Terrifying Television: This Year’s Halloween Episodes

October 26, 2009

buffy hallAs I mentioned in a previous entry on my favourite Thanksgiving episodes, I like to celebrate the holidays in true TV enthusiast style… by watching a marathon of themed episodes. Predictably my marathon includes episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dead Like Me, but each fall, new Halloween episodes air, some of which will become instant classics and be added to my annual marathon in years to come. This year, with supernaturally-themed new shows like The Vampire Diaries and Eastwick, the amount of Halloween content seems to have increased. Here’s a look at the Halloween-themed episodes airing this week.

Monday

Teen hit Gossip Girl has Lily and Rufus celebrating Halloween in “How to Succeed in Bassness” tonight on The CW, while ABC drama Castle has a nice surprise for any Browncoats out there in the new episode “Vampire Weekend”. The episode features Castle and Beckett investigating the murder of a vampire fetishist, whose body is found with fake fangs and a stake through his heart.

Wednesday

With a show about witches and the devil, it would have been crazy not to have a Halloween episode of Eastwick. In “Bonfire and Betrayal”, Roxie envisions an ill fate for her loved-ones and tries to prevent it from happening. Meanwhile Kat attempts to reunite Will and Joanna, who continues to encounter misfortunes after having trouble with her career and love life. The ABC drama hasn’t received a full season pick-up and it’s ratings have not been promising, but maybe a little Halloween magic can turn that around.

Thursday

NBC has a full night of Halloween comedy lined up beginning with a Day of the Dead party on Community, a Halloween party on Parks and Recreation, and finally a themed episode of The Office, in which the office plans a haunted house for kids in the community. Meanwhile, the pairing of the CW’s best performing show The Vampire Diaries and genre hit Supernatural is a no-brainer for Halloween. Although the later doesn’t specifically have a Halloween episode this season, it’s demon-fighting theme and tendency to tackle urban legends make most episodes holiday appropriate. Lead-in The Vampire Diaries will air the new episode “Haunted”, which includes a visit to a haunted house. Freshman drama FlashForward is also getting into the spirit with an episode titled “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps”, and CBS has a new episode of The Mentalist titled “Red Scare”. On The Mentalist, witnesses claim that a wealthy man was killed by a ghost haunting his mansion.

Friday

With CBS’ double feature of Ghost Whisperer and Medium, Friday is already a night for the supernatural, so it’s fitting that both shows will air Halloween episodes this year. Melinda encounters the headless horseman in a themed Ghost Whisperer episode called “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, and Alison dreams she has been cast in the zombie film Night of the Living Dead in a Medium episode titled “Bite Me”. The night wraps upon Numb3ers, where the body of a dead woman  turns up at a decommissioned air base where paranormal activity has been happening.

There’s plenty of spooky new television to be had, but if you’re ready for more Halloween content there’s always the numerous specials and horror movies airing all this week. A more complete list can be found here.


And the Nominees are:

July 16, 2009

It’s ten to nine this Thursday morning, which means that the nominations for this year’s Primetime Emmys have just been announced live.  Fortunately, I’m on the east coast so I didn’t have to worry about dragging myself out of bed at five-thirty a.m like presenters Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory). The list of nominations offered many of the same programs that have been recognized before but there were a few surprises as well.  Overall I’m extremely happy with the nominations and hope that the ceremony will prove as interesting. Here are my thoughts on the nomination ceremony and a complete list of the nominees:

Drama Series

Big Love
Breaking Bad
Damages
Dexter
House m.d.
Lost
Mad Men

The only surprise in this category is perhaps the inclusion of Big Love.  House m.d. and Lost are the only network dramas in the bunch.

Actress, Drama Series

Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace

Another predictable category where the only surprise might be Elizabeth Moss over her Mad Men co-star January Jones.

