The 2010 Emmy Nominations: Ultimate Geek-Out

This morning, the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced. And while that’s generally exciting for a TV nerd such as myself, this is a system for geeks you’re reading on. So I have embarked on an epic mission: I am going through all the nominations (not just the elitist ones that actually get into the televised awards show), category by category, to provide a full-on geek perspective. The only ones that shall be skipped are those with no good geeky offerings, or the ones where you don’t even know what the name of the category means. In other words, here’s everything that matters to a geeky television viewer.

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For reference and your personal knowledge-accumulating pleasure, here is the full list of nominees.

For those of you who care more about which shows prevailed, here is the nomination summary, that just states number of nominations per program without specifying the categories.

I’m going to be going in order through the categories as they appear in the full list linked above so that it’s easy for you to follow along at home. Ready? Let’s begin.

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
Three nominations for The Simpsons, one for Robot Chicken, and one for Archer should all make the geeks out there very happy. Personally, I’d like to see this go to H. Ron Benjamin for voicing Sterling Archer. It’s a new role in a new show and he gave it so much personality right out of the gate.

Outstanding Animated Program
Alien Earths, The Ricky Gervais Show, South Park, and The Simpsons all make this one geeky category. That said, I don’t really have a strong geek sense as to who should actually win, though I’d prefer it not to be Ricky Gervais.

Outstanding Short-format Animated Program
Now this category, I care about. Robot Chicken, sorry, you’re not why I care so passionately. This award had better go to the greatest, weirdest, most absurd yet adorable series to come out this year, Adventure Time. Pendleton Ward, the series’ creator, is an absolute genius and the show is funny for strangest, and thus best reasons.

Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-camera Series
I mean, Big Bang Theory for the geeky win, I guess? None of these are super captivating.

Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-camera Series
This category matters, because it has shows that matter. Geek selections include Glee, LOST, Heroes, Modern Family, and True Blood. Heck, let’s just throw in The Tudors so we’re considering the whole category. Now, art direction is very important for any show, but I’m going to say that it should go to a series with a bit of an epic edge to it, and for that reason, it has to be LOST. The panoramas and vistas the series offered were unparalleled except on Discovery Channel and National Geographic. It’s one damn artistic show. Just beautiful.

Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming
You’d think this would be a major throwaway category, but it’s one of the three for which The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien was nominated, so you have to care now. While it will probably go to one of the other big awards shows, it’s just nice to see Coco getting some mentions.

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
Glee, Modern Family, and 30 Rock all have great, geeky casts. But I will be pretty sad if Modern Family doesn’t come away with the win. It relies so much on subtle performances, so even the slightest casting change could’ve broken the chemistry that makes the series shine. Also, I’m a huge Jesse Tyler Ferguson fan.

Outstanding Choreography
OK, so maybe I just think So You Think You Can Dance counts as geeky because I’m geeky and I love it, but I will be totally pissed if neither of the SYTYCD routines win. Especially if the win goes to either routine nominated from the worst dance show on television, Dancing with the Stars.

Outstanding Cinematography for a One Hour Series
I have to betray my inner geek here and say FlashForward should not win. It had several good things going on, but this wasn’t one of them. Mad Men or Breaking Bad will probably win.

Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie
Hey, I actually get to geek out for one of these! I think The Prisoner was a great miniseries, despite popular opinion. And it was filmed in a very interesting and compelling style. So let’s make this be the one category The Pacific doesn’t win.

Outstanding Commercial
If this doesn’t go to “The Man Your Man Should Smell Like” for Old Spice then there is no justice in the world.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Probably the geekiest show in this category is Glee, and luckily we see a nomination for it’s geekiest episode, “Wheels.” Artie is Glee‘s ultimate geek, and the directing in “Wheels” showed him off to the fullest.

Outstanding Direction for a Drama Series
The obvious geek choice is LOST, but I am saying it now and I’ll say it again later: It was not wise to choose the series finale as the episode to nominate. It was not the best of the final season, at all. Thus, LOST is actually my bottom choice for this category.

Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The epic rivalry of Daily Show vs. Colbert Report has become suddenly shadowed, but here be yet another nomination for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. I must say I find it unlikely that he will win going up against the titans in this category, especially Saturday Night Live which arguably requires the most direction of them all to go smoothly on live television.

Outstanding Main Title Design

Outstanding Music Composition for a Series
Michael Giacchino has done some great work for Pixar, and has won Oscars for it. And his score for LOST is no less deserving. It’s impossible to imagine LOST without the swooping, ominous score behind it. For a show that often relied on tone, Giacchino’s compositions created an atmosphere unmatched by any work before it.

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics
You care about this category because only Family Guy could create the opportunity for something called “Down’s Syndrome Girl” that isn’t an HBO series to win an Emmy.

This is a major one, so I made it look major for those of you who have been skimming. The whole category is actually pretty geeky this year, as it often is. As much as I love him, I don’t want to see Matthew Morrison get the new-guy win for Glee. He’s just not as good as the others, and his best moments aren’t his comedic ones. Any of the others will do, but my personal pick would be Baldwin.

