This column appeared on Fan Fest News yesterday but I really enjoyed writing it so I thought I would throw it up here for my Geeklings. You know, just in case you’re not reading my every word on Fan Fest, which confuses me. Shouldn’t you guys be reading everything I write?
I am a television geek which I’m sure comes to the surprise of none of you who follow me here or at my blog (I Am Geek #shamelessselfplug). Actually, I define myself as a geek which means that I love many different things in all types of mediums but I’m here to confess to you guys that I just straight up love television. Outside of reading I think it has become my favorite medium for story telling. There’s just so much room and potential to grow with characters that I find it hard not to be sucked in. With that being said my tastes are a bit all over the place. I can easily watch conventional/main stream television and find myself entertained, but the truth of the matter is that’s not my wheel house. I want more out of my television programs. I’m the type of person to fall in love with cult shows because there is more opportunity for artistic expression and story telling. With cult television you get something that you won’t find on Law & Order, and I love that. Shows like Hannibal, Community, Orphan Black, Mr. Robot, and Fringe have been some of my favorite shows over the last five plus years mostly because the stories being told here are refreshing, unique, and beyond the usual A to B to C story telling you find in main stream programming. Being a fan of television shows with cult followings does have it’s draw backs though, as artistic expression and unique story telling doesn’t necessarily mean good ratings and much cult shows see themselves fall into TV obscurity after only a few seasons. It’s really quite heartbreaking, but each year I find myself obsessing about some new obscure show that I know has the potential to hurt me. Not in the story it’s trying to tell (sometimes that does happen though) but on whether or not it’ll survive to a second season. It’s all a roll of the dice.
Last night’s Emmy awards was a win for the fans of cult television. Unlike the Oscars, the Emmy Awards look to take more of a chance on who gets nominated for what. While the Oscars have been accused a number of times of not acknowledging science fiction, fantasy (outside of LotR of course), or works that are considered to be a bit more “out there”, the Emmy Awards have no real problem thinking a bit more outside the box. For the most part shows and performances that tend to be a little more off kilter or stranger then what the main stream public is willing to accept are often given an invite to the dance. Of course there are often omissions as shows like Community and Hannibal never saw nominations for the show itself, and John Noble’s work on Fringe was never recognized by a nomination. I’m not a greedy man. I didn’t need him to win, don’t think he could have any way because Aaron Paul exists, but just the head nod that says we see what you’re doing and want to recognize you would have been nice. But last night went a long way of erasing those omissions.
Watching Rami Malek and Tatiana Maslany win Best Actor/Actress back to back like that was a win for us geeks as much as it was for them. It was the Emmy Awards looking at us and saying “hey, we get it too. These guys are pretty awesome and we think everyone should be made aware of it.” And that’s an awesome feeling for someone who is constantly begging people to watch the cult TV shows I’m obsessed with. If you’ve read my Orphan Black or Mr. Robot reviews you know how much I love both Malek and Maslany. Hell, I’ve done everything but propose to Tatiana Maslany in my reviews and I’m not saying I won’t because I still have one season left with that show. Anything is possible. But the cool thing about the morning after the Emmy Awards is most people woke up and started looking up just who Tatiana Maslany and Rami Malek are. That’s the win.
Recognizing the performances by theses two incredibly gifted actors not only shows us that the Emmy Awards actually know and appreciate good television when they see it, but they’re willing to think more outside the box. Think of all the cult shows you’ve fallen in love with that you’ve either seen cancelled or forced off the air before their time. How many of you immediately thought Firefly? I’m willing to bet a large majority. Now think what some sort of recognition for these shows could have done. If Firefly had won an Emmy would it have gotten a second season? Chances would be higher as it’s tougher to cancel an Emmy winning show. If John Noble had seen one or two nominations would it have been possible for Fringe to tell that final chapter at the pace it was intended? Quite possibly as it’s tough to rush a show that keeps garnering nominations. Nominations and awards speak volumes.
Last night the Emmy Awards took the heads of the main stream audience and turned it in the direction of cult television while saying “you might want to look over here and give this a try because something incredible is happening”. That’s a huge moment Geeklings. We learned that the voters of the Emmy Awards are fans of good television whether it’s Tatiana Maslany portraying countless different characters, all with distinct personalities and various different problems or Rami Malek as his character Elliot continues to shatter the fourth wall while descending further and further into madness as we have to decide if he’s a narrator we can trust. That these two superb actors can be celebrated outside of internet circles and obscure award shows. That a main stream award show can take these cult shows and hold them up high for everyone else to see. Yes, it’s the fear of every cult follower to see their show go main stream, and I get that. But these shows should be celebrated and we should trust the show runners not to lose that feel because of it.
The Best Actor/Actress awards last night were eye opening and refreshing, and Rami Malek said it best in his speech. “Please tell me you’re seeing this too” because I think it’s time we celebrated more of the weird/unorthodox shows that populate or screens because while you may not be looking their cleaning up awards shows and providing some of the best television out there. The Emmys wants you to start looking and what better direction then the performances of these two. You want to talk about awards that are 100% justified.
So, congrats to both Tatiana Maslany and Rami Malek who couldn’t be celebrated more for what they have been doing. Two incredibly gifted actors who just might have kicked open the door for cult television programs everywhere. Last night’s Emmy Awards were for the geeks and these two actors are more then worthy to hold that banner for us. Bravo Emmy you got it right.
Images from the Emmy Awards and Rolling Stone
Author’s Note: It would appear that if I cover your show here on Fan Fest that you win awards. I don’t want to take all the credit buuuuuuut I will take a high five and maybe a hug. I’m not a greedy man.