The Odyssey Online- Fourth Issue

The 2015 Alterna-Emmy Awards

From Theme Songs to Title Cards, Here’s A Look at the Best of TV’s Most Taken For Granted Features

The Odyssey Online

While some of these categories actually do exist in the real Emmy Awards, you’ll never see their winners announced during the Live telecast on Sept. 20. In honor of those stalwart constants of every episode, here’s an unofficial award show devoted entirely to them.

Rules: While any parallel awards with the actual Emmys (like the one for theme song) were taken into consideration, the only requirement for Alterna-Emmy nominees was that they be from shows currently on the air or just ended (as in eligible for this year’s award ceremonies, regardless of whether ultimately unfairly snubbed).

Let the show begin!
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Online Submission #5

Truth, Lies, and The Americans Way: A Television Dilemma

Loco Mag

How much truth do you really need to tell the ones you love? That is the million dollar question faced by characters on TV across networks, as the surge in morally ambiguous anti-heroes has corresponded with a new norm of morally ambiguous show worlds for them to interact in. But what kind of interactions are they having? Continue reading

Online Submission #3

Narrative Rising

The Compass

In recent years television has become infamous for making the likes of Snooki famous. At the same time, the late twentieth century onwards has been one of television’s brightest stretches, an ongoing era of narrative that consists of more than arguing about a show’s romantic leads, chuckling at stereotypes played for laughs on sitcoms, and listening in awe to a wise, loner detective solve his case in the final ten minutes. All of a sudden, viewers have to remember what happens from week to week, look up charts online to keep track of characters and their allegiances, feel compelled to buy t-shirts with quotes and logos plastered on the front. New technology has made that kind of commitment viable but it is these narrative shows that deserve all the credit for generating such strong fandom responses. The industry is taking notice, too, realizing the profit and loyal audience that comes from airing programming with a little more depth than the typical standalone-episode dramas or comedies. Paid cable may have gotten there first, when the widely considered leader of the pack, The Sopranos, first premiered in 1999, but now basic cable and network channels are moving in pursuit of this growing television trend. The question is, what exactly makes up this elusive narrative format, and why does it reap so much popular and critical appeal?

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My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama


I have a chance of picking a winner for lead actress in a drama! Vera Farmiga has been nominated (and, considering Bate’s Motel only started this spring, that’s some pretty fast recognition). Now, I imagine name exposure from her role in the film, Up in the Air may have helped. The show’s origin work also happens to be a Hollywood classic. Still, a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho is exciting in concept but very easily botched. Attempting to bring to life a character who only ever existed as an unseen damaging influence over cinema’s infamous serial killer, Norman Bates- a bit tricky. Farmiga deserves all the attention she gets for the multiple layers she provides Norma: her version of maternal paranoia makes all the crazy situations she falls into not outrageous but great TV. Freddie Highmore may be giving a fantastic performance as well, making a new name for himself after years of successful parts as a child actor, but Norma is the Bates to watch.
Connie Britton also snags a nomination for a first season show. Maybe it takes revealing a powerful singing voice to bring Mrs. Coach the award she’s had coming to her for since Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose?
I have enjoyed Khandi Alexander’s work since ER, so am disappointed that her, and Treme in general, have been ignored.
Then again, Rectify, the best show of 2013, has received no attention either, so what do I know? It seems Netflix and not Sundance is going to be spotlighted for newly starting to have original content, and as a person who likes her shows on a television, not a computer, I think this is a mistake (admittedly have never seen House of Lies; simply remain on the fence about its distributor and that trepidation has, fairly or unfairly, biased me against the program at present).
Here is the official nominations list.


Here is what the “Lead Actor” and “Lead Actress in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only pick six people, so even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

– Bryan Cranston (Walter White, Breaking Bad)

ADEN YOUNG (Daniel Holden, Rectify)

Aden Young as "Daniel Holden"

– Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle, Castle)

– Jon Hamm (Don Draper, Mad Men)

– Wendell Pierce (Antoine Baptiste, Treme)

– Matthew Rhys (Philip Jennings, The Americans)


Runner Ups:
David Boreanaz (Seeley Booth, Bones)
Charlie Hunnam (Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, Sons of Anarchy)
Timothy Hutton (Nathan Ford, Leverage)
Timothy Olyphant (Raylan Givens, Justified)
Damian Lewis (Nicholas Brody, Homeland)


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

– Khandi Alexander (LaDonna Baptiste-Williams, Treme)

– Connie Britton (Rayna James, Nashville)

– Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey)

VERA FARMIGA (Norma Bates, Bates Motel)

Vera Farmiga as "Norma Bates"

– Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson, Mad Men)

– Katey Sagal (Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy)


Runner Ups:
Glenn Close (Patty Hewes, Damages)
Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife)
Keri Russell (Elizabeth Jennings, The Americans)
Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Beth, and others, Orphan Black)
Radha Mitchell (Marta Walraven, Red Widow)


