The Emmy Awards, America is losing its taste for contemporary stories and some writing links

So the 2011 Emmys have been awarded on Sunday. Several wins for Mad Men and Downton Abbey, neither of which I like, as I’ve stated before.

There have also been wins for Boardwalk Empire, which I haven’t seen, because it doesn’t run in Germany yet (though I would give it a chance, because it hits several of my story kinks), Friday Night Lights and Modern Family. I don’t even know what the last two shows are, though the first is apparently a drama and the second a comedy. A remake of Mildred Pierce (They remade Mildred Pierce? Really? Why, for heaven’s sake?) also took home a few prices.

In short, a lot of blah and the few shows and people I was rooting for mostly lost. The only thing that really makes me happy is that Peter Dinklage got to take home an Emmy award for playing Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones.

Though it’s telling that Downton Abbey, which presents fantasy Britain as Americans like to see it, won several Emmys, while it was snubbed at the Baftas in favour of Sherlock (which was nominated for only one Emmy and lost). The second British production nominated, the crime drama Luther*, lost out as well, which is a pity because we hardly ever get TV drama with a black leading man. Now I thoroughly enjoyed both Sherlock and Luther and found Downton Abbey incredibly plodding and dull, but the Emmy voters apparently felt differently. I think it’s also very telling that of the three British productions nominated, the two contemporary set productions did not win, while the history theme park costume drama did win. For that matter, several of the other winners, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Kennedys, Mildred Pierce, have historical settings as well. All shows seem to be well researched and the set and costume design looks top-notch. But it’s still slightly alarming that America seems to be losing its taste for contemporary stories and instead prefers to retreat into more or less fantastic historical settings.

And now for some other links:

Jay Lake has a great post on writing advice and how to take what works for you and learn to ignore what doesn’t. There’s also a follow-up post, which goes further into the filters a writer needs to develop.

At Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig lists the twenty-five virtues every writer should possess.

Finally, I’ve got a new post up at the ABC Buhlert blog about the perpetual oil crisis and possible alternatives.

*Though watching Luther is very weird, if you’ve ever been a Doctor Who fan, because we have Indira Varma a.k.a. Suzie Costello from Torchwood as Luther’s estranged wife, Paul McGann a.k.a. the Eighth Doctor as her new lover and Sean Pertwee, whose father Jon Pertween was the Third Doctor, as a villain in one episode.

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7 Responses to The Emmy Awards, America is losing its taste for contemporary stories and some writing links

  1. Jodie says:

    I’m wondering if the US and Europe ever got ‘The Shadow Line’, a stylish police/gangster mini-series that ran on BBC2 this year. I’m not sure you’d like it, although I did, because it is super anti-hope (no one is good, everybody dies and there’s a villian who will kill all of every member of a family whether it’s necessary or not) but I’d expect it to show up at awards time.

    As for Sherlock, love, love, love it, but I’ll be happier about it getting awards once the second series is released. An absolutely terrible second episode just isn’t as easy to gloss over when there are only three episodes released and I feel like there’s a huge blot on it atm (keeps me from buying the box set although I adore all the character relationships and personality building).

    • Cora says:

      The title vaguely rings a bell, but I didn’t see The Shadow Line. If it ever shows up around here, I will check it out. I don’t mind darkness, as long as it’s clear from the beginning that a show is going to be dark and that no one is safe. I just get annoyed when everything is fine and dandy at first and then suddenly they hit us with a whammy of darkness and character death.

      As for Sherlock, I don’t hate the second episode as much as many others, but it’s definitely inferior to episodes 1 and 3. Though I have high hopes for series 2, considering we’re supposedly getting The Hound of Baskervilles, A Scandal in Bohemia (not the best story, but one that has excited imaginations for a century) and The Final Problem.

    • Naut says:

      When I was to London this spring I watched an episode of The Shadow Line on TV. I could barely follow the story-line but it looked so stylish, and I thought: “I wish they would show that on German television!”

      • Cora says:

        Thanks for the head up regarding The Shadow Line. Luckily, German TV has been getting better about bringing us British drama of late. We’re even getting Spooks and Hustle these days, though it’ll probably be a cold day in hell before we ever get Misfits.

  2. Yes, praise the lord, Peter Drinkage got an Emmy. Other than that, I didn’t care or even watch. Thanks for visiting my site, by the way.

    • Cora says:

      I didn’t watch either, since the event is on in the middle of the night over here. Besides, awards shows like that always remind me how out of touch I apparently am with the tastes of American critics.

  3. Pingback: Oscars 2012 and America’s Nostalgia Obsession | Cora Buhlert

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