When "Modern Family's" Steven Levitan said, "This may be the saddest Emmys of all time," surely he was referring to the Grim Reaper's front-row seat at last night's show. But why limit it? Amid great anticipation, this was truly a sad excuse for an awards show.
The literal death rolls didn't help. What was it? Five individual tributes, a poorly illustrated, static In Memoriam scroll, and two shout outs to the deceased "Homeland" writer Henry Bromell. (You can add the 50-year look-back to 1963, featuring JFK's assassination and a mournful version of "Yesterday.")
But it's as if the Emmy producers were set on repeating the mistakes of awards shows past. A talented and engaging host is wasted in lifeless and criminally witless production numbers (didn't matter that beloved host NPH was a producer). Special guests underwhelm, such as Elton John following his arch asides on Liberace with a plodding tribute song. The show is structured with the most anticipated awards — the drama acting Emmys — sandwiched in the middle. (Don't they know cable dramas have replaced miniseries and movies as the "hot" programming?) Emmy even dug through Oscar's rejects to bring back the "interpretive dance" segment!
Emmy voters didn't help. Jim Parsons is funny, but again? Kerry Washington denied? Upsets seemed to deflate the room. And I like "The Newsroom," but Jeff Daniels for best actor? In that field?
Of course there were highlights. The show was 3 hours long, after all, and drew on big talents. But in this Golden Age of television, these Emmys were sad, indeed.

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