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Ask Matt: Emmy Snubs, Sweden, 24, Dome and Extant, and More

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter! Question: Once again, this year's Emmy nominations are predictably boring. What was the bigger snub: No Good Wife nomination for Best Drama (especially with a weak Downton Abbey season in its place) or no nomination for Tatiana Maslany for her web of roles on Orphan Black? (I already know the answer: Both snubs were egregious.) — Erin

Matt Roush
Matt Roush

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: Once again, this year's Emmy nominations are predictably boring. What was the bigger snub: No Good Wife nomination for Best Drama (especially with a weak Downton Abbey season in its place) or no nomination for Tatiana Maslany for her web of roles on Orphan Black? (I already know the answer: Both snubs were egregious.) — Erin

Matt Roush: True, but in weighing the two omissions, I guess I wasn't terribly surprised in my disappointment that the Emmy voters passed over Tatiana Maslany. Not because she isn't worthy, because it's obvious that she is. But it's such a niche show, and I'm sure much of the membership hasn't had the pleasure of discovering her astonishing work yet. Which is, of course, part of the problem of the nomination process, that so few people in the business can keep up with everything and appreciate the totality of the industry. That said, I was much more upset that The Good Wife wasn't welcomed back into the Best Drama category after that incredible fifth season. Especially when Downton Abbey by comparison was such a lazy and rote choice. The mini-season of Mad Men was, with a few solid episodes, no great shakes either, while Good Wife hit home runs week after week. So for me, that was the most aggravating of the year's many snubs.

Question: No James Spader? What is the Academy smoking? — Linda

Matt Roush: Now that was a real surprise. James Spader already has three Emmys on his shelf, and as one of the true breakout actors in one of the season's very few breakthrough hits, with a solid pedigree as an Emmy favorite, you'd think he'd be a lock. But the lead-drama actor category has been for years one of the toughest to break into, and with True Detective submitting in series instead of miniseries (where it belongs), taking up two slots with one-time-only actors, there just wasn't enough room for everyone who was deserving. Especially for anyone working in broadcast drama, which might as well be invisible to the Emmy voters. I'm equally peeved that The Americans' Matthew Rhys and Masters of Sex's Michael Sheen didn't make the cut. The real race this year will be between Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey anyway, but it's a shame Spader and these others weren't given a chance to say, "It's an honor just to be nominated."

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Question: Why is it that ABC's The Middle never gets any Emmy love? The show and its cast deserve to be recognized. — Jessica

Matt Roush: Couldn't agree more, and I've been arguing their case for years. But this show has always had the misfortune of living in Modern Family's shadow, and its anything-but-trendy middle-class milieu (one of its many assets, frankly) also makes it easy to patronize as just another domestic sitcom, which couldn't be further from the truth. Patricia Heaton's layered comedic performance as the frazzled mom, and Eden Sher's brilliance as the chronically gung-ho misfit who I lovingly think of as Poor Sue, are first among equals in an underappreciated ensemble, and knowing they may go through the entire run of the show without being singled out at the Emmys is just another embarrassment for these imperfect awards.

Question: Why is the No. 1 show on TV and its stars never nominated for Emmy awards? You didn't even list it or any of its stars on your dream list. I am talking about NCIS. It is consistently No. 1 on America's Most Watched Top 10 Shows list in your magazine. The show just keeps getting better and better — yet never a mention of it for an Emmy. How can this be? A very loyal fan — Samiam

Matt Roush: Sometimes popularity is its own reward. And while I appreciate NCIS's accomplishments, enjoy it for what it is and acknowledge its success — and the magazine certainly does; look how often we feature the show and its stars on our covers — the Emmys aren't a popularity contest, especially in the overstuffed arena of drama, where cable shows in particular tend to be so much more original, challenging, bold and daring, attributes that make a Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and (in better seasons) Mad Men stand out much more to Emmy voters and critics alike. Unfairly or not, episodic procedurals are typically seen as too formulaic to be considered seriously as contenders, unless they push new narrative boundaries the way something like True Detective did (for better and at times for worse). I'm fairly sure the NCIS powers-that-be aren't losing sleep because their Most Popular Show In the Universe isn't the belle of the Emmy ball.

Question: [From Twitter]I'm so upset to see 24: Live Another Day end. I really hope they do more; they should just renew it for the next three summers! Summer used to be all reruns and time to catch up before fall shows, now summer is the new fall, I watch way too many shows. — Scott

Matt Roush: There can never be too many shows! Or so I thought before this non-stop TV summer began. Basically, I included this comment (inspired by a TCA press tour tweet) so I could give a shout-out to this week's terrific 24 finale, a most satisfying hour that's perfectly in keeping with the show's the-more-you-win-the-more-you-lose philosophy of action, tragedy and clouded triumph. Given how it ends, I can't imagine this is the last we'll see of Jack Bauer. But that's up to the new Fox administration — and given what a hit 24 has been for the studio and network over the years, it's a pretty safe bet. Though maybe not three-year-renewal safe.

