Dear Emmy: Wake Up and Smell the `Homicide' Awards Panel Ignores the Audience for Tv's Best Drama

By Gail Pennington Get Out | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 5, 1996 | Go to article overview

Dear Emmy: Wake Up and Smell the `Homicide' Awards Panel Ignores the Audience for Tv's Best Drama


Gail Pennington Get Out, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The Emmy Awards, television's annual exercise in self-congratulation, come around again Sunday night (8 p.m. on Channel 30), and I'd be more excited about them if I thought the voter-members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences had a clue - if I thought they actually watched television.

But they must not, or they wouldn't have overlooked - yet again - television's best series in the nominations for outstanding drama.

"Outstanding" should practically be part of the title of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," and yet the show has been shamefully overlooked throughout its run on NBC. In previous years, in even more of an outrage, the very best actor on television - and I'll take no argument on this - was also passed over. That, of course, is Andre Braugher, whose portrayal of tight-wired Baltimore police detective Frank Pembleton is, week after week, simply breathtaking. The omission of Braugher set off a minor firestorm in entertainment circles last year, so this time out, the Emmy nominators tried to make amends. Apparently recalling Braugher's name at least vaguely, they nominated him for best actor for "Homicide" and threw in, gratis, a supporting-actor nod for HBO's "Tuskegee Airmen." But nominations for "Homicide" itself? Not one. What does this show have to do, release itself as a theatrical movie (it's produced, after all, by Barry Levinson) and win an Oscar before the TV academy takes notice of it? Most of the shows nominated instead of "Homicide" are worthy enough. No one can argue with "NYPD Blue," which had a great year and will probably win again. I certainly wouldn't dispute "Law & Order," which also had a particularly fine season, and the popularity (and, OK, quality) of "ER" earned it a nomination. And I'll admit I cheered quietly to see "The X-Files" on the list, because it's a personal favorite and because, at its best, it's at least arguably one of TV's top dramas. But "Chicago Hope"? Excuse me? "Chicago Hope" didn't deserve an Emmy nomination. No, no, no. "Homicide" did, and it should win Sunday night even if it's not nominated. Unfortunately, the TV academy doesn't recognize write-in votes. And come to think of it, "Murder One" deserved a nomination, too, and probably should have bumped "The X-Files. …

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