Friday, July 15, 2011

Idris Elba nominated for Emmy

I am very pleased to share the news that Idris Elba has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie at the primetime Emmy Awards, a terrific acknowledgement for what is a great character and a great performance. Nomination announcement day got even better for Elba though, as he also received an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Emmy nomination for his guest spot in 'The Big C'.

“This has been such an amazing morning for me! I am extremely honored to be nominated in two categories,” Elba said in a statement. “Luther’has been such a passion project for me and working on The Big C was a great time. Also, my daughter told me I am going to be as famous as the guy from Twilight."

I've been reading and hearing about Luther for two years now, since I first interviewed Neil Cross back in mid 2009 for an article in Australian-based Good Reading magazine, and he told me a little about the show he was in the process of creating and writing at the time. Until this week, I hadn't seen it for myself, however - the first season, which got positive if somewhat mixed reviews (some critics and viewers thought it was the best thing on British TV in ages, others weren't keen at all) screened on Sky TV in New Zealand (I don't have a subscription) earlier this year, and the second season recently screened to rather more widespread acclaim and higher viewer numbers in UK recently. Earlier this year Neil Cross also won a prestigious Edgar Award for his writing of the series.

My Luther DVD finally arrived on Wednesday, so at last I can give my own opinion, rather than just sharing comments from others. I watched all six episodes yesterday, and absolutely loved it. Was it a little over-the-top, as some critics said? Yes. Was it less-than-realistic at times? Yes. Did the acting verge on theatrical, rather than 'police procedural' at times? Yes.

But god-damned it is good. Very, very, very good. I was quite ready to love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in between, but I was blown away from the opening episode, and the first season just got better as it went on. The acting performances (led by Elba, but ably supported by three great female actors/characters and a couple of great turns from other male cop characters too, as well as Paul McGann as Luther's ex-wife's lover) were riveting, and full of subtle layers amongst the emotion. The storylines were exciting, with more to them than it may appear to those just looking at the surface. Just all-around a great series. Honestly, I was ready to be disappointed or dislike it, given some reviews I've read, but I just really, really loved it. One of the best TV shows I've watched in years. I sat down yesterday, played the first episode, and then watched all six back-to-back-to-back. Clearly I am one of the viewers Cross had in mind, that 'got', what he and the cast were trying to do. I accept not everyone will fall into that category, but I'm glad I do, and I'm really looking forward to season two when it's released on DVD.

It's a shame the show itself wasn't  nominated for an Emmy (it's not the only Emmy oversight - Entourage is a top quality, multi-layered show that's been ignored the past couple of years as other lesser shows have become favoured by Emmy voters), but great to see Elba's very fine performance as John Luther being hailed. I was also very pleased to see Timothy Olyphant get a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Drama, for his role in Justified, which has recently started screening in New Zealand.

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