Are TV’s dramas OK? – Los Angeles Times


With the passing of the soundtrack to our city this week, let me just begin with a tip of my cap and say,“Hi everybody and a very pleasant good day to you wherever you may be.”

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of the Envelope’s Friday newsletter. Pull up a chair while I round up the week’s news.

Are TV’s dramas OK?

Believe me, there was a lot of nodding recognition going on while I was reading my pal Mary McNamara’s column on the grim state of affairs surrounding the crop of shows nominated for this year’s drama series Emmy. I like a dystopian vision as much as the next person (I went to an Angels game last night!), but wading through the likes of “Squid Game,” “Yellowjackets,” “Severance,” “Euphoria” and the like isn’ not going to turn anyone’s frown upside down.

Mary pays particular attention to the “breathtaking cynicism” of “Ozark,” noting, “Unlike Tony Soprano or Walter White or countless other antiheroes who pay for their sins in the end, the Byrdes emerge from their movable slaughterhouse not shackled or riddled with bullets — but victorious.”

“’Don’t come at me with this fairy-tale thing about right and wrong, and that those who cheat get punished,’ ‘Ozark’ star Laura Linney said, mimicking her character’s lack of contrition in a recent Times interview. “’Are you kidding? Watch the news.’”

I’ll pass. TV news is the worst. But as a Los Angeles Times subscriber (right?), you know there are better sources to help make sense of the world.

A woman with long hair looks a hot mess.

Zendaya in “Euphoria.” She does not look happy, does she?

(Eddy Chen/HBO)

So which grim drama will win the Emmy?

I could prattle on for a few paragraphs about what might happen in the drama categories when the 74th Emmy Awards are presented on Sept. 12. But let’s be concise. Remember that series of McDonald’s commercials that “Succession” star Brian Cox did, the spots that were so delightful it almost made you forget the chain’s terrible food and unconscionable carbon footprint, the ones that ended with the tagline: “I’m lovin’ it ”?

“Succession,” its stars (though maybe not Cox) and its fans are going to be lovin’ it when the ceremony ends. Here’s hoping they find a better meal to celebrate with. Ba-da-ba-ba-ba!

Anyway, before I head to the kitchen to make a delicious black bean burger (really … try this recipe!), here are my Emmy predictions for the main drama races.

A man and a woman in sunglasses walk on a tarmac talking.

Brian Cox and Sarah Snook, Emmy nominees for “Succession.”

(Hunter Graeme/HBO)

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Vin Scully exceeded every expectation

Do you remember the 1999 Kevin Costner movie “For the Love of the Game”? Maybe not. It’s Costner’s third best baseball movie, far behind “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams.” In it, he plays an aging pitcher ruminating on his life while pitching a perfect game in perhaps the final start of his career. The announcer calling the game? None other than the greatest broadcaster in sports history, Vincent Edward Scully.

The film gave me the chance to spend an hour with Scully in his Dodger Stadium broadcast booth, talking about baseball movies (he had a soft spot for Gary Cooper’s turn as Lou Gehrig in “Pride of the Yankees”) and his own love for the game. Not long after the story published, a card arrived in the mail with a Pacific Palisades return address. It was a handwritten note from Scully, thanking me for the kind words, even if, in his estimation, they went beyond what he deserved.

That was Scully. gracious. Humble. Thoughtful.

Every once in a while, the legends exceed expectations.

Until next week… wishing you a very pleasant day, wherever you may be.

Vin Scully has a laugh in the broadcast booth at Dodger Stadium.

The late, great Vin Scully.

(Los Angeles Times)

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