Nerdy Girl Predicts: The 2014 Emmy Awards

How many Emmys will the final season of Breaking Bad win?

How many Emmys will the final season of Breaking Bad win?

For as frustrated as I was with the 2014 Emmy nominations when they were announced, I’m still excited to see TV’s best (with some notable exceptions) celebrated on Monday night. Although I don’t watch a lot of what’s considered “critically acclaimed” television, I’m still going to attempt to predict the show’s big winners. I’m also going to offer my thoughts on who I wish would win in these categories, too.

I’m not including the miniseries or TV movie categories because I haven’t seen any of those nominees. However, if you have thoughts on who will/should win those categories (as well as any others I’ve left out), let me know in the comments. And I’ll be live tweeting the evening’s festivities (including any red carpet coverage I can watch after work—why are these awards on a Monday?) over on the NGN Twitter account.

Outstanding Drama Series
My Pick and My Wish: Breaking Bad
My Thoughts: I will preface this by saying I think Breaking Bad and True Detective are going to split the series and actor categories. So if Bryan Cranston wins for acting, I think True Detective will take home this award. Ultimately, it’s a very close race, but I think Breaking Bad’s final season will be recognized to honor the show’s part in TV history. Years from now, Breaking Bad will be known as one of the pillars of this new Golden Age of television, so I think the Emmys will take advantage of having one last chance to honor it.

Outstanding Comedy Series
My Pick and My Wish: Orange Is the New Black
My Thoughts: I know the Emmys are often afraid to break away from the familiar, but the impact Orange Is the New Black has had on the television landscape shouldn’t be denied. I think this will be Emmy voters’ chance to recognize Netflix as a platform since I don’t think House of Cards will take home any awards this year. Not only would this be a way for the Emmys to make a statement that they’re not stuck in the past, it would be a way to recognize a show that’s unlike anything else on television.

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The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (8/17 – 8/24)

I apologize for not having one of these posts last week. Traveling kept me from watching most of last week’s episodes until early this week. But if you have a pick for best thing you saw in the last two weeks, feel free to share it! 

This was a fairly average summer television week, except for one outstanding night in the middle of all the ordinary, and that was Wednesday’s emotional roller coaster, featuring the highs of a strong set of performances on So You Think You Can Dance and the twists and turns of an exceptional Suits summer finale.

While there was plenty to love on SYTYCD this week, nothing could even come close to the brilliance that happened on Suits this week. The intensity of this summer finale left me breathless by the end of it, hands shaking from the overwhelming emotional power of the episode’s final scenes. The way Louis found out about Mike was handled so well, especially after the anticlimactic cliffhanger of the last Suits summer finale. I was absolutely blindsided by the reveal of the key’s importance, and I love when I find myself surprised by a show I’m watching. What I loved most, though, was that this discovery of Mike’s secret had real implications—both in terms of the show’s future and the emotional arcs of the characters.

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TV Time: SYTYCD Season 11 “Top 6 Perform”

I sincerely apologize for not posting a recap of last week’s episode. I spent most of the week traveling, so I didn’t have a chance to watch the Top Eight episode until Tuesday night. I hope this recap makes up for it!

How is it already almost So You Think You Can Dance finale time? My heart always ends up broken when it gets to the Top Six eliminations because, by this point, I’ve fallen in love with all of these dancers for one reason or another. This season was no exception. While I was fairly indifferent toward Jacque, I’d grown to love Casey. Watching him grow to become the confident, poised dancer he is every time he takes the stage now was a pleasure.

With that being said, I am ecstatic to see not just one but two tappers in the Top Four. In case any of you missed this the other 8 billion times I’ve made my bias known, I’m a tapper, and I get ridiculously attached to any and all SYTYCD tappers. I remember the days when there weren’t even any tap auditions shown, when any tapper who actually made the show was eliminated before the Top 10, and when “tapper” was basically a dirty word that the judges said with disdain (which still happens sometimes, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why). To see Aaron make the Top Four last season and be asked back as an All Star is incredible, and the sense of pride I feel when I think about his success only grows when thinking about Valerie and Zack both bringing the style I love to audiences in a SYTYCD finale. I know Ricky is probably going to win (and let’s be honest—he should win), but it’s incredible to see the style that has meant everything to me for 21 years represented in half of this season’s Top Four.

