Skip to main content

TV Review: 66th Primetime Emmy Awards

NBC aired the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Late Night’s Seth Meyers on Monday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Past winners largely ruled the show with Modern Family winning its fifth straight Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy and Breaking Bad winning its second straight Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. But what did critics think of the show? The following are reviews of the broadcast from around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“Several of the results were simply inexplicable. The widely acclaimed and highly rated HBO film The Normal Heart was snubbed across the board — Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts' performances, Ryan Murphy's direction and, most shockinglyLarry Kramer’s script all lost. But in the end, it was awarded best TV movie. Did none of the aforementioned individuals have anything to do with making the film special?”
—Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter

“This year’s Emmys were so drearily familiar, it would have counted as a shocking shake-up if they’d handed out the comedy and drama series awards to The Big Bang Theory and Downton Abbey. Almost no new winners took the stage during the efficiently-hosted, unambitious ceremony (Seth Meyers was at neither his cutting best nor smarmy worst) and by the time Modern Family creator Steve Levitan tried to give his fifth consecutive victory speech some gravitas, the cloying orchestra music playing him off seemed especially welcome.”
—David Sims, The Wire

“In a night that was otherwise comedically challenged and plagued by predictability (Modern Family again?), for better or worse Weird Al provided a rare memorable moment. Reactions to his performance, much like his comedy, were decidedly polarized.”
—Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times

“The awards represented a win for traditional television, with Netflix being shut out of the prime-time awards for its political drama House of Cards and its prison comedy, Orange Is the New Black. (Netflix did pick up seven wins in an earlier Creative Arts Emmy Awards program.) Despite the broader upheaval across the television world, several award winners on Monday night had taken home the award in years past.”
—Emily Steel, New York Times

“After an inordinately glum, memorial-filled 2013 awards that Modern Family exec producer Steve Levitan only half-jokingly dubbed the ‘saddest Emmys’ ever, the 66th annual Emmy Awards wisely erred on the side of comedy, with Seth Meyers bringing a breezy charm to his hosting role and the planned bits – like audience Q&A, with stars asking the questions – mostly working. Where the evening broke down, alas, was in the awards themselves, which so frequently dredged up familiar faces as to suck much of the vitality out of the festivities, giving this year’s Tuesday-morning quarterbacks plenty about which to gripe.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“One thing Emmy night could use a whole lot less of is jokes about platform and delivery — cable vs. streaming, big screens, tiny screens, hashtags, cord-cutting, ratings and all that. (Even if you put Sofia Vergara on a rotating platform to make a point about TV’s future, we get it already: Everything’s changed, and that’s terrifying.)”
—Hank Stuever, Washington Post