Honorable Mentions: Emily Deschanel (Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, Bones), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret, Once Upon a Time), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering, Warehouse 13), Stana Katic (Kate Beckett, Castle), Jessica Raine (Jenny Lee, Call the Midwife)

And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot

(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)

-Aden Young screencap credited Sundance, Vera Farmiga screencap from here


My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series”


This category was a wash.
I am actually familiar with the work of all the actresses nominated, and they are all extremely talented but this list has been seen before (Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones being the exception- bravo Mother of Dragons!). Would have liked to see the wealth spread, since there are so many actresses worthy of these six spots.
Indeed, Monica Potter plays my least favorite character on Parenthood, but I wanted to see her nominated (even over Mae Whitman, who plays my favorite character) because of her emotional cancer arc this season. It ended a little too happily (and please don’t take that the wrong way- having cancer of any form or degree, no matter the outcome, is terrible. I only mean that, in the case of this show, while a ton of issues have been thrown at the Bravermans over four seasons, they always seem to come out in the end overwhelmingly lucky).
As the category is, I’ll put my vote behind Christina Hendricks.
Here is the official nominations list.


Here is what the “Supporting Actress in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only nominate six people, and even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

– Rose Byrne (Ellen Parsons, Damages)

– Kim Dickens (Janette Desautel, Treme)

JOELLE CARTER (Ava Crowder, Justified)

ABIGAIL SPENCER (Amantha Holden, Rectify)

– Monica Potter (Kristina Braverman, Parenthood)

– Maggie Siff (Tara Knowles, Sons of Anarchy)



Runner Ups:
Christine Baranski (Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife)
Claire Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor, Nashville)
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones)
Joanne Froggart (Anna, Downton Abbey)
Christina Hendricks (Joan Harris, Mad Men)
Melissa Leo (Antoinette ‘Toni’ Bernette, Treme)
Linda Parrilla (Evil Queen/Mayor Regina Mills, Once Upon a Time)
Mae Whitman (Amber Holt, Parenthood)
Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper, Mad Men)


Honorable Mentions: Anna Gunn (Skyler White, Breaking Bad), Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader, Breaking Bad), Miranda Hart (Chummy Noakes, Call the Midwife), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones), Kelly Macdonald (Margaret Schroeder, Boardwalk Empire), Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes, Nashville), Beth Riesgraf (Parker, Leverage), Valorie Curry (Emma Hill, The Following)

And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot.
(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)

-Carter’s picture from here; Spencer’s picture credited Sundance


My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series”


Can no member of an FX drama get nominated? Justified? Sons of Anarchy? The Americans? Poor Walter Goggins.
The silver lining is I’m very happy for Peter Dinklage and Aaron Paul. It’s a complete toss up between those two.
Here is the official nominations list.


Here is what the “Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only nominate six people, and even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

WALTON GOGGINS (Boyd Crowder, Justified)

Walton Goggins as "Boyd Crowder"

– Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad)

– Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones)

– Steve Zahn (Davis McAlary, Treme)

– Dayton Callie (Wayne Unser, Sons of Anarchy)

– Luke Kirby (Jon Stern, Rectify)


Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne, Nashville)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Chalky White, Boardwalk Empire)
Jordan Gavaris (Felix, Orphan Black)
Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett, Bates Motel)
Goran Visnjic (Nikolai Schiller, Red Widow)
John Slattery (Roger Sterling, Mad Men)
Matt Czuchry (Cary Agos, The Good Wife)


Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut), Kim Coates (Alex ‘Tig’ Trager, Sons of Anarchy), Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey), Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates, Bates Motel), Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin, Once Upon a Time), Josh Charles (Will Gardner, The Good Wife)
Michael Cudlitz (Officer John Cooper, Southland), Colin Donaghue (Hook/Killian Jones, Once Upon a Time), Seamus Denver (Kevin Ryan, Castle), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader, Breaking Bad), Mandy Patinkin (Saul Berenson, Homeland), Dax Shepard (Crosby Braverman, Parenthood), Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley, Nashville), Sam Palladio (Gunner Scott, Nashville)

And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot.

(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)

-picture from here


My Precious: The Remote Control

My name is Rachel and I am addicted to television. When I say addicted it means the act of staring at my collection of DVD seasons in my room is eerily similar to Gollum’s attachment to the One Ring. Over years of deal finding and gathering (thank you Amazon, eBay, and Black Friday), my crowded shelves include at least eighty-seven different shows. This does not include all the shows I watch live when they air, nor the shows typed up on an ongoing wish list to watch in the future.


It is my belief that I follow such a variety of different programs that anyone could find at least one they liked, and probably a few they have never heard of. Some are American (Treme), while others are British (Life on Mars) and Canadian (Slings and Arrows). Genre-wise, there is a wide, unlimited range of classics (I Love Lucy), comedy (New Girl), mystery (Castle), science-fiction (Doctor Who), quirky one-season hits (Wonderfalls), dramas (Nashville), violence (Sons of Anarchy) and anything that comes out of the brain of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).