I cry at every tap solo on this show, so I can only imagine what a mess I’m going to be next week watching so much tap on that SYTYCD stage.

In a shocking turn of events, my favorite solo of the night actually belonged to Ricky and not one of my beloved tappers. I still think Zack is otherworldly in terms of the rhythms he creates and the ease with which he carries himself onstage (he’s also a noticeably better tapper than Valerie, actually), but Ricky danced with such abandon in his solo. His technique is flawless, but what astounds me the most about his dancing is the incredible emotion and passion he gives to each movement. He is poetry in motion. I thought Jacque’s solo was creative and cute; Casey’s was pretty predictable but still impressive with all of his turns; and Jessica’s was much stronger than Nigel made it seem. However, Ricky is just in another league. It’s a true joy to get to watch him dance every week.

Ricky and Valerie: Broadway
These two are still a match made in dance heaven. Ricky’s technical brilliance makes Valerie a better dancer, and Valerie’s effusive joy makes Ricky a better performer. That was true during their first weeks as partners, and it was true in their reunion, too. Is Valerie the most graceful dancer ever? No. But I can’t help but get caught up in how happy she looks onstage, and it’s a happiness that comes from within, a light that can’t be faked. Valerie shows on her face what I feel when I dance, and that pure, radiant joy was such a great fit for this routine. It wasn’t the night’s most memorable dance, but it did exactly what it was supposed to do: It made me happy.

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Fangirl Thursday: For Your Consideration (2014 Emmys)

diane lockhart

With the 2014 Emmys right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about who we think will take home the night’s big awards (which will be the topic of a post over here this weekend), as well as who we think should be given an Emmy this year. Although I found myself fairly disappointed with this year’s group of nominees (surprise, surprise), there are still some names on the list that I will be crossing my fingers for on Monday night. Some of those names don’t have much of a shot at winning, but I love a good dark horse.

When Monday rolls around, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see if Amy Poehler, Andre Braugher, and Julianna Margulies are rewarded for their stellar performances this season. The buzz around Braugher and Margulies is strong, so I’m hopeful about their chances. And for as much as I love Poehler, I don’t think this was Parks and Recreation’s strongest season. Therefore, I think she might have to wait for a “body of work” Emmy next season. All three of these actors have been deservedly showered with praise far more eloquent than anything I can ever say about them, so I want to turn my attention to the final nominee I’m wholeheartedly championing this year—a woman whose subtly affecting work is often overlooked in favor of others in her category and even on her show: Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart on The Good Wife.

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Fangirl Thursday: Playlists Full of Feelings

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of playlists on my iPod: “Workout Mix,” “Road Trip 2013,” “Yoga Time,” “Alias Songs,” “Extraordinary,” “Perhaps I Would,” “I Will Always Find You”…

Why yes, I do have multiple playlists devoted to songs that remind of my favorite fictional characters and couples. Doesn’t everyone?

Music makes us feel, so it’s always made sense to me that the right song would make me think about the characters and relationships that make me feel, too. It’s what we do as fans; we take the things we’re passionate about and make deeper connections with them than the ones we’re given during the small amount of time we spend in the movie theater, reading, or watching TV.

It all began—as so many things in my life as a fangirl did—with Alias. Season Three of Alias was a time of immense angst, so naturally, ever sad song reminded me of the time Vaughn spent thinking Sydney was dead or the time Sydney spent watching Vaughn be married to someone else. From the entire More Than You Think You Are Matchbox 20 album to Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and Garth Brooks’s “The Dance,” I spent my entire sophomore year of high school listening to angst-ridden songs—not because I was an angry teenager but because I was a fangirl.

More than 10 years later, I’m still the kind of fangirl who hears a song and immediately finds a character it relates to. And when I do, I add it to the playlist. Some of my playlists (like “Extraordinary,” aka my Castle/Beckett mix) also have songs used on the TV shows or in the movies themselves, but I love discovering new songs that unexpectedly give me all the feelings.

