‘Mad Men’ Steals a Page from ‘Breaking Bad’ Stretching Final Season

Remember how upset you were when you saw the last episode of Breaking Bad in 2012?

Then, you had to wait a full year for the purported “second half” of the final season. All the while you wondered, why didn’t AMC just call it two separate seasons?

Well, if you’re a fan of AMC’s less gritty drama Mad Men, you’ll be crying out once again. AMC is stretching out the final season of Mad Men into two halves. The fourteen episode “final season” will air seven episodes in 2014 and seven episodes in spring 2015. AMC stated that they wanted the chance to tell a “more elaborate story.”

But we know the real reason. It’s called: Dollar…Dollar…Bill, yo.

EDITOR’S PICK: The Walking Dead gets its Doctor Who Companion

By stretching out Breaking Bad‘s final season, the cable network was able to give potential fans who were lagging behind to catch up on the show as well as offering new fans a chance to hop on the bandwagon. The split helped Breaking Bad to earn double the viewers during the second half of the season. I have to admit, I utilized that extra year to beg and plea for people to tune into Breaking Bad – if only to see Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring.

The additional year will also give AMC the chance to earn more “bank” off of blu-ray sales. Needless to say, there will be a Mad Men Season 7 Part 1 Blu-ray/DVD on sale in 2015 just before the actual final seven episodes air that spring. Then, AMC can double dip and sell the Mad Men Season 7 Complete Season as well as the Mad Men Complete Series box sets. I may not buy it, but I definitely will be all over the Breaking Bad double dip.

2012 Creative Arts Emmys: ‘Justified,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘Downton Abbey,’ Among Winners

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A week before the big awards are doled out at the Emmys, the technical awards and guest actors are being honored Saturday at the Nokia Theatre LA for the Creative Arts Emmys, which will air an edited special on the Reelz network, Sept. 22 at 8pm.

Among some of the winners already announced are HBO’s Game of Thrones for Outstanding Costumes for a Series, Showtime’s Homeland for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Girls for a Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, and HBO’s Game Change for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special.

AMC’s The Walking Dead and Greg Nicotero‘s team of makeup artists for Outstanding Prosthetics and Makeup, Hatfields & McCoys for Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or MovieDownton Abbey for Hairstyling for TV Series, NBC’s Smash for Outstanding Choreography, Downton Abbey for Outstanding Music Composition Dramatic Score and American Horror Story for Hairstyling for a Miniseries.

Shocking many was Jeremy Davies who took home an Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work as Dickie Bennett in Justified. He beat out stiff competition from Breaking Bad’s Mark MargolisParenthood’s Jason RitterThe Good Wife’s Dylan Baker and Michael J. Fox, and Mad Men‘s Ben Feldman.

Kathy Bates took home the Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for her work in Two and a Half Men. She beat out Elizabeth Banks in 30 RockMargaret Cho as Kim Jong-il in 30 RockDot-Marie Jones in Glee and Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph who each hosted Saturday Night Live.

HBO’s critical favorites, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones tied for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series; both series also took the Hollywood magic awards Thrones for Special Visual Effects and Empire for Visual Effects in a Supporting Role. 

2 Broke Girls won Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series, and there was another tie for Art Direction for Variety or Nonfiction Program by The 54th Grammy Awards and the 65th Tony Awards.

Editing Awards went to Homeland (for Drama Series beating Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey), Curb Your Enthusiasm (for Single-Camera Comedy beating Modern Family and 30 Rock) How I Met Your Mother (for Multi-Camera Comed), and Hatfields & McCoys (for Mini-Series or Movie). Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming went to Deadliest Catch.

Fans of animated series might be surprised to see that Penguins of Madagascar won for Outstanding Animated Program, beating out American Dad, The Simpsons, Futurama, and Bob’s Burgers. Futurama’s Maurice LaMarche took home another Emmy for Outstanding Voice Performance.

Commercial nerds will be a bit disappointed to know that Target’s “Color Changes Everything”, Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” and Volkswagen’s “The Bark Side” and “The Dog Strikes Back” Star Wars parodies were beaten by Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job” commercial.

Other awards given out were:

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series: Jeff Greenberg (Modern Family), Jennifer Euston (Girls), Julie Tucker (Nurse Jackie), Benard Telsey (The Big C), Seth Yanklewitz, Michael Nicolo, Anya Colloff, and Juel Bestrop (New Girl), and Allison, Jennifer Euston, and Pat Moran (Veep).

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Jimmy Fallon for Saturday Night Live, Bobby Cannavale for Nurse Jackie, Will Arnett for 30 Rock, Greg Kinnear for Modern Family and Jon Hamm for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Kathy Bates for Two and a Half Men, Melissa McCarthy for Saturday Night Live, Maya Rudolph for Saturday Night Live. Margaret Cho for 30 Rock, Dot-Marie Jones for Glee and Elizabeth Banks for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Cinematography for Multi-Camera Series: Gary Baum for Mike & Molly, Steven V. Silver for Two and a Half Men, Gary Baum for 2 Broke Girls, Chris LaFountaine for How I Met Your Mother, and John Simmons for Pair of Kings (Disney XD).

Outstanding Single-Camera Editing for Comedy Series: Ryan Case for Modern Family, Steven A. Rasch for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Steven A. Rasch for Modern Family, Ken Eluto for 30 Rock and Leap Day for 30 Rock.

