Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ask Brett: Emmy Edition - Maggie Smith Surprise? Why No Wins for 'The Americans'? Will 'Game of Thrones' Actually Be Delayed?

In this week's edition of Ask Brett, chief TV critic Brett Hense of TV-Recaps-Reviews discusses a number of big moments that happened at this year's Emmy Awards!

Q: It finally happened! Amy Poehler finally has an Emmy! Sure, it was entirely because of Tina Fey being nominated with her. But still! It happened! She has an Emmy. If it couldn't have been for Parks and Recreation, I'm glad it's for Saturday Night Live. And yet, I'm still confused a little bit. Why were they allowed to submit as a duo in the first place? Is this a new form of cheating the academy has to be worried about? - Deb

Tina and Amy's win at the Creative Arts Emmys was definitely one of the highlights during that ceremony. I believe they were able to submit together because they co-hosted that particular episode of Saturday Night Live. They were a pairing that worked because they supported each other. It's the same reason why Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are allowed to submit together as hosts for Project Runway. It's ultimately up to the nominees to decide. Technically, Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews could submit together as hosts for Dancing With the Stars. Though in that case they don't because it would lesson Bergeron's chances of getting nominated. So, it is an issue that the Emmys should be aware of. Even in the category Tina and Amy won in, they could go together because they hosted together while Christine Baranski and Laurie Metcalf got separate nominations for the same episode of The Big Bang Theory. So, there's not a whole lot of clarity on who can submit together. Could Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele submit together for Key & Peele? That creates a new host of problems if the duo is male-female. Where would the academy nominate Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein if they submitted together for Portlandia. It's a cheat that allowed Amy to win. But I'm hoping it doesn't lead to more exploitation of the system.

Q: How in the world did Maggie Smith and Ben Mendelsohn win for supporting acting? Especially against the Game of Thrones people? - Brian

I would really hate to blame vote splitting. I don't think that's as big of a problem as some people believe it is. If the voters watch the tapes, it can help shows with multiple acting nominees in a category. And yet, I'm hard pressed to think of any other explanation. That portion of the show was very important because it helped cut the running time down considerably since both Smith and Mendelsohn were no shows. That was an epic payoff to Jimmy Kimmel's jokes about Smith earlier in the telecast. When her name was first announced, I though it was just a part of the joke. But it wasn't. She really did win somehow. I'm guessing it was the voters rewarding Downton Abbey with a win somewhere because of their great love for the show over the years. Again, that love wasn't completely deserving. But it was a type of show that perfect fit into their wheelhouse. So, it gets the extra love. Mendelsohn's win was quite a surprise. If it was for the first season, I would have no quibbles. But the second season just wasn't as good of a showcase for him. It could just be another case of the voters awarding a performance for a less good season just to say that they at least won the award at some point during the show's run.

Q: How is Margo Martindale still the only Emmy winner for The Americans? It's continually one of the best shows on TV. It should have won in every category it was nominated in. But alas, all it got was a repeat victory for Martindale. - Jenny

Margo Martindale deserves to be a three-time Emmy winner (the first for Justified and two for The Americans). And yet these last two years where she has won, it has been for lackluster cameo appearances where she doesn't do much. It's odd and perhaps a glitch in the new voting system. With your other concerns about the show not winning elsewhere, I have no problem with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys losing to Tatiana Maslany and Rami Malek. If they lost to less deserving winners, then I would have been up in arms. But Orphan Black and Mr. Robot are terrific shows as well that deserve recognition in these acting categories. Plus, I doubt that this is the last time Russell and Rhys will be nominated. Perhaps the show will follow the same trajectory as Friday Night Lights. In the beginning, it got no nominations. Then, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton broke into the acting races after a few seasons. And then, both Chandler and Jason Katims won for the series finale. The Americans could have a major shot at victory next year with Game of Thrones out of the running. Best drama series 2017!

Q: Do you really think Game of Thrones will sit out the next Emmy cycle? Or do you think production will go well and they'll be able to hit the spring deadline again? - Matt

Well, Season 7 of Game of Thrones is only going to be eight episodes. All the show needs to do is air five of them before the May 31 deadline. The majority of the season has to air before that cutoff for it to be in consideration. And yet, I'm fairly confident it won't debut until the summer. Both the creative team and HBO seem fairly sure about that. The actors haven't said much about the upcoming season. But they have revealed that the production team will need the extra time to get things right. The show is already back in production and working on these episodes. But would you rather have a rush job or have things done right? Who cares about awards? Yes, Game of Thrones continues to collect an impressive tally. In the history of the Emmys, only Saturday Night Live has more victories. But the show and its creative direction have to come first. So if we have to wait a few more months to see episodes, then we can manage as long as they are good.

Brett Hense is the chief TV critic and founder of TV-Recaps-Reviews. He has been writing about television professionally for five years now. To be featured in a future edition of "Ask Brett," make sure to email your inquiries to Make sure to put "Ask Brett" in the subject line. Or you can leave a comment on this page or the site's official Twitter and Facebook pages.