Emmy seems blind to many shows’ virtues, no mat­ter how out­stand­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE

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.

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