Skip to main content

Emmys Spread More Wealth than Joy

The wealth was spread aroundt, and so were the statuettes, as an impressive roster of quality television shows was honored as last night’s Cable ACE Awards.

Oh, sorry – those were the Emmys.

You can, I think, understand my confusion. Just look at the winners of the major awards in the Drama Series category.  Cable, cable, cable, cable, cable.

That’s not an exaggeration. Supporting actress? Dianne Wiest from HBO’s In Treatment. Supporting actor? Zeljko Ivanek from FX’s Damages. Actress? Glenn Close, also from Damages. Actor? Bryan Cranston from AMC’s Mad Men. Best Drama Series? Mad Men again, which also won for best drama series writing.

If it hadn’t been for Fox’s House winning for best direction, the drama series category would have been an all-cable affair. And while that may be good for viewers, most viewers aren’t watching these shows, so how much rooting interest could there be?

Conversely, NBC’s 30 Rock managed to pull off a small sweep of its own in the comedy series category, winning for best actor (Alec Baldwin), actress (Tiny Fey), writing and series. Comedy directing went to another broadcast TV show, thanks to Barry Sonnenfeld of ABC’s Pushing Daisies.

Every show I’ve mentioned to this point is on my must-watch list. Pushing Daisies was my favorite new show last season, and 30 Rock the year before. So why did last night’s Emmys seem less celebratory, and more muted, than usual?

It may have been the political atmosphere, which seemed tamped down to discourage any off-the-cuff remarks. It may have been the reality-show host quintet, an experiment that, let’s be kind, simply didn’t work. But like Josh Groban’s medley of TV theme songs, the entire Emmy show last night seemed to squeeze out most opportunities for emotion, whether joy or surprise.

It ended on time, but seldom succeeded in getting the viewer involved, in either the contests or the presentations. Ricky Gervais and Steve Carell, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, were notable, and very much appreciated, exceptions.