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This Year's Emmy Nods: Sigh

Emmys biggest obstacle
Emmys biggest obstacle
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Once again, we fast approach what is supposedly TV's most important night. And I know that, as a critic, it's my job to revel in the glory that is the pinnacle of my awards show addiction. But with each coming year, it becomes increasingly harder to do so.
I try to be enthusiastic about the awards every year, and every year, more so than with any other awards show, I am disappointed. It has nothing to do with the winners---- I think Homeland and Breaking Bad and Mad Men and 30 Rock have been among the greatest series in history. But it becomes increasingly more difficult when the most prestigious night in TV continuously seems to resemble a game of musical chair with almost any other show in history.
To start with the obvious problem, there is the utter disdain the Emmys seem to show for anything that airs on a broadcast network. As anyone knows, the risks that a show can take on cable or on the Internet are far greater and have far more latitude than can be allowed for a network show. It doesn't change the fact that are some of the greatest shows in TV history currently on network TV. I am at an utter and complete loss to understand why the Emmys seems so determined to honor Downton Abbey over The Good Wife, a series which in every conceivable way is superior to it. This is particularly exasperating after the fifth season which made it arguably the best show on any form on TV. I realize that for decades the Emmys couldn't recognize anything that wasn't on networks; now it's as if the pendulum has swung in the other direction and there's no way to shift it back.
The probably is even more obvious when it comes to comedy. Each year, network TV has produced some of the funniest comedies in history, and each year, so it seems, the same five or six shows always get nominated. Parks & Recreation is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. Girls is one of the most overrated and bloated combinations in history. Yet for the past two years, the latter was nominated for several awards and Parks and Rec was basically shut out. And don't even get me started on series like New Girl, Mindy Project or this seasons Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which are year after year at least as funny (and are probably watched by more people) than Veep. No matter how well they do at other awards shows (brooklyn nine-nine triumphed at the Golden Globes this year) they barely get a sniff. And I defy someone to explain the logic that allows Modern Family to triumph year in and year out yet not even allow its sister comedy The Middle to get nominated. And I can't even make the argument it's a popularity contest, because The Big Bang Theory, which is watched by twice as many people as Modern Family (and is a lot funnier in my humble opinion) barely registers on the Emmys radar.
And then there is the Emmys endless fascination with HBO, an obsession that has driven every other network to distraction. I don't know why Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley are considered better series than The Americans and Episodes, but by now, it just seems to be a given that has driven people like me to frustration. Yes, True Detective is a brilliant show, but it doesn't have anywhere near the complexity of Masters of Sex, (and need I remind them, it should still be competing against Fargo and American Horror Story: Coven instead?) Part of this is because HBO still is practically the only competitor in the TV movie category, but the increase in limited series has been cutting into this slightly. (Your move, Showtime.)
I'm not going to argue against the fact that online services like Netflix are part of the problem because, even though I may take an endless amount of time to review them, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are two of the most brilliant shows on TV. And I'm not going to argue that basic cable is being shafted to, because recent nominations for IFC would seem to harbor hope for the network yet. But the fact is none of this will help make the audience for the Emmys bigger, because TV's audiences are getting more compartmentalized every year. Unless the networks can get past their desire for endless numbers of procedurals, the audience for the Emmys will continued to be less than The Walking Dead (another high ranking show that they won't nominate).
Anyway, here are my picks for this year: