Sunday, May 7, 2017

'The Walking Dead' vs. 'Westworld' at the 2017 Saturn Awards

I asked my readers a rhetorical question to conclude A Saturn Awards nomination for 'Star Wars Rebels' plus music from 'Rogue One' for the Revenge of the Sixth.
Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will also be about the Saturn Awards nominees, this time for television.  "The Walking Dead" vs. "Westworld," anyone?
Yes, I'm going to sic two rabid enthusiastic fandoms on each other.  For good measure, I'll add in "Fear the Walking Dead."  I think it will be fun.  But first, watch The 43rd Annual Saturn Award Television Nominations.*

Unlike the video I embedded above the jump in 'Rogue One' at the Saturn Awards for Star Wars Day, this one lists all of the television categories;  all of the television nominations are for shows and actors, none for the technical categories that were left out of the movie nominations video.

With that out of the way, "The Walking Dead" led the television field with seven nominations in six categories, Best Horror Television Series, Andrew Lincoln for Best Actor on a Television Series, Norman Reedus for Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series, both Danai Gurira and Melissa McBride for Best Supporting Actress on a Television Series, Chandler Riggs for Best Younger Actor on a Television Series, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan for Best Guest Performance on a Television Series.  "Westworld" came in second with six nominations in four categories, Best Science Fiction Television Series, both Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright for Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series, both Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood for Best Supporting Actress on a Television Series, and Anthony Hopkins for Best Guest Performance on a Television Series.  The two shows are in direct competition in three categories, Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series, Best Supporting Actress on a Television Series, and Best Guest Performance on a Television Series.  May the better show win.

Follow over the jump for the complete fields in all the categories where at least one of the shows have been nominated, plus Best Actress on a Television Series, where Kim Dickens of "Fear the Walking Dead" earned a nomination, along with my choice to win and my opinion of the rest fo the field.

Best Science Fiction Television Series

The 100
The Expanse
Falling Water
I'm voting for "Westworld," period.  As for the rest, my wife and I are big fans of "Colony" and "Timeless."  I like "The Expanse," but it helps that I read "Leviathan Wakes," the first book in the series that the show was adapted from.  My wife and I stopped watching "The 100" when it got too gratuitously gruesome.  As for "Falling Water" and "Incorporated," I'd rather have seen "12 Monkeys" and "Wayward Pines" replace them.  By the way, the field's open, as the defending winner, "Continuum," is over.

Best Horror Television Series

American Horror Story: Roanoke
Ash vs. Evil Dead
The Exorcist
Fear the Walking Dead
Teen Wolf
The Vampire Diaries
The Walking Dead
With this selection, I'm voting for "The Walking Dead."  After all, it is the defending champion and my favorite amont the nominees.  However, I'm disappointed that "Penny Dreadful" is not one of the nominees instead of either "Teen Wolf" or "The Vampire Diaries."  If it had been, I'd have voted for it instead of "The Walking Dead."  Here's to "Penny Dreadful" being recognized for its final season at the Emmy Awards like it did at the Golden Reel Awards.  I think it deserves as much recognition as the "American Horror Story" anthology, which historically gets more.

Before I continue on, I want to recycle a comment I made in response to someone at The Archdruid Report calling "Game of Thrones" "the most popular TV show right now."  It's not.
You were right to point to American popular culture for evidence that people are afraid that progress may be coming to a halt and soon, but the way you used your examples works against you with people who know television.  In particular, your statement that "The most popular TV show right now is Game of Thrones, based on George RR Martin’s 'A Song of Fire and Ice' novels" requires closer examination.  "Game of Thrones" may be the most award-winning drama on American television today with a record 39 Emmy Awards over its run, but if by "most popular" you meant "most watched," it most assuredly is not.  According to Indiewire, it came in 38th among viewers of all ages and sixth among TV watchers aged 18-49 during the 2015-2016 season, the most recent in which the series aired.

The more popular show exemplifying Americans' anxiety about the end of progress is "The Walking Dead," which came in fourth among all viewers and first among those aged 18-49, making it, not "Game of Thrones," the most watched show on cable with nearly twice as many viewers.  That's a fast-collapse show, but the series is now in its seventh season and has finally reached the stage where most of the rubble has stopped bouncing, so the conflict driving the drama has become a struggle for power among groups of survivors, including a barbarian warband that ironically (or maybe not) sees itself as the "Saviors of Civilization," instead of a fight for survival against the undead.  That written, "Game of Thrones" makes your point that "Winter is coming" and people are aware it may be approaching in the real world as well.  It's just not as salient an example as you made it out to be.
Yes, this blog is still about collapse.  Surprised?  You shouldn't be.
Best Actor on a Television Series