Outstanding Multi-Camera Editing for Comedy Series: Peter John Chakos for The Big Bang Theory, Joseph Bella for Two and a Half Men, Darryl Bates for 2 Broke Girls, Mark Alan Dashnaw for Hot in Cleveland, and Sue Federman for How I  Met Your Mother.

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Half-Hour Comedy or Drama Series: Tom Stasinis, Dennis Kirk, and Todd Orr for Entourage; Stephen A. Tibbo, Brian R. Harman and Dean Okrand for Modern Family; Jan McLaughlin and Peter Waggoner for Nurse Jackie; Robert Palladino, Martin Brumbach, Josiah Gluck and William Taylor for 30 Rock; and John Cook, Steve Morantz, Peter Nusbaum for Parks and Recreation.

Emmy Nominations – Who Got Served and Who Got Screwed Again

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The 2012 Emmy nominations have been announced and we’ve got all of the major categories listed as well as our initial, emotional reactions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Boardwalk Empire
Homeland
Mad Men
Game of Thrones

Reaction: What’s to debate here? All deserve it to some degree. Even in a down season, Downton Abbey is still phenomenal television, even if it’s not your cup of tea. My only gripe is that last year Abbey was considered a Miniseries and now they take the place of an equally deserving show. Nothing is budging Breaking Bad or Mad Men, and there’s no one else more thrilled to see Homeland and Game of Thrones included. Boardwalk Empire belongs too, but again, Sons of Anarchy will sadly never be in the Emmy conversation for whatever reason even though this past season wasn’t its most consistent. There were series that were going to be left on the outside looking in and SOA, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead and Justified were left out this year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men
Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey
Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law
Claire Danes – Homeland
Glenn Close – Damages

Reaction: There is nothing but rage, absolute rage. Someone please take Bates out and place Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal! It’s absolute B.S. And where’s Sarah Michelle Gellar for playing dual roles in Ringer. I’m kidding about that last comment, people, I’m kidding.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Reaction: It’s a glorious day to see Anna Gunn break into the category and get some recognition for Skylar White. It’s well-deserved and been a long time coming. Downton Abbey was a bit too soapy for me this past season but I can see why Smith and Froggatt are nominated. The Good Wife is filled with great actresses up and down that cast so there was no doubt that Baranski and Panjabi were going to be nominated. No Joelle Carter this year, but if all goes right, next year could be her year knowing her potential storylines in Justified.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Joan Cusack – Shameless
Uma Thurman – Smash
Julia Ormond – Mad Men
Loretta Devine – Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart – Harry’s Law
Martha Plimpton – The Good Wife

Reaction: Good choices, especialy with Plimpton and Cusack. Thurman was one of the few memorable things about Smash, but does anyone believe that show qualifies as a Drama series? It’s more like a comedy…

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
Jon Hamm – Mad Men
Damien Lewis – Homeland

Reaction: This is one of the toughest categories year in and year out. Anything Homeland is hot, but Cranston is putting on a clinic each week on Breaking Bad. Hall is getting a bit long in the tooth in this category and is a bit outclassed, so I would have cheered more had Fringe’s John Noble took his place who is long overdue for some recognition for playing a dozen versions of his character Walter Bishop. We still love you, John. And Timothy Olyphant was also left out for what was his finest season as Raylan Givens.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle – Downton Abbey
Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
Jared Harris – Mad Men
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones

Reaction: Again, a knockout category and I’m glad I don’t have a vote for this one. Harris had a season to remember, and I’ve never rooted for an antagonist before like I did with Esposito’s Gus Fring. What’s not to love about Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister? And both Carter and Coyle are strong on Abbey but I’m surprised not to see Alan Cumming from The Good Wife, also no Walton Goggins for Justified? Bah!

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis – Breaking Bad
Jeremy Davies – Justified
Jason Ritter – Parenthood
Ben Feldman – Mad Men
Dylan Baker – The Good Wife

Reaction: How the hell do you leave Neal McDonough off this list? What an absolute crime! He deserves the spot more than fellow Justified guest, Jeremy Davies who is great on the show, but McDonough was riveting. We’ll be rooting for Breaking Bad‘s Mark Margolis (DING! DING! DING!) who got to finally step out of the wheelchair and show people a great performance in the Breaking Bad episode, “Hermanos.” Ritter who got no respect in The Event, did remind people of his talent in Parenthood.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields and McCoys
Luther
Sherlock

Reaction: Even with Downton Abbey leaving this category, it still stacked. BBC is well represented with Luther and Sherlock. American Horror Story qualified and that helped it not to get lost in the Drama series. I’m glad it’s recognized. Hatfields and McCoys made a late charge and it’s fresh on voters’ minds.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Connie Britton – American Horror Story
Ashley Judd – Missing
Nicole Kidman – Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore – Game Change
Emma Thompson – The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Reaction: Lots of reliable Academy and fan favorites make this category extremely competitive this season, but something tells me that Moore will get it for portraying Sarah Palin. Judd’s action role in the canceled Missing, AKA TV’s Taken, is a bit of a odd pick.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kevin Costner – Hatfield & McCoys
Idris Elba – Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Woody Harrelson – Game Change
Bill Paxton – Hatfield & McCoys
Clive Owen – Hemmingway & Gellhorn

Reaction: – Connect yourself to Ernest Hemmingway in any way, shape or form and you will get attention. I’ll be rooting for either of the BBC representatives in Elba and Cumberbatch because both are so clearly distinct in the massive sea of good television.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ed Harris –  Game Change
Denis O’Hare –  American Horror Story
David Strathairn –  Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman – Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Tom Berenger – Hatfields & McCoys

Reaction: I’ll admit to seeing only Freeman and O’Hare, who I both enjoyed for different reasons. Knowing this Academy, Harris is the front runner in portraying McCain.

