Ok, ok — last Emmy post, I swear.
Rarely do I care to make sure that my Sunday night schedule is free in advance to watch the awards show. But this year seemed different. My mind was set on "make sure you watch the Emmys" mode all day. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I've found time to watch TV shows regularly for the first time in a few years. Somehow.
A few of my favorite programs grabbed some big prizes this time around (Modern Family wins Outstanding Comedy Series in its first year; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is now 8-for-8 in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category). And some other programs that I've been meaning to get around to racked up consecutive awards in the same categories (Bryan Cranston picking up his 3rd Emmy for his leading role in Breaking Bad; Mad Men taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.)
That's great and all. Seldom will I state my case on why a show should deserve an award as prestigious as an Emmy, even if I consider it to be a great show no matter what the public opinion may be. But yet again, one of the most fascinating series on TV that got snubbed (excuse me for using this word, as I'm sure you've heard it too many times since the nominations were announced) just might be Friday Night Lights.
When a colleague introduced me to FNL (as the diehard fans call it), I was skeptical. Although the film seemed to garner positive reviews, I hadn't seen it yet. But a TV show? Perhaps a bit too much treatment. She said I was wrong. And yes, I was. Everything about Friday Night Lights drew me in from the first episode — the single-camera/documentary style cinematography, the depth in background stories for each character, to name a few features. You didn't have to understand the game of football to become obsessed with the show itself.
While I haven't had a conversation with her yet, Jace Lacob of The Daily Beast agrees with my sentiments. The AFI, the Television Critics Association, and the WGA can't get enough of FNL, but the Emmy overlords haven't budged, until now.
It's been a long time coming. With the exception of a handful of technical nominations over the years, Friday Night Lights has been more or less shut out of the Primetime Emmys' major categories until now. The innate strengths that have made the series so admirable—the way it captures the nuance of small-town life and the issues (everything from alcohol, drugs, and peer-pressure, to pre-marital sex, discrimination, and abortion) that it kicks up—might have also made it a perennial underdog to be recognized by the Academy, which tends to go for glossier dramas and fare with more mass appeal.
Lacob got a chance to talk with the starring couple — Kyle Chandler, head coach of the Dillon Panthers, and his wife on the program Connie Britton — about the nomination. While the pair expresses that they are fortunate enough to keep the show going after for as long as they have even with some roadblocks (The Writers Guild of America Strike in 2007; the fact that DirecTV picked up the show after two seasons of a cult following on NBC), winning an Emmy was more or less on the backburner.
FNL enters its final season, its fifth to be exact, in late October. Time is running out for the show to go home with some gold. Like I mentioned before — the Emmy noms don't necessarily shape my viewing† And there are plenty of shows that go "unnoticed" that many of us think was worthy of an award of some sort (Arrested Development, anyone?)
But here's a quick word to the Academies — Have you seen too many football dramadies? Has there been too much treatment over Buzz Bissinger's book-turned-movie-complete-with-uplifting-soundtrack? I'll let you decide. Please give some credit to the programs making waves on other circuits.