Today I want to share my top five songs from my three most-played fangirl playlists, ones devoted to Castle and Beckett (from Castle), as well as Snow and Charming and Emma and Hook (both from Once Upon a Time).

Extraordinary: My Castle/Beckett Playlist
1. “Shake It Out” (Florence and the Machine)
And I am done with my graceless heart, so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart…
This song will always be Kate Beckett’s anthem to me. I discovered it right around the time “Kill Shot” aired back in Season Four, and its empowering theme of moving beyond the demons we carry with us seemed to be a perfect emotional companion for everything Beckett was going through in that episode.

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The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (8/3 – 8/10)

This week in TV kicked off with a new Bachelor-franchise spinoff, Bachelor in Paradise (featuring my favorite will they/won’t they, Michelle Money and Graham Bunn). The week continued with a trifecta of good television on Wednesday: the first “All Stars” episode of So You Think You Can Dance, another strong episode of Suits, and the premiere of Top Chef Duels.

The summer television landscape can seem bleak at times (just look at how short the previous paragraph is if you need proof), but in the middle of all of the reruns and reality shows, there’s Suits. This season has been excellent, and this week’s episode was no exception. And while the strength of “Exposure” was primarily due to its emotional moments (Mike and Rachel, Louis and Jessica), my favorite moment came to us courtesy of Harvey and his excitement over having Mike back at the firm.

This has been a very serious season for Suits, so it was nice to have a moment of genuine happiness in the middle of a lot of angst and drama. Seeing that happiness come from the normally stoic Harvey Specter made it even better. The This man who usually holds such control over his emotions was so unashamedly happy to have his friend back, and it was adorable (a word I don’t usually associate with Harvey). It was a great example of so many things I love about Suits: its ability to walk the line between making me cry and making me laugh on a consistent basis; its rich characterizations; and its focus on one of TV’s best and most nuanced examples of male friendship.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

TV Time: SYTYCD Season 11 “Top 10 Perform”

This week’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance was a tough one to break down because so much of it boiled down to the politics of the show, which I dislike to the point that I actually stopped watching the show for a time because of it. I understand why Emilio and Bridget when home, so it didn’t come as much of a disappointment, despite the fact that they were one of my favorite pairings to develop this season. However, their elimination still frustrated me because it was telegraphed from the moment the show started last week: They were given a boring routine with uninspired choreography, ugly costumes that hid their expressive faces, and the unfortunate position of dancing first. I like when shows surprise me, and there was nothing surprising about this elimination.

This season appears to be yet another where the powers that be have anointed their favorites and will do anything to keep those favorites in the competition, including telling them over and over again just how much they hope they make it to the finale. Don’t get me wrong; Ricky is clearly on another planet in terms of his talent, but sometimes I wish the judges would just let us see that for ourselves.

It was also a bit of a bummer to see which contestants ended up in something close to their style of dance and which ones were thrown to the wolves. Thankfully, those results were a lot more surprising than I thought they’d be.

Bridget and Brandon: Bollywood Disco
If you need a clear-cut example of a contestant being thrown under the bus (and then run over by said bus), look no further than Bridget. Not only did she get stuck with last week’s forgettable jazz routine and first-dancer position, she also had to go first this week with a style that’s a made-up fusion of two types of dance that aren’t known to bring in voters. If Bridget wouldn’t have gone home this week, they certainly seemed to make sure she would go home next week. Her performance was bright and energetic, but I couldn’t pay much attention because I was so frustrated with the blatant fact that they clearly wanted her to go home.

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Fangirl Thursday: TV Comfort Food

Sometimes life just sucks. Even though I try to be as positive as I can be as a writer and as a person, there’s no denying that some days are just bad days. Whether you had a bad day at work or are sick with a cold or feeling sad for no real reason, there are days when you just need comfort—comfy clothes, comfort food, and comfort TV.