Question: I really enjoyed the first episode of Welcome to Sweden, and mostly because it's a theme that hits close to home. However, I do tend to agree with people about the subtitles to a small degree. In this day and age, subtitles aren't that big a deal, but when you hear "hey papa" and it's subtitled to "hi dad," that seems a bit overboard. There were a few more examples of that, but overall I really like the show and hope it gets a following, but I'm not sure it's a good fit on NBC, the Poehler name not withstanding. — Dan

Matt Roush: The authenticity of the charming Welcome to Sweden is its greatest quality, and it's still pretty rare to see a show on a broadcast network that makes such generous use of subtitles, instead of having the characters transition after a few lines of dialogue into an accented English. (The characters do address Bruce, the Greg Poehler character, in English when appropriate, but there are long stretches in which he is on the outside of conversations, having no idea of what's actually being said, adding to the fish-out-of-water comedy.) Given NBC's low expectations for this show, and how cost-effective this sort of import can be during the summer, if its modest sampling holds up through the first season, I'd be surprised if we don't see it return a year for now, since it's already been renewed in the Swedish TV market.

Question: Last summer I started watching Under the Dome thinking that everything would be resolved by the end of the season. Therefore, I was a little disappointed when it was renewed for Season 2. I'm still watching for now, but it's been gradually losing my attention with its increasing absurdity. Do you think it will be renewed for a third season, or do you think season two will be the end? I'll keep watching if I know the story is coming to a conclusion, but I'm not interested in settling in for the long run. — Jenn

Matt Roush: I'm afraid Dome is a victim of its own success, and as long as the viewership holds, it's likely to continue as a summer staple, regardless of how ridiculous the storyline becomes. The CBS execs may address this issue when they appear at the TCA press tour later this week, and I know I'd love to hear them talk about an end game for what should have been a limited-run miniseries. But I'm not holding my breath.

Question: I have to ask your opinion on the new Halle Berry drama Extant. The trailers I've seen look interesting and I'm very intrigued at the idea of Halle in a TV series. What do you think of the show (have you even seen any of it?), and could Halle be a potential Emmy nominee for this show? Is it too early to even talk about that? The press I've read for this show so far seems to focus on the fact that Halle is coming to TV and about the producers of the show (Amblin/Speilberg) and how it's airing in the summer, but few if any reviews have had anything to say about Halle's performance or her possible accolades. What are your thoughts? — Matt

Matt Roush: This question appeared shortly before I posted my review last week, but I will add that much of the critical response and praise (including mine) is tempered by not knowing exactly where Extant is heading and whether it can sustain its tone of elegant unease without diving too deeply into conspiratorial rabbit holes or otherwise frustrating us the way Under the Dome did by the end of its first season, which has only accelerated in Season 2. It is probably way too early as well to think about whether Halle Berry will be an Emmy contender. There's no doubt she's a major star, and she made a good first impression in the pilot (which is all that critics were shown in advance, so right now we're all in the same boat when it comes to assessing this one), but beyond that, it depends on what they give her to do and how well the show evolves overall. No way can the pilot alone answer those questions.

Question: Do you have any information about when Season 2 of The Fall will be available for viewing? I would imagine Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan's schedules have been difficult to coordinate, given how busy they both have been with other projects. I loved the first season and can't wait to see what happens next! — Cyndi

Matt Roush: Netflix has made no announcement about timing, but the good news is that Season 2 will expand to a sixth episode. Because five really wasn't enough of this gripping thriller, which from what I can tell was in production this spring so should be available by the end of the calendar year, though nothing has even been hinted yet.

Question: I know that The Glades is long since gone and isn't coming back in any form, but I was re-watching it recently and that cliffhanger is killing me all over again. Is there any chance the producers would reveal the plot they had in mind if the show had continued? There's nothing to spoil any more, and I'd love to know, even if I didn't actually get the chance to see it. - Alison

Matt Roush: If the producers ever spilled over the last year what they had planned to do if the show hadn't been so abruptly canned, I missed it — but I think you can assume Jim lived. The actor certainly did, and Matt Passmore is once again quite appealing in a provocative new show starting this Thursday that couldn't be more different from The Glades: USA Network's Satisfaction. Look for a review to post later this week.

Question: Is it too soon to know if Halt and Catch Fire will get a full season and possibly a second season? It's a great show with a terrific cast and really holds your attention. Quite a different character for Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies! Your thoughts? — Anne

Matt Roush: AMC didn't make any mention of Halt during its recent press-tour appearance, so a renewal decision doesn't appear to have been made yet. (The full first season will air in its entirety, regardless.) Halt's ratings have been iffy, but the network recently renewed Turn, and gave a second-season order to Better Call Saul long before the Breaking Bad spinoff has even begun to air, so anything's possible. I'm a fan of Lee Pace as well, and his darker turn on this show intrigues me, but I'll admit that I haven't been keeping up, with the flood of new premieres and the current distraction of the TCA press tour keeping me from being in front of the TV (ironically enough) for days on end. If the show does get renewed, I'll make a point of catching up.

That's all for now. Keep sending your comments and questions to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com, and in the meantime, follow me on Twitter!

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