Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Emmy Predictions, Part Two: Writers

This is Part Two of a five-part blog about the Emmys, which will air this Sunday. In Part Two, I will make my picks/guesses for the awards for Writing.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Arrested Development, "Development Arrested"
Entourage, "Exodus"
Extras, "Kate Winslet"
My Name Is Earl, "Pilot"
The Office, "Christmas Party"

In terms of straight-up quality of writing, Entourage and Extras are the underdogs. The "Kate Winslet" episode of Extras was funny, but not terribly memorable. I'm also pretty sure that most teenage boys could write an episode of Entourage--some profanity here, some immature male bravado there, and a healthy dose of stupid nicknames. Don't even get me started on the dialogue that they write for women (the ones that actually get to talk). Earl and The Office are both funny and popular (I love this line from "The Christmas Party": "Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party was lame"), but Arrested Development is in its own league. Alas, AD tends to get overlooked, so expect the writing team from The Office to break out their boring lists of people to thank.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Grey's Anatomy, "It's The End of The World, As We Know It (Part 1 & 2)"
Grey's Anatomy, "Into You Like A Train"
Lost, "The 23rd Psalm"
Six Feet Under, "Everyone's Waiting"
The Sopranos, "Members Only"

I hope fans of the show will forgive me, but Grey's Anatomy seems like Desperate Housewives in a hospital. I'm sure it has its moments, but steamy medical dramas just aren't of the same caliber as even the lesser HBO dramas. Grey's also runs the risk of splitting its votes. The cheesy, expository dialogue often heard on Lost will likely take the island drama out of the running as well. I have a major soft spot for "Everyone's Waiting," Six Feet Under's tearjerking series finale, but the writing on The Sopranos is irresistible. The mob series may get some sympathy votes, since none of the lead actors received nominations this year.

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special
Bleak House, Andrew Davies
Elizabeth I, Nigel Williams
Flight 93, Nevin Schreiner
The Girl in the Cafe, Richard Curtis
Mrs. Harris, Phyllis Nagy

With one exception, this list is identical to the nominees for Directing for a Miniseries. With High School Musical out of the mix, Bleak House has much better odds at winning in this category. Adapting a miniseries from a novel isn't easy, especially when it's a Dickens novel; try reading Our Mutual Friend sometime--huge!! The Masterpiece Theatre miniseries deserves to win, but look for Phyllis Nagy or Nigel Williams to possibly pick up the award.

Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program
The Colbert Report, Allison Silverman et al.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, David Javerbaum et al.
Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Mike Sweeney et al.
Late Show With David Letterman, Eric & Justin Stangel et al.
Real Time With Bill Maher, Billy Martin et al.

David Letterman and Bill Maher's shows seem to be filler for this category, and Conan only stands a chance because he's hosting the freakin' show. I'd like to see the Colbert team win this award (who doesn't love "Better Know a District"?), but The Daily Show has won this award several times over the past few years. My money is on The Daily Show.

Check back later for predictions in the Series and Acting categories.