Perennial critic and audience favorites like “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” made the cut when the 2015 Emmy nominations were recently announced, but some TV show names may have had the average viewer scratching their heads. What’s “Bloodline”? Or “Getting On”? Should we know what “Ray Donovan” is?
“Bloodline,” for which actor Kyle Chandler received a Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy nomination and Ben Mendelsohn received a Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nod, is a Netflix show that debuted this past February. On the show, John Rayburn (Chandler) lives in the Florida Keys and works for the police department and his family is in charge of a hotel. Their lives are disrupted when John’s misfit brother Danny (Mendelsohn) returns. The show co-stars “Avengers: Age of Ultron” actress Linda Cardellini, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, and Broadway actor Norbert Leo Butz.
The show was fairly well-received by critics, with one calling the cast “superb” and another writing that it’s “very good [and] extremely well-cast… a lot of those who give ‘Bloodline’ a chance will, pretty quickly, find themselves hooked."
Another nominated show that probably sounds unfamiliar to viewers is the Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” for which actor Liev Schreiber was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The Showtime program just debuted its third season and stars Schreiber as the title character, who works for a law firm in Los Angeles taking care of financial incentives that go to law enforcement or others in order to help perpetrators avoid jail time or other penalties. It co-stars “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” actor Eddie Marsan and Jon Voight.
Viewers may also be unaware of the HBO show “Getting On,” for which actress Niecy Nash scored a Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy nod. “Getting” concluded its second season this past December and centers on a hospital in California and its staff. The show co-stars Laurie Metcalf and Alex Borstein.
The nominations show an interesting contrast between the fortunes of cable and network shows. In terms of overall nominations, HBO scored the most, which is probably to be expected, but networks are hanging in there in terms of overall nods – ABC got the second-most, while CBS and NBC were close behind, getting the same amount. This ranking was just about the case last year, though CBS got the second-most in 2014 and NBC got the third-most, while the network FX came in fourth.
It’s in major categories like Best Drama Series where networks struggle. None of the four major networks have a show in the Best Drama Series nominee list – the shows came from PBS, AMC, HBO, Showtime, and Netflix. Similarly, only two actors out of 12 in the Best Lead Actor or Best Lead Actress in a Drama categories are from network shows: Viola Davis in “How to Get Away with Murder” and Taraji P. Henson for Fox’s “Empire.”
Networks do slightly better in the comedy categories, however. Two of the six Best Comedy Series nominees are from networks, ABC’s “Modern Family” and NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Similarly, two of the Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series nominees, “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson and Will Forte for “The Last Man on Earth,” are from networks (ABC and Fox, respectively), while one of the Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominees, “Parks” actress Amy Poehler, has her show air on NBC.
This is a decline in networks’ presence in the 2014 Emmy drama lead nominations, in which Kerry Washington got a Best Lead Actress in a Drama nod for ABC’s “Scandal” and Julianna Margulies got a nomination for CBS's "The Good Wife." The networks' comedy performance is about the same, however, with two shows – “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family” – having been nominated in 2014 for Best Comedy Series, two actresses (Poehler and Melissa McCarthy for CBS’s “Mike and Molly”) having been nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy and Jim Parsons having been nominated in the Best Lead Actor in a Comedy prize for CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”