star Trek: Discovery' debuts today on CBS

I've posted the trailers for "Star Trek: Discovery" twice, first in May and again in July.  True to the every other month pattern, I'm posting something about it in September.  The difference is that the show is premiering tonight on CBS before it moves to CBS All Access.*  Therefore, I'm posting news stories instead of trailers.  I'm all in favor of corporate PR once removed as information.

First, The Hollywood Reporter introduces the characters in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Character Guide to CBS All Access Drama.

'Star Trek: Discovery' is plotting a game-changing new course. In addition to running on a digital platform, Discovery marks the first time a Star Trek series has been led by a woman of color as well as someone who isn't captain of the ship with The Walking Dead grad Sonequa Martin-Green having that distinction in her role as First Officer Michael Burnham. What's more, Discovery picks up at a time of rising tensions between Starfleet and the Klingon race.
The captain of Discovery is the most messed up Star Fleet commanding officer?  That I'll have to see; I can think of a couple from the original series that had serious issues and Chris Pine's Kirk is pretty damaged.  Also, Spock has a foster sister?  That makes me want to watch the series even more.

Next, KTLA is at the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery to get the reactions of the actors, both from the current series and the original one.

The next chapter of the Star Trek franchise is heading to CBS All Access. KTLA was at the red carpet premiere with the stars of Star Trek: Discovery.
I hope the actors from "Star Trek: Discovery" are right about their show.

Finally, since I'm a musician and love theme songs, I'm going to post corporate PR direct from the source: Star Trek: Discovery's Main Title Theme Takes A Cue From The Past.

When it comes to Star Trek, a dynamic main title theme is key. In this behind-the-scenes video for Star Trek: Discovery, composer Jeff Russo leads a 60-piece orchestra in recording the new series' theme. Star Trek: Discovery premieres in the U.S. on CBS All Access Sunday, Sept. 24, following a broadcast premiere on the CBS Television Network.
Here's to hoping this gets nominated for Outstanding Main Title Music at next year's Emmy Awards.  May it have a title sequence worthy of the franchise to accompany it.

*Here's to hoping it isn't delayed by football.  As for the show being on CBS All Access, I hope it doesn't interfere with growing the show's audience the way it seemed to with "The Good Fight."  That show was just as good as the last season of the "The Good Wife" but earned only one Emmy nomination in contrast to the four nominations the last season of "The Good Wife" earned.  I have a suspicion that the members of the Television Academy just weren't watching.  May that not happen to "Star Trek: Discovery."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vox on nukes for another fake doomsday

Today is yet another predicted doomsday and it would a dereliction of my duty as a doomer blogger to ignore it.  That doesn't mean I have to take it at face value -- quite the contrary.  This particular doomsday, like the Rapture and Judgment Day of 2011, the Fake Mayan Doomsday 2012 and Ragnorak of 2014, deserves my mockery.  Today's apocalypse not features both Biblical numerology and Nibiru, the Planet X of conspiracy theory.*  At least this end of the world idea is eclectic.

That doesn't mean that the possibility of the end of western industrial civilization isn't real.  It's just that it will happen as a result of natural causes explanable by science.  One of those, which I examined at the beginning of the year in Trump helps move the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight and Nuclear war and how to survive it from ASAP Science and ASAP Thought then more recently but less seriously in SNL mocks Trump for Presidential Joke Day and Colbert on the nuclear crisis with North Korea, is the threat of nuclear war, particularly between the U.S. and North Korea.  Follow over the jump for three videos from Vox on the Doomsday Clock and nuclear war.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Elephants and hobbits but no cars on the Autumnal Equinox

Happy Autumnal Equinox!  I've written enough about the astronomical reason for the season, so I'm celebrating three other holidays that share this day according to National Day Calendar and that have some connection to the themes of this blog.  Follow over the jump for them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jeff Beal wins the only Emmy for 'House of Cards' this year