Outstanding Host in Reality TV
Tom Bergeron – Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley – So YOu Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan – The Amazing Race
Betty White – Off Their Rockers
Ryan Seacrest – American Idol

Reaction: I’m rooting for White. I am not afraid to admit that I watch this show and yes, I do think it’s funny. Also, does anyone really care about the rest of these puppets?

Outstanding Reality – Competition
Dancing With the Stars
The Amazing Race
Top Chef
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Project Runway

Reaction: If we’re talking reality here, why is Dancing with the Stars here? The Voice could be roped into that strange celeb/reality blend too because in all honesty, our eyes are on what Christina Aguilera will wear and say next. The Amazing Race will be the odds on favorite, as usual, especially with Survivor being absent. I’ll still be rooting Top Chef and Project Runway but again, Survivor’s absence is a big surprise. Let’s just be thankful that American Idol wasn’t nominated.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Daily Show
Colbert Report
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Reaction: It’s the usual suspects except Conan O’Brien is missing. That move to TBS has not done much for Conan outside of security. It seems like everyone’s forgotten what network he’s moved to. I also don’t think this was one of SNL’s better years either.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Julia Louise-Dreyfus – VEEP
Lena Dunham -Girls
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly

Reaction: The Academy is in love with Fey, Poehler, and McCarthy. Fey can do no wrong despite 30 Rock not currently being as great as the earlier seasons. Poehler and Parks and Rec probably had its best season, and it’s probably no coincidence that both that and Veep’s  leads were nominated in an election year. Well played HBO and NBC. I like Deschanel, but I’m surprised she got nominated, then again, I’m not. Dunham and Falco are no surprises here after their seasons but I feel like this category is missing some stronger candidates.  Also no Alison Brie and no Krysten Ritter… double sigh. Waitaminute, does anyone else notice how they got seven nominations when most others had only six? Lots of gripes are going to come at this one…

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Merritt Wever – Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives

Reaction: When is the Academy going to grow some balls and nominate Kaitlin Olson for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? I’m eye-rolling at the Modern Family nods but mildly applauding Bialik’s nomination. Wiig is the only thing that saves SNL half the time and I have to admit that I never been desperate enough to tune into Housewives since the first season. Where are the girls of Happy Endings? Cheryl Hines or Allie Grant of Suburgatory? Bah! The comedy nominations get me pissed every single year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Louis C.K. – Louie
Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Reaction: People need to stop recognizing Two and a Half Men, seriously. Every time Cryer and this show are recognized, it shows why Hollywood keeps making brain dead comedies for the networks. Parsons, Baldwin, and David were almost written in months ago. Snooze. Here’s where Louis C.K. gets his nomination along with his writing and directing. Him winning would be an incredible upset knowing these voters, but there’s no one else who actually deserves it more than him.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Bill Hader – SNL
Max Greenfield – New Girl

Reaction: Again, no disrespect to MF, but the Academy should be ashamed at nominating four goddmamn actors from one show in one category. There are other shows out there you know. Damon Wayans Jr. should be on this list. Also Nick Kroll from The League should be here and I also think that Garrett Dillahunt deserves a nomination for Raising Hope. Want another diss? How about James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. Hell, anyone but a Modern Family cast member–this season anyway.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Curb Your ENthusiasm
30 Rock
VEEP
Modern Family
Girls

Reaction: Wow, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a resurgence in the comedy awards. Was hoping Louie would crack this category once and for all but somehow 30 Rock got yet another nomination even though it’s been sitting in park for the last few seasons. The same could be said about Modern Family. I’m not sure if Archer entered as a comedy or animated series, but it should be here nonetheless. Wilfred is a cutting edge show that requires more thought than just laughing straight jokes but it seems to go over many heads. Episodes was another snubbed victim. VEEP and Girls took away spots normally held by network comedies and that’s nice, but Louie still deserves to be in this category and so does Community. Booooooo!

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad – Hot Water
The Penguins of Madagascar – The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole
Futurama – The Tip of the Zoidberg
Bob’s Burgers – BurgerBoss
The Simpsons – Holidays of Future Passed

Reaction: Where’s Archer? One episode of Archer is more entertaining than all of the nominees back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program
Regular Show – Eggscellent
Adventure Time – Too Young
Disney Phineas and Ferb – The Doonkleberry Imperative
Robot Chicken – Fight Club Paradise
Mad – Kitchen Nightmare Before Christmas / How I Met Your Mummy

Reaction: Knowing that Adventure Time, Regular Show, Mad and Robot Chicken all have nominations this year but Sons of Anarchy doesn’t sums up the type of twisted turmoil happiness and anger bestowed on people like us who follow television.

