First off, this was one of the freshest, most entertaining Emmys in years. After last year's hosting debacle, Neil Patrick Harris was a breath of fresh air, was funny, charming, and really did an excellent job (now if they would just give him one already, we could be happy!). I also enjoyed them splitting it into sections, so I could do homework during the ones I actually cared about. So here are my reactions, done by category in honor of the show itself.
I like the Daily Show, I really do, but all I have to say is...enough is enough. SNL had a great year, and their election coverage might have been a huge factor in Sarah Palin's defeat. I think this category needs to see some change soon or people really won't take it seriously. Although I did enjoy the Music and Lyrics winner's speech from the Academy Awards. They were funny, self-depricating, and most importantly, entertaining.
This whole section was just blah for me. The Amazing Race is a great show, but as with the Daily Show, enough is enough. They added this category as a new and exciting thing, but since then, they have proven that no one cares anymore, because every year we know that Race is going to finish first. For all the great upsets and first time winners, there were still hangovers from past times. I think it is time to move on. I did, however, enjoy Jeff Probst's speech, he really is a classy guy.
There were some nice wins from Jessica Lange, Ken Howard, Brendan Gleeson, and Shohreh Aghdashloo, and their speeches were heartfelt and genuine (always nice to see hard-working and genuine actors get recognition). My only surprise was the abudance of love for Little Dorrit. In the Writing and Directing categories, areas where I thought Grey Gardens racked up, instead went to Little Dorrit. I also wished Generation Kill (which was the better of the two) had gotten some more love.
For every predictable moment (30 Rock, Alec Baldwin), there were a plethora of wanted and unwanted surprises. The first one came on the first award of the night. Honestly, Kristin Chenoweth had a great shot according to most pundits, and a most likely split vote with the SNL ladies, probably is what propelled her. But for those expecting an Amy Poehler win, this was a nice surprise, combined with an emotional and funny speech. It was also a nice way to honor a great show that is no longer with us. Then came the real unwanted shocker. Now in my commentary, I made a point that Jon Cryer actually had submitted well. Who knew that the Emmy voters would be dumb enough to fall for it? I like Cryer as a person, and maybe now that he has earned his reward they will leave it be, but it just frustrates me that one of the best characters on TV (NPH) still gets the shaft, even though they like him enough to let him host the damn show! The final surprise, which wasn't really that surprising was Toni Collette. While I don't like USOT, I do like Collette, and I'm happy that she won, although it would have been nice to have seen a Chenoweth-esque award given to the charming Christina Applegate.
As with Comedy, there were some givens (Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, and Mad Men). But they kept us on our toes with some nice surprises as well. I thought Michael Emerson was going to win all along, and I switched my vote because I thought I was being funny, I guess. A great win for a great actor. Now I'm still sad that Chandra Wilson has yet to win an Emmy, but Cherry Jones seemed genuinely happy and surprised and gave a heartwarming speech; I am really happy for her. It was also nice to see ER get at least one major award (Directing), a nice way to honor the loss of an incredible series.
So overall, I did a horrible job at predicting, as did most pundits. However, despite the many upsets, the staples in the top categories really ruled the night, and for every nice surprise there was a completely expected and boring moment. The Emmys and the Oscars are trying to reinvent themselves to include a wider array of movies and television (6, 7, and 10 nominees are an example). But if the Emmys really want to be inventive, they will start to be more Golden Globe-esque and stop lingering in the past, and look to the future, honor new and inventive shows before they become stale and routine, and then the Emmys have completely missed the mark. Start looking around for shows like True Blood, and stop ignoring shows altogether like Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Gallactica, and The Wire. Look to ratings and popularity and not just critics, and change the game. If they can do that, they can regain the relevance they are so desperately looking for.