Remember how I said in a previous article that I was mostly OK with the Emmy nominations and awards this year? I wasn’t quite being truthful. As is always the case, some worthy shows almost inevitably get the shaft every year, which is not just a pity for the actors, but for the TV world in general, because these are programs that could use any recognition at all if they’re to stand a chance in hell of coming back for another season. This may become a recurring theme for me (it’s been a sliver under my nail for decades) but for now, I’m just going to deal with two returning programs
Parenthood (NBC Tuesdays at 10) just can’t catch a break, from filming two pilots to deal with a lead actress’ illness to being stuck in a time slot in a third place network. I thought it might do better now that it’s main competition The Good Wife has been moved to Sundays, but its audience seems to only shrink. None of this changes the fact that it’s still one of the best dramas on TV. Peter Krause continues to demonstrate why he is the Gregory Peck of my generation in his portrayal of Adam Braverman. Lauren Graham gives more evidence that she may the most undervalued and unappreciated actress of any era. And the rest of the cast and writing creates one of the most endearing family portraits we may have ever seen, dealing with teen alcoholism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and the process of adoption Adding to this exceptional cast is the wonderful Jason Ritter as an old (not really) paramour of Graham’s, once again demonstrating that family, not sci-fi s where his talent lies. I look forward to seeing how this romance turns out.
Considering all its plusses, I can’t understand why Parenthood is constantly absent from the Emmy nominations. With Fox’s Fringe, the reasons are a little clearer; its ratings are low and it’s convoluted sci-fi, neither of which will get you much recognition. But the performances of Anna Torv and John Noble have been the kind of stuff that you’d think would make up an Emmy’s wet dream. Not only do they play two of the most complicated characters on TV, but they’ve played so many subtle variations on them — in the alternate universe and beyond— that you wonder what the judges are waiting for. The work continued in the fourth season where we now see versions of them without the central person in both their lives, Walter’s son, Peter, who was erased from the timeline in the game changing season finale. I don’t expect this story to get a quick resolution either, but if one is one of the few very patient fans, one gets such rewards from watching. Because, unlike The X-Files, when the shows creators pose impossible questions, they answer them. Don’t let the Friday at 9 time slot throw you — this is definitely appointment television.