 

Other notable nominations and notes:

  • In the comedy writing category, both Community (Remedial Chaos Theory) and Louie (Pregnant) got nominations. So essentially the Butterfly Effect and TV’s longest fart joke got nominated. See how random the Emmys can be?
  • Louis C.K. also got a directing nomination for “Duckling” which may have been the greatest half hour of television last year.
  • Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan got a directing nomination for the series climax, “Face Off”
  • Mad Men dominated the drama writing category with three nominations; Homeland picked up one too for its Pilot.
  • Nominated for Main Title Design: FX’s American Horror Story’s creepy opening, Cinemax’s Strike Back, Starz Magic City, PBS’ Great Expectation, and Fox’s New Girl that lasts less than 10 seconds. How is Game of Thrones not nominated?
  • Burt Reynolds did not get an Emmy nomination for Voice-Over performance in Archer. Dammit!

Well, those are our initial reactions, want to share yours? For a complete list of the Emmy Nominations including the technical categories, click here.

Mad Men Season 5: Favorite Moments

If you read my reviews of the last few episodes of Mad Men this season – especially the season finale – you’ll know that I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the story arcs this year. The acting, however, remained incredible and there are still a number of scenes that have stayed with me the few weeks since the finale aired.

Here are my favorites. List your favorites in the comments!

5×02 – “A Little Kiss” – Megan Puts on a Show
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We all weren’t sure what to make of Megan when Don impulsively proposed to her at the end of the previous season, but I have to admit, most of us were quite enamored with her after her lustful performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou” at his surprise birthday party. (Or maybe that was just me.)

At the same time, we started to see cracks in their marriage as Don looked on horrified. Not because she wasn’t amazing at singing, but because Don hated inviting his friends in to what he saw as a private moment with Megan—something that comes to a head in the finale when Don invites Megan back into his business life, after she initially left it to pursue acting.

5×04 – “Mystery Date” – Joan Kicks Greg Out

We spent the off-season hoping Joan’s rapist husband Greg would get killed in Vietnam—and suffer. But he came home. Luckily, Joan finally wised up and kicked him to the curb, but not without first reminding him what he did to her. We never forgot… but more importantly, she never forgot.

Unfortunately, by kicking Greg out, Joan suddenly needed more income to support her child leading to her making a tough decision later in the season…

5×05 – “Signal 30” – Lane Socks Pete

Lane did something in this episode that we had all wanted Don – or anyone – to do for years: punch Pete in the face. It was an act that launched a million .GIFs. And even if we lost Lane, we’re going to be looking at the scene of Pete getting knocked across the face for years to come. (The one on train in the season finale isn’t as thrilling, however.)
After you’ve watched the scene a few times, make sure you re-watch it just to see Don, Roger and Bert’s reactions.

5×07 – “At the Codfish Ball” – Roger and Sally Become Best Friends
There’s a lot of great scenes from this episode, whether it’s Sally walking in on Roger “playing” with his friend’s mother-in-law, or how Sally describes the event and city to Glen afterwards as “dirty.”

But no, I had to pick the playful banter between Sally and Roger as my favorite. The only two who were more fun to interact with on television this season would have been Arya and Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones.

5×10 – “Christmas Waltz” – Joan Becomes Mrs. Draper
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You could have cut the sexual tension with a knife during their trip to a bar, but for my money, the best part of the Joan and Don pairing in this episode is at the car dealership, where Joan instantly takes on the role of Don’s wife without even batting an eyelash. The chemistry they have as friends probably would never work as more than friends, but that scene above all showed us how much they not only truly cared for each other, but how more than anyone else in their respective lives they truly understood the other.

5×11 – “The Other Woman – Peggy Resigns

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This is an episode that I’m always going to have issues with—I still don’t buy that Joan would do what she did. But it can’t take away from the powerhouse acting in the “break-up” scene between Peggy and Don.

Truthfully, I think Peggy might have considered staying if Don hadn’t insulted her by saying she got everything she had from him, and then compounded matters by throwing money in her face.

We did get a few additional appearances of Peggy after this scene, and I hope because of how strong it was, we’ll still continue to get more in season 6.

5×12 – “Commissions and Fees” – Looking Over the Window

This is the other storyline I just had trouble believing from a narrative perspective, but I still can’t get two images out of my head. First, seeing Lane’s dead body hanging from the back of his door.

But two was his colleagues looking over the window by standing on the couches and seeing something horrifying. Something that we wouldn’t see for a bit longer. It truly set the stage for the scene that was to come.

‘Homeland’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Sherlock’, ‘Community’ and Louis C.K. Among Winners at Critics’ Choice Television Awards

It may not have the prestige of the Emmys, but The 2nd Annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards took place Monday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and at least one TV awards ceremony got most of the winners right. Winners are voted by The Broadcast Television Journalists Association, AKA people who watch television for a living.

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Drama
In the often-debated drama categories, Showtime’s Homeland took Best Drama Series and Claire Danes took Best Actress. Representing AMC’s Breaking Bad were Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito, who both took home hardware for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama respectively for their Season 4 battle royale. Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks picked up Best Supporting Actress, while Lucy Liu picked up the Best Guest Performer for her fine turn in TNT’s Southland.

Comedy
Network television picked up a great deal of the comedy awards but were more evenly distributed. Yes there are other comedies besides ABC’s Modern Family and media darling, Community picked up Best Comedy Series and FX’s do-it-all, Louis C.K. picked up Best Actor for Louie. There was a tie in the Best Actress in a Comedy Series shared between New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and Parks and Recreation‘s Amy Poehler. Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell won the Best Supporting Actress and Actor awards for their portrayal of suburban wannabe-hip parents of three teenagers in Modern Family. Paul Rudd’s Guest Performance on Parks and Recreation got him the prize as well.

