Today in Scotland, they’re celebrating Battle of Bannockburn day, as they do every June 24th. In Venezuela, it’s the annual commemoration of the Battle of Carabobo. And in Brazil, this is the Day of the Cabocio. As if all that wasn’t special enough, it’s also a big day in Hollywood. This year, June 24 is the day that balloting for this year’s Emmy Awards ends. Members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences need to have their votes in today in order to be counted for the 63rd annual celebration of TV’s best.
The nominees will be announced July 14, and odds are you’ll see plenty of familiar (and deserving) names, from “Mad Men” to “30 Rock” to “Glee” to “Modern Family.” But in the TV industry’s mad – not to mention double-jointed – efforts to pat itself on the back, lesser-appreciated but equally great work will undoubtedly get left behind. Which is a shame, really. So, as a tribute to the about-to-be-forgotten, here are the Undies – awards for the underappreciated shows and actors the Emmys will most likely overlook.
UNDERAPPRECIATED SERIES, DRAMA
‘Men Of A Certain Age’: Like the guys it deals with every week, this show isn’t fashionable or hip in any way. It’s just consistently good, relatable drama week in and week out, that’s made all the more effective because of an undercurrent of humor. ‘MOCA’ proves old guys are good at something besides yelling at neighborhood children to get off their lawn.
UNDERAPPRECIATED ACTOR, DRAMA
Ray Romano, “Men Of A Certain Age”: With this series, Romano has done an amazing job of A) redefining his acting career post-“Everybody Loves Raymond” with this dramatic turn as a newly-divorced dad and B) making everyone forget he ever made “Welcome To Mooseport,” the movie where he first tried to break away from the “Raymond” mold.
UNDERAPPRECIATED ACTRESS, DRAMA
Anna Torv, “Fringe”: Okay, so this is a genre show that is often written off as something simply for the guys who live in mom’s basement. Still, Torv is called upon week after week to play multiple versions of her character and have them all seem like different people. It’s a tough job, which she does amazingly well. In fact, she deserves four awards here – one for each version of herself that she’s played.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Joel Kinnaman, “The Killing”: Forget the controversy over how the season ended for both the show and Kinnaman’s Det. Stephen Holder. (Those who watched the finale know what I mean.) His socially inept cop character seemed so realistic, you couldn’t help but identify with him. And it seemed so low-key, Emmy voters may well not have noticed.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Margo Martindale, “Justified”: Generally, you want your TV villains to be powerful, mean and perhaps even a bit violent. That makes them easier to spot. As “Mags” Bennett, matriarch of a backwoods crime family, Martindale came across as the opposite: calm, caring and sweet as apple pie. Which was perfect because in reality, “Mags” was one of the best evil schemers to hit TV in a long while.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED SERIES, COMEDY
“The Middle”: Much of the time, we watch TV because it’s an escape from our ordinary lives. It’s worth watching this show because it goes in a completely different direction. It takes our everyday activities – everything from packing school lunches to spending too much money at the mall – and makes them something to laugh at rather than scream about.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED ACTOR, COMEDY
Garret Dillahunt, “Raising Hope”: There have been enough dopey dad characters in TV history to fill an entire football stadium with (which could easily be done if you put up a sign advertising there’d be free beer there). Dillahunt’s dad is different, though. Sure he does some pretty dumb things – seeing how long he can keep bouncing a balloon in the air quickly comes to mind – but he’s so sweet and sincere, you sense his nimrod nature is just there to hide something more substantial.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED ACTRESS, COMEDY
Allison Brie, “Community”: It’s tough to single just one actor out from this inventive series’ amazing ensemble, but Brie gets the nod because she’s become so good at playing against stereotypes. What could have been just the usual prissy, popular girl has become somebody who seems smarter and more sympathetic than the rest of her study group.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Rob Lowe, “Parks and Recreation”: Don’t hate Rob Lowe because he’s beautiful. (Well, you can, but just a little.) Hate him because he’s the funniest person in this show already overstuffed with funny people. Watching him play a guy who really is as dumb (well-intentioned and enthusiastic, but still….kind of dumb) as he looks is a treat every single week.
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UNDERAPPRECIATED SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Eden Sher, “The Middle”: The central joke about her character, Sue Heck, is that she’s the sort of kid who nobody notices no matter what she does. That’s the same situation for Sher. The Emmy folks probably won’t notice all she does to make this perennial loser of a teen so obliviously chipper about life, you can’t help but want to root for her. Knowing full well that she’s going to lose anyway.