This morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences released its’ list of nominees for the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards. With the list of nominees, we can take away some conclusions about the state of television over the past year.
Netflix’s original programming model is for real: Amid the nominations, we see a handful of nominations for Netflix Originals Arrested Development and House of Cards. House of Cards seems to hold a slightly higher position on the totem pole, scoring nominations for both Kevin Spacey for best actor as well as a best drama nod for the show itself. Arrested Development received a best actor nomination for Jason Bateman to add to Netflix’s prestige. The network which started releasing original shows in February is off to a good start critically (as well as commercially, as proven by the rumors of a pushed season 5 for Arrested Development).
The major networks did not have a strong year: Many of the major categories this year seem to be dominated by the cable networks and premium channels such as Showtime and HBO. While this doesn’t surprise me (the only strong drama for the big four this season was Hannibal and barely half the season was over by the May 31st cut-off date). This trend is particularly strong on the drama side of the ledger, where the only broadcast show being considered for best drama is PBS’s Downton Abbey. On the comedy side, the trend is slightly less harsh, but mostly due to the heaping of praise the Academy has placed on 30 Rock’s final season. There is however, one show on the major networks that is standing up against this wave of cable dominance, because…
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences really likes Modern Family: If there was one scripted show on network TV that the Academy has fallen in love with, it’s Modern Family, which has become a master-class for domestic comedies and props up a successful night for ABC. The show has a large number of nominations spread across a variety of categories including best comedy, best supporting actor (with three nominations there), best supporting actress, best writing for a comedy, and best directing for a comedy.
After a few down years, HBO is back and carried on a mix of younger shows and miniseries: After struggling around the end of the last decade, HBO has taken back it’s role as the main home to high quality television. The academy heaped praise upon sophomore comedies Veep and Girls, as well as third-season drama Game of Thrones. Similarly, it’s Liberace feature Behind the Candelabra has received a large amount of attention from the Academy, scoring 15 nominations.
Finally, the Academy did not forget Louie, in spite of skipping a season and airing at the very beginning of this year’s broadcast window: It may have been airing at this time last year (the Emmy window goes from June to May, unlike many other awards), but last year’s transcendent and critically adored second season of Louie has received a large number of nominations in almost every category that the show could qualify for (added bonus for Louis C.K. Also getting a best guest actor nomination for his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live). It’s nice to see, because while it seems that many movies begging for Oscar nods try to crowd into the end of the Oscar window, that the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences didn’t forget a show that could have easily escaped public consciousness over the year.
This years 65th Annual Emmy Awards are on Sunday September 22nd at 8 p.m. on CBS. I’ll be here covering the show that night in the same breezy rapid-fire style that I used to cover the Oscars and Grammys.
The full list of Emmy nominations can be found here: http://www.emmys.com/nominations