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Animated/Movie/Mini-Series/Reality/Misc.
Another BuzzFocus favorite, Archer took home Best Animated Series for its best season yet, and BBC/PBS’s Sherlock, (Hear our podcast of Sherlock vs. the CBS pilot, Elementary), earned Best Movie/Miniseries and star Benedict Cumberbatch took home Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries. Julianne Moore brought hardware home for HBO for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in “Game Change”.

In the Most Exciting New Series, Fox’s The Following starring Kevin Bacon is catching the eye of many critics, beating out other nominees including Fox’s The Mindy Project, ABC’s Nashville, USA’s Political Animals, and HBO’s The Newsroom. Others receiving Critics’ Choice Awards were Anthony Boudain: No Reservations for Best Reality Series, The Voice for Best Reality Competition, Jimmy Fallon for Best Talk Show and Tom Bergeron and Cat Deeley shared the Best Reality Hosts.

We’ll soon see if this will be a barometer for the upcoming 2012 Emmy Nominations. Who are you rooting for?

Mad Men Season 5 Finale: Subtlety Lost in ‘The Phantom’

Subtlety was nowhere and definitely not accounted for in the season 5 of Mad Men.

It used to be what I loved about Mad Men. Think back to Don Draper’s Carousel pitch from the first season finale and how he described the perfect life with that Kodak product—something he didn’t actually have, even though he used photos from his own life. We didn’t get hit over the head with that message. It was there… in the background.

We even got a somewhat repeat of that performance with him watching Megan’s audition tape. But it was a cheap callback and one that felt flat in a season of killing mistresses in a dream, toxic smog and Don’s dead brother telling him in phantom form that it was his SOUL!! not just his tooth that was rotten.

While we got the appearance of subtlety in the final scene, in my mind, there was no doubt that after the camera cut to black, Don was of course going to flirt with those girls. And probably try to go home with one of them.

Megan is gone to Don. In Don’s life, when someone becomes a success without him, they don’t need him anymore, as he told Peggy. And while some people take pride in that, Don takes solace in it. It depresses him. And then he turns them away.
There were bits and pieces of last night’s finale that I loved. Same with the season overall. While I still detest and don’t buy the idea that Lane would forge a check, the fall-out has been an acting showcase. And that happened again last night as we saw his widow deal with his death and not try to allow Don to let go of some of the guilt.

Similarly, while the Beth affair subplot with Pete rang hollow in every scene they were in together, the pay-off with Pete getting into a fight with her husband on the train was worthwhile. It showed how he echoed Don’s life more and more than he realized. (And no, I’m not assigning a higher grade since yet again Pete loses a fight and we all rejoice.)

And while I was happy to see Peggy again, her scene without Don was so disconnected from the rest of the show, that I’m hoping this isn’t a warm-up to how she’ll be integrated (if at all) next season.

All in all, I’m left in an unsure place. While I’ll of course be there when the next season premieres, I’m not going to be as excited as I was the last two seasons—first, when we wondered how a new agency would function and then this past year, when we speculated on what life would be like with Megan.

But trust me: I’ll be there. With a martini or two.

‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 12 Review: ‘Commissions and Fees’

Mad Men isn’t usually a show you can predict. Who could have predicted Don has a wife until he showed up at home at the end of the first episode? Or that he wasn’t even really Don. Or you know, that one time that a tractor went through the office…

But this season, it seems like all signs were pointing LOUD AND CLEAR to someone dying on the show. We had the open elevator shaft. Pete casually bring up the notion of suicide as it relates to an insurance policy. And the reminder of the fact that Pete has a gun in his office.

I always thought it would be Pete and Roger to do it; Pete, who could never, no matter what, be truly happy. And Roger, who seemed to be in a perpetual state of unhappiness, thanks to his failures at new business of late and the dissolution of his marriage.

But of course it would be Lane. He really had no way out, right? Once Don of all people – Don who forged an identity that could have caused serious problems for his two firms over the years – caught him in an embezzlement scheme, that in the grand “scheme” of things, wasn’t even that much money.

Was there any other way for Lane to go?

No.

But.

I still don’t buy Lane wouldn’t have asked for that money from Don or anyone else. I don’t think his pride is that strong, that he would risk his reputation, career and everything else, to embezzle it.

And because I still can’t get past it, as moved as I was by Jared Harris’ performance throughout the episode, I’m still having trouble appreciating the decision to have everything play out as it did.

Inevitability ruled the day, however. Whether Lane was either looking for one last happy moment with his crush Joan or he somehow, sadistically almost, wanted to see if he still had a shot with her, once Lane was crushed by her again he retreated home. Perhaps if his wife hadn’t bought the car, he could have felt like he could reemerge, but it was probably still inevitable.

It was inevitable that his car wouldn’t start… after he had already broken his glasses. (Can anyone answer me why he did that? Did he just hate them so much and he’d rather them not be on him when he actually did kill himself?)

And it was inevitable that once he was typing at his typewriter, he was going to kill himself in that office. But with what? (I thought of Pete’s gun almost instantly.)

That inevitability is what grew the tension in the episode. Knowing that he truly was dead when Joan couldn’t get into his office. Wondering what gruesome sight the guys saw when they peered over Pete’s window. (Again, I figured he blew his head off with Pete’s fun and it was splatted all over the office.) And then waiting for Don’s reaction when he returned to the office, slightly drunk from his liquid lunch with Roger.

