Emmys ignore buzzy new shows, opt for more of same


On Monday night, The Emmys disproved many of the consensus predictions — by honoring the same shows they’ve always honored. 

“Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” came out on top at the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, while critical favorites such as “True Detective” and “Orange Is the New Black” were unfairly overlooked.

As it delivered its final season last year, which arguably featured some of the actors’ best performances of the entire series, it was not a surprise that “Breaking Bad” dominated with wins in categories including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Bryan Cranston), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Aaron Paul) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Anna Gunn).

Unfortunately, the extended mania surrounding the show’s final season caused some astounding snubs in the drama categories. Mostly absent from the drama winners’ circle, aside from a win for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Cary Fukunaga, for that stunning long-take in “Who Goes There”), was HBO’s crime drama “True Detective.”

Initially, it was a surprise that “True Detective” was contending as a drama, rather than a miniseries — they’ll have a whole new cast for next season — but that shouldn’t have hindered its ability to win. The show’s opening season was complex and compelling and it showcased exceptional performances by lead actors Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

Harrelson and McConaughey were both nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama category, though it was McConaughey who was positioned to win. This awards season has been a prosperous one for McConaughey, who recently won an Academy Award for “Dallas Buyers Club,” but the praise certainly hasn’t been misplaced. Even Jimmy Kimmel jokingly called McConaughey out about the number of speeches he’s had to prepare for award shows.

Although Cranston’s win was by no means a disappointment, McConaughey’s strikingly dark and poignant portrayal of washed-out detective Rust Cohle should have received more recognition, especially since he only had one shot at the role.

Meanwhile, “Modern Family” continued its reign as America’s top comedy, winning Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy (Ty Burrell) and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy (Gail Mancuso). While its wins were also deserved, as the show continues to deliver laugh-out-loud spurts of wit and Phil Dunphy puns, there was little attention left for fan-favorite “Orange Is the New Black.”

“Orange Is The New Black” did get a bit of recognition with Uzo Aduba’s Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy win at the Creative Emmys, but with its bold writing and cast of women who are never afraid to “go there,” this Netflix original was favored to take Outstanding Comedy Series, too.

Similarly slighted was Louis C.K.’s “Louie,” which was deservedly nominated for four Primetime Emmy comedy awards but only won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy. Louis C.K. is one of the most talented comedians on television at the moment — his monologue about God and atheism on Saturday Night Live was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy as well — and that talent has yet to be acknowledged by the Emmys.

“The Normal Heart” won an award for Outstanding Television Movie over “Sherlock: His Last Vow,” but that is the only category in which it triumphed. The latter surprisingly came out on top in the miniseries and movie categories for Outstanding Lead Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Martin Freeman) and Outstanding Writing (Steven Moffat).

Although “Sherlock” has a loyal following and is critically praised, the poised winner of the night was “Fargo,” which did win for Outstanding Miniseries and Directing (Colin Bucksey) but was otherwise overshadowed. Either way, Martin Freeman knows how to pick his projects.

And, as always, there were wins that came completely out of nowhere (Julianna Margulies and Kathy Bates), wins that were expected and deserved (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Parsons) and shows we all love that were totally ignored, except for a tribute by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Looking at you, “Game of Thrones.”