Celebrating The Wonder Of Network Television With The First-Ever Tommy Awards!
By Tom Danehy
WITH THE COMING of Memorial Day, we now bid farewell to first-run, prime-time TV until the latter weeks of September, if then. It's a busy time for us. We have to take the batteries out of the remote control and store our weapon of choice until the fall. We get to turn the couch cushions over, giving them four months to return to somewhere near their original shapes. Then we have to get up and move around and do stuff. It's a bleak time of year, really.
However, it was a good season and, while the sitcom continues well on its way to extinction, we were treated to some of the best drama ever seen on TV. Highlights (and lowlights) of the past season:
This series is almost full-contact TV. Over the season, it built up to the finale by following a nerdy doctor who first computer-dated the "Hey, I'm Large" Eleanor (Camryn Manheim), then sued her when she dumped him. Later he was arrested with a severed head in his medical bag. He endured the trial, was acquitted, survived a police attempt to plant incriminating evidence on him, then showed up in the final frame of the final show walking the streets dressed as a homicidal nun. And somehow it all made sense.
When series creator/writer David E. Kelley plays it straight, no one in TV can touch him. His work is brilliant. But when he decides to try farce, we end up with...
And we must all stop asking Calista Flockhart about her eating disorders. Does anyone really think that she'll admit to it (them)? No, she'll wait until after the series is over, then appear on the cover of People magazine with the caption, "I need help."
I just hope she takes Lara Flynn Boyle from The Practice with her. A shot of Boyle in tight-fitting clothing is scarier than anything you'll ever see on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.
Don't be surprised if all three aforementioned actors get Best Actor, Drama Series Emmy nods. And the show's a lock for a best Drama Series nomination.
As for Friends, this light series managed to stay fresh despite its familiar characters and thin subject matter. It's not as good as Frasier, which is a mortal lock to win its unprecedented sixth straight Best Comedy Series Emmy. But then, few series in TV history were ever as good as Frasier.
This mini-series was a Motown lover's dream. Great music, wonderful characters, the inside dish on the stars we all loved, and the depiction of a then-high-school-age-but-still-bitchy Diana Ross. The actor Leon deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of the talented but fatally flawed Ruffin.
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