Actors, Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Simon Baker, The Mentalist

The big surprise here is, of course, a nomination for Simon Baker. Some have also noticed the absence of Kiefer Sutherland, who has been nominated every year that he has been eligible for his work in 24.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Rose Byrne, Damages
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24

I’m certainly pleased to see both Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh here for Grey’s instead of the expected Katherine Heigl. It was especially nice to see a spokesperson for CBS tell Wilson that she had received a nomination in this category as well as the one announced live for her work in a miniseries. I don’t think anyone had even considered Cherry Jones in 24 so this nomination is certainly a surprise. I’m just sorry there isn’t a nomination for the fabulous Elizabeth Mitchell’s work as Juliet in Lost.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series

William Shatner, Boston Legal
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Hurt, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men

Although reporters did think that the departing Boston Legal would probably snag a few nominations, I think they expected Best Drama Series or Actor for James Spader. I’m a little disappointed to see Shatner here, but I have to admit that I’m glad Christian Clemenson gets a nomination. He was nominated for Guest Actor in 2007 but has never been recognized in the Supporting category. I’m also glad to see two-time nominee Michael Emerson here again.

Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Sharon Lawrence, Grey’s Anatomy
Ellen Burstyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Brenda Blethyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Carol Burnett, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
CCH Pounder, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Edward Asner, CSI: NY
Ted Danson, Damages
Jimmy Smits, Dexter
Ernest Borgnine, ER
Michael J. Fox, Rescue Me

Comedy Series

Entourage
Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock
Weeds

This is the big news category with four of the seven nominees new to the category. Family Guy‘s nomination makes it the first animated series to be nominated since The Flinestones in 1961! Weeds, Flight of the Conchords, and How I Met Your Mother are also first-time nominees. I’m just happy How I Met Your Mother received some much deserved attention. Unfortunately there just wasn’t room forThe Big Bang Theory among those newcomers. Still, no nomination for Two and a Half Men and that’s something.

Actress, Comedy Series

Julia Louis Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Mary Louise Parker, Weeds

Actor, Comedy Series

Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

While returning nominees Charlie Sheen and Tony Shalhoub surprise no one, a nomination for Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement is less predictable. The best news of this category is a well-deserved nomination for Jim Parsons though. As Chandra read the nominations for this category aloud, Parsons was visibly surprised, saying “that wasn’t there”, presumably because another name had been substituted in order to surprise him when the presenters received the list ahead of time.

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds

I’m extremely happy to see Kristin Chenoweth included in this category, especially since the cancellation of Pushing Daisies means that she won’t be eligible next year for playing Olive Snook.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series

Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men

With How I Met Your Mother breaking into the comedy category this year and a deserved nomination for Neil Patrick Harris could it be his year?  A snub for Entourage actor Jeremy Piven, who Harris even thanked for not being nominated during his acceptance speech for ‘A-List Actor’ in Bravo’s A-List Awards, clears the way.

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Gena Rowlands, Monk
Betty White, My Name Is Earl
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Jennifer Aniston, 30 Rock
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Beau Bridges, Desperate Housewives
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Steve Martin, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock
Alan Alda, 30 Rock

Variety, Music, or Comedy Special

The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
The Late Show with David Letterman
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Best Reality Competition

The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef

Best Reality Show Host

Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Heidi Klum, Project Runway
Jeff Probst, Survivor
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, Top Chef

After last’s disastrous Emmys, hosted by the five nominees from this category, it’s perhaps surprising that four of the five are nominated again. The only snub is Howie Mandel, who has been replaced by the far more deserving ‘Amazing Phil’ Keoghan, and Padma and Tom of Top Chef. I’m sorry to see that sweetheart Cat Deeley isn’t here but maybe next year, with So You Think You Can Dance currently having its strongest season to date, both the show and the host will be recognized.

