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Television has never been better. OK, it was better a few years ago and we’re currently in a Silver Age but since we can still watch the Golden Age, television has never been better. Last night’s Emmy Awards highlighted some excellent actors and programs. Rather than heaping praise on recently praised shows, we’re recommending some programs that are older or never won awards.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Allison Janney for Mom

Mom is a classic, on set, 4-camera Chuck Lorre sitcom. While these shows are far from in style, they’re not horrible. But let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on what Janney is known for in D.C., The West Wing. The West Wing brought political dramas (and comedy if you watch it the right way) to the masses. Ask any 20-30-year-old in D.C. why they chose to work in D.C. and half will cite this show. Since you’ve seen every episode of The West Wing, you may need to look to foreign countries for your political fix. Black Mirror, the excellent Channel 4 series, is great for people that don’t have time to invest in long narratives. Each episode is its own story. The specific episode we’re recommending is season 1, episode 1, The National Anthem, a story of a political leader blackmailed into having sex with a pig. This episode premiered December 4, 2011. On September 20, 2015 UK Prime Minister David Cameron was rumored to put his penis in dead pig’s mouth. Congrats, Allison Janney!

black-mirror-episode-1-channel4

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Tony Hale for VEEP

You already know about Buster Bluth but you may not know about Tony Hale as Meriwether Lewis, Ub Iwerks and Edward Cope in Drunk History.

Actor in a Comedy Series

Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent

Tambor is a fantastic actor and his genius should have been recognized decades ago. Thanks to HBO Go, you can recognize his greatness as Hank Kingsley in The Larry Sanders Show. Tambor as Kingsley is the best of Ed McMahon, Andy Richter and every local car salesman combined. Hey, now!

Actress in a Comedy Series

Julia Louis Dreyfus for VEEP

VEEP is an adventurous, hilarious and true-to-life comedy series. Dreyfus has already won this award for this role and since you’re on this site, you already know it. Since you’ve seen every episode of VEEP, you may need to look to foreign countries for your political fix. Black Mirror, the excellent Channel 4 series, is great for people that don’t have time to invest in long narratives. Each episode is its own story. The specific episode we’re recommending is season 1, episode 1, “The National Anthem,” a story of a political leader blackmailed into having sex with a pig. This episode premiered December 4, 2011. On September 20, 2015 UK Prime Minister David Cameron was rumored to put his penis in dead pig’s mouth. Congrats, Julia Louis Dreyfus!

black-mirror-episode-1-channel4

Variety Shows Sketch

Inside Amy Schumer

This new category is excellent, it separates sketch from variety and without it, there’s no way Drunk History gets recognized. Schumer deserved to win. Her series is groundbreaking and without fat. Because it doesn’t have to stretch to 90 minutes and because it’s from an underrepresented voice it’s a breath of fresh air. Another show that benefited from it’s length and featured underrepresented voices was Kids in the Hall. The Canadian sketch series is still underrepresented and somewhat surprisingly, holds up today. Hopefully we’ll see cast member Scott Hall on next year’s Emmy’s when Hannibal sweeps the Drama category. We recommend binging on the YouTube clips Nerdist posted in 2012.

Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was an adventurous, hilarious and game changing political show. Stewart has cemented his place in comedy and political lore so there’s no need to continue to rave. Since you’ve seen most important Daily Show clips, you may need to look to foreign countries for your political fix. Black Mirror, the excellent Channel 4 series, is great for people that don’t have time to invest in long narratives. Each episode is its own story. The specific episode we’re recommending is season 1, episode 1, “The National Anthem,” a story of a political leader blackmailed into having sex with a pig. This episode premiered December 4, 2011. On September 20, 2015 UK Prime Minister David Cameron was rumored to put his penis in dead pig’s mouth. Congrats, Jon Stewart!

black-mirror-episode-1-channel4

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Uzo Aduba for Orange is the New Black

Another fantastic performance from a very good television show, Uzo Aduba has turned her character into a cultural phenomenon. But she already won for playing this character at last year’s Emmy Awards. For comedy. So OITNB has been awarded annually in separate categories. This seems like a fine time to remind everyone that The Good Wife is still great and Christine Baranski is still great on it and if I don’t remind you about The Good Wife, your friend that LOVES television will let you know that you’re missing out and blah blah blah this show is great. It is so now that that’s done, binge all 22 episodes of season 6 (that’s the season Baranski was nominated for, Aduba won for season 2 of OITNB, a much better season than the most recent) and admit that CBS has one really, really good drama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82on4_jUlKw

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is such a popular show it has officially sanctioned burlesque shows and beer. George R. R. Martin has created something that has crossed cultures. Another show Martin worked on that attempted to appeal to wide swaths of culture was Beauty and the Beast. The series starred a much younger Ron Pearlman as Vincent, aka The Beast. Linda Hamilton played Asst. Dist. Atty. Catherine Chandler, aka The Beauty. Martin wrote 14 episodes and did not include one dragon. Here’s a very odd video that uses the song from the Disney movie but placed on live actors is just plain weird!

Actor in a Drama

Jon Hamm for Mad Man

Hamm should have won this award years ago but Breaking Bad had that on lock. Another show Hamm should have won for is A Young Doctor’s Notebook. The British series (what would be a miniseries in the U.S.) starred Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe as the same character, decades apart. It was made with a very low budget and it doesn’t matter. The performances ride a fine line between drama and comedy, each delivering such quality work that it’s perfectly fine to forget that the same person in their 20s and 40s should be the same height and have the same accent.

Actress in a Drama

Viola Davis for How To Get Away With Murder

Davis had the best speech of the night. She spoke about race and the entertainment industry. She spoke about harsh truths that are rarely mentioned. The people we see on television in lead roles aren’t typically females of color. One such performer that should have been nominated for a dramatic Emmy is Sonja Sohn for her role as Det. Shakima ‘Kima’ Greggs in The Wire. We debated about including The Wire in this and pretty much every piece about television because it’s such an obvious choice. But The Wire was only nominated for two Emmys, both in the writing categories, and took home no hardware. Kima was one of the best characters on one of the best shows and maybe if The Wire premiered in 2012 rather than 2002, she would have been the lead in at least one season.

Comedy Series

VEEP

Nearly every show nominated for Best Comedy would have been a worthy winner. VEEP obviously deserved it. And since you’re tired of hearing about the UK Prime Minister putting his penis into a dead pig’s mouth, let’s highlight another very funny show about D.C. Alpha House is a tamer, more binge-friendly political comedy that will hopefully have a third season. John Goodman stars as Senator Gil John Biggs and John Goodman in any sitcom is worth watching. Take Goodman out of Roseanne and the show doesn’t have a second season. He’s everything you want in a Goodman character, angry, funny, fatherlike, so large you’re worried about his health. Toss in Amy Sedaris for a few episodes and it’s a very enjoyable show that is much closer to actual D.C. than House of Cards.

Drama Series

Game of Thrones

Since we already linked this show to Beauty and The Best and since you’re most likely sick of being reminded of the UK Prime Minister that put his penis in a dead pig’s mouth, let’s highlight a show that was too good for networks, too safe for premium cable. The final season of Justified would have at least been nominated if it aired on HBO. Walton Goggins would have been nominated and won for Best Supporting Actor if it aired on HBO. Instead, the final season redeemed itself for hardcore fans and was left alone by people that once loved it. It’s the curse of too much good TV. It’s easy to forget great writing when there are dragons and exposed boobs (no offense to dragons and exposed boobs) on HBO.

 

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