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Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Thoughts on Emmy's Most Controversial Race

This topic will no doubt be discussed ad nauseum for the next TWO MONTHS, but I wanted to throw my two cents in anyway…

Why did “Friday Night Lights” and “Lost” not get nominated for Outstanding Drama Series?

Let’s backtrack for a minute. Last year, there was a huge outcry when “Lost” did not get a drama nod. The reason, everyone agreed, was that “Lost” did not choose the right episode to submit. Critics, journalists, and anyone else with a keyboard or pen complained that episode choice figured too much into the process. So, the Academy changed the rules and added what I call the “Dancing With the Stars” rule: The judges’ scores (based on sample episode screening) would only count for 50% of the overall score. The other 50% would be determined by the popular vote of the TV Academy members that established the top 10 finalists (For a complete description of the Emmy process, scroll down to the next post.).

According to, both “Friday Night Lights” and “Lost” made the list of 10 finalists that were screened for the judging panels. “FNL” submitted its pilot, while “Lost” submitted the season finale, “Through the Looking Glass.”

For me, the “FNL” omission is not that much of a surprise. Though it made the top 10, I’m guessing it was on the low end since it doesn’t have as much hype surrounding it. It needed a good episode to sway those voters who were not as familiar with it. But instead, they submitted the clichéd and overly sentimental pilot. If “FNL” is truly as good as the critics say (I stopped watching after the pilot.), there had to be a better episode to submit.

The situation of “Lost” is a completely different story. Last year, they submitted a confusing episode with too much sci-fi and not enough character. But this year, they submitted the outstanding finale. So what went wrong?

I told you earlier that there were some grumblings by the judges about the “Lost” entry being two hours. But my source (That’s right. I have an Emmy source. It’s very exciting.) told me not to worry about that because they were one of the grumblers and still ranked “Lost” number one. Maybe there were more grumblers than they thought…

However, as my source also pointed out, Emmy voters don’t always follow the rules. Though “24” submitted a solid episode, most of the voters, according to my source, knew that the season fell apart later which influenced their votes (and killed the chances of “24” getting nominated). Maybe the same logic applies to “Lost.” Maybe there was some kind of backlash against the show for it being so popular, or maybe the voters resented the rules being changed for it, or maybe they were sick of hearing how stupid they were not to nominate it last year. Or maybe what seemed outstanding to those of us who follow the show just seemed confusing to people who had never seen it?

Which leads to another important question in this debate. Why “Boston Legal”? According to Goldderby, the episode “BL” submitted was “Angel of Death.” In the episode—which I didn’t see because I had already written “BL” off—Alan (James Spader) travels to New Orleans to help with the defense of a doctor who euthanized five patients during Hurricane Katrina. Some of the speculation on Goldderby was that the episode was too preachy and heavy-handed, but I think it had exactly the opposite effect. I think that the judges were moved by the story and by the risk the writers took in bringing it to the screen. Voters only watching this episode didn’t know anything about all the crazy sex stories that brought the season to a screeching halt for longtime fans like me.

And there’s a chance that the voters may have connected with some of the political rhetoric they heard about how the government let New Orleans down and ranking “BL” high was their own political stand.

ABC does not offer the “BL” episode online, but you can see Alan’s closing argument here. It may give you a little more insight…

Personally, I can’t speak to whether “FNL” should have been nominated, but I do believe “Lost” deserved a nod. However, the Carlton Cuse-Damon Lindelof hater in me finds it kind of amusing that the Emmy changes meant to get their show in ended up failing them. And since “BL” gets zero love from ABC and Steve McPherson—my TV enemy—I’m okay with them getting love from the Emmys. I just wish it would have been for a better season.

And now, my dear reader, I turn it over to you. What do you think? You can post a comment or you can send me an e-mail at

And if there are any other Emmy voters out there who would like to defend their choices, I would LOVE to hear from you…