TelevisionBytes: The Emmys – A mix of old and new

It was a mix of old and new at last night’s Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Mad Men once again took the honors for ‘Outstanding Drama’, but freshman series Modern Family persevered over the buzz-worthy Glee and veteran 30 Rock to win ‘Outstanding Comedy’. The night was filled with fresh faces on the podium: Jim Parsons nabbed a statue for The Big Bang Theory, thus delighting fans across the Internet, no doubt, and Archie Punjabi entered the winner’s circle for The Good Wife. Joining them in the newcomer category were Jane Lynch, Eric Stonestreet, and Aaron Paul who won for Glee, Modern Family, and Breaking Bad respectively.

Edie Falco, hardly a stranger to the Emmys, earned her first Emmy in comedy for Nurse Jackie while Bryan Cranston won his third straight award for Breaking Bad. Meanwhile, in perhaps the most intriguing category of all, The Daily Show took home its eighth Emmy for ‘Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series’, thus robbing Conan O’Brien of one last F-U to NBC by winning the award for his short-lived Tonight Show stint. Also robbed: SNL, whose Betty White hosted episode proved to be one the top highlights of the 2009-10 television season.

Overall, the telecast was surprisingly strong. Jimmy Fallon stuck with what he knows best: parody. He didn’t attempt standup. Instead, he gave us an inspired opening number that many on Twitter hailed as the best Emmy intro ever (it featured the likes of Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Betty White, Joel McHale, and various Glee cast members assembling into an a glee team). The ceremony moved at a brisk pace … that is, until it reached the dreaded Mini-series and TV Movie segment. At that point, the show hit the skids, and the energy dropped as we slogged through what felt like ten hours of accolades to Jack Kevorkian and Temple Grandin. The Reality TV portion of the night, however, was delegated to a mere singular category where Top Chef finally unseated The Amazing Race to win top honors.

Admittedly, it’s a tricky position for the show’s producers. The mini-series brings in the starpower (after all, what organizer is going to send Tom Hanks and Al Pacino to the JV “Shmemmies,” as Kathy Griffin calls them). On the other hand, the amount of viewers who watch reality TV versus that latest ornate PBS mini-series is gargantuan. Here’s to hoping future ceremonies find a better balance.

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NineDaves is a part-time blogger, full-time tweeter, and all-around television-addict who spends way too much time thinking about what his Real Housewives’ opening quote will be. He’s so obsessed with TV, he’s basically like that kid from Willy Wonka. Only gayer.