Updated: Jan 2
After doctors, nurses, virologists, vaccine researchers, Anthony S. Fauci, food-bank volunteers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers and Dolly Parton, let’s not forget to honor another one of 2020’s true heroes: television. Here's my appreciation, in list form, of the year’s best watching.
The Democratic National Convention (Democratic National Committee) They took all those “Hollywood liberal” digs and put them to great use in a flawlessly produced four-night virtual event that upgraded the concept of nominating conventions — and got their message out loud and clear. Celebrity hosts (EvaLongoria, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus), pop stars (Billie Eilish, John Legend) and big-name politicos (the Obamas, the Clintons and senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) gave a boost to theBiden/Harris ticket, but the real draw was a broad display of civic pride, from the state roll-call (“the calamari comeback state of Rhode Island”) to a speech from 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who connected with then-candidate Joe Biden over their shared struggle with stuttering. Why ever go back to the crowded arenas, balloon dropsand disruptive applause-a-thons?
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When the decision came down that the Democratic National Convention was going to be a first-time virtual event and no longer a live spectacle in Milwaukee, Wis., producer Ricky Kirshner and director Glenn Weiss were only sure about one thing. “The first thing we said was, ‘It’s not going to be a giant Zoom call,’” Kirshner told Variety in a joint interview with Weiss just two days after the convention came to a close. “We were determined not to be that. So every plan we had was, ‘How do we make this look like live television?’” And they certainly know about television. Not only has the duo worked on previous conventions — Kirschner has been involved with the DNC since 1992 — but they’ve won several Emmys for their work on the Tonys. They’re once again heading to the Emmys next month as nominees for the 2019 Tonys ceremony. Continue reading here.
Updated: Jan 2
For your Emmy consideration: The Democratic National Convention. Seriously, Wednesday night was far and away the best full evening of political television I have ever witnessed. What elevated it was the sublime integration of image and language, conviction and emotion: a production that knew exactly what story it wanted to tell and how to use the tools of electronic persuasion to tell it. Americans are watching this week the metamorphosis of a cornerstone of the presidential campaign. A pandemic triggered the transformation, but I suspect that some vital portions of what the Democrats are experimenting with in this inaugural virtual “convention” will be adopted in the quadrennial gatherings to come. Because the two-hour prime-time show, hosted by actress Kerry Washington, successfully completed that most difficult of political assignments: It located the drama in the problems of everyday people, and it found party luminaries who could lend eloquent elucidations of possible solutions. Continue reading here.