We all have those episodes of certain TV shows that we watch when we need a little dose of instant happiness. They’re the episodes that act like a warm mug of tea and a soft blanket on life’s rainiest days. A good comfort TV episode makes you smile, laugh, and maybe even cry when you really need to.

When I’m having one of those days where I feel like nothing will cheer me up, I reach for my Parks and Recreation DVDs. I’ve spent many hours curled up on my couch, starting impromptu marathons of this show to get through sick days and sad days. But sometimes you just don’t have time for a marathon. Sometimes you have to choose just one episode that you know will do the trick—one episode that warms your soul and lifts your spirits. And, for me, that episode is “Leslie and Ben.”

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The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (7/27 – 8/3)

This week in television was filled with emotional highs and lows. The roller coaster began with Monday’s finale of The Bachelorette, which was both uncomfortable (with Nick confronting Andi over sleeping with him despite choosing Josh) and adorable (with Andi and Josh finding what seems to be genuine happiness together). It continued on Wednesday with an emotionally-charged episode of So You Think You Can Dance and what was possibly the most depressing episode of Suits in a long time. And it concluded with Saturday’s inspiring speeches by this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.

There were a lot of great things that happened on TV this week. I know many people will roll their eyes at me for saying this, but I loved seeing Josh and Andi so clearly happy together on The Bachelorette. It’s always a beautiful thing to celebrate love, and that’s why I’ll never stop caring about that ridiculous franchise. And I’ve already talked at length about how much a few routines on SYTYCD moved me. But the best of the best this week was the Buffalo love fest that happened last night in Canton, Ohio.

I’m a Buffalo Bills fan. I have been since birth, and no matter how terrible they are, I’ll always love them. I grew up during the Glory Years of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, so seeing Andre Reed get inducted into the Football Hall of Fame last night was like revisiting a childhood I can barely remember. But no matter how long it’s been since those Glory Years, the bond between those players and the city they represented is so strong, and it made me incredibly emotional to see the love between Reed and the Buffalo fans that came out in full-force to see his enshrinement.

What also stood out to me during that speech was the bond between the players on that team. It’s impressive to see the depth of their brotherhood after all these years. And it was especially touching to see the deep respect and genuine love Reed has for Jim Kelly, his quarterback, who is battling cancer. Nobody was sure a couple of months ago if Kelly would even be able to be there for Reed’s enshrinement, but there he was, throwing one last pass to his best receiver and making Buffalo fans around the country cry in the process. In a week where emotions ran high on television, that was the moment that got to me the most.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

TV Time: SYTYCD Season 11 “Top 14 Perform”

It’s amazing how in one week So You Think You Can Dance can go from feeling it like it was struggling for content to being jam-packed with dancing this week. While it was a bit jarring to have to see four dancers go home instead of two, I think the cuts that were made were fair. Carly and Serge had become one of my favorite partnerships on the show, but sometimes a pair does something so special that they simply can’t go home, which is what happened with Jessica and Casey.

It was nice to see the dancers in the bottom do their solos, but it reminded me of how generic most SYTYCD solos are. Nobody really stood out to me, which made their work in the group routines even more important. Sadly, Carly and Serge were given the dreaded quickstep, which I thought they did a great job performing, but it wasn’t going to beat what Jessica and Casey did. And Teddy and Emily have been a difficult pair for me to connect with from the start; their inability to accurately translate Bob Fosse’s signature style just made it worse.

It was sad to watch those four dancers receive their critiques from the judges because it was so obvious who they were keeping. However, I can’t blame them. What Casey, Jessica, and Travis Wall created together was stunning. There was a simple beauty to the choreography that made it my favorite Travis piece in quite some time. (I even liked it better than his small group routine for the guys this week.) Travis uses music brilliantly, and when his dancers exhibit that same musicality, it’s a match made in heaven. Both Casey and Jessica were so fluid in this piece, but Jessica’s strength is what absolutely blew me away. Her movements required incredible amounts of control, and her lines looked flawless throughout. And for two people who I’ve had trouble connecting with in terms of genuine emotion, I found myself completely buying the joy they exuded through their whole bodies.

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