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Emmy Aftermath: The Repetitions, The Rules, The Fixes.

Well hear we are the day after the 66th Emmy Awards... or was it the 65th? or 62nd? or 60? It gets so hard to tell what with their refusal to spread the wealth. This number may not be 100% accurate but from my rough calculations anyone/anything who won Emmys last night had, on average, two previous statues.

No matter how great any one performance or show is, is it seems downright criminal to only honor that one thing. Think of how many people couldn't have Emmys for acting because of, say, Bryan Cranston's 5 statues for Walter White. I wish more voters would think of it that way. There's no argument among anybody who has watched it, even off and on like myself, that he didn't do great work but is his work 5 times greater than Jon Hamm's best work as Don Draper? 3 times greater than Michael C Hall's work as Dexter? And so on. He would have also prevented Kyle Chandler from that awesome tearjerking Friday Night Lights win had he been eligible that year. You just can't tell me his work is more valuable than all of those men combined and his Emmy run  blocked so many gifted actors from winning television's top honor. Same with Aaron Paul (3 statues) and Allison Janney (6 statues, 4 from one role). Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a slightly different case. She's a stellar performer (great in every series she's been in) but three statues is more than enough for the same performance especially when it means Amy Poehler's genius continues to go unrewarded. Yet at least Julia's 5 statues are distributed across 3 roles.

When you obsessively award one person over and over for the same performance you're really saying that nobody else in town is remotely of their calibre which is a depressing way to judge artistry, which is so subjective and has room for multiple conceptions of "Best". But perhaps the problem is in the voting process. (According to Gold Derby at least, voters rank the performances and whoever has the lowest score (i.e. you want first and second finishes, means that if you're everyone's second favorite you will probably win each and every year since the slightly more divisive series won't stand a chance. This could also explain why Modern Family just continues to hog Emmys though most critics think its glory days are long behind it. Maybe it's everyone's #2 and their number #1s are all over the place.)

"LESBIAN REQUEST DENIED" - Jodie & Laverne and several other OITNB nominees lost their categories.Though Emmy night wasn't at all interesting (I am reminded why I have never watched it religiously) the Emmy season was with all the controversies. For months there's been heated divisive arguments about Broadcast vs. Cable and whether they should be in direct competition. Official word is "we're not going to go there," that they'll never split up the categories. But couldn't some of the results in part have been about network TV actors finally rallying and saying 'enough with online and cable!'  HBO still led in actual wins  but it had very few televised wins so most of its triumphs were in the non-marquee categories. And Netflix, which has brought so much energy to the TV game, tanked. Orange is the New Black, easily one of the best and most-obsessed-over shows on TV, only managed two wins, neither of them televised. 

Herewith my proposal on how to fix the Emmys, to prevent all the controversial gaming of the system and the relentless repetition which does no service to an industry enjoying a lot of Golden Age goodwill. Every week on the internet you read about some new great achievement in television and everyone's top tens look different and people are just so excited with all that's on offer and every year at the Emmys the picture they present to the world is. 'We only make a few good shows. Sorry bout it.'

Proposed Rule Fixes

  1. No category hopping. Once you've submitted one way, you can't pretend you've become something else.
  2. Seriously consider best half hour series and best hour series instead of Drama vs. Comedy because nearly all the best work in any artform has both dramatic substance and a sense of humor. Orange is the New Black is hilarious but people kept being mad that it was placed in comedy because its drama is so effective. 
  3. If your name is in the opening credits you MAY NOT submit as a "guest" -- this is supposedly the guideline right now but very few actors follow it if they think they have a better shot at "guest." If you are in every episode, even if you're not in the opening credits, you MAY NOT submit as a "guest."
  4. Cap of three wins for any performance of the same role.
  5. Strict rules on number of episodes you must produce to qualify as anything other than a miniseries. I personally think the rule should be 10. How are shows with only 7 episodes competing in series? 

 Emmy really needs to lock down some rules about anthology series. Are they miniseries like AMERICAN HORROR STORY or regular series like TRUE DETECTIVE. It shouldn't be either or.

What do you think would help fix the Emmys? 

P.S. Here are my personal awards for last night's show

Best Duo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Bryan Cranston
Best Sports: The Mad Men actors who will complete this historic series with none of them ever having won for their terrific complex creations. And yet they show every year and smile and even endure the jokes about it now.
Classier Than It Often Is: In Memoriam
Dependably Funny Person Who Was Amazingly Funny: Amy Poehler
Dependably Funny Person Who Was Not at all Funny: Sarah Silverman
Most Ubiquitous Color: Orange (skin) vs Red (dresses)
Most Awesome Loser Reaction: Julia Roberts

Most Depressing Loser Reaction: Cicely Tyson 
Best Dressed: Lizzy Caplan
Hottest Arm Candy: Julianna Marguiles husband. In perpetuity.
Most Annoying Emmy Obsession: Seriously why even have a Reality category if you consistently ignore the really creative ones (hello RuPaul's Drag Race) and just hand The Amazing Race the prize ever year. 10 wins! Ridiculous
Most Satisfying Win: None. The closest would be The Normal Heart which I liked (but didn't love)
Happy Realization: There is room for at least a smidgeon of movement in next year's Best Drama races since Breaking Bad will be gone from all categories.
Bitter Realization: That won't help the repetitive factor in Comedy since Modern Family is still with us and still winning... and not just in the top category.
New EGOTs: None. And people we thought might edge closer (Julia, Cicely & Matthew) did not.

Photo that perfectly sums up Emmy night via Lena Dunham & Instagram


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Reader Comments (65)

Your #1 and #5 proposed rule fix contradict themselves, since Breaking Bad only had 8 qualifying episodes you would make it a mini-series?

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike B.

Mike B.: I think, with this rule fix, that would actually mean Breaking Bad is ineligible. It can't hop submission level, but it also hasn't produced enough episodes to be a "series."

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I understand people's complaint about rewarding the same person for the same role but there are always exceptions and Bryan Cranston is one. Not a single person that watched Breaking Bad can say that his role, character and performance were the same in season 1 and season 6. The growth and change there is what earned him his wins, deservedly so.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

I am an island for being thrilled that Kathy Bates won a televised Emmy she was able to receive in person. This was her fifth nomination in this category. Other women who have received as many nominations in this category all won the award at least once. She deserves to be a multiple Emmy win since going two consecutive decades without ever winning. Now in the 2010's she's getting her Katharine Hepburn on. After surviving Cancer and having her breast removed--are people going to seriously give her trouble?--especially after the Academy gave a Jean Hersholt to Angelina Jolie for the same reason. She beat Julia Roberts for a major award twice in a lifetime and across three decades. Kathy Bates is one of the few Oscar winners who made a career for herself after winning an Oscar.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Tony winner beats Oscar winner, thank God, though some would say neither of them should have won their precursors, and Hamm should have won the Emmy last night.

Still, I loved Cranston's work and his speech made me cry (I admit it). It instantly took away the Julia Roberts Presenting Headache.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I like your proposed rule changes, it would stop a lot of the crap that is now hurting the awards themselves. While I agree with Erik about the brilliant work of Bryan Cranston, I think a limit (as the Tonies do, you cannot be nominated for the same role even if in different productions) is a good idea. C Bergen, B Cosby and John LaRoquette all pulled themselves out after several years. It didn't hurt their performances or damage their shows (i mean, really? When was the last time "Emmy nominated" or even "Emmy winning" boosted ratings for anything more than a couple of weeks.).

i like Jim Parsons, but that is one character that has not changed season to season despite his excellent portrayal so for every Cranston, there is an example going the other direction.

It would be good for the business as a whole.

Most satisfying win for me was Juliana M winning for Good Wife. It was a strong category, and all were honest contenders, but she put out more work on the same level or higher at nearly twice the output of all the others, some combined.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

This debate makes me so mad. We are enjoying a golden age of television that's come about purely because showrunners, Netflix, and cable networks have broken down old conventions of content, length, and format. I do not believe Julianna Marguiles, as she makes clear in every interview she gives, deserves a cookie for shooting 22 episodes a year because her bosses are beholden to advertisers and the FCC. For that, she gets network paychecks.