Now the question is… will Don say anything? Or will this be a terrible burden that he carries, just as he knows Peggy’s secret? “It will shock you how much it didn’t happen.”

OK. I think that’s enough said about Lane. Some other last minute thoughts:

  • Joan is not only a partner—but she’s kind of running the partners’ meeting now too.
  • Glenn is back. And again, kind of hitting on Don’s wife. With a creepy moustache. (Sorry Matt Weiner—I know he’s your son, but still.)
  • Sally got to wear her go-go boots after all. But she wasn’t quite as ready to become a woman as she thought…
  • Ken didn’t get fired, but he smartly decided to step away so SCDP could go after his father-in-law’s business. (I knew when they cast Ray Wise in that role, we’d see an awful lot of him.)
  • How happy was Betty when she got to remind Megan that the reason Sally came home to her, was because she needed her “mommy.” She may not be as skinny or as attractive as Megan is anymore, and while Sally clearly sees Megan as her friend, Betty knows that she’ll need her mommy every so often. (Even if 95% of the time, she’s a terrible, terrible mother.)
  • No Peggy this week. I doubt we’ll see her next week in the finale, but I imagine next season we’ll see a ton of her at her new agency with some new faces.

*This article has been updated

Mad Men Episode 5.11 Review: The Other Woman

What you thought of last night’s episode of Mad Men is going to hinge on one very important part: did you not only buy from a character standpoint that Joan would sleep with a man to land an account but that four out of five partners at the firm would actually even bring this plan to her.

(OK. Take Pete Campbell out of the equation. Of course he would!)

It’s a question I’ve struggled to answer today and I’m still not sure if I’m satisfied with my own answers. Just like with what happened with Landry during the never-happened second season of Friday Night Lights (if you watched the show, you know what I’m talking about), Mad Men took a turn last night. It’s not one I liked, but it’s one I’ll have to accept for the time being and hopefully one day will forget it ever actually happened.

As discussed, Pete is slime. He even probably thought he could get away with it without the other partners hearing about it when he first went into Joan’s office.

Bert is ineffectual and I’m surprised they even consulted him with the decision.

Lane is clearly over his head and thought this would be a way out of his embezzlement he pulled last week.

But Roger… that one stuck with me. Is he just upset about how Joan has cut him out of his son’s life? Or does he know the company is so desperate for business that he went for it? And is the company that desperate? That’s a question I wish the show wrestled with more during the hour.

For the majority of the episode, I felt uncomfortable—likely by design. As we got closer to the end, and I saw the symmetry between Don telling the execs, “Oh, this car. This thing, gentlemen. What price would we pay? What behavior would we forgive?” and Joan sleeping with Herb to help land his vote for the Jaguar account, I understood what Matt Weiner and co were trying to say: the men of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce often see their women as objects.

Look at Megan. Don appeared to give his blessing for her to quit advertising and try out acting for real, but only as long as she ultimately failed.

Joan was selling her body for a 5% stake in the company. (At least Lane helped her see the importance of that versus a one-time pay-out.)

And Peggy got tossed aside by Don for Ginsburg even though she was the one to help save an account.

Mad Men has been a bit on the nose this year with the metaphors, and they were once again this week. All three women were viewed by different men as at last—something beautiful they could truly own.

What was ultimately surprising for me is how all three of them are fairly powerful women:
Joan is the one women who commands respect above all others (even Peggy) from Don. Even he is shocked when she goes through with it. He tries to talk her out of it, not only because of the love (not romantic) he feels for her, but also, as the son of a prostitute, he knows what this reputation will earn her, no matter if she’s now a partner.
I have to also admire how we saw that scene twice—once in its entirety, and then again after Joan had already gone through with it. Very moving and by not letting Don know she had already done it, she perhaps gave him the encouragement to sell the hell out of the pitch. (Which he did.)

Megan also isn’t afraid to stand up to Don, despite the power he sometimes lords over her with. (He’s been a bit scary with his temper this season.) But when it comes to the audition time, she’s reduced to nothing more than something the men want to ogle from behind.

And then there’s Peggy, the first female copywriter at either of Don’s two firms. She is quickly almost reduced to nothing when she’s quitting and Don tells her, “Let’s pretend I’m not responsible for every single good thing that’s ever happened to you” before offering to throw buckets of money at her.

But to Peggy, it’s not the money. In the moment when she’s interviewing with Don’s sworn rival, while I believe she had already decided to take the job, it’s the fact that Teddy offers her money on top of what she asked for that commands her respect. Because he respected her more than Don in that moment.

(Which brings me to that awkward moment at the end when Don wouldn’t let go of her hand. I kept waiting for him to beg.)

After five seasons, it’s surprising to see Peggy is the one who won’t put a price on her dignity or her respect for herself. In the very first episode, she threw herself at Don because that’s what she was supposed to do.

Joan, meanwhile, finally stood up to her abusive husband this year, but in this episode, was once again disrespected emotionally and physically by the men in her life that are supposed to respect her as a professional.

I would have said Joan and Peggy this season were finally, truly friends. They were so respectful of each other. But Peggy didn’t say goodbye to anyone after she left. (Not even poor Stan!) Perhaps Peggy was upset about Joan’s promotion, especially since she didn’t know how she got it.

