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EMMYS: One Small Step for Game of Thrones, One Giant Leap for Genre TV

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The Cast and crew from Game of Thrones pose in the Press Room with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series during the 67th Emmy Awards on September 20, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON

The Cast and crew from Game of Thrones pose in the Press Room with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series during the 67th Emmy Awards on September 20, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON

Awards are meaningless in the grand scheme of life. Some of history’s best series (The Wire, Roseanne), writing (The Americans, Battlestar Galactica) and performances (Nick Offerman, Chloe Sevigny, Francis Conroy, Marla Gibbs, Angela Landsbury, and so many more) have never even sniffed the Emmy stage.

Awards are meaningless.

However, since the entertainment industry uses awards shows to recognize great performances, the Emmy process does have some influence on which projects get a green light. That’s why everyone who values genre TV should be pleased that Game of Thrones swept the 2015 Emmy Awards for writing, directing and drama.

A sci-fi/fantasy show had never won an Emmy for Best Drama. It has been almost impossible for genre shows to be nominated for anything other than technical awards. (Just ask Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica.) It would be easy to write this year off as just more dominance by HBO, but there were other signs that Emmy voters are losing their biases against genre shows.

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Tatiana Maslany was nominated for Best Actress after two years of ridiculous snubs. She did not win, but getting the Academy to recognize the existence of a show about clones that airs on BBC America is a pretty big deal. I think this is a harbinger of things to come for genre TV.

Now, was Game of Thrones the best show on TV in 2014-2015? No, it was probably The Americans or Mad Men if you ask me. But that’s a subjective opinion. Game of Thrones always manages to be riveting, no matter how controversial the show was in season 4. (I do have bone to pick with Emmy voters for preferring violent shows to shows which do not feature murder and rape and violence, but that is a matter for another day.)

As for the rest of the show:

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Andy Samberg was great in his first attempt at hosting an awards show.

Tracy Morgan is walking, talking and being funny again. Best moment of the night.

We sense that Modern Family and American Horror Story are on their way out of Emmy’s favor.

The show around her is a hot mess, but Viola Davis is compelling every time she graces the screen on How to Get Away With Murder. And she’s right about opportunity.

We’d like to bestow a special Emmy Award to Amy Poehler for five consecutive years of hilarious Emmy show gags.

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It is fitting that on the cusp of a new fall season which is being widely panned, the major networks were nearly shutout of major awards. With the exception of ABC, the networks haven’t taken a single risk and they deserved their comeuppance.

We’re tired of John Stewart and the Daily Show. Not slobbering over John Stewart is like saying you feel a little meh about Beyonce, but I feel like breaking the law this morning, so there it is. The Beygency might get me later.

Veep is Hilarious.

I always see people in our Twitter feed saying, “I guess I need to start watching Veep.” Yes, watch! It evolves every season. It is a political satire, and I think a lot of people have the idea that the show will somehow take a position on issues, but it never ventures too deep into that territory. This is not The West Wing. The show skewers the political process rather than the political perspective.

I was mildly surprised not to see a few wins for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ellie Kemper wasn’t even nominated and for me, her performance stood out among all the women who did get nominated for Best Actress – Comedy. I fully expected to see Tituss Burgess accepting the award for Best Supporting Actor.

I’ve always respected Regina King. She’s been stellar in everything from 227 to Southland and her surprise win for American Crime is well deserved. I said it before but it bears repeating: ABC deserves credit for championing American Crime, a show which is deliberately thoughtful regarding the victims, perpetrators, triumphs and injustices of the criminal justice system.

Jon Hamm Won a Thing.

Jon Hamm finally won for Best Actor – Drama. I know there’s nothing I can do to convince most of you to watch Mad Men. That just means you’ll miss several seasons of sublime performances by Elizabeth Moss, the hilarious charms of John Slattery, the whimsical wonderfulness of Robert Morse, excellence by Christina Hendricks, underrated goodness by January Jones and the show with the best women characters on TV. Yes, bitter fan is bitter that this show went 1-36 on acting awards.

Best Show of Shows.

No one could understand why the Emmy Awards forced Orange is the New Black to compete in the Drama categories when it gave Amazon’s Transparent a waiver to compete in Comedy. Uzo Aduba won, but season 2 of Orange was superb television and deserved to be in the running for acting, writing, directing and show.

The weirdness of the new Emmy rules and the fate of Orange is the New Black raise the issue, yet again, of what is a drama and what is a comedy? I don’t know. Transparent and Orange are both dramedies that don’t fit naturally in either category. Let’s take a page from the SAG Awards and Golden Globes and bestow two new awards: one for best collective cast, and one for best show. Best Show would include dramas, comedies and everything in between and just let them battle it out for Show Amongst Shows.

Don’t even get me started on why we need “best reality competition show” coverage.

Did you have a good time watching the 2015 Emmy Awards? What were your most and least favorite wins?

Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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