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More Repeats at this Year's Emmys

They won. Can we get some other choices please?
They won. Can we get some other choices please?
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sunday, in their traditional issue about this years Emmys, Newsday's cover page read: 'Do the Emmys still matter?' And no matter how hard they may argue to the contrary, the fact is, each year, it's harder to answer something other than 'not really'
The Emmys are supposed to honor the greatest in TV, but each year they are noted more and more for who they leave out than who they include, and the sad fact is, I'm beginning to think the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Critic awards are far more relevant and entertaining than the Emmys can be..
This may seem a strange thing to say, considering that TV has been at a level of sustained excellence that has not been seen in more than two decades, but while the Hollywood Foreign Press and The Broadcast Critics tend to cast a wider net, the Emmys tend to resemble with each passing year, a game of musical chairs where only HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime, and now Netflix can participate. And that's for drama--- the net gets even narrower for comedies..
Last night may have proved that more than any other show. In the Best Drama category, every winner in the acting category had won at least once before. Now let me be clear, Breaking Bad is, until the next candidate comes to dethrone, the current contender for one of the greatest TV shows ever made. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn have given some of the most magnificent performances in the history of television (and considering the abuse Skyler took in the last couple of seasons, Gunn deserved some sort of recompense) It doesn't change the fact that even the winners felt obliged some of the great talent that was once again cast aside (and in the case of Josh Charles and Matthew McConaughey, they are unlikely to get another chance.) I didn't have a problem with them winning, or for that matter with Juliana Marguiles prevailing for The Good Wife. It's the idea of having to honor the same people over and over again that bothers me.
It was even more evident in the Comedy category. Every major winner won at least once before. Now I love The Big Bang Theory and Veep and I'm a big fan of Allison Janney, but there were many many deserving nominees in each category who should've prevailed. We seem to be reaching a pattern that prevailed in the 1990s, when the Emmys kept honoring David Hyde-Pierce and Helen Hunt and John Lithgow over and over, and again ten years ago, when Everybody Loves Raymond was all the Emmy voters could think about. I am once again beginning to think that we might at least want to consider some kind of rule that a winner in any category can't be nominated the following year. Ty Burrell, Jim Parsons and Julia Louis-Dreyfus can't be considered for a trophy until 2016. This may sound extreme, but it would grant a little fairness to actors like Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler, whose Emmy-less streaks border on the ludicrous when you consider just how great their body of work has been. We may also want to consider some kind of limit on the number of trophies an actor can win---- Allison Janney is a superb actress, but really does she need another Emmy at this point.
But every so often, there is a sign that maybe the universe is balancing things out after awhile. HBO was nearly completely shutout of the major prizes this season--- aside from the prize for The Normal Heart and Veep, they went home relative empty handed. Meanwhile, Sherlock, one of the most incredible convergences of talent and writing was one of the nights big winners, taking seven trophies in all, including long overdue prizes for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Even that wondrous talent Steven Moffat seemed overwhelmed when he finally prevailed in the Best Writing category. As if they need any more of a reason for us to look forward to Season 4.

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