Space

Season 1, Episode 9
Director: William Graham
Writer: Chris Carter

“Space.”

Wow.

Wow.

That was bad.

An episode of The X-Files that begins with the infamous face on Mars has an infinite number of possibilities. Particularly when the entire central mythology of the series deals so heavily in alien lore. The  face on Mars captured my imagination as a young child, and I was obsessed with the possibilities of how it came into existence, ignoring the probability that it was a trick of shadows and rock formations. That young child could have written a better episode than “Space.” After he finished pissing all over it.

The central story deals with Lt. Col. Marcus Aurelius Belt (Ed Lauter) who, in the late 70s, nearly died on a space walk as he was somehow inhabited or possessed by a space entity whose face resembles that of the face on Mars. Flash-forward to modern day where Mulder and Scully are called to Houston to investigate a potential sabotage of the latest space shuttle launch. The shuttle is eventually launched, only to massively malfunction in space. All the while, Belt continues to suffer from alien possessions and what amount to night terrors. Against many odds, the astronauts deliver their mysterious cargo and are guided back home to safety after nearly losing all of their oxygen. Belt, finally driven mad by his alien ghost possession, jumps out of his hospital room window to his death.

First, the good about the episode (stick with me here). Mulder is effectively used as he was naturally a space mission enthusiast as a child. He is our guide into the episode effectively explaining as much as possible to Scully (re: the audience) about the jargon, lingo, and events going on around them. There is also a nicely performed wordless scene by David Duchovny when he realizes one of his childhood heroes (Belt) has lied and betrayed his sense of decency and right/wrong. For a moment, Duchovny becomes a disappointed child, a state completely registered on his face. For an actor who has taken a lot of hits thus far in the series, this was a nice, subtle moment.

And that’s really it.

The rest of the episode is riddled with confusing, ineffective events that remain unexplained. Who is this entity? Why is he possessing Belt? Why did Belt sabotage the shuttle? If he sabotaged the shuttle, then why did he help bring them back to earth? What was in the package they’d tried to hard to deliver? Why are Mulder and Scully given carte blanche to run around Houston? Why does that alien ghost attack the mission control commander?

I understand that The X-Files is a show that works primarily in mysteries and, sometimes, those mysteries go unexplained. That’s fine. I have no issue with that at all. However, I have issues with poorly plotted episodes that raise questions of logic and common sense over questions of the unexplained. The episode hides as a “monster of the week” when it’s so clearly a missed opportunity to connect the series into the larger alien mythology in a unique way. It’s not particularly scary when the “monster” has no motivation and just floats around like an outcast from Picture Pages.

It’s just a terrible episode, and I challenge anyone to tell me otherwise. If I’m missing something, then I welcome an explanation. Maybe I’m just dense, but…

That was bad.

Wow.

Wow.

“Space.”

In advance of Thursday’s 2015 Emmy nominations announcement, the Awards Daily TV crew of Megan, Joey, and Clarence are each providing their predictions in the major Emmy categories. Check back on Thursday to see who wins the Awards Daily TV Emmy prediction crown. Want to play along? Leave your predictions in the Comments section below.

Today, we conclude our predictions fiesta with Clarence who is going with Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel if it kills him. Should he be wrong on this, then please be kind. 

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Louie
  • Modern Family
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Billy Crystal, The Comedians
  • Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy

  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep
  • T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black

Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama

  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Terrence Howard, Empire
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama

  • Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife
  • Ruth Wilson, The Affair
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama

  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Sissy Spacek, Bloodline

Outstanding Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • The Honorable Woman
  • The Missing
  • Olive Kitteridge
  • Wolf Hall

Outstanding TV Movie

  • Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case
  • Bessie
  • Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Killing Jesus
  • Nightingale
  • Worricker: Salting the Battlefield

Outstanding Lead Actor, Mini Series or TV Movie

  • Adrian Brody, Houdini
  • Ricky Gervais: Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
  • David Oyelowo, Nightingale
  • Bill Paxton, Texas Rising
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini Series or TV Movie

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
  • Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd (Lincoln Center)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini Series of Movie

  • Michael Chiklis, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
  • Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
  • Jonathan Pryce, Wolf Hall
  • Stephen Rea, The Honorable Woman
  • Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie

  • Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge
  • Mo’Nique, Bessie
  • Janet McTeer, The Honorable Woman
  • Cynthia Nixon, Stockholm, Pennsylvania
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Susan Sarandon, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Outstanding Reality Competition

  • The Amazing Race
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Outstanding Reality Host

  • Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
  • Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
  • Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
  • Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
  • Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn, Project Runway
  • Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Late Show with David Letterman
  • Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • Comedy Bang Bang
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key and Peele
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live
  • The Soup

Ice

Season 1, Episode 8
Director: David Nutter
Writer: Glen Morgan, James Wong

After a string of average-to-poor episodes, The X-Files comes roaring back with “Ice,” an episode that is perfectly timed and tuned to maximize suspense and tension. Owing much to Ridley Scott’s Alien and, most directly, John Carpenter’s The Thing, the episode traps a series of characters including Mulder and Scully in an icy, remote research facility and pits them against each other in fits of rampant paranoia. There is a killer among them, and it takes an hour of nail-biting to uncover the culprit.

The episode begins in northern Alaska where a team of researchers has apparently attacked and killed each other in a wild fit of aggression. The mysterious circumstances of their deaths warrant the attention of Mulder and Scully who travel to that same site with a new set of researchers, included among them is a young Felicity Huffman. Once on site, the team is attacked by a very angry dog who bites their pilot. After recovering from the dog bite, the pilot begins displaying tell-tale symptoms, aggression, and a strange moving lump just under his skin. The moving lump turns out to be a worm, a parasite that was apparently excavated from a nearby asteroid crash site buried thousands of feet beneath the ice shelf. The worm, when implanted in the host, causes violent aggression, resulting in the earlier deaths at the facility not to mention the mysteriously slashed throat of one of the new researchers. After an extended period of shouting, gun pointing, etc, the team discovers that Felicity Huffman’s character was the infected one and is cured by implanting another worm within her ear. Apparently the worms are so aggressive that they cannot co-exist in the same host.

There isn’t much mythology on display in this episode, although it does deal heavily with government conspiracies and alien artifacts (the parasites originated from outer space, of course). What it excels at, however, is building tension minute by minute as the surviving members of the research team lash out against each other. Even Mulder and Scully pull their weapons against each other, a betrayal of the incredible trust they’d established between them. Thematically, the episode explores the deadly nature of psycho-duality, horrible acts committed by individuals who appear ordinary and harmless on the surface (a la Tooms from “Squeeze”). The look and feel of the episode, as I’ve mentioned before, is indebted to mostly John Carpenter’s The Thing, although I do get a sense of the corridors of the Nostradamus from Alien. The episode has all of the tension but none of the gore of The Thing and even includes a nod to an infected dog that helps spread the disease in both instances.

“Ice” is brilliantly directed and, while it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the earlier “Squeeze,” it will clearly end up being one of the more memorable episodes of Season One.

For the record I have never (regrettably) lived on the shores of America, nor am I an expert in its realm of television. I am, however, invested enough to have the passion for, and a fairly good knowledge of, the medium. With the Emmy nominations just a couple of days away, rather than make myself look a TV novice, I took to the streets to ask the regular people their views on the potential omissions from the nominations and who might surprise us by showing their face.

LIMITED SERIES / TELEVISION MOVIE 

SNUB?   American Horror Story: Freak Show   “It was just too much for me. I didn’t mind the haunted house one, the prison one, or even the one with the witches and Kathy Bates’ talking head, but this is just a freak show now. Plus, ain’t nobody even asked me to be in it, and I got a third nipple.”

SNUB?   Killing Jesus   “The title alone I would say, very controversial. Good thing he came back for a sequel.”

SPOILER?   Gracepoint   “Really loved the first season of Broadchurch, so powerful, so emotional. But this is the American version, and I want to be patriotic. Though in truth, Gracepoint was piss poor.”

SNUB?   David Oyelowo (Nightingale)   “If the film academy can do it then so can the television academy.”

SPOILER?   Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies The Movie)   “If Ricky Gervais can do it then so can his comedy writing partner.”

SNUB?   Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show)   “Because enough is enough now. I hear in American Horror Story: Sexy Ghost, Lange will be playing a bed-side lamp and will still be nominated.”

SPOILER?   Yaya Dacosta (Whitney)   “Woman director for one. Black director for two. Plus, if you can’t appreciate the life of Whitney Houston, we have a problem. Because I will always love her. Yes, I. I will. I will always love her.”

