Reactions to last night's 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards came in two flavors: The ceremony was a predictable retread of last year's and/or it hailed the rise of the post-network-television era. The only area of agreement was the widespread acclaim for host Neil Patrick Harris, whose own Emmy loss served as a reminder that mass appeal doesn't guarantee victory. The Atlantic Wire gathers and sorts the views:
- Boring Re-Run Several critics complained about the continuing dominance of last year's winners, including "30 Rock" and "Mad Men." As Aaron Barnhart opined in the Kansas City Star, "If it weren’t for Neil Patrick Harris and the freshened-up look and feel of the Emmys, I would swear this was a repeat of last year." At AOL, Matt Mitovich was more resigned to the reality: "The winners ARE the winners, after all, so no amount of Harris' handiwork could keep viewers from hearing many of the same names read off in the bigger races." The Guardian's Sarah Hughes tackled the bigger picture: "The Emmys are ultimately all about maintaining the status quo. They might occasionally shake out their sharpest dinner suits, employ a suave young master of ceremonies and try to look 'hip' by singling out good performances in little watched shows such as Toni Collette's turn in United States of Tara but, when it comes to the night's biggest awards, the favourites will always win through."
- Daring Pilot As with Jay Leno's new show, some critics viewed this year's Emmys as a sign of the times--an icon's attempting to re-create itself for a new era in which audience segmentation, the ubiquity of cable and reality, and the rise of Internet viewing have upended the business model. As Beth Harris summarized, "A year after its least-watched telecast ever, the Emmy Awards plaintively acknowledged TV’s changing role in the Internet age, bringing a collective sense of reckoning to the revamped show with everything from scripted jokes about the decline of networks to unemployed stars openly job-seeking." Mediaite's Ash Kalb was confused, noting that one of the host's skits was based on his internet-only show, the "sing-along blog" Dr. Horrible: "As huge as Dr. Horrible is (at least in certain circles), the real story here is that it has reached the critical mass that has made it the likely centerpiece of tonight’s Primetime Emmys perfomance without ever before being televised in any way...Makes you wonder how hard the audience of TV execs, stars, producers, writers and the like will really be clapping." Time's James Poniewozik also saw the show as indicative of the state of the industry: "[The winners] all also present a vision of TV as a medium in which better and better shows attract smaller and smaller audiences."