Look at Allison friggin' Janney. She makes her money and gains visibility for her bad Chuck Lorre show, and has done some of her most daring dramatic work the same year on Showtime. A system that works for her, works for me.

I don't understand why it's necessary to stand up for the creatively limited, dinosaur model of network broadcasting. I agree that rules need to be adjusted, but everything great about television today has come about thanks to cable. I wouldn't trade that so that, what, Christine Baranski can win an Emmy over Anna Gunn?

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

yes, with "breaking bad" out of the race next year, "mad men" can win its FIFTH award for best series! change!!

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Yes Nathaniel's clever rules would force Breaking Bad to either be ineligible OR to not do this stupid split season stunt in the first place.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJase

Technically, Emmy voters were very down to spread the love for quite a while in regards to Lead Actress in a Comedy, awarding different actresses for like 10 years or so for Aniston/Messing/SJP/Huffman/Ferrera/Collette/Fey/McCarthy/JLD (for New Adventures of Old Christine) so I don't really begrudge them for giving JLD consecutive statues as of late especially as she's pretty excellent on Veep.

Actor in a comedy series though...yeesh. Between Tony Shalhoub winning everything and now Jim Parsons winning everything, and the occasional giveaway to Alec Baldwin or Jon Cryer, I don't remember the last time I was excited for that category.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Cicely Tyson already has three Emmy Awards so her steps to the EGOT wouldn't have gotten shorter if she'd won again.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Jase & Hayden - i'm not trying to be clever. i'm tryingn to stop the insanity. I also believe Mad Men should have been ineligible. I agree with Hayden about how cables break down of formats and seasons was great for television but if you're going to do awards, you have to have rules because there have to be boundaries of some sort. Oscar has very specific rules of what qualifies as a feature (how long it has to be, that it has to play in theaters, that it has to show in Los Angeles, etcetera). Emmy needs to make some damn rules

Erik & Henry -- but this still supposes that Cranston's work is better all the time than the entirety of the performances of anyone else. I just don't accept that.. I've never in my life seen a television performance that is always better season after season after seeason episode after episode that is always better than everyone else. It just doesn't happen. There are different ways to be brilliant.different challenges. different techniques. DIFFERENT ACTORS.

Rewarding only one is nauseuous if you ask me. See also: Jim Parsons for the Big Bang Theory.

August 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I agree that there need to be better rules regarding what a miniseries is vs. a regular series, but to my mind the distinguishing feature there is repetition, not length. A miniseries ends, and doesn't come back. <I>True Detective and American Horror Story are series (AHS even moreso than TD, seeing as it has fairly stable castmembers). Being an anthology is not the same thing as being a miniseries.

I don't think length is determining, seeing as in other places, particularly Britain, TV seasons are much shorter, and American TV is moving more to that model, especially on cable. Under the rules proposed in this post, Downton Abbey would be a miniseries every year, which it clearly isn't.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I don't agree with the idea that repeated winners are bad. It doesn't say other people aren't great. It says a given performance was the best of the year, it was also the best of the previous year.

I say that because in my opinion Jon Hamm would have won for every single season of Mad Men and I wouldn't complain, since his work was as good as Cranston's and way more subtle.

Part of you complain comes from the fact that you don't get Breaking Bad, I think. I don't get it either, but if Hamm had seven Emmys it wouldn't be unfair (he deserved as hell) and you would be happy, I think.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Let's consider this scenario. Jon Hamm deservedly wins Best Actor for the three first season of Mad Men. And then he has The Suitcase. I'd me mad as hell if he wasn't eligible for his best moment as Don Draper.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Sorry, I hadn't seen your reply.

But on this:

I've never in my life seen a television performance that is always better season after season after seeason episode after episode that is always better than everyone else. It just doesn't happen.

It does happen: Jon Hamm did it.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Nathaniel - If Cranston's tapes are better than everyone else's in a given year then yes, he should win. You're attaching a season of performances as validation for someone else's win when these are small panels that judge based on single submissions. Granted, a fan of a certain show that is on a panel can obviously make a judgement that is outside of a specific submission but we have seen year after year that the right tape can really make a difference. Personally, I think Cranston's performances have been better than those he's nominated against, by season or by submission.

Sean C. - I disagree that True Detective or AHS don't belong in miniseries, that's where they both should be. An anthology series makes the most sense in miniseries. Different casts, locations, time periods and stories are not an ongoing thing like Downton Abbey. They couldn't be any more different.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

I will continue to say this: any program, even an anthology series, that airs episodes numbering in the double digits for multiple consecutive seasons SHOULD NOT be classified as a miniseries. Period.

As transcendent as Cranston's work may have been, NO ONE can convince me that over the life of that entire series that no other actor in any other program came close to what he achieved in their respective shows. Television is a medium that takes endurance, so no matter how great a performer is at building a consistent, intuitive character arc, there are still going to be moments wherein the seams of fatigue will show. This isn't even about my desire for Jon Hamm to win; it's about the illusion that an actor can be that unparalleled that regularly, which simply is not true.

As for Nathaniel's proposed changes, as I stated on post where he covered the announcement of the nominations, it becomes difficult for people to take the award seriously when the rules seem to work so actively against the integrity of the prize. When so many of the multiple winners look so embarrassed by the excess of riches (well, except Allison Janney), one has to wonder if that is the best thing for the Emmy itself. I'm an actor with several actor friends, and I can't tell you how many of them on Facebook were completely over the multiple winners -- the "Breaking Bad" fan boys not included.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Cal Roth -- no no no. I would not be happy if Jon Hamm had seven Emmys. People keep thinking that this is because i love Mad Men. It is not. If Jon Hamm won every year I'd feel terrible for everyone else and wonder how you could let Bryan Cranston, who was by all accounts genius on his show, go unrewarded. I believe in spreading the wealth. Always have. Always will. No one and nothing is ever the best every year at ALL things. Awards voters need to use more nuanced thinking.

My two favorite television shows of all time are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men Woudl I have given them series and lead actor wins every single damn year? NO WAY IN HELL. Two examples off the top of my head. There is no way Buffy deserved Best Drama over Once & Again in 1999 (4th and 1st seasons respectively, neither were nominated). And this season of Mad Men Masters of Sex should've won (not nominated)

never in my life have i wanted the same series or same actor to win every year for the same role. (unless they had a very short series run like one or two seasons before cancellation. it's not how long-form art works. there is epp and flow, superior seasons, lesser moments and all of that.

August 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"... that entire series that no other actor in any other program came close to what he achieved in their respective shows"... damian lewis and jeff daniels did! (lol)

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

My take on fixing the Emmys:
This particular award show was originally created to award prizes to basically “free” network TV shows that fell into distinct buckets: comedy, drama, and variety. Current watching habits, devices on which shows are watched, premium access channels, and even the length and type of show is completely different now. And many folks like me don’t have cable and don’t watch shows when they originally air; we stream everything (TV, movies, events) through pay-per-view or DVD when released, so it’s ALL TV ALL THE TIME!!! This Emmy system of awards does not relate to the current TV landscape.

Compare apples to apples. Nathaniel is correct here. Comedy/drama categories should be completely dropped, in favor of time categories: 30 min shows with 24 episodes vs other 30 min shows with 24 episodes.

Eliminate mini-series category. It’s either a show or a movie. Fargo, True Detective, American Horror Story are all shows. Period. Just put them in categories with shows of similar length.

Only American-produced shows should be eligible for the Primetime Emmys. Otherwise, shows just as good or better than Sherlock (Borgen (Denmark), Les Revenants (France), and Luther (U.K.)) which also air in “prime time” on some channels should be considered, and not just for International Emmys, or move the BBC America/PBS shows back into the International category.

Award writing to a team of writers for the entire season of a show (8 episodes, 12, 24, or whatever). While some episodes are better written than others, the character development, story progression, etc. usually has a base from which to work, so singling out one or two writers for one episode just isn’t fair.

Same with directors.

Award best ensemble. The Golden Globes does it and it’s a great category, but then don’t single out a one actor (or pit two from the same show against each other) out of a true ensemble show (like OITNB, BBT, Modern Family) for a prize.

Repeat awards are fine, if they’re truly the best that particular year! But repeat awards for the same character (or the same program) does show a lack of gumption/courage/imagination by the Academy. Modern Family and Breaking Bad wins remind me of those “golden” kids in high school who were smart, likable, and good-looking, and yet seemed to garner a ridiculous amount of praise for their awesome-ness from teachers and administrators, to the exclusion of other worthy kids. It's a little different for movie acting awards as great actors tend to be great in most of their roles, and it looks like only a small number of people get repeat nominations.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

The most ridiculous thing about last night, which I hadn't noticed earlier, was that Sherlock, which is without question a SERIES (or a mini-series, if you want, since it only puts out three episodes per season), got away with having one episode nominated for Best TV Movie. WTF?!?!? It's almost like Moffat WANTED the TV Academy to realize how ridiculous the category fraud at the Emmys is! Yes, the episode was two hours long, but it's one-third of a season, with two other episodes, and each episode was billed as part of that season, not as a stand-alone movie. Ridiculous.

Although when it kept taking those acting trophies from The Normal Heart, I got kind of excited, despite my disagreement with them, because HBO must have been PISSED.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Pam - The Globes do not have an Ensemble awards, SAG does though. The Globes are changing this year to create a 'limited series' category, which should be interesting.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

denny - YES, that Sherlock category fuckery is ridiculous.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Nat. I do think Cranston's work was better than everyone else, every season (I object to the split of the last season, it's just greedy). He had the material and the chops to make it work as well as being perfectly cast. Breaking Bad lent itself to a dramatic change in character due to the very situation that was set in motion the first episode. No other show had that wide an arc or writing that allowed for the diverse change in character. That Cranston, Gunn, Paul and Norris (Norris deserved more attention for his work here) were able to deliver without losing the core of who they were in the beginning is a tremendous feat of acting. Even my beloved Good Wife actors haven't had that great an arc to play despite growing each and every episode. The only other series I can think of that offers such opportunities is Game of Thrones but with the exception of Dinklage and Fairley, the acting isn't on the same level.

I love Mad Men. I think they all do tremendous work but Don Draper, Joan, Peggy even Roger haven't changed or evolved to the extent as everyone in BB did. They haven't been offered the chances to grow which is not the actors fault or even a fault of the direction or writing, its a fact of concept and the story they are telling. Very few shows offer the range that BB offered. You can only play what is on the page and the story of Mad Men doesn't offer the material that Breaking Bad gave its cast. BB is a unique piece of work on a different level from all others.

I'm not surprised at Normal Heart not showing as well as they hoped. I don't think the piece could ever be as effective on film as it is on stage. You need to feel the raw energy that only stage can provide. It's too preachy and flat on film. You can tune out the anger watching a film and anger is at the heart of almost every scene in NH. You can't do that in the theater.

I still agree with your proposed changes to the awards themselves and yes, Amy Poehler deserves a win.

What is the reasoning behind the ballot structure?

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Erik--Thanks. I thought it was the Globes.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

@Erik Anderson: An anthology is not a miniseries. It's an ongoing series, with regular writers and staff (and, in AHS's case, actors and directors). There's no requirement that a drama series keep the same characters or location. The Twilight Zone didn't, all iterations of which have been submitted as, and even won, prizes for drama series.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I think that the organizational principle you're proposing, Nathaniel would go a long way in rewarding a greater variety of people. Particularly the "Capping wins at 3 for any one performance." My initial reaction was that it's not fair, but considering that the average run of a "successful" show is like 5 season (give or take) that's a perfectly suitable maximum and it would force voters to think.

The half hour vs. hour rather than "comedy vs. drama" also seems like a good way to separate the categories rather than drama vs. comedy. AMPAS has comedic performances competing against dramatic performances routinely at the Oscars. And yes, there is a slightly entrenched bias against comedic performances not being viewed as weighty enough for wins, but when they love the performance, it doesn't matter. I'm thinking someone like Cate Blanchett, who steamrolled for what I considered to be a performance that incorporated elements of both comedy and drama. The best ones do, I think (even in the most serious of drama) incorporate elements of comedy. I think the length of the show is the only really fair way to do it.

There is a general lack of imagination when it comes to the way that industry awards consider artistic merit. It's particularly thrown into sharp relief when watching the Emmys because they actually do have the opportunity year after year to reward the same people for the same performances. In a way that makes me go a little bit easy on the Emmys. What I'm about to say may seem nonsensical, but hear me out...I think that given the opportunity somehow, there are still members of AMPAS who would be nominate say...Slumdog Millionaire for awards, were they allowed to nominate movies year after year. My point is Hollywood lacks imagination in general and the Emmys are a reflection of that and it was particularly bad. Were the television Academy to implement even just #2 and #4, it would be a huge improvement I think.

can someone explain me what is the difference between split seasons and separate seasons? I mean, why couldn't "breaking bad" have named (?) seasons 5.1 and 5.2 simply seasons 5 and 6? is it just the 'name', a convention? is it a budget thing, filming schedule, what? the first season had seven episodes I believe, so it wouldn't be that outrageous to have eight episodes in the two final seasons. and they told two different stories, there was a clear division (and a great cliffhanger) to justify two separate seasons.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Erik - I did actually watch all of Breaking Bad, and I found Cranston's acting to be incredibly repetitive, stagnant, and expected, especially for a show so obsessed with how characters change. If you want to watch a true masterclass on actors changing from the first season to the most recent, please watch season 1 episodes of The Good Wife compared to season 5.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Steve - repetitive, stagnant and expected. Wow. Ok. I guess I'd have to watch The Good Wife in order to agree with your second assessment but that's highly unlikely to happen. Watching it, that is.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Thank you for mentioning Juliana Marguiles' husband. I was fastforwarding through most of the show (that's how dull it was). When his face flashed on screen, I thought "Who is that gorgeous man?" and paused to find out!

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs


Lena Dunham is a genius! Love her.

Pretty much agree on everything you propose.

According to Golderby, to win an Emmy for acting you need a scene with a big speech. Apparently the voters don't know that a single tear (hi, Elisabeth) or just and "OK" (kudos Jon) can give chills to the audience.

P.S. Brian Cranston has won 4 Emmys for acting and 2 as producer.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Erik - didn't mean any disrespect by it, but I felt like being blatant was okay because that's how I found his portrayal. And I do think he deserved an Emmy for the role, especially the first season. I just don't agree with the argument that his performance warrants this many Emmys because of how much he evolved, as Breaking Bad so wanted us to believe about Walter White.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Peggy Sue: It's true. Even some actors who've won for comedies have done so by submitting episodes that have big, dramatic moments that include lots of speechifying (Debra Messing immediately comes to mind).

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I'm against capping a performer at three wins for a single role. If we're going to start capping things how about nominations at the Oscars? That means Streep can only be nominated up to twenty-five times. Seems fair.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful...if a bunch of those nominations were for Meryl Streep playing Sister Aloysius in Doubt: Coven, Doubt: Asylum</> and Doubt: Freakshow (Now with More Thunderclaps) then yes...some capping would be in order.

Joking aside, I see where you're coming from. It can be a slippery slope and of course you would wind up with a performer getting nominated (but not winning) for 3 seasons of mediocre work, then being ineligible when they give their best performance in a season beyond that cap. But...I mean, Jim Parsons...this is madness.

The ONLY person who I would consider capping (that sounds violent) their Oscar nomination count is John Williams. And even then, I'd have to think about it.

Yeah, I'm against capping wins. I'm also content for drama vs comedy. That said, they need to fix what is and isnt a mini, or perhaps add an anthology category for AHS and True Detective.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

I also think capping is unfair, because that would rob certain performers who might be doing their best work in a season they can't be nominated for because they already won too many times. I do agree the Emmys need strict rules on categorization. I like the half-hour and one-hour classifications, since it's a much clearer way to measure it. There is no ambiguity in how long an hour is (unless networks start arguing that a minute is actually 75 seconds instead of 60, or some other crazy shit like that). My guess is, networks like the ambiguity within the system because it means they can play the system any way they want and try their luck at less stacked categories. I think Orange is the New Black (which, by the way, won three Emmys, for Uzo Aduba, Casting and Editing) suffered from being placed in the Comedy category not because it's not arguably a drama, but because its inarguably made up of hour-long episodes and not on one of the major networks. Outstanding Comedy Series has historically favored half-hour shows in networks. The only hour-show ever to win Comedy Series is Ally McBeal (despite the popularity of shows like Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Glee in their time) and the only show outside the major networks to win was Sex and the City (despite the popularity of shows like The Larry Danders Show, Entourage, Veep and others). This is all a long-winded way of saying, I think Orange is the New Black should move to Drama next year (for the record, I love that show!!!)...

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

the emmys just... suck. they always have. they always will. look to the globes to get TV right

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I think it's more of a year by year case where the Emmys acts this terrible. I personally love the voting process of how each actor has to submit one episode from their series which they are judged for. I think that levels the playing field quite a bit and that way they are judged on an apples to apples comparison in that year.

Last year was a great example of how the Emmy process can work really well. It was the FIRST year "Breaking Bad" won drama series, which it richly deserved. It had giant shocker wins from Jeff Daniels ("The Newsroom"), Bobby Cannavale ("Boardwalk Empire"), Tony Hale ("Veep") and Merritt Wever ("Nurse Jackie). In all those cases,they triumphed over people who were supposed shoo ins because they won before.

Unfortunately, we still have the problem with Modern Family and Jim Parsons consistently winning. For Jim Parsons' case, its just that he has had 0 competition in what is possibly the weakest, most boring category year in and year out. If any new show comes along with a good male comedic performance it will trump Parsons. The thing that distresses me the most about Modern Family is it is nominated against much better shows and lost its creative luster years ago. The problem there is voting is based on a mean score, as Nathaniel said, which means just OK shows get in. If it were done based on number one votes, OITNB, Veep or Louie (even maybe a show with a passionate fan base like Silicon Valley) would have easily won. If there is a rule change needed, that is the one they should go after.

I do second the miniseries change. I don't care what the rule becomes, but there needs to be a rule in place. I fall on the side that says True Detective and AHS are miniseries, but if there is a rule in place that says otherwise, I'd be fine for consistency sake. What bothers me is they are submitted in separate categories when they are undoubtedly the same beast.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

a lot of you are trying to have it both ways. you object to repeat wins if it's a show you dont like and love it if it's a show you do. It needs to be one or the other.

there needs to be a rule about how many you can win for the same role because some actors are so damn greedy they'll never remove themselves from the process after too many for the same thing like Cosby and Bergen and such.

and i object to the notion that breaking bad characters have had a larger arc than anyone else on tv. I have seen some breaking bad episodes here and there and I frankly don't see that it's any more of a massive change than anyone on Mad Men or Game of Thrones or even, from what I hear, the Good Wife -- Take Peggy, for instance, she has had remarkable change across the series. Part of Mad Men's thematic resonance actually comes from watching how people respond or resist change It's really fascinating but it's subtle so you have to be paying very close attention.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R


August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I think the voters should be able to vote for anyone they like, telling them that they can't vote for who they may feel is the best because they've already won is stupid--whether they feel the best is Bryan Cranston or Jim Parsons. If you were nominated wouldn't you want to win knowing they thought you were the best, not because the person they actually thought was best wasn't eligible due to some arbitrary rule? Furthermore I don't understand the idea that it's greedy to like being recognized for the work you've put in. This isn't preschool, we don't need to spread out the awards based on nothing because some people's feelings might be hurt that they haven't won. If the voters feel that a certain individual is the best year after year than that person should win year after year.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

a lot of you are trying to have it both ways. you object to repeat wins if it's a show you dont like and love it if it's a show you do. It needs to be one or the other. </B>

I do find it amusing that you cap the number of times performers can win, but don't cap the number of times a show can win. Seriously, you make me hate Mad Men so much and I haven't bothered watching it past the first season. Nathaniel, you're like the emmys!

Truthfully, I think capping repeat winners is a bad idea. I think the emmys are unimaginative, but I don't like the idea of truly excellent work being screwed out of a win due to that rule. It's silly to think that Cranston stopped Hamm, etc from winning. Cranston, after all, didn't stop Lewis or Daniels from winning.

I also disagree with expanding the number of episodes required to compete as a series. Six is a good number (what it is right now). Yeah, some miniseries run longer, but whatever. I do think a cable vs network split is the only logical solution

I'm a firm PRO on your guest designation, except I'd go further and say that there should be four acting categories (guest, recurring, supporting, leading).

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

As much as I love Mad Men, this last "season" was *not* par excellence for either Jon Hamm or Christina Hendricks. (Poor Elisabeth Moss, the best of the lot this season, wasn't even nominated.)

Nevertheless, the Emmys' tendency toward default nominations and repeat wins is both bad for the credibility and continued relevance of the organization *and* for the long-term assessment of the work in question. (Ever notice that TV roles which rack up award after award don't seem to age as well or are thought of as fondly as legendary performances that largely go unrewarded?)

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Broadcast vs. Cable - What an awful idea! Never heard of that one.

I like most your changes - the weird categorizations in Series vs. Miniseries and Supporting vs. Guest are ridiculous - and need to be fixed big time.

And your proposed rule #2 is genius. Get rid of comedy vs. drama - 1 hour vs. half hour makes a lot of sense to me. (although keep comedy vs. drama categories in the acting categories)

"4.Cap of three wins for any performance of the same role."

I think capping three wins for any one performance or any one show but still letting them be nominated make sense - and it helps spread the wealth BUT it also makes the win mean less. For example, if John Hamm & Bryan Cranston are ineligible but hogging almost half the category, is it that much of an accomplishment for Jeff Daniels to win? Also, due to the serialized nature of some of the best shows - characters change - Walter While or Peggy Olsen are NOT the same people they were 5 years ago and are, arguably, even harder to perform now. So if the actor is not phoning it in and is still better than everyone else in their category, let them compete.

I'd tweak your rule to say, an actor can't win for the same role two seasons in a row and a tv show or miniseries can't win the big prize two seasons in a row.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

"and i object to the notion that breaking bad characters have had a larger arc than anyone else on tv. I have seen some breaking bad episodes here and there and I frankly don't see that it's any more of a massive change than anyone on Mad Men or Game of Thrones or even, from what I hear, the Good Wife -- Take Peggy, for instance, she has had remarkable change across the series. Part of Mad Men's thematic resonance actually comes from watching how people respond or resist change It's really fascinating but it's subtle so you have to be paying very close attention."

Breaking Bad is pretty great at this - particularly with Walter White who is unrecognizable from what he was in season 1. But TV has been getting much better at this - especially since the procedurals have been kicked out. Serials like Breaking Bad & Mad Men are great at this - your Peggy example is on the money. Procedurals like the Good Wife or serials that move at a glacial pace like Game of Thrones don't have quite as dramatic changes IMO, but you can still see it for certain characters.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

No matter what the rule, it's never going to be fair to all or make perfect sense in every case.

I'm in favor of the cap Nat suggests. I like that idea better even if it does mean my favorite performance doesn't win. I'd rather that than the tedious repetition that usually rules.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Nathaniel said:

"""This number may not be 100% accurate but from my rough calculations anyone/anything who won Emmys last night had, on average, two previous statues.""""

It is not accurate.

All three Sherlock winners were first time Emmy winners. Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Steven Moffat have never won an Emmy before last night.

With their three and the four from the Creative Emmys that made Sherlock the most awarded show this Emmy season.

Well deserved as well.

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

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