Emmy seems blind to many shows’ virtues, no matter how outstanding
Year after year, TV brings its audience an embarrassment of riches.
No wonder that, when nomination time arrives, Emmy has a habit of embarrassing itself.
This year, as always, a favourite game for viewers is identifying Emmy’s snubs, and it’s an easy game to play. Emmy’s judges are all too susceptible to the safe, the familiar, and grinding repetition. (Item: “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with three wins in a row, is nominated again. Item: “Modern Family,” named best comedy series for five years straight, is nominated again.)
Without the right blend of buzz and ratings, an actor or a show faces steep odds breaking in with Emmy. To get Emmy attention, the program’s quality must hitch a ride on squeaky wheels, which explains those noisy look-at-me campaigns that target judges every Emmy season.
But Emmy’s glaring omissions aren’t entirely the fault of its judges. The truth is, there’s simply too much great stuff to keep up with, and too few category slots to do it justice.
Consider: When the Emmys began, it rewarded the cream of the crop from just three networks, and, until 1988, didn’t recognize anything on cable. This year, 31 cable networks snagged at least one Emmy nomination - or, in HBO’s case, 126.
And even a few years ago, the notion that streaming-video fare could go head-to-head with shows on ABC or Showtime would have been laughable. This year, no fewer than nine broadband channels got at least one Emmy nod, with Netflix getting 34. Along the way, Emmy has stretched and added categories in a desperate attempt to keep up. (Is Emmy doomed to become a TV version of the Grammys?) One big-tent category this year somehow harbours Zach Galifianakis’ online “Between Two Ferns,” the Adult Swim cable channel’s “Childrens Hospital” and NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show.