But I also wonder if Joan would have been able to even look Peggy in the eye as they said their farewells…

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 10 Review: ‘Christmas Waltz’

The next day, after last night’s Mad Men, you would think I would look fondly back on that absolutely amazing Don and Joan sequence. But nope.

Can’t get Roger in that shirt out of my head.

Or our first look at Paul Kinsey in a couple years.

Wow. Those two images will stick with me awhile.

Anyway. Some major things happened in tonight’s episode, which isn’t surprising, given that series creator Matt Weiner co-wrote it. The major happenings:

  • Lane continues to be in serious financial trouble and believe it or not, doesn’t ask for help from a single soul—instead, he steals from the company and forges Don’s signature to do it. (Which is somewhat ironic given that Don isn’t really Don.) I have to imagine this will be a major, major plot point for the rest of the year (or possibly into next season.) I just can’t envision a scenario in which after Lane is found out – and he will be – that he remains at SCDP. And that makes me very sad.
  • Joan is getting a divorce from her rapist husband. Except he’s the one divorcing her. Wonder why she waited so long to file the paperwork after she dumped him a few episodes ago? (Which I think in the show’s timeline was a few months ago…)
  • And finally, Don get his mojo back. After Megan – who next to Peggy and Joan is willing to stand up to Don – reminds him that he loved his job before he loved her, Don decides to excite and energize the agency to go after the Jaguar pitch. He delivers the kind of “Don speech” we had only seen a glimpse of with Heinz this year, but had seen plenty of in other years (Kodak and the carousel being the best), to his employees—a first. He not only cares about the work, but it seems like he cares about the agency now too.

One of the largest plotlines of this episode belong to Harry and Paul Kinsey. While at first I couldn’t help but laugh at his new role as a Hare Krishna, at the same time, from what I’ve read, this is what happened to people at that time period when they were so lost. Not getting selected to come to SCDP clearly had messed up Paul’s life a bit.

Except he was even more lost than he thought. His girlfriend was taking advantage of him because he was putting the skills he learned in advertising to become an incredible recruiter. And it was Harry Crane – King Douchebag himself – to help set him free. With a lie. But a lie that’s probably better than the truth. And if Harry got some sex out of it, by all means why not—if you’re married and you work at SCDP, you tend to cheat on your wife.

(I’m still waiting for someone on the Internet to write “The Negron Complex.” I’ve Googled, but nobody has attempted it yet.)

Moving on to Joan and Don… that entire sequence was legendary. The way Don showed he truly cared for Joan as a friend – I’m so glad she rejected his invitation for a dance at the bar later because we all know where they would have ended up – and how she quickly adapted to the situation showed how strong their bond is. She went from being upset about the divorce to instantly playing along with Don on the fake marriage at the car dealership. Then again, what new divorcee wouldn’t want to drive around in a Jaguar with a guy like Don?

After she got the divorce papers, I thought for sure Joan would run back to Roger, given what happened earlier in the episode: we learned Roger knows Kevin is his child! But Joan rebuffed him about not being involved, which was somewhat surprising, now that he is getting a divorce as well. Joan seemed to shut the door forever, but I’d be surprised if Roger gave up that easily.

Other random thoughts:

  • There were some great quotes tonight. My two favorites:
    • “Surprise! There’s an airplane here to see you!”
    • “We created a human life. We created a baby.” “Yes, and now it’s some other lucky girl’s turn.”
    • Am I the only one who thought Megan’s outburst kind of came out of nowhere? Don went to her boring play and somewhat if he disappeared for the afternoon? Once he explained he was with Joan, shouldn’t he have be fine? Had Megan still worked at SCDP, perhaps she would have been more understanding…
    • Now that we finally saw Kinsey… does that mean we’ll finally see where Sal wound up? Hopefully he’s in better shape than our would-be Star Trek writer.

‘Mad Men’ Season 5, Episode 4: ‘Mystery Date’ – ‘New’ Don Vs. ‘Old’ Don (Sort Of)

Mad Men has never been about happy endings. Or even happy lives. Things are shit all around. Either you have to deal with it or pretend that everything is rosy. A lot of people prefer the latter, which is pretty much leads us to Don Draper (Jon Hamm), The King of Illusions. In “Mystery Date”, his illusions crash into his reality and things think a dark, nasty turn. And though it may have been (SPOILER ALERT!) completely fake, we finally get to see his inner monologue, courtesy of a Sopranos-like fever dream.

One of the biggest illusions during the Mad Men-set era — and in every era — is the illusion that violence solves everything. Particularly violence committed by men. It’s a means to an end that never gets the full results one is looking for. Does it actually do away with a perceived threat? Does it make a man more of a man? It’s not Liberal, hippie mumbo jumbo in the guise of questions (by the way, I’m a Liberal). There is ample proof around us that violence, though a temporary solution, doesn’t really solve the major problems at hand. Case in point: Don Draper.

A sick Don tries to go about his day like his body isn’t giving out, first by heading into the office, where he has an awkward encounter with Andrea (Madchen Amick), a former conquest, in front of Megan (Jessica Pare) in the elevator, and then attending a pitch meeting with a very chatty Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) and Stan (Jay R. Ferguson). But things get a little crazy when he takes Megan’s advice and goes home after the meeting to rest.

