I wouldn't call it a binge, but lately I have been getting reacquainted in a big way with the classic '70s drama "The Waltons" -- a series I recall enjoying in my youth, but one that I hadn't given a lot of thought to since. Thanks to Hallmark Channel, which runs several episodes of "The Waltons" on weeknights, I have been able to easily review episodes from the first two seasons of the show, when it was at its very best. And I am more impressed by it than ever before.
From what I gather, Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" isn't having such a great summer. Ratings are down, there doesn't seem to be much buzz, and the media seems to think that the show has run out of gas. I don't agree. Last night's competition between this season's four outrageously talented finalists was as exciting an installment of any reality series as I've seen this year. I certainly hope the network finds a way to nurture it going forward. This is one reality show that's worth the effort.
The fourth and final season of "The Killing" may turn out to be the best original production yet from industry agitator Netflix. If nothing else, it is turning out to be the most satisfying transition of a series from "traditional" television to a new digital platform. "Arrested Development," "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" all suffered creatively in their moves from Fox and ABC, respectively, to streaming services. Not "The Killing." From what I've seen it is better than ever in its new home.
The always agreeable and effortlessly charming Seth Meyers certainly isn't afraid to bite the hand that feeds him. Those of us who attended NBC's upfront presentation in New York City last May can readily recall the many jokes he fired off that ripped into his network's decision to hold that event at the decidedly unglamorous Javits Center. Meyers was true to form as host of the Emmy Awards last night, making merciless fun of the show itself during his opening monologue. And the barbs kept coming.
Was it me, or did MTV seem to tone down the outrageousness in last night's presentation of its annual Video Music Awards -- the 30th anniversary of the franchise? There was nothing particularly shocking or offensive about any of it, unless one chooses to express concern over the presentation of women throughout the show.
Most of us focus on the excitement of the Drama and Comedy Series categories when watching the Emmy Awards. But this year the nominations for Movies and Miniseries and the actors who starred in them could collectively eclipse the rest of the show. Much of the credit for this goes to FX, which has thrillingly revitalized the Miniseries competition with the "Fargo" and "American Horror Story" franchises. As with my columns about the competition in the Drama Series and Comedy Series categories earlier this week, what follows are my predictions and preferences and, where called for, mention of obvious oversights …
Yesterday I made my predictions and stated my preferences for the Drama Series categories in this year's Emmy Awards. Today I shift focus to those concerning Comedy Series. It's worth noting that two of the early Comedy wins during last season's Emmy telecast set the tone for the consistently surprising awards that would follow: Merritt Wever of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Tony Hale of HBO's "Veep" for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Count on the comedy categories to liven things up again this year, especially if AMC's "Breaking Bad" dominates …
Next week's Emmy Awards already feel like something of a non-event, largely because they are taking place on the last Monday of August during a week when people are thinking about anything and everything other than television. But there it is -- the annual celebration and promotion of the very best that television offers -- and here are my predictions and preferences for the Drama Series categories. Those for the Comedy Series categories will follow tomorrow. As always, I'll make note of the series and performers who weren't nominated but should have been as I address each area.
Last week I offered thoughts and observations on new series set to debut this fall on ABC, CBS and NBC. Here's a quick take on the freshmen shows coming to Fox and The CW. Fall pilots have been available to journalists and advertisers since May or June, but may not be officially reviewed without their networks' approval because many of them will have creative or technical changes. After working with these new shows for almost three months, it seems reasonable to begin offering carefully considered opinions about them, with the responsible caveat that these are not official final reviews.
"Dallas" -- the series with the most exciting theme song in the history of television -- resumes its third season tonight after a prolonged hiatus balancing more cliffhangers than I can recall over the five decades that this plot-driven prime-time soap has been a part of our lives (including regularly scheduled episodes in the '70s, '80s and '90s; reunion movies in the '90s; a reunion special in the 2000s, and of course this new series -- or more accurately, this continuation of the old -- that began in 2012).