Sunday, December 30, 2007

Superbad - Yup, That's Me

Every few years a brand new teen coming of age (sex, drugs, and/or drinking) comedy comes along. They range from the true classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High to the far less amusing Can't Hardly Wait. The recently released to DVD Superbad happily falls far closer to the former than the latter.

Directed by Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers) and produced by Judd Apatow and his merry band of misfits (the folks that brought you Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin), the story follows Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) as they embark on a quest for liquor. By obtaining the liquor they will gain admittance to a party that has the potential to allow them to both lose their virginity before parting ways and heading off to college.

Seth and Evan, along with their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), spend the vast majority of the movie getting into and out of trouble as they try to obtain liquor. Along the way they encounter a menagerie of loons, including two police officers played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader. The officers end up traveling around with Fogell, who is going under the name "McLovin" as that's what his fake ID reads, and prove that being an officer of the law can be fun (provided you wreck your police car and drink on the job).

The plot is neither new nor different from the coming of age stories in dozens of other movies. However, the film is still incredibly funny. The script itself, while presenting few new situations, finds humor in the offbeat reactions of the characters. Cera, Hill, and everyone else are more than game to deliver the most absurd, inane lines with a straight face (I will refrain from giving you an example as the film's R rating exists for the abundance of profanity that issues from the characters). The entire cast is out to milk each situation for every possible bit of comedy, and they often succeed.

The true standout in the film is Jonah Hill's Seth, who manages to be both desperate, charming, and more than a little sad at the same time. In fact, the film does a wonderful job of making both Seth and Evan incredibly funny without losing their basic sense of humanity. The characters certainly do things that no one in their right mind would contemplate, but they manage to do it without ever losing the sense that they are real people. It's a difficult feat for a comedy to pull off, but it's one place where Superbad excels.

The DVD is currently available as a two-disc set. It comes with several different behind the scenes looks at the movie, from table reads to casting sessions and on-set diaries. There are also extended and deleted scenes, a look at the music in the movie, a gag reel, and a look at the filming of the dancing in the opening credits (among other things). One of the funniest special features included is a mockumentary "Everyone Hates Michael Cera – The Unfortunate True Story" which features Cera being obnoxious and everyone complaining about him.

Full of cursing, lewdness, and big laughs, Superbad may not break new ground but certainly has a good time covering the old. The cast is hysterical, the jokes funny, and the sense of fun that everyone had on set shines through. The non-stop use of four-letter words may put some people off, but those individuals are not the intended audience anyway.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The WGA Strike, AMPTP, and Me

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm unhappy. I've been out of the country and/or away from home for three out of the past four weeks. I thought, I hoped, I prayed that at some point during my travels I would hear that the WGA (Writers Guild of America) and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) had worked out their differences and that production on scripted television shows was going to ramp up once more. I was hoping to hear that everything had been solved in term for cast and crews to return to work come the beginning of the New Year.

Sadly, my wish did not come true. The groups haven't even talked to one another for more than two weeks. It's somewhat disgraceful. How will this get sorted out if they aren't even talking to each other?

Now, to be clear, I'm not putting the blame on any one side. Both groups have valid concerns. Neither group wants to make a bad deal and be stuck with it. Even so, shouldn't they be talking about their differences?

I'm beginning to feel like a teenager caught between two divorcing parents - each side keeps on telling me how the other is wrong. They refuse to talk to each other, but dad insists that if mom would only take out the garbage once in a while everything would be hunky-dory. Mom, on the other hand, wants dad to man up and do the dishes once a week.

Both parents, however, are only too happy to tell me that it's because of the other one that I'm not going to get my Christmas wish, that if the other one really cared about me they'd buy it for me.

The worst thing about it is that not only has this Christmas been ruined, we're rapidly ruining next Christmas too because no one is making deals for next fall's pilots.

Oh sure, some work is taking place. For instance, the AMPTP web page has this clever little ticker counting dollars lost due to the strike and a cute ad explaining how the average working writer makes more than a surgeon. The fact that corporations like GE, News Corp, Viacom, Disney, and Time Warner (the companies who produce the vast majority of television shows and movies in this country), and their executives do rather well seems to be missing from the ad. The WGA website, on the other hand, is quick to claim that 46% of writers didn't work last year (hence AMPTP using the "working writer" claim), and that the average writer's salary over a five-year period of employment and unemployment is $62,000.