Blah, blah, no surprises, BUT WAIT! For the first and last time, Matthew Fox has been nominated for the lead role of Jack Shephard on LOST. And if I may say so, I’d like to actually see him win. This last season was the first wherein I actually liked the character of Jack. And that couldn’t have happened without Fox doing a great job in the role. Yes, part of this is that it’s his last chance, and I’m sure that technically he’s not the most deserving. But he finally is getting the chance to win, and he earned it. For once.

This category is not high on geekiness to be honest. The geekiest character is definitely Rachel Berry from Glee. But Lea Michele doesn’t deserve a win here. Tina Fey, then, wins for her geek-appeal. She is a writer with nerdy taste and relationship problems, after all.

This one is even less geeky than the last. The one success here as far as geeks are concerned is that, for the sixth and final time, the Emmys have made the correct decision and not nominated Evangeline Lilly for her increasingly irritating work on LOST.

Oh my goodness this category is huge. We have Chris Colfer for Glee, who plays the young gay man Kurt Hummel. He is a stellar performer and the actor himself is actually young, making his work all the more impressive. But the real dilemma here is the presence of not one, not two, but three actors from Modern Family. My obvious choice is Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but Ty Burrell could give him a serious run for his money.

The ultimate geek showdown is, without a doubt, this category. John Locke vs. Benjamin Linus. I dare not take sides, because whichever one I don’t choose will mercilessly slay me. But both are incredibly deserving.

Jane Lynch should win. She is the best thing about Glee, and that makes this the one nomination for Glee that is really deserved. But geeks will love this whole category, with two Modern Family nominations and an appearance by Kristen Wiig for SNL.

This category is important, but it lacks any geek factor whatsoever. But I couldn’t not include it. I just don’t have anything to say about it, so have this video.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Betty White. Never have I ever seen an age to genitalia jokes ratio quite like she brought to SNL.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
OK, what the hell, LOST? I don’t care that she was barely in this season, but you can’t call Juliet’s role in the series finale a “guest appearance.” She was a series regular. That’s ridiculous. That said, I hope she wins.

When Up was nominated for Best Picture, it was a great day for animation. Unfortunately, the Emmys have not followed suit and nominated Archer for this category. I personally found it funnier than any of these. Same goes for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But at least there is the shining white knight of mainstream new comedies, Modern Family. It is far and away the best show in this category. Seriously. Go watch it.

Well, here it is, folks. There’s Lost, sitting among the TV titans. It probably won’t win. Honestly, it shouldn’t win. But despite my love for television and my desire for the Emmys to always award the best in the medium, regardless of popularity or other circumstance, I really really really want Lost to win.

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Jon Stewart vs. Stephen Colbert vs. Conan O’Brien once again. How can a geek possibly choose? Luckily, I don’t have to.

Outstanding Reality Program
Just to be clear, this is reality, not reality competition. That comes next. This year could be an epic battle between the show that should obviously win according to every geek ever (Mythbusters) and the show that gained surprising popularity and critical acclaim (Undercover Boss). Mythbusters deserves the win, but it may not get it.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Maybe this is another of those times where I think something is geeky just because I like it, but The Amazing Race, Top Chef, and Project Runway all feel pretty geeky to me. And Amazing Race should win for being the most epic thing on TV save for Lost. But I have a real problem with this category this year. What happened to Survivor. This will sound stupid to any of you who don’t watch, but the most recent 20th season of the show was also it’s best yet. I love The Amazing Race. I’ve always wanted it to win this category, except this year, when I think Survivor is more deserving. But it didn’t even get nominated? Please.

Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series
How could this category possibly not be uber-geeky? We have a nomination for Caprica, two for Stargate Universe, and one for V. I would have been tempted to pick V, except the Caprica nomination is for the episode that introduced New Caprica City, which was basically an extra-cool revamp of the world from Blade Runner. Visually one of the most epic things from the year in television.

This is just like the main comedy category. It’s a little stale, except for Modern Family which steps in to save the day as much as it could ever be saved.

For the second time, Lost has submitted the series finale for nomination when it is definitely not the best episode for this category. As you may have guessed, I am not in the camp that appreciated the way they ended the series, and I don’t feel like the finale was written in a particularly compelling manner, even ignoring the substance of its climax. The real winner for this category should be Lost episode “Happily Ever After.”

Other things to consider as geeky television viewers:
No nominations for Community. That’s bad.
The only nominations Castle got were for hair and makeup. That’s bad.
No nominations for White Collar. That’s egregious.
Finally, can we bend the rules to make Doctor Who eligible?

Well, I hope that has informed you of everything you need to pay attention to during the Emmys and all the crap you’ll have to look up online afterwards because they can’t put it all on TV. There are plenty of geeky shows out there, but some that aren’t out there and should be. Or if you don’t care too much about the Emmys (and if so, it’s a mystery how you got this far), I hope you will take the time to watch some of the shows I’ve touted here. You won’t regret it.

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