Bruce Campbell (Ash vs. Evil Dead)
Mike Colter (Marvel’s Luke Cage)
Charlie Cox (Marvel’s Daredevil)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Sam Heughan (Outlander)
Freddie Highmore (Bate’s Motel)
Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Bruce Campbell is the returning winner.  I'm not voting for him.  Instead, it will be Andrew Lincoln, who won the year before.  That written, I wouldn't be surprised if Sam Heughan snuck through, as he won the equivalent category at the People's Choice Awards, Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor.  I'll have more to say about the popularity of "Outlander" after this next category.
Best Actress on a Television Series

Melissa Benoist (Supergirl)
Caitriona Balfe (Outlander)
Kim Dickens (Fear the Walking Dead)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Roanoke)
Winona Ryder (Stranger Things)
As I've been saying about the actress nominations in both movies and televisions since December, this is a very strong field.  The defending winner is Caitriona Balfe, both here and at the People's Choice Awards, so I wouldn't be upset with her winning.  This is another instance in which "Outlander" is more popular with the fans who care to vote than "Game of Thrones."  I like "Stranger Things," but I don't think Winona Ryder's performance is better than the rest of the nominees.  Given the field, I'd probably vote for Kim Dickens, although I like Balfe and could be persuaded to change my vote.  That written, none of these are my choices for Best Actress in the television programs eligible.  Instead, I think Evan Rachel Wood should be here along with Eva Green of "Penny Dreadful" and I've be much happier trying to choose between them with the slight edge to Woods, who won the Critics' Choice Award competing against all television actresses, not just the ones in speculative fiction.
Best Younger Actor on a Television Series

K.J. Apa (Riverdale)
Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Alycia Debnam-Carey (Fear the Walking Dead)
Lorenzo James Henrie (Fear the Walking Dead)
Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead)
Yes, the "Walking Dead" franchise has three nominees in contention, including defending winner Chandler Riggs.  No, I'm not voting for any of them.  My vote goes to Mille Bobby Brown.  Her performance wasn't just outstanding, it was compelling.

That's it for the categories where "Westworld" and the "Walking Dead" franchise do not have nominees in the same categories.  Now for the ones in which they are in direct competition.
Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series

Linden Ashby (Teen Wolf)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones)
Ed Harris (Westworld)
Lee Majors (Ash vs. Evil Dead)
Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Kit Harrington is the only returning nominee and with an electorate composed of insiders, he'd have a chance.  Not here.  My bet for favorite would be Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, but I'm not voting for him.  As much as I love Daryl, I'm voting for Jeffrey Wright.  I think his performance was more nuanced than Ed Harris, who is the more established actor.
Best Supporting Actress on a Television Series

Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Roanoke)
Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead)
Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Candice Patton (The Flash)
Adina Porter (American Horror Story: Roanoke)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
This is the category where "The Walking Dead" and "Westworld" are in fiercest competition, with two actresses each along with "American Horror Story: Roanoke."  As I wrote above, I think Evan Rachel Wood should have been nominated for Best Actress instead of Best Supporting Actress.  That doesn't mean I'll vote for her here.  I'm voting for Thandie Newton, as I think she gave the best performance in a supporting role.  She probably won't win, though, as Danai Gurira is the defending winner.
Best Guest Performance on a Television Series

Ian Bohen (Teen Wolf)
Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Leslie Jordan (American Horror Story: Roanoke)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Dominique Pinon (Outlander)
This is the final category in which the two shows are in competition and it's the one that I find to be the hardest choice.  The only thing that makes it easier is that I think Anthony Hopkins, like Evan Rachel Wood, is misplaced.  He's present in every episode and he's actually the only candidate for male lead I'd accept (Combined, the character played by Ed Harris and Jimmi Simpson as both William and The Man in Black would also qualify, but split between two actors, it doesn't work for a nomination).  On the other hand, Jeffrey Dean Morgan performance in the last ten minutes of last season definitely qualifies, which was enough for the Critics' Choice Awards.  On that criterion, I'm voting for Morgan, even if Hopkins is by far the better actor.

For the third time, I'm posting the voting instructions.
Speaking of "this electorate," my readers and I have a chance to change its composition.  Click here to apply for an affiliate membership.  At $25, one can vote for the best films and television shows.  At $40, one can vote for all categories.  I'm paying $40.  I hope my readers do, too.
I've already paid my $40.  Voting is open until May 30th.

I'm going to finish this entry the same way I did the last two Saturn Awards posts, with music from the nominated shows.  This time, I'm featuring fan covers of the theme songs.  First, The 4 Strings cover 'The Walking Dead' theme.

Music composed by Bear McCreary
Performed by The 4 Strings
The 4 Strings arrangement produced and written by Mateus Freire
Next, the Orchid Quartet covers the 'Westworld' main theme.

Westworld Main Theme -- Orchid Quartet (Official Video)
Again, may the better show and its actors win.

*I'm glad Janina Gavankar was one of the announcers.  In addition to being an actress on "Sleepy Hollow," one of my favorite shows, she's also a fan of drum corps, so I have double reason to be a fan of hers.  Unfortunately, "Sleepy Hollow" is likely to be cancelled, so I won't be seeing her as much on screen.  Sigh.

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