Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Welcome to a new Emmy world.
Well, not all new, of course - but this Wednesday morning's Emmy nominations did include their share of novelties, most of them welcome.
There were breakthrough nominations for Netflix - though more for its remake of House of Cards than for its mostly ignored revival of Arrested Development - and for Sundance for Top of the Lake. There's the full-blown arrival of Louis C.K., who garnered seven nominations, including one for his show Louie, as a TV force. There's even a fairly healthy crew of fresh nominations, like Scandal's Kerry Washington, Bates Motel's Vera Farmiga, Homeland's Morena Baccarin and Mandy Patinkin, Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks and Nashville's Connie Britton, mixed in with the reliable repeats.
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As with every Emmy year, there are things to cheer, things that leave one less than thrilled, and things that are just perplexing. While the show's actors were worthy of recognition, Mad Men itself was not this season - not in place of Justified, The Good Wife,The Walking Dead or The Americans. And speaking of Justified and The Good Wife, how those shows' stars, Timothy Olyphant and Julianna Margulies, escaped voters' notice is a