Familiar themes

Here’s some weekend reading on topics I’ve touched on lately:

When I interviewed Gregg Spiridellis of JibJab, he hinted at new projects for the company coming soon. CNN now has a sneak peek video, The Disrupters, featuring one of those projects — “Starring You.” I can see these kinds of videos popping up all over the Internet once they launch this thing.

“JibJab Media made its name with its political cartoon spoof a few years back. Now they are disrupting the media business again by allowing users to send in their pictures and star in their own JibJab film. Business 2.0’s Erick Schonfeld gets a sneak peek.”

Jon Wilde of Guardian Unlimited gives his top 9 reasons why The Wire is the greatest TV drama ever: The Wire is unmissable television.

“No other television drama comes close to the scope of its ambition. As co-creator and executive producer David Simon says: ‘Our model when we started doing The Wire wasn’t other television shows. The standard we were looking at was Balzac’s Paris or Dickens’s London, or Tolstoy’s Moscow.’ Over four seasons, the show has never flinched from that ambition and managed to realise it consummately. Salon.com got it spot on when they described the show as, ‘a Homeric epic of modern America’.”

Devin Gordon of Newsweek, in Tony says gimme that Emmy, starts with The Sopranos vs. Lost to make some of the same points I did in my reasoning for why a show like House does so much better than a show like The Wire at the Emmys, but he goes further — and in the end, I’m not sure there’s much more point than “the Emmys don’t make sense.”

The Emmys’ odd, single-episode nominating process does put serialized dramas such as Lost in a tricky spot. It’s impossible to appreciate an episode like “Through the Looking Glass” if you missed everything that led up to it. That’s why so-called procedurals—programs with self-contained story lines that wrap up in an hour, such as Law & Order, CSI and, more recently, House—have tended to fare well at the Emmys. But the process’s natural bias against serialized shows didn’t hurt The Sopranos, or Grey’s Anatomy.

And here’s the weird thing about this year’s Emmys: it didn’t exactly hurt Lost, either. “Through the Looking Glass” earned well-deserved nominations in both the writing and the directing categories, but the show still failed to earn a nomination for best drama series. In other words, the academy decided that Lost was beautifully written and directed, but other than that, they weren’t impressed. Boston Legal and Heroes, meanwhile, earned only a directing nomination. And House was shut out of both writing and directing honors. Yet all three were nominated for best drama.

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