I listed six nominated series in "House of Cards" leads contemporary American political dramas with six nominations with 20 nominations among them: "House of Cards" (6), "Mr. Robot" (4), "The Americans" (4), "Homeland" (3), "Orange is the New Black" (2), and "The Good Fight" (1).  Only one show earned one Emmy Award out of all that, "House of Cards" with Jeff Beal winning Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) for his work on "Chapter 63."  "Westworld," "Stranger Things," and especially "The Handmaid's Tale" crushed the competition in drama series.  I'm not surprised.  As I wrote last week, "Jeff Beal won this category for "House of Cards" in 2015.  Along with "Mr. Robot" not being renominated, that gives Beal and "House of Cards" an advantage."  Once again, I can say that I picked a winner, even though I was rooting for Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe to win for “Planet Earth II.”

To celebrate, I'm sharing two selections from the current season of "House of Cards."  First, House Of Cards, Chapter 63 "Saved My Life" by Jeff Beal, which is from the nominated episode.

Next, "Nothing to be Afraid of."


That's all I feel like writing about today, as it's my birthday.  I'll return to the Emmy Award winners Friday, as tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, along with a couple of other holidays listed on National Day Calendar that I'll celebrate as well.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emmy winners in animation and children's programming

Before I move on to Emmy winners that are about modern American politics (in contrast to politics in science fiction), I am taking care of the winners in animation and children's programming, which I touched on in Star Wars at the Primetime Emmy Awards, 'Gotham' leads superhero shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards with three nominations, and 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations.  Here they are from Wikipedia.

"Samurai Jack" earned four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation, one each for Bryan Andrews (storyboard artist), Scott Wills (production design), Craig Kellman (character design), and Lou Romano (background design).  "Wander Over Yonder" also won an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Justin Nichols (character animation).  All of these are juried awards, so I had no comment on them in advance.  Just the same, congratulations!

"Bob's Burgers" won Outstanding Animated Program.  This came as a pleasant surprise.  I was expecting "Archer" to repeat.

I was also expecting "Adventure Time" to repeat as Outstanding Short-Format Animation.  It did, so I can brag that I picked the winner.

One category I missed was Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, which I might have included in the post about "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" I was planning on writing before I was hospitalized.  Seth MacFarlane won that award for his work on "Family Guy" as the voices of Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire.  The man is just as talented as a voice artist as he is a humorist.  Here's to hoping he can put those talents to good use in "The Orville."

I was rooting for "Star Wars Rebels" to win Outstanding Children's Program, but I expected "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" to take home the statuette.  As predicted, the Muppets beat the rebels.  Maybe "Star Wars Rebels" will win for its last season, which is this year.

And now, two videos from the winner with the strongest claim to being science fiction, "Wonder Over Yonder" and "Adventure Time."  First, If You Wonder Over Yonder.

Next, Adventure Time Islands Theme Song.

Yesterday was Talk like a Pirate Day, but there is still a Jolly Roger flag for today.

Enough fantasy.  Time to move on to reality in the form of politics and news!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk like a Pirate (of the Caribbean) Day to musical accompaniment

I mentioned Talk Like A Pirate Day yesterday.  That's today!  Arr, Mateys!

To celebrate, I'm posting a clip and some music from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Here's the clip, which stitches together three previews.

Between 2:15 and 2:40, I heard bits of a familiar theme.  It's more easily heard from 0:48 and 1:08 of Kill the Filthy Pirate, I'll Wait.

As I wrote in the comments, "(Un)holy crap! It's the March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz! Well, at least Jack Sparrow couldn't ask for more epic music to be executed to."*  Of course, Captain Sparrow escapes, along with Will and Elizabeth Turner's son Henry and Hector Barbossa's daughter Carina Smyth, or else there wouldn't be a movie.

*I recognized it because I played it in the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1978; it was the opening of the field show.  If I had a drum corps rendition of the piece, I'd play it.  I don't, but I have something better: Gustavo Dudamel conducting an orchestra playing it.  Listen for the motif in the opening.