There are, hypothetically, a number of ways that number can be made smaller than the reality of the situation, but I'd rather not get into whether or not mom or dad can afford to bring home a better quality of bacon. I want to hear the sizzle in the pan.

Unquestionably, obviously, without a doubt, complicated issues abound in the contract negotiations and they should not be minimized. The two sides should talk to each other though. And, failing actually talking to each other, they should at least sit down in the same room at stare at each other silently.

Stop. You were about to tell me that this side or that side refuses to sit with the other. Frankly, I don't care. I believe that if one side really wanted to talk to the other it would.

The WGA reached an agreement with Worldwide Pants (Letterman's production company) and both the Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson are going to go back on the air with their full writing staffs. See, talking can make a difference.

Pick up a phone, send an e-mail, grab a bullhorn, and shout from the rooftops. Just talk to each other.

Think of the children.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh to be a Blade Runner and Dream of Electric Sheep

It seems as though more and more often directors are choosing to go back and re-edit their old movies. Sometimes they change significant plot points, sometimes it is just an addition or subtraction of a few shots here and there, and sometimes it is a graphical/FX makeover. George Lucas is, of course, notorious for "tweaking" his Star Wars saga through the years. However, Lucas is not the only director to tread down this path.

Over 25 years ago, Ridley Scott directed Blade Runner, a futuristic-noir movie that takes place in Los Angeles in 2019 and is based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. From that time to this, multiple versions of the film have been released onto cassette tape, laser disc, and DVD. A few weeks ago the alleged "final cut" of the film was released.

The story still follows Rick Deckard, a retired detective brought back to the force in order to hunt down a group of replicants (androids) that have returned to Earth. Deckard was once a "blade runner," a police officer who specialized in the tracking down and "retiring" (read: killing) of replicants.

The replicants, led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), are after a way to extend their life, which was, during their manufacture, limited to four years for fear that the replicants would grow too many emotions and end up revolting against their human masters. Batty and his gang attempt, in various ways, to see their creator Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) in order to cajole him into extending their lifespan.

Deckard meanwhile has his own discussion with Tyrell on the nature of humanity and whether a replicant could not know that it was a replicant. Tyrell, in fact, created one such replicant, Rachel (Sean Young), who was unsure about her own status until Deckard outed her.

Blade Runner, in all its various forms, is a dark, brooding look at humanity. The film spends much time questioning the very nature of humanity and where we are headed, and does not tend to come up with joyous answers.

As Deckard, Ford is brilliant, but it is Hauer's Batty who truly keeps things interesting. Batty's desperate desire to live combined with his overwhelming urge to kill make him a hugely flawed, but sympathetic, villain. Batty's struggle for humanity, to outlive not only his own programming but Deckard's gun make him a villain unlike most that appear onscreen.

The film is also blessed with a wonderful supporting cast, including Edward James Olmos as Gaff, a police officer who may know more about Deckard than he lets on. Darryl Hannah appears as Pris, one of Batty's gang of replicants, and William Sanderson is J.F. Sebastian, a man befriended by Pris who works for Tyrell. M. Emmet Walsh also briefly appears in the film as Deckard's commanding officer, Bryant.

The newest version of the film, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, contains some minor changes from the 1992 Director's Cut of the movie. Most notably, the film has been digitally remastered, some special effects have been improved, and it now boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The film also contains some additional/extended scenes, none of which truly provide a new take on the movie.

The two-disc release of the film also contains several different audio commentary tracks, including one by Ridley Scott. The second disc features a full-length documentary, Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner which features interviews with cast and crew and is a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the movie.

Blade Runner does a wonderful job of moving from think-piece on the nature of us all to sci-fi action adventure. While we will certainly not get to the future Blade Runner ascribes to us by 2019, we may one day still head down that dark path.

As for the ultimate question that surrounds every release of Blade Runner -- is Deckard a replicant? -- watch and decide for yourself.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lara Croft Celebrates her Tomb Raider: Anniversary

With the release of Tomb Raider: Anniversary, the franchise revisits the title that started it all off. The game, recently released for the Nintendo Wii is a complete update on the game that made Lara Croft into a household name. As with all games on the Wii, the update attempts to take advantage of the system's motion sensing controls.

For those unfamiliar with the game series, or its heroine, the series involves the "tomb raider" Lara Croft going around the world in search of ancient artifacts. In this game, Croft is purportedly on a search for the Scion of Atlantis. In actuality however, the plot is merely an excuse to have Croft run, leap, and shimmy through levels, solve simple puzzles, and shoot things.

Rather than simply be a graphical improvement upon the original game (released in 1996), everything here is bigger and better than before. The levels are larger, the puzzles more intricate, and the derring-do ratcheted up a notch. There are moments that hearken back to the original (like battling a Tyrannosaurus Rex), and the overall goal is the same, but make no mistake, the game is far more a new experience than a simple remake.

Anniversary plays out as a third person platformer, with Croft performing one spectacular leap or climb, or ledge crawl, after another. The levels, which vary from jungle to tomb (and things between) are, for the most part, linear. There is but one way to progress through them, and the direction is readily apparent. They're not the sort of open-ended wide ranging levels many games opt for today (or that the series would eventually use), but they are large enough with enough to do in them that they're mainly unidirectional nature is not overly negative.

In fact, the game works quite well as a shoot-'em-up adventure, with Croft never running out of basic handgun bullets (more sophisticated weaponry and ammo can be harder to come by). Nor does Croft want for extra lives, dying in the game always results in a return to the most recently passed checkpoint.

On the whole, the software team has done a wonderful job updating the game for today's more capable systems. While the Wii is not, and never will be, as powerful as the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, the graphics on Anniversary still look good and are certainly a substantial improvement over the original entry into the franchise. Those that enjoyed playing the game when the series began more than ten years ago will be pleased with it's freshened look.

Additionally, Tomb Raider: Anniversary's use of the Wii's control mechanisms makes the game even more enjoyable. Running, jumping, and climbing are performed with ease and in a wholly natural way. The use of the grappling hook requires a wrist flick in the air much in the way one might actually throw such a hook in reality (not that this reviewer has every had such an opportunity). Swimming is somewhat less easy to get the hang of, which may be because Croft never swims as fast as one feels she should. The game also provides an auto-lock onto enemies within range, which allows Croft to hit a locked enemy when facing in the enemy's general direction.

However, there are still some significant issues with the game as released. The camera angle is a constant frustration, and the user's ability to change the viewing angle never seems to improve anything. It is all too often impossible to perform a jump or other dangerous maneuver correctly on the first try simply because an appropriate camera angle is unattainable (thank goodness Croft's lives are infinite).

More upsetting is the fact that at more than one location it is possible to jump "through" a seam in a wall and into a no man's land from which it impossible to escape or die. Happily, the game has no limit on the number of saves allowed and has checkpoints on a regular basis (all saved games start from the most recently accessed checkpoint). Thus, when one does happen to jump through a wall the game can be restarted from a checkpoint with little loss of progress.

While some of the mini-games feel foolish (is it really necessary to uncover hidden signs by use of a paintbrush?), and as noted above there are some other issues, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a wonderfully fun entry into the series. Lara Croft is far more nimble than she once was, and I certainly look forward to her next leap onto the Wii.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Suggestive Themes and Violence.

Four stars out of five.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Want One? No, I Already HAVA One and it's a Titanium HD

Every day the world of television changes a little bit. The landscape is constantly being altered, whether it's with web video, mobisodes, time-shifting, and, more recently, place-shifting. Place-shifting, for the uninitiated, is watching one's local television stations (or content one has sitting in their house) on an Internet connected device.

Just as TiVo is the most recognized name in time-shifting DVRs, Slingbox is the most recognized name in place-shifting. However, just like with TiVo, Slingbox is not the only game in town. Monsoon Multimedia has its own line of place-shifting devices, entitled HAVA. One of newest products in the line is the HAVA Titanium HD.

A sleek looking piece of equipment, about the size of four DVD cases stacked on top of each other, the HAVA Titanium HD is extremely lightweight. It comes with numerous different ways to connect to any device with a television tuner (it does not have one built in, which is a drawback, but more on that below) like a DVR, cable box, or satellite receiver. It additionally comes with an Ethernet port and an 802.11g wireless dongle which can put placed into one of two available USB ports.

Unlike Slingboxes, the Titanium HD is able to play out video content to multiple PCs on a local network and one device via the Internet at the same time. The desktop application for viewing programs is sleeker as well.

As for the actual quality of streamed content, the HAVA Titanium HD performs solidly. Naturally, content does look better on a local device than one connected via the Internet, but both are more than acceptable for general viewing. The sound quality is good as well.

The device however is not without some disappointing aspects. Though touted for its ability to time-shift content, time-shifting (and recording of programs in general) can only be done when viewing a locally networked HAVA, not one being watched over the Internet. Additionally, at least for the TiVo Series 3 device to which I connected the HAVA, the remote control buttons did not always function properly. For instance, when pressing the "TiVo" button, rather than having the TiVo menu appear on the screen, the DVR advances to the end of a recorded program (or beginning of the recording if it is at the end). However, as selecting "Menu" from a dropdown list of commands does cause the menu to appear, a work around is not that difficult to implement.

A far more annoying problem is the time lag between submitting any command to the HAVA and then out to the device to which the HAVA is connected. Pressing the appropriate command to change a channel, fast forward, or pause a recording results in a five to ten second delay before the command takes effect. While this is okay for pausing something, it becomes terribly annoying when trying to fast forward through the commercials on a recorded program.

Phone customer support for the HAVA leaves something to be desired as well. While calls made to support for help installing the device were answered quickly, the knowledge of the techs was not adequate. Upon learning that the device was to be connected to a TiVo, the tech was under the impression that I was trying to connect it to a mobile phone (mobile phones with an Internet connection and the capability to watch streaming video can watch TV via the HAVA, but ought not be confused with a TiVo). After explaining what a TiVo was, the tech stated that the IR blaster (used to send commands from the HAVA to TiVo, cable box, satellite receiver, etc.) was not compatible with the Series 3 TiVo (it is).

With a little ingenuity and only a minor amount of hair-pulling, the HAVA is installable by an average user (if one can hook up the rest of one's entertainment system the HAVA will not cause too many problems). The directions included are little more than a guide, and not always accurate (different pages of the directions do not agree on what is included in the box), but are enough to help one get through the process.

It seems as though the HAVA Titanium HD's best days are still in the future. An upcoming software update will allow a USB connected hard drive to record programming which will then be able to be played back to any device, local or remote. Additionally, a USB hybrid digital TV tuner (with a coaxial connection) will be released in coming months as well.

As it stands currently, the HAVA Titanium HD is a nice idea, but not a must-have device. However, the availability of a USB TV tuner and hard drive may catapult the device to absolute necessity for television fanatics, and may make it a true contender against the Slingbox.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nova and the MiG Have Lost That Loving Feeling

Good intentions do not always make for good television.  Such is the case with Nova's latest episode, "Missing in MiG Alley."  What should be a fascinating look at technological, political, and military issues that developed during the Korean War is little more than a hodgepodge of stories that are far more interesting separately than together. 

The episode examines the circumstances under which several different pilots were shot down and captured during the war, the current push by the families of missing pilots to find their loved ones, and the official searches for the missing pilots.  There is also a discussion of the design of the MiG plane as well as the U.S. Sabre fighter jet, as well as a look into Russia's role during the Korean War.

There are no fewer than three or four good episodes of Nova here. 

The developments in fighter jet technology, including the swept-wing design that both the Sabre and the MiG used from Nazi designs, is fascinating.  The MiG's speed advantage over the Sabre was due to its using British Rolls-Royce engines given to the Russians by England, out of friendship following the Second World War.  These are interesting, salient facts around which an entire episode could be built.

Another episode could focus exclusively on politics of the day.  According to "Missing in MiG Alley," it has just recently come to light the that UN forces were not just battling Chinese and North Korean soldiers and airmen, but Soviet pilots as well.  The U.S.S.R. was using North Korea as a testing ground for pilots and planes, anticipating upcoming battles between the U.S. and itself. 

Then, finally, there is the story of all the lost pilots, and whether they were captured or killed.  The hunt for pilots shot down during Korea continues today, and is still a very fresh wound for the families of those missing. 

To a certain extent all these issues are intertwined.  The changes in fighter technology are, of course, related to the politics of the day.  The search for missing pilots is harder today than it may have been, because if a pilot lived after being shot down they could now be in North Korea, China, or Russia. 

There are numerous fascinating pieces of Nova's "Missing in MiG Alley," but the problem is that they are all disparate pieces, and not made into one, single, whole.  Watching the episode it seems as though three or four different stories are all cut together with little thought as to what the final result would look like. 

As an example, a former North Korean pilot talks to the camera early on in the episode about his experiences, and how North Korean pilots were not adequately trained on the MiG, they were taught about takeoff and landing and little else.  There is a passing, oblique, reference to the pilot having changed his name, but no reasons are given.  Later, near the end of "Missing in MiG Alley" the man returns.  It is at this point that the episode tells his tale, he defected at the end of the war, flying his plane from the North to the South, and landing safely. 

While this man's recollections about not being trained adequately may be accurate, surely it is necessary to state, when first giving his recollections, that he defected to the West.  His opinions and memories must, to some extent, be colored by this change in nationality.  Yet, nary a word is said when he first appears on camera.

Nova's "Missing in MiG Alley" suffers from a desire to do too much, and in making this attempt, does too little.  The stories of the missing are given short shrift, as is the science behind fighter jets, and the political realities of the Korean War.  There are several important, and interesting stories in the episode, but none are ever truly explored in the depth they deserve, nor given the chance to shine.

Nova - "Missing in MiG Alley" airs Tuesday December 18 at 8pm ET/PT, but check your local listings just to be sure.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's the 2nd Annual National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day

It's hard to imagine that a year has passed already, but, December 16 marks the second annual National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day. That's right, the holiday I created last year is back for its second go-round and boy am I excited.

As you may recall, National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day is the day of the year on which it is most acceptable to sit down in front of your television, tune out the chatter of loved ones, and focus your attention exclusively on your television. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that this day is back. There's a ton of great football matches tomorrow, including a primetime one between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. The Survivor: China finale is on, and Extras is doing its special, one-night only, super-special series finale on HBO.

Can we be honest with each other for just one moment here? You work hard. You know you work hard. An 8 hour day? Come on, you know you work more than that. You're pulling 10 and 12 hour days at the office on a regular basis. Then there's your commute. Then there's the fact that when you get home you check your work e-mail, maybe finish writing up a proposal, and when you wake up in the morning you check your e-mail again first thing. When you do have any free time at all you're running to soccer practice, band rehearsals, and checking over homework.

Sure, you love doing it, of course you do, you're doing it for your family and you care more abou them than anyone or thing else in the world. But, you deserve a little time to yourself as well.

That's what National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day is all about. It's one Sunday a year. One Sunday, just before Christmas, when you can stop, take a breath, and catch up on all those old shows on your TiVo. I myself will be watching Battlestar Galactica's "Razor" episode sometime around three o'clock in the afternoon. I would have watched it sooner, but I've been spending time with my family.

You love your family. No one wants to change that. But remember this, your family loves you too. They want you to be happy. They want you to be the best person you can be. Taking a little "me time" for yourself is going to help you be a better person.

National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day is December 16. Take the time out of your schedule to spend some moments with your television. It'll make you happier, it'll make your television happier, and it'll make your family happier.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Christmas TV Cheer

You know the wonderful thing about Christmas time?  Do you know the thing that is truly fantastic about it?  It's the Christmas television specials.  The ones that air year after year after year.  It doesn't matter how many times I see 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, there is something magical about it every single time.

In fact, I make a point every year of sitting down and watching a bunch of different Holiday movies.  There are ones that I see every single year (The Muppet Christmas Carol) and others that appear in my viewing rotation less frequently (A Charlie Brown Christmas), but no matter which ones I watch, it helps instill the holiday spirit.