During a sequence in which director Matt Shakman (The Good Guys, It’s Always Sunny….) never for a moment let us viewers believe it was real, Andrea makes her way into the Draper residence, beds Don, and insists that they continue the affair behind Megan’s back. So far, Don hasn’t cheated on Megan (yet) so the offer to have a prolonged affair riles him up to the point that he strangles the life out of Andrea. Frantically, Don hides her body underneath the bed and goes back to sleep, like a child who made a mistake, hoping that the dawn of the new day can change what he’d done. It’s a crazy dream, one where Don feels the need to violently snuff out his Lothario past. It’s an interesting turn since we’ve seen Don be less than manly (i.e. cowardly) in two instances:

-As Dick Whitman during The Korean War (he pissed his pants)

-Failing to land a punch during a drunken confrontation with Duck Phillips in the Season 4 episode “The Suitcase”

The only times when Don was a “man” was when he confronted women: Betty, Bobbie, multiple exes. Never with a man of equal or supposed equal power. Don, despite the illusion of being cool or manly or whatever it is that attracts strange women, and Mad Men fans, is pretty much a pussy. But it’s not that he’s also is a sociopath. Many of the men of Don’s generation did the same thing, including the real life serial killer Richard Speck, who murdered eight female nursing students in Chicago in the summer of 1966, which has both Sally (Kiernan Shipka) and Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) on edge in “Mystery Date”: pick on those who they perceived as “weak”.

The news of those murders force Sally and Peggy to form unlikely alliances with Pauline Francis (Pamela Dunlap) and Dawn (Teyonah Parris), respectfully. For Sally and Pauline, it’s a contemptuous relationship at the start (the old lady is strict, in a traditionalist sense, much to Sally’s chagrin) but it soon becomes a beneficial one after Sally takes a sneak peak at the day’s newspaper and fears going to sleep. The girl sees Pauline going through the same motions — but with a large carving knife by her side — and slowly realizes that the old lady is only human. (That and the awful story Pauline tells her about how her father kicked her across the room for no reason as a life lesson. Male-on-female violence rears its ugly head again.) Their plot ends with Sally hiding underneath Pauline’s couch, knocked out by Pauline’s sleeping medicine — very much like Andrea’s body underneath Don’s bed in his dream and how the only surviving victim of Speck’s rampage was found.

For Peggy and Dawn, it’s a completely different story. Peggy stays late at the agency, completing work on the Mohawk Airlines campaign that Roger (John Slattery) neglected to assign to Ginsberg. She thinks she’s alone until she hears noise coming from Don’s office. In a well-shot sequence akin to a horror movie, Peggy slowly makes her way to the boss’ den and makes a discovery — though luckily not a tragic one. It turns out that Dawn has been crashing on Don’s couch. Peggy thinks it’s because of the murders. Dawn reveals that her brother fears for her safety because of the riots that have been popping up all across the country (a much more pressing news story than a mass murder that occurred a thousand miles away), so he refuses to let her take the subway at night (another example of male dominance). And because of those riots, she can’t get a cabbie to drive her back to Harlem. So Peggy, being the Liberal she thinks she is, offers Dawn her couch back at her apartment. Dawn accepts and Peggy takes the opportunity to have some girl time.

For as much as Peggy wants to think that she’s not a racist, it turns out that she’s not completely removed from that White working class mentality that was prevalent in 1966. She first offers to take Dawn under her wing as a copywriter, even though Dawn has no interest in it, because they’re really not that different, then catches herself watching her purse (filled with the bribe money Roger gave her for the Mohawk campaign) before wishing Dawn a good night. It comes back to sting her the next morning when she sees the thank you note Dawn leaves for her on that very purse.

The twist in both of these plots is that male-on-female violence inadvertently brought these two pairs of disparate women together. These four characters, on the surface, have nothing in common except for men dominating their lives, whether they be immediate family members or a random stranger in a town they have never set foot in.

And that brings us to Joan (Christina Hendricks). She’s character who comes closest to being the female Don Draper since she presents herself as a brash, independent woman who in actuality is dominated by a man. A man who far less worthy of her. And that’s Greg (Samuel Page). For as much as Joan would like to live the illusion of the “perfect” marriage to the “perfect” man, nothing of that is remotely true. Let’s list the ways, shall we:

-Greg is a shit-heel who has been a failure at everything he has ever attempted. He was a shit doctor and would have been a shit therapist

-Baby Kevin isn’t Greg’s, it’s Roger’s

-And let’s not forget that Greg raped Joan in Don’s office way back in Season 2 (see a pattern regarding male-on-female violence?)

Greg thinks being a doctor in the Army makes him a better man. Instead, the uniform makes him even a bigger dick (as evident in the restaurant scene when he chews out the unsuspecting waiter). On what was suppose to be a year’s leave, Greg soon reveals that he had volunteered to go back to Vietnam, where he feels important, in ten days. Upon hearing this, Joan becomes enraged and throws him out of the house, citing the rape without mentioning it out loud. Turns out, Greg wanted a sham marriage as well. To return to the battlefield where he can pretend to be a war hero and tell all of his Army buddies that he has a wife waiting for him back home. And to do none of the work to actually keep the marriage in tact. It’s a stupid, selfish plan but one that the show’s fans will be grateful for because it led to Joan finally getting rid of him.

The chickens are coming home to roost for the men on Mad Men. For as much as they like to think they’re in charge, the times they are a-changing. For Don, for Greg, and for scumbag lady-killers. The impact of that change is still yet to be felt by the female characters on the show but we’re slowly seeing the benefits — and the bumps in the road — for them.