My favorite characters range from the protective siblings to the annoying person every other fan cannot stand, the witty best friend (see Friday Night Light‘s Landry Clarke) to the well-intentioned rebel (which sounds like such a cliché but cannot be denied when people like Gilmore Girl‘s Jess Mariano, Veronica Mar‘s Logan Echolls, and Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman exist).


Bonds of Siblinghood
Dean Winchester and his Metallicar Credit: WB, CW

Dean Winchester and his Metallicar

Credit: WB, CW

While not predisposed to be a watcher of horror shows or movies, I love Supernatural. In television, it is rare that the protagonists are siblings, seemingly preferring solo stars or love interests. That is why shows like Supernatural, Tru Calling, and the new [UPDATE: canceled] comedy, Ben and Kate, mean so much to me. They focus on the relationship that is so important in my world, instead of acting like the only place for a brother or sister in television is as an annoyance. For example, it is not uncommon for Supernatural fans to be obsessed with Dean Winchester. I mean, it basically comes down to being a member of Team Sam or Team Dean. As a member of Team Dean, though, I find the character (portrayed winningly by Jensen Ackles) incredibly charming, and a lot of that comes from the fact that he is a protective, older sibling. Like Dean, I would do anything for my little brother. He means the world to me and every extreme action Dean does to take care and protect Sammy, is exactly what I would do… if I fought demons for a living.


Defender of the Hated

As for my penchant to adore disliked characters, I know Ziggy says some stuff he should not say (like here), that he should have known ducks and alcohol do not mix, but everyone treats him like an idiot. He just looks so sad sometimes, like he has gotten himself stuck in this shtick and does not know how to get out. No one thinks he can change or do anything right to the point that even his friends refuse to see him as anything but a mess up. It’s not fair. Sure, maybe I give him more credit then he deserves, and at times he is in the wrong, or takes a wrong approach. Then again I am also trying to find some means to redeem Dutch Wagenbach (one look at his name and you know he gets no respect) after he killed a cat on The Shield. I simply refuse to give up on these broken characters, who never seem to be given a chance and are always picked on, but have heart.

We all make mistakes. He just made many.

We all make mistakes. He just made many.
Credited: HBO

When a disk skips even a minute I go crazy running from room to room, trying to find a DVD player that will play through the missed seconds.

I read books called, The Office and Philosophy, from Blackwell Philosophy and PopCulture, or Pronto by Elmore Leonard, starring Justified lead, Raylon Givens (but missing my leading man, Boyd Crowder).

TV Guide magazine is a weekly read.

In other words, this hobby is not limited to video content but is reflected in everything I do.

Television vs Movies

All of this could be considered extreme (I use “could be” hesitantly) but I love it. There is something to be proud of, in a sense, in knowing so much detail about one area, to be able to name the actors and actresses who appear as minor guest stars, as well as provide their previous work credentials. The appeal of television over movies is the emphasis on characters, who get to really grow and change over thirteen to twenty-two episodes, as opposed to being restricted to two and a half hours and that is it. There are story arcs which you actually have to keep track of as they are referenced weeks later. They are even divided into attainable thirty to sixty minute segments, which can easily fit into my busy schedule. There is no better way to debrief and recuperate than with a show. Drop all the homework for a moment and just sit: pure watching, no multitasking.

Why It’s OK to be Obsessed with Television

As an added bonus, I can warrant my habits to the more skeptical individuals with the fact that my goal is for this beloved obsession to lead to some form of career, the pipe dream being a television critic. Alan Sepinwall is my role model in the field. Through his blog, and now his work on the web-site HitFix, he gets paid to watch shows and write reviews for each episode. Indeed, he spent one summer re-watching The Wire and writing two separate reviews for each episode, one for new fans and one for people who have already seen all five seasons so would not be spoiled. Not only does that take a lot of commitment but, having read most of the “newbie” reviews personally, it really adds to understanding and provides new ways of looking at events that took place.

The whole concept sounds amazing, such a fun thing to do for a living. Since first grade, writing has always been the discipline where I found my niche and now I know what I want to write about. Indeed, that is one of the reasons I am so excited about writing a blog in this class. Alan Sepinwall got noticed writing about NYPD Blue on a blog in college. This assignment could be a great opportunity to replace my talk with action towards an ambition that, if successful, could lead towards a paying job one day.

Something Quotable for the Last Lines

The best thing about television is it is still fairly separate from the combined gadget world technology seems to want to head towards (like the phones no longer being only phones phenomenon). Some have increased in size and flatness. There are more channels. 3D is being attempted. For the most part, though, television is still that box in the living room we all know and love to turn on. That is something to celebrate.