In recent years, many of these classic holiday specials (though neither of the two listed above) can be found in one place – on ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas.  Sadly, we're about halfway through the 25 Days of Christmas fest, and some of the interesting things have passed.  For instance, the premiere of the brand-new made-for-television movie Holiday in Handcuffs, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez aired on December 9, (but it does air again this Saturday night).  I'll admit to not seeing it yet, but do plan on watching it this weekend.  There is still one new made-for coming up, Snowglobe, starring Christina Milan, Lorraine Bracco, Josh Cooke, and Matt Keeslar.  It's true that this doesn't have Clarissa explaining it all, but that doesn't mean that it can't be fun. 

There is still a bunch of Dr. Seuss to come (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Cat in the Hat, and The Lorax).  Then, on 12/24, the day before Christmas, ABC Family will be airing a marathon of classic Christmas specials (including stuff like my aforementioned favorite, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas).

I can't tell you that everything that airs on the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas is as good as you remember it, nor can I tell you why exactly the Harry Potter films are a part of the festivities.  However, it is a virtual certainty that you've watched at least one of the shows ABC Family has seen before, and I hereby declare you a Grinch if you don't like Snow Miser and Heat Miser (The Year Without a Santa Claus).

The fest is also missing things like the greatest Christmas movie of all time, but I guess you can't have everything.  Anyways, there's still good stuff to be found, check your local listings to find out when your favorites are on.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some Brief Thoughts on the Golden Globes

Awards season in Hollywood is kind of like Christmas in Dr. Seuss's tale of the Grinch - nothing can stop it from coming, not even a writer's strike. What form exactly the televised awards shows will take as all the jokes are written by WGA writers is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the Hollywood Foreign Press released their nominations for the Golden Globe Awards this morning.

The television nominees skew heavily towards cable fare over broadcast; four of the six nominees for Best Drama Series come from cable, and three out of five for best Musical or Comedy Series. While cable does tend to have edgier, more hip fare than broadcast, some of the included nominees are somewhat odd. For instance, the FX series Damages garnered not only a nomination for Best Drama Series, but also one for Glenn Close as Best Actress in a Drama, another for Rose Byrne as Best Supporting Actress, and one for Ted Danson as Best Supporting Actor.

One cannot argue that Glenn Close's performance in the series was wonderful, but she was not the lead female character in the show, Rose Byrne's character was. While Ted Danson not only deserves the nomination, and quite possibly to win the award, I do not believe the same is true of the nomination for Damages as the Best Series (I can think of shows I preferred that aired on the same network).

Even so, despite one or two oddities, the list of nominees is strong, and make a relatively convincing case for television not being a vast wasteland. Take that, Newton Minnow!

Below you will find the list of nominees in the television categories.

BEST SERIES, DRAMA

  • Big Love (HBO)
  • Damages (FX)
  • Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
  • House (Fox)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • The Tudors (Showtime)

BEST SERIES, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Californication (Showtime)
  • Entourage (HBO)
  • Extras (HBO)
  • Pushing Daisies (ABC)

BEST MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (HBO)
  • The Company (TNT)
  • Five Days (HBO)
  • Longford (HBO)
  • The State Within (BBC America)

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA

  • Patricia Arquette (Medium)
  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Minnie Driver (The Riches)
  • Edie Falco (The Sopranos)
  • Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Holly Hunter (Saving Grace)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA

  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)
  • Bill Paxton (Big Love)

BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)
  • America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
  • Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)

BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
  • Steve Carell (The Office)
  • David Duchovny (Californication)
  • Ricky Gervais (Extras)
  • Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)

BEST ACTRESS, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Bryce Dallas Howard (As You Like It)
  • Debra Messing (The Starter Wife)
  • Queen Latifah (Life Support)
  • Sissy Spacek (Pictures of Hollis Woods)
  • Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre)

BEST ACTOR, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Adam Beach (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee)
  • Ernest Borgnine (A Grandpa for Christmas)
  • Jim Broadbent (Longford)
  • Jason Isaacs (The State Within)
  • James Nesbitt (Jekyll)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Rose Byrne (Damages)
  • Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy)
  • Samantha Morton (Longford)
  • Anna Paquin (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee)
  • Jamie Pressly (My Name is Earl)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Ted Danson (Damages)
  • Kevin Dillon (Entourage)
  • Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
  • Andy Serkis (Longford)
  • William Shatner (Boston Legal)
  • Donald Sutherland (Dirty Sexy Money)