Best Miniseries

Generation Kill
Little Dorritt

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Chandra Wilson, Accidental Friendship
Shirley MacLaine, Coco Chanel
Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens
Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens
Sigourney Weaver, Prayers For Bobby

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Kevin Kline, Cyrano de Bergerac
Brendan Gleeson, Into The Storm
Sir Ian McKellen, King Lear
Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance
Kiefer Sutherland, 24: Redemption
Kenneth Branagh, Wallander: One Step Behind

I’m not going to go through all the behind the scenes categories but here are a few more nominations that interested me and that I hope might interest fellow TV enthusiasts:

Outstanding Choreography

81st Annual Academy Awards – “Musicals Are Back” – by Rob Ashford
Dancing With the Stars – “Jive/Great Balls of Fire” – by Derek and Julianne Hough
So You Think You Can Dance – “Bleeding Love” – by Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo
So You Think You Can Dance – “Mercy” by Mia Michaels
So You Think You Can Dance – “Adam and Eve” by Tyce Diorio
So You Think You Can Dance – “A Los Amigos” by Dmitry Chaplin

Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs

Battlestar Galactica: The Face Of The Enemy
The Daily Show: The Daily Show Correspondents On Jon Stewart
Bruce Springsteen Super Bowl Halftime Show
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
30 Rock’s Kenneth the Web Page

I just had to include that one because I’m so excited that Dr. Horrible is up for an Emmy!

For a complete list of all the nominations click here

The 61st Annual Emmy Awards airs September 20th on CBS.


Emmys Wishful Thinking

July 8, 2009

The nominations ceremony for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards will take place next Thursday morning (July 16th) at 8:35 EST, beginning two months of speculation about who should, and who actually will, win each award. Three-time nominee Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory will join the Television Academy chair for the live ceremony. However, before the big announcement, fellow TV enthusiasts and journalists are creating their own lists of nominees, ranging from which actors and actresses they believe will actually receive an Emmy nod to the underdogs they would like to see recognized.

Everyone makes predictions, not an impossible task because the Emmys often follow the old saying and stick to what they know while shutting out deserving newcomers, but what I find more interesting are the underdog lists of those actors and actresses who probably don’t stand a chance. Here is one more TV enthusiast’s list, comprised of both deserving underdogs and favourites who might just get that shot at a golden trophy.

Before I begin my list, I have a confession to make. I don’t get cable. No doubt this contributes to my enjoyment of the Emmy awards, which have recently chosen to honour shows originating on Showtime, HBO, and AMC. The trend towards cable keeps me somewhat out of the loop for although I had the opportunity to watch the first season of True Blood over the summer, and I’ve seen the first two seasons of Dexter, I haven’t seen so many of the critically acclaimed shows often nominated, including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Damages.

For anyone eager to create their own list or take a look at the potential nominees, a list of all the possible actors and actresses who submitted their names for consideration can be found here.

Oustanding Drama Seriesdrama

The Possibles: House M.D. may have fallen off the rails this year with the decision to put Thirteen front and center, but I loved the controversial season finale, hallucinations and all, and I believe it’s still one of the best dramas on television. Due to my lack of cable I haven’t seen this season of Dexter, so I’m cheating a little bit here by sticking it on my list anyway. The first two seasons were some of the best written I’ve ever seen and I can’t imagine that three would be poor enough to take it out of the running. Although I haven’t always been a big Lost supporter, I have to admit that this season really stepped up the quality of the show and I think it deserves a place here.

The Longshots: With both my picks already cancelled I’m sure Hell would have to freeze over before either of these two were nominated but I fell in love with the shortlived Kings and found its politically manipulative drama fascinating. Although I found the first season of Eli Stone to be stronger overall, I love this sentimental show and wish that it would get some deserved recognition as well.

Outstanding Comedy Seriescomedy

The Possibles: I don’t watch many comedies, but there are two exceptions. Although this was probably its weakest season to date, How I Met Your Mother remains one of my favourite shows and episodes like “Intervention” and “Three Days of Snow” demonstrated its ability to combine heart and hilarity. But if I had my way, the show taking home the trophy this year would be The Big Bang Theory. The cast is fantastic and the writing is laugh out loud funny. It’s often hard to believe it was created by the man behind Two and a Half Men.

Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Drama Seriesactor-actress-drama

The Possibles: It never fails to amaze me that Michael C. Hall hasn’t won an Emmy for his role as Dexter Morgan. I haven’t seen the third season so I don’t know if this is his year but the man is certainly deserving. Given what Hugh Laurie’s Doctor House went through this year I think it’s a safe bet that the best non-American doing an American accent on television will be nominated. Those last five minutes of the season finale where he realised everything was a hallucination is more than enough to convince me.

The Longshots: I would love to see Ian McShane nominated for his work in Kings. He’s a huge part of what makes the show so engaging. Although other lists have Simon Baker (The Mentalist) listed as possible, I find it hard to believe that a procedural actor will be nominated against the giants of cable. All the same, I’m rooting for the Australian underdog to get a nomination. The Mentalist wouldn’t have worked without him.

By now you’ve probably realised that I don’t have any picks for Oustanding Lead Actress. To be honest I just do not have a preference. I’m much more interested in this year’s Supporting Actress category.

Supporting Actor in a Dramasupporting actor

The Possibles: Michael Emerson is consistently creepy as Ben on Lost and he absolutely deserves to be nominated again. I would also love to see Josh Holloway (Lost) get a much needed Emmy nod for his fantastic work this season as Sawyer.

The Longshots: As Lafayette, Nelsan Ellis steals every scene he’s in on True Blood so I’m hoping he’s more of a possible than an unlikely choice. Meanwhile, from the “not unless Hell freezes over” group are Sebastian Stan (Kings) whose closeted Prince has become a far more engaging character than Chris Egan’s David, and Glenn Fitzgerald (Dirty Sexy Money). His conflicted Brian Darling is what I’ll miss most about the show.

Supporting Actress in a Dramasupporting actress

The Possibles: Chandra Wilson’s Bailey is one of the bright spots of Grey’s Anatomy and I’d much rather see her take home the prize than the more likely option of Katherine Heigl for her tumor/hallucination storyline, but in a perfect world the Emmy would go Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost).

The Longshots: I think Julie Benz’s Rita’s (Dexter) growth has been one of the more interesting subplots on television and I would love to see her recognised for it. Lisa Edelstein (House) was given a lot more to do this season and made the most of it, while Rutina Wesley played Sookie’s troubled best friend Tara to perfection in True Blood

Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Comedyactor comedy

The Possible: If Jim Parsons isn’t nominated for his fantastic work in The Big Bang Theory I might just give up on television altogether. With my other favourite comedic talent in the supporting category the door is open for Jim Parsons to walk away with the gold.

The Longshots: I would love to see Billie Piper nominated for Secret Diary of a Call Girl, although I don’t see it happening. Although Jim Parsons should win the award, co-star Johnny Galecki deserves a nod as well. I just don’t think there’s room for both of The Big Bang Theory leads in this category.

Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedyactress comedy

The Possibles: If I had my way Neil Patrick Harris would be nominated in this category every year that How I Met Your Mother is on the air. Barney Stinson is a character that could so easily be unlikeable. That he is so beloved is a testament to Harris’ skill.

The Longshots: Although Pushing Daisies is often a little too sweet for my tastes, Kristin Chenoweth is adorable as Olive Snook and deserves a nomination for Supporting Actress, although I don’t know that she will actually receive one. Again from the “when Hell freezes over” category are Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), who is wonderful as Raj, and Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) as Robin.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that most of my picks for this year don’t stand a chance at being nominated but I’ll be content if Jim Parsons, Michael C. Hall, and Neil Patrick Harris receive nominations.  I’d love to hear any other opinions on longshots or possible nominees you’d like to see recognized this September, and I’ll be back next Thursday with my thoughts on the nominations.

The nominations ceremony takes place July 16th at 8:35 a.m. EST
The 61st Annual Emmy Awards airs September 20th on CBS.