Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tube Day Tuesday—The Dramatic Emmys


TV Tuesday 9-19-12


  Things haven’t calmed down too much around here, so I’m operating on far too little sleep, and far too much caffeine and sugar.  That being the case, I’m going to say just a few things about this year’s Emmy awards, and then I’m going to call it a night.

  First, for the first time in . . . well, maybe ever, I actually forgot about the Emmys.  As a TV addict, seeing which of my favorite (or not so favorite) shows get to take home a trophy is a cherished annual tradition.

Image credit:  digitalart/

But, this year, with all the excitement surrounding my granny, it completely slipped my mind.  By the time I got home Sunday night, I just sat down and sort of melted.  And by the time I realized the date, it was after nine, and I had missed most of the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.  Kind of a bummer.

Secondly, I just want to go on record that I believe The Big Bang Theory was robbed, and should have walked away with the Outstanding Comedy Series statuette. 

And, lastly, I worry about the decline of dramatic programming on network television, or at least the recognition of it.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my satellite dish, and all the additional programming options it provides.  But, with some notable exceptions (just about anything on USA Network), most of my absolute can’t-miss programs still show up on good old fashioned network television.  Yet, this year, not a single one of the nominees for Outstanding Drama Series aired on one of the major networks.  One was from PBS, so at least not all of them required a subscription to view, but the other nominations were from Showtime, HBO, and AMC.  And this is a trend that seems to have been increasing over time.  You have to go back to 2008 to find a year where even half the drama nominees came from network TV, to 2007 to find the majority, and 2006 before you find a winner. 

Again, this is not meant to disparage cable programming in any way.  Homeland, this year’s drama winner, is an excellent program, and my DVR is already set to begin recording season two when it returns this weekend.  But I’d hate to see the industry and the audience become elitist and begin to think that it simply isn’t possible to have good drama on the networks.  It’s true that there are some financial differences at work—especially for programs from the premium channels—that might give an economic advantage to the cable shows, so maybe it’s slightly easier to churn out slightly better television.

But there seems to be this long-held belief that if something is highly popular, it can’t possibly be award-worthy, at least when it comes to network dramas.  You don’t see NCIS raking in any nominations, or Blue Bloods, or any of the Law and Order programs.  Even The Good Wife fell out of overall favor this year, though it did get some nomination love for some actors, and even scored an Outstanding Guest Actress for Martha Plimpton.  I’m just not sure why that is.  I’ve seen most of these highly touted dramas, but I don’t watch them regularly, because they just aren’t enough to pull me in week after week.  And while I understand viewership doesn’t necessarily equal quality (witness reality TV), you  might consider that there’s at least something good going on if people tune in year after year. 

So I guess this is really just an open plea to the Academy to keep in mind that outstanding drama has found a home on network television for many, many years, and to remember that it’s still going strong.