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David Bianculli On Emmys and Oz

Variety, June 6, 2001

David Bianculli [New York Daily News TV critic] doesn't go out on a limb when it comes to his favorite shows, but his list, which includes "Oz" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," brings up a valid criticism directed at Emmy voters: They don't take many risks.

"These shows are extremely popular within the industry, among the public and with critics," he says, "but when it comes to the individual performances, they never get noticed."

Bianculli's five-star recommendations aren't the safe bets voters usually honor. Instead, he would focus on a group of killers, rapists and thieves.

"Lee Tergesen and Christopher Meloni ("Oz") are two of the most watchable, menacing characters on television. 'The Sopranos' is the cable show for performance nods, but voters should really consider 'Oz.' It's completely driven by powerful people every episode, and the cast is extremely deep. J.K. Simmons is always terrific, and Rita Moreno was great."

Bianculli is also on Emmy's case about never having recognized Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). "A show that consistently takes risks is made even better by Gellar's flawless execution," he says. "She's the biggest reason why it has become so popular."

Bianculli's other selections include James Marsters ("Buffy"), Annabella Sciorra (guest star on "The Sopranos") and George Segal ("Just Shoot Me").


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