The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 16th and every year I like to review the past year in TV and give my list of performances and shows that I feel should be recognized by the Television Academy. Each year there are always performances that get overlooked or forgotten. Here are some that I hope get some recognition this year.
The Americans (FX) – The Americans continues to be TV’s best show. It also continues to be the show, along with The Walking Dead, most criminally overlooked by the Emmy’s. Not only does the series deserve an Outstanding Drama Series nomination, but its two lead actors also deserve to be recognized. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell gave two of the best performances on TV this year and should be nominated. Rhys had a powerful scene, silently taking off his disguise to win back the trust of his fake wife Martha. The whole scene was delivered with minimal dialogue and showed what an excellent actor Rhys is. Russell gave perhaps her best work of the series in an episode where Philip and Elizabeth break into a factory to sabotage some equipment, and catch an old woman (played by Lois Smith) working late. Elizabeth forces the woman to take her own life by slowly overdosing on her own medication. Great work by Russell and Smith, in one of the seasons most riveting hours.
Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, and Michael McKean from Better Call Saul (AMC) – AMC’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul was easily the best new series of the year. Better Call Saul demonstrated that not only could it be an excellent series but that it could so without being in the shadow of its predecessor. The 3 main acting leads in the show all turned in amazing work. Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy, Jonathan Banks as Mike, and Michael McKean as Chuck were all among the best acting on TV this year and all 3 deserve to be recognized.
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline (Netflix) – Netflix’s Bloodline was another excellent new series. It’s the story of the Rayburn family, and the adult siblings whose secrets are exposed when the black sheep brother comes home. That black sheep brother, Danny, was played so perfectly by Ben Mendelsohn. Kyle Chandler may be the star of the show, but Mendelsohn steals the spotlight from him with his performance. I’d love to see the Academy give him a nod.
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix) – Netflix had another good series this year, this one was a comedy. Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles as the wives of two men who leave them to get married to each other. Lily Tomlin was hilarious as Frankie, a great role for her. She deserves a nomination.
Justin Theroux & Carrie Coon, The Leftovers (HBO) – HBO’s eerily strange and compelling new series The Leftovers had some really good writing and excellent acting. Justin Theroux as Kevin, and Carrie Coon as Nora really stood out among the cast. Theroux’s scene in the finale where he confesses to Matt where he was during the events of October 14th and his realization that he had lost his family anyway and it was his fault was tough to watch but outstanding at the same time. Coon’s performance was rock solid throughout the whole season, but it was her work in the season finale, in particular, that had me convinced that she deserved an Emmy nomination. I defy anyone to watch that episode and not feel profoundly touched when Nora discovers that her family has “returned.”
James Nesbitt, The Missing (Starz) – The Missing was one of the most overlooked dramas of the year. It was the story of a husband and wife, whose vacation turns into a nightmare when their 5 year old son disappears and the 8 years that followed. Nesbitt’s role as a shattered father, obsessed with finding out what happened to his son was truly heart wrenching and deserving of a nomination.
Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel (A&E) – Bates Motel’s 3rd season was where we really began to see Norman’s transformation start to take shape. Highmore’s performance as Norman was mesmerizing to watch. As the character became more and more unstable, we were amazed at how Highmore was able to make Norman’s descent into madness so sad, yet as the same time so terrifying.
Do you have any questions about TV? Email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future column.