Oh, my, from pirates to classical music in three clips.  I'd better stop before I go even farther afield!

Monday, September 18, 2017

'The Handmaid's Tale' sweeps last night of Emmys to win five awards

I finished 'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each with a wish for the speculative fiction nominees.
Good luck to "Stranger Things," "Westworld," and "The Handmaid's Tale" tonight, as they are all in competition with each other for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  In addition, "Stranger Things" and "Westworld" both have performers nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, "Westworld" and "The Handmaid's Tale" have nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, and "Westworld" has Anthony Hopkins nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.  Three to five awards down, five to seven to go!
Let's see how that went as USA Today asks Missed the 2017 Emmy Awards? Here are the highlights.

Just in case you missed the 2017 Emmy Awards, or if you want to watch it again: here are the highlights.
Turns out it went very well for "The Handmaid's Tale," as it won all five of the categories in which it was competing last night.  In addition to Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, the show won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  That tied it with "Big Little Lies" for number of awards last night as well as trophies overall with eight, as the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel had already won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Alexis Bledel as Ofglen/Emily, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More).*

I didn't see this coming, although I should have, as I was rooting for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" in all five categories.  Then again, as I wrote last month and repeated just yesterday, "'I expect 'The Handmaid's Tale' of a theocratic dystopian America will win more honors at the Emmys than I expected just a week ago,' after winning two awards at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards, this is the kind of result I should have expected."  Congratulations!  I expect to see a lot of nominations for this series at next year's Saturn Awards.

As for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things," both were shut out last night.  Sterling K. Brown beat Anthony Hopkins for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series and John Lithgow won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.  I found the former surprising (Brown beat Hannibal Lector!  I thought Kevin Spacey would do that) but I expected the latter.  Just the same congratulations to both, especially Brown.  In all seriousness, diversity!

"The Handmaid's Tale" was not the only speculative fiction program to sweep its categories last night.  "Black Mirror: San Junipero" won both of the categories it was nominated in last night, Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special.**  Adding its two wins with those of "The Handmaid's Tale" (8) "Westworld" (5), "Stranger Things" (5), "Gotham" (1), "Marvel's Luke Cage" (1), and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" (1), speculative fiction shows earned 23 Emmy Awards this season.  That's a good year for the genre in terms of mainstream recognition and I'm happy about it.

*Neither were the overall winner over all nights of the Emmys.  That honor belongs to "Saturday Night Live" with nine total, five last week and four last night.  I'll have more to say about SNL, "Veep," and "Last Week Tonight" in future installments, but only after Talk Like A Pirate Day.

**I was planning on writing a post about both "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke," but I was hospitalized and missed a day of blogging then didn't have quite the energy to research and write that post.  If I had done that, I could had also said something about the other miniseries and movie nominees beyond what I wrote about "Genius" and my asides about "Big Little Lies."  Darn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each

I wrote "I'll be back with more winners in speculative fiction and politics" at the end of '13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards.  With the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight, I only have time for one, so for this week's Sunday Entertainment feature, I'm sharing the speculative fiction winners from last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, just like I did two years ago in 'Game of Thrones' already a big winner at the Emmy Awards and last year in Ten Emmy Awards for 'Game of Thrones' plus other speculative fiction winners.  Then I'll probably post the speculative fiction winners from tonight's show tomorrow, just as I did in 'Game of Thrones' wins Best Drama and three other awards two years ago and 'Game of Thrones' and 'Orphan Black' win Emmy Awards.  Sorry, political comedies, dramas, and variety shows, but I'm nothing if not predictable.  I'll get to you like I did last year in Last Week Tonight examines Clinton and Trump foundations after winning three Emmy Awards.  Be patient.

Follow over the jump as I report on the five Emmy Awards both "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" have already won as well as the three statuettes "The Handmaid's Tale" earned, all of which put them in the lead for drama series, along with all the rest of the live-action speculative fiction winners, including the first Emmy Awards for "Gotham" and "Marvel's Luke Cage."