SNUB?   Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall)   “With the High Sparrow also in this show and hotly tipped, they could split votes. One big drawback, no wolves.”

SNUB?   Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Freak Show)   “Two heads is not always better than one.”

SPOILER?   Abigail Lawrie (The Casual Vacancy)   “In all seriousness, not as well known as Michael Gambon for sure, but bottom line she is the best thing in this.”

DRAMA SERIES

SNUB?   Downton Abbey   “Aren’t we a little tired of seeing that opening of the dog being walked. Though the poor dog did pass away, it was a rather sudden decision by the production team given the association with the name Isis. I can’t wait until next year when Lord Grantham drags her corpse along the green on a leash.”

SPOILER?   Bloodline   “Emmy liked Kyle Chandler in Friday Night Lights. They liked Linda Cardellini in Mad Men. They liked Sam Shepard in Dash and Lilly. They liked Sissy Spacek in The Good Old Boys. Plus, it is Netflix. Very tasty ingredients. Wait, what was the question?”

SNUB?   Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)   “He is just too funny in this. Surely they will forget it’s a drama. Though that scene when he kicks the door closed and almost breaks down. Nice. I’m not sure now, it’s confusing. Was he on meth?”

SPOILER?   Jamie Dornan (The Fall)   “He may have weird sexual methodology, his American acting might suck, but he is rather captivating as a killer in Northern Ireland. No, really.”

SNUB?   Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)   “She makes me want to watch classic old episodes of E.R. but she has no room on her shelves at home for another Emmy. Take a year off Julianna, you’ve earned it. Plus, she gave me crabs.”

SNUB?   Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul)   “It would be upsetting if the incredible Mike was not nominated, given a fleshed out narrative and screen time – which he fills expertly. If Emmy does not simply go for Saul then he could be out too.”

SPOILER?   Michael McKean (Better Call Saul)   “Is it unthinkable that Chuck could get in? There is no doubt he was great in the show. But can Emmy forgive him for what he did to Saul? His own brother! Worse things have happened.”

SNUB?   Lena Headley (Game of Thrones)   “So that was a body double the whole time? Why would she deserve an Emmy nomination for that? Sure, sure, she was pretty much flawless and had a great range to work with the entire season. Oh what, so Emmys are about good work now? If you want a nomination, then show me your boobs. Real boobs.”

SPOILER?   Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)   “There’s nothing like a supporting cast member of a snubbed regular to shake things up a bit. Plus, Archie is very decent in this and is in the mix of some of the juicy story-lines.”

COMEDY SERIES

SNUB?   Veep   “Politics? Boo!”

SPOILER?   Shameless   “Shagging? Yeah!”

SNUB?   Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)   “Is he not too humanized now Amy has her claws in him? We want robot Sheldon back. And he is not getting an Emmy nod until we do.”

SPOILER?   Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)   “Honestly, one of my favorite comedy shows around. I, too, was one of the few who was not surprised when he and the show scooped Golden Globe wins last year. Could it repeat here? Did I mention Saturday Night Live?”

SNUB?   Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer)   “Too funny. Too talented. Too empowering. Too current. Too fat.”

SPOILER?   Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)   “It’s now or never, Kelly Kapoor.”

SPOILER?   Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation)   “What’s not to like? A very busy twelve months with the Lego, the talking tree, and the velociraptors. How does he even have a sense of humor after all of that? Plus, dreamy.”

SNUB?   Allison Janney (Mom)   “Not that funny, and who would want a mother like that?”

SPOILER?   Wendi McLendon-Covery (The Goldbergs)   “Very funny, and who would not want a mother like that?”

Author’s Note: Regarding the speaking to real people, I did nothing of the sort. This is mere fiction, an attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor disguising some possible snubs and spoilers come Thursday. Not all, I might add, my own opinion.

HBO’s newest miniseries is the Paul Haggis-directed Show Me a Hero. Based on a non-fiction novel, the miniseries covers the resistance to building public housing in Yonkers, NY. Oscar Isaac plays the mayor of Yonkers and is joined by Catherine Keener, Jim Belushi, Winona Ryder and Alfred Molina. The trailer has a similar feeling to last year’s A Most Violent Year but with a stronger emotional core. This is the kind of project we used to see on the big screen but now thrives on cable TV.

Show Me a Hero kicks off on Sunday, August 16.

FX has released a 30-second trailer for the upcoming second season of its Emmy-winning series Fargo, based on the Oscar-winning film by the Cohen brothers. The sophomore season includes an all-star cast, including Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, and Jeffrey Donovan, among others. Other than all the stars, there’s not much else you can discern from the trailer other the violence and homespun midwestern whimsy (“chocolate glaze”).

Fargo premieres all the way in September. And that’s fine, dontcha know?

In advance of Thursday’s 2015 Emmy nomination announcement, the Awards Daily TV crew of Megan, Joey, and Clarence are each providing their predictions in the major Emmy categories. Check back on Thursday to see who wins the Awards Daily TV Emmy prediction crown. Want to play along? Leave your predictions in the Comments section below.

Today, we continue with Joey who is hoping the Emmys don’t ignore the comic genius of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He also goes out on a few, very shaky, limbs.

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Louie
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Veep
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

 

Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Billy Crystal, The Comedians
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

 

Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Jane Fonda, Grace & Frankie
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy

  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep
  • T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

 

Outstanding Drama Series

  • The Affair
  • Downton Abbey
  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black

 

Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama

  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Terrence Howard, Empire
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Clive Owen, The Knick
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

 

Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife
  • Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
  • John Slattery, Mad Men
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama

  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Lorraine Toussaint, Orange is the New Black

 

Outstanding Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • The Honorable Woman
  • The Missing
  • Olive Kitteridge
  • Wolf Hall

 

Outstanding TV Movie

  • Bessie
  • Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Killing Jesus
  • Nightingale
  • Stockholm, Pennsylvania
  • Worricker: Salting the Battlefield

 

Outstanding Lead Actor, Mini Series or TV Movie

  • Adrian Brody, Houdini
  • Timothy Hutton, American Crime
  • Ricky Gervais: Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
  • David Oyelowo, Nightingale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini Series or TV Movie

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
  • Frances O’Connor, The Missing

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini Series of Movie

  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
  • Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
  • Jonathan Pryce, Wolf Hall
  • Stephen Rea, The Honorable Woman
  • Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
  • Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie

  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Mo’Nique, Bessie
  • Janet McTeer, The Honorable Woman
  • Cynthia Nixon, Stockholm, Pennsylvania
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Susan Sarandon, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

 

Outstanding Reality Competition

  • The Amazing Race
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

 

Outstanding Reality Host

  • Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
  • Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
  • RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
  • Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn, Project Runway
  • Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night

 

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Late Show with David Letterman
  • Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

 

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • Comedy Bang Bang
  • Drunk History
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key & Peele
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live

Ghost in the Machine

Season 1, Episode 7
Director: Jerrold Freedman
Writer: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordan

Day 7. One week into this 201-day journey, and I’m still going strong. The exercise is proving fascinating both in terms of a 90s-era time capsule experience with shoulder pads, silk suits, and big floral print dresses all over the place and in terms of where the hell was I when this was originally on air. Overall, the “Squeeze” episode is clearly the superstar of the first seven episodes. It’s canon.

<geekrant>

It is extremely unfortunate – for The X-Files, that is – that I recently watched John Badham’s 1983 classic WarGames. That film blended early computer technology, a timeless sense of wonder, and a brilliant lead performance by Matthew Broderick to tell the story of an A.I. (“Joshua”) attempting to win the game of Global Thermonuclear War at any cost. The X-Files seventh episode, “Ghost in the Machine,” tells an admittedly more advanced version of the same story. However, WarGames feels as if it were written by someone who at least casually understood computers and technology while “Ghost” feels as if it were written by someone who wishes they casually understood computers and technology. That aside, “Ghost” completely lacks the humor and amusing back-and-forth banter between Mulder and Scully. If I’d been disappointed in a few early offerings, then this is The X-Files first real dud.

The episode opens at the headquarters of software company Eurisko where two men are arguing over the direction of the company: founder Brad Wilczek and CEO Benjamin Drake. Drake proposes a cost-cutting measure of shutting down the computerized brains of the building – the Center Operating System (COS). As he drafts a memo outlining his proposal, COS apparently “reads” the text and orchestrates an elaborate death for his CEO nemesis. Mulder and Scully are approached by Mulder’s former partner, Jerry Lamana, who is investigating Drake’s death. Seems that Lamana is a terrible FBI agent and needs Mulder’s superior skills to solve the crime. Lamana ultimately steals Mulder’s notebook (clearly a crime punishable by death) and attempts to solve the crime himself only to be killed in an elevator shaft by COS. The episode wraps up when Wilczek, arrested for the two murders, develops a virus that Mulder ultimately installs in the computer, effectively killing COS. There are even cries of surprise and sadness from COS, a la HAL from 2001. But is COS really dead? And do we care?

“Ghost in the Machine” rises and falls on its understanding and relationship to technology, and as another “monster of the week” episode, it struggles to find ways to make COS a threatening entity. The “killer” electrocutes and drops his victims in elevator shafts. He surreptitiously logs into the FBI computers to read their reports. He even uses massive winds to (comically) blow Scully around some airshafts and almost into a giant circulating fan. None of this feels especially scary, a huge negative given this was their first Halloween episode (the prior episode “Shadows,” featuring an actual ghost, was much scarier in retrospect). Plus, the episode loses a great deal of authenticity when it describes techies as “neat and scruffy,” a simplistic characterization of tech-minded people by those who clearly don’t understand them at all.

But just to satisfy The X-Files faithful, they throw in a cameo by Deep Throat just to anchor it to any sense of mythology the show, at the time, was trying to build. The cameo felt tacked on and unnecessary, an explanatory scene to offer Mulder explanations he didn’t need. Not because he didn’t want to know the truth but because he’s smart enough to figure that truth out on his own.

And in case you’re wondering, “Joshua” could kick “COS” in his virtual ass.

</geekrant>

 

Is “squeeeeeeeee” a word?

Showtime dropped the first real trailer for The Affair Season Two today, a handful of days before it hopefully receives strong news at Thursday’s 2015 Emmy nominations announcement. The new trailer focuses heavily on the fallout from the events that closed Season One and indicates a broadening of the show’s perspective to incorporate the Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney characters in its storytelling.

The Affair will return to Showtime in the fall.

In advance of Thursday’s 2015 Emmy nomination announcement, the Awards Daily TV crew of Megan, Joey, and Clarence are each providing their predictions in the major Emmy categories. Check back on Thursday to see who wins the Awards Daily TV Emmy prediction crown. Want to play along? Leave your predictions in the Comments section below.

Today, we’re starting with Megan who is predicting a big Emmy hug for Mad Men’s final year.

 

Best Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Jane The Virgin
  • Last Man on Earth
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Veep

 

Best Actor, Comedy

  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

 

Best Actress, Comedy

  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane The Virgin
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

 

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy

  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep
  • T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  • Sam Waterston, Grace & Frankie

 

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Gabi Hoffman, Transparent
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

 

Best Drama Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange Is the New Black

 

Best Actor, Drama

  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Terrence Howard, Empire
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
  • Dominic West, The Affair

 

Best Actress, Drama

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Ruth Wilson, The Affair
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

 

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
  • John Slattery, Mad Men

 

Best Supporting Actress, Drama

  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Sissy Spacek, Bloodline

 

Best Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • The Honorable Woman
  • The Missing
  • Olive Kitteridge
  • Wolf Hall

 

Best Movie Made for Television

  • Bessie
  • Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Killing Jesus
  • Nightingale
  • Stockholm, Pennsylvania
  • Worricker: Salting the Battlefield

 

Movie/Mini Actor

  • Adrien Brody, Houdini
  • Ricky Gervais, Derek: The Final Chapter
  • Timothy Hutton, American Crime
  • Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
  • David Oyelowo, Nightingale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

 

Movie/Mini Actress

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
  • Frances O’Connor, The Missing

 

Movie/Mini Supporting Actor

  • Michael Chiklis, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
  • Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
  • Jonathan Price, Wolf Hall
  • Stephen Rea, The Honorable Woman
  • Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie

 

Movie/Mini Supporting Actress

  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Judy Davis, Worricker: Salting the Battlefield
  • Claire Foy, Wolf Hall
  • Monique, Bessie
  • Janet McTeer, The Honorable Woman
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show

 

Reality Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race
  • Celebrity Game Night
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • The Voice

 

Reality Host

  • Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
  • Carson Daly, The Voice
  • Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
  • Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
  • Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn, Project Runway
  • Jane Lynch, Celebrity Game Night

 

Variety Talk Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

 

Variety Sketch Series

  • Comedy Bang Bang
  • Drunk History
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key and Peele
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live

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