It didn't come as a big surprise when actor Bryan Cranston took home an Emmy Monday night for his leading role in AMC's "Breaking Bad," which ended last summer.
And that's part of the problem with this year's Emmy awards, many in the media are saying the morning after TV's biggest night: Repeat winners dominated the night, with popular newcomers like "True Detective" losing out to the old guard (in this case, exiting "Breaking Bad").
"I'm not meaning to suggest that the shows and people that pulled off unexpected wins tonight aren't good," The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg wrote after the show. "Moreover, several past winners whom many feel are well past their sell-by date were essentially warmed over and honored again."
With HBO shows dominating the nominations this year, many feared cable and upstart shows on alternative services like Netflix would shut out network television which, as host Seth Meyers quipped, would be a slap in the face since the Emmys are aired on network TV.
Netflix shows fared especially badly, with no love for either "Orange is the New Black" (which lost to longtime network favorite "Modern Family") or political drama "House of Cards."
"Someone forgot to tell network shows they weren't supposed to win anything," Slate's Willa Paskin wrote.
The Emmys seem to have achieved what network programs can't, Quartz Magazine's Jason Lynch wrote: Stop Netflix from conquering TV.
"Emmy voters opted to embrace TV’s past instead of its future, awarding — again — previous winners," Lynch wrote. "Faced with the prospect that Netflix is permanently upending the television industry, networks have been frantically searching for a way to keep the streaming service at bay. On Monday night, they found an unexpected savior — Emmy voters."
As the New York Times reported, in the game of the Emmys, the house still favors cable, despite the sheer volume of viewers network shows get.
"Julia Louis-Dreyfus deserved to win yet another best actress Emmy, but her comedy, 'Veep,' has a fraction of the audience that a rerun of 'NCIS: Los Angeles' can command," the Times' Alessandra Stanley wrote. "In the Emmy competition, networks now are a little like the British Empire after the 1956 Suez crisis: powerful, but diminished."
With the usual suspects winning in their usual categories, the show hasn't just danced with becoming boring, as Paskin argued, it's become unfair, with The Hollywood Reporter angling for a new voting system.
"For the second year in a row, many of the TV Academy's choices left viewers in the audience and at home with their mouths hanging open in bafflement, with some even calling for a re-evaluation of the voting process. Several of the results were simply inexplicable," Feinberg wrote. "(It leads) one to wonder if TV Academy members even subscribe to the service that has changed the way millions of Americans consume entertainment."
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