The 2015 Emmy Nominations That DON'T Need to Happen

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The Emmy nominations will be announced at 11:30 am EST on Thursday, July 16. In addition to championing our own selections, we think it’s time for the Academy to put a few of the frequent nominees out to pasture. All of the following people and shows have been honored and re-honored. It’s time for the Emmy’s to acknowledge new blood.

Modern Family

There’s an old adage that “familiarity breeds contempt.” But for the Academy of Arts and Sciences, familiarity often breeds more awards. How else can we explain the continued dominance of Modern Family? In an era which includes stellar shows like Veep, Louie, Parks and Recreation, Broad City, The Goldbergs, Last Man on Earth, Brooklyn 99 and many more, continuing to lavish praise on the formulaic, badly aging sitcom is not logical. The show used to be funny, but let’s be honest – it is now right on the cusp of mediocre. I enjoy all of the actors, particularly Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, but I’m asking the Academy to shut them out completely this year to recognize other performers.

Jim Parsons

I do not watch The Big Bang Theory, but I’ve certainly seen it. Everyone loves Jim Parsons, but his performance as Sheldon is one-note. Parsons mugs for the camera more than Steve “Did I Do That” Urkel. All that preening makes Sheldon nothing more than a modern-day, straight-nerd version of Jack from Will and Grace.

We know Parsons is talented, and he was recognized with an Emmy last year for his performance in The Normal Heart. But he has four Emmy Awards, tied for most wins in the comedy series lead actor category with Michael J. Fox, Kelsey Grammer and Carroll O’Connor. I’m showing my age here, but it’s hard to equate Parsons and his character with Alex P. Keaton or Archie Bunker. There are daring, hilarious performers out there who need to be recognized for challenging the constraints of the traditional sitcom (Last Man On Earth’s Will Forte, Jane the Virgin’s Jamie Camil). Please Academy, I beg of you, give Sheldon a rest.

Downton Abbey

*Cue melodramatic yet reserved Edwardian sigh*

We used to love Downton Abbey but alas, our love has faded. The first two seasons were masterful, but with each new season our interest waned as the show amplified the soap elements. Emmy voters love traditional dramas. If they are cloaked in period garb and portray so-called “traditional values,” all the better. But E.M. Forster has got it right. “One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.” There are too many great dramas to keep up with, but Orange is the New Black changed the entire dynamic of television in terms of quality (awesome), source (Netflix), and diversity (women who look like women) and we’d like to see it recognized.


Does Shameless get nominations because it’s good or because everyone respects William H. Macy? Asking for a friend.

House of Cards

Does House of Cards get nominations because it’s great or because everyone loves a movie star, especially Kevin Spacey? Asking for Jon Hamm.

Yeah, House of Cards is pretty good. Not good enough to put it on the level of Orange is the New Black, and certainly not as brilliant as the best show on television, FX’s The Americans. The just-finished season was weak, and Spacey’s performance is very, very Spacey, as in I feel like I’m watching an actor not a character.

The Newsroom/Jeff Daniels

As much as I love Aaron Sorkin, there was nothing remarkable about the show or the acting on it. HBO still gets Prestige Points from Emmy voters, but their shows are not consistent and the competition has significantly weakened the HBO brand.

The Good Wife

I hate myself for putting The Good Wife on this list. 12 months ago it was probably the best show on television, including cable. But the last season was a big drop in quality, and there are other dramas that need some love. Hey Emmy, have you heard of this show called Orphan Black….? Could you please give Mad Men its due, especially Elizabeth Moss? And let’s not forget that Empire blew the doors off of American TV last spring. I think it has to be one of the seven nominees for best drama.

We could be surprised by the nominations. The field did expand from six to seven shows for Best Drama and Best Comedy series. More people were added as voters. There is more and better TV everywhere. However, the new Emmy rules compounded the confusion about what is a comedy and what is a drama (and what happens if a show is a combination of both?) Check back tomorrow for our discussion of who should be nominated and why.


Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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