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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Jul 23, 2014
Headline for Talking Television: 20 Interesting Emmy Nominations for 2014
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Talking Television: 20 Interesting Emmy Nominations for 2014

Cultural Theorist, John Fiske, explained the difference between television and the written word by the absence of deep inner explanations of what the characters are experiencing, which is replaced by the visual presence of facial expressions and real-to-life subtleties of body language. Because of this, the audience fills in the blanks with their own experiences. These are the stories we share in social bonds at work, school, and over social media. Here are 10 interesting Emmy nominations for 2014:

17

Best Drama-Breaking Bad

Best Drama-Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad took a person with nothing left to lose, and showed viewers the reasons why he felt that way by exposing the systems and institutions in the US. The actions of Walter White and other characters not only created exciting drama, but also showed us the pathways of power people take that are carved out by laws and policies not of their own making.

19

Best Actor in a Drama Series- Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Best Actor in a Drama Series- Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston went from loveable dad on Malcolm in the Middle to hardcore drug dealer with a blown up goal. The initial reason for why his character goes into cooking and dealing stuck in the background of the dust and the chaos, and no matter how deep his brow furrowed, we always remembered how it all started. It was easy to forgive him.

20

Best Miniseries or Movie-Fargo

Best Miniseries or Movie-Fargo

Inspired by the famous Cohen brothers film, this miniseries is loved by critics. The snow is a character in itself, working as an antagonist and making everything a bit more dire and difficult. What does snow do? It makes it hard to run, hard to hide, and acts like a blank canvas by highlighting blood splatter.

11

Best Comedy Series- Orange is the New Black

Best Comedy Series- Orange is the New Black

OITNB is a massive hit. It has broken barriers with stories of the female experience in prison. As a comedy it's not exactly hard hitting and spot on, but it does dig up topics that are not covered in the usual television show. It dares to touch what is usually ignored and left out of mainstream discourse.

12

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Laverne Cox in "Orange is the New Black"

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Laverne Cox in "Orange is the New Black"

This is big news for the transgender community as Laverne Cox is the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy award. In TIME magazine she said " I was told many times that I wouldn't be able to have a mainstream career as an actor because I'm trans, because I'm black, and here I am." These award shows may not be what the art is about, but what they do offer is a platform for recognition in the mainstream, and hopefully inspire positive change.

13

Best Actress in a Comedy - Lena Dunham in Girls

Best Actress in a Comedy - Lena Dunham in Girls

Lena Dunham plays (and writes) the stereotype of the millennial perfectly. Her character, Hanna, is hilarious in a love/hate kind of way. Sometimes it is uncomfortable because we are all capable of getting wrapped up in ourselves and that Gen Y mindset of "I am supposed to do something incredible" narcissism, and then losing sight of things that matter.

14

Best Actor in a Comedy Series- William H. Macy in Shameless

Best Actor in a Comedy Series- William H. Macy in Shameless

William H. Macy plays Frank Gallagher in Shameless, and we love him for it. His issues aside, Frank is resistance to the system in the way he wiggles around it. His relationship to his kids, and theirs to him, is what really shapes the features of his troubled character.

15

Best Supporting Actor in Comedy Series - Fred Armisen in Portlandia

Best Supporting Actor in Comedy Series - Fred Armisen in Portlandia

Portlandia is mocking an entire culture. It takes all of the hipstery wannabe radical comforts and rolls them into the extreme by making fun of every ridiculous cool-hunting detail. It also surfaces the realities of these trends, that they are trends, not very unique, and totally sucked into hegemonic culture.

16

Supporting Actress in Comedy Series- Anna Chlumsky in Veep

Supporting Actress in Comedy Series- Anna Chlumsky in Veep

Anna Chlumsky has had to break herself free from the unforgettable and adorable My Girl role. She is good enough in Veep (and grown up) that the nomination will be the next part of her acting expansion.

18

Best Actress in a Drama Series -Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex

Best Actress in a Drama Series -Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex

Lizzy Caplan plays the role of Virginia Johnson, the woman who researched sexuality alongside William Masters, in Masters of Sex. Johnson is a very dynamic role, as she was a revolutionary in redefining sex, tearing apart restrictive and harmful ideas, and ushering in a new era for sexuality.

1

Best Drama Series-True Detective

Best Drama Series-True Detective

True Detective is one of those shows where the landscape seeps into your subconscious while you're watching it. There is some kind of grim reality to the shades of dark that this show offers, and it leaves viewers with an eerie feeling inside their guts. Described as Southern Gothic and Neo-Noir, you can almost feel the wet heat that adds to the tension of this Louisiana crime drama. In Sensitive Skin Magazine, Martin St. Laurent wrote an analysis called "America as Afterimage in True Detective," in which she argues that Marty represents the dying middle class, while Rust Cohle is his nocturnal opposite, a symbol of the deterioration and chaos of post-collapse America."

2

Best Comedy Series-Silicon Valley

Best Comedy Series-Silicon Valley

Stemming from his job hating hit "Office Space", Mike Judge sets the scene in the workplace again in this hilarious sitcom "Silicon Valley". He makes a comedy about the pressures of those who hold the ideas and create the technologies that defined a generation and continue to do so through programming, software, and the internet.

3

Lead Actor in Drama Series- Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective”

Lead Actor in Drama Series- Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective”

McConaughhey plays Homicide detective "Rustin Cohle" in True Detective. Cohle is a troubled character, but also very smart and interesting. He has dropped religion in order to see the world in a science-based nihilism while he struggles with what the daylight might show him as a suffering insomniac. The death of his daughter is an event that haunts him and has solidified his feelings of what the future holds.

4

Lead Actress in Drama Series-Michelle Dockery in “Downton Abbey”

Lead Actress in Drama Series-Michelle Dockery in “Downton Abbey”

Michelle Dockery plays "Lady Mary Crawly" in the period drama Downton Abbey. The character is someone who keeps all emotion in, and fences it off to display a cold exterior. As the story carries on, like most who push it down, the softness breaks the psychologically built fence and we see another side to her. It's not an easy character to slip into, and Dockery does a good job at being dynamic and interesting.

5

Lead Actor in Comedy-Ricky Gervais in “Derek"

Lead Actor in Comedy-Ricky Gervais in “Derek"

Ricky Gervais' show "Derek" has faced some criticism for it's portrayal of people who are considered disabled or otherwise abled. It's almost as if there's a tug-of-war here, with the claims of it being "heartwarming", while at the same time it borders a kind of mockery of those who are marginalized. Some claim there is no importance to politically correct language, but because language is our only way to describe "reality", words (and the actions that precede and follow as result) still carry the weight of our own histories.

6

Reality Competition Series-Project Runway

Reality Competition Series-Project Runway

Fashion as competition has always been a fascinating subject for me. Fashion is something that sits between the mainstream and the resistance to the mainstream, as it is always being pulled with these cultural tensions. A reality show about people who compete in front of fashionable judges is like a power discourse in action, where the top of the trend food chain try to maintain their say in what is considered worthy of wearing on a nation-wide platform.

7

Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show isn't just about making fun of politics, it's also a satire of modern day journalism. Stewart satires politics through the failings of other news reports on the same topic. It's genius because it's almost as if the initial news report (Fox, CNN) was the joke, and Stewart is only making a correction, and we find it hilarious.

8

Miniseries-Bonnie and Clyde

Miniseries-Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde is the storyline everyone knows, so it's an easy "yes" for a miniseries. The idea of a couple so dedicated to each other that they'll commit crimes and murder has always floated in the dark side of romantic ideology, and it fascinates us.

9

Supporting Actor in a Drama- Peter Dinklage in "Game of Thrones"

Supporting Actor in a Drama- Peter Dinklage in "Game of Thrones"

It's clear that Peter Dinklage is an outstanding actor. His role as Tyrion Lannister on HBO's huge hit Game of Thrones has won him awards before this nomination. This is a show with well developed characters we get attached to, and then are killed off without any mercy for the audience. It takes on that life and nature abruptness. It may be unfair, but death happens, and there is no stopping it.

10

Supporting Actress in a Drama--Christina Hendricks in “Mad Men”

Supporting Actress in a Drama--Christina Hendricks in “Mad Men”

Christina Hendricks is a big award winner for her role as the beautiful Joan Harris on Mad Men. She plays a character who knows the role of women in her time and the short paths of power given to them, but is also known for moments of resistance to these same constructs. In real life, Hendricks has called out reporters and Hollywood for focusing too much on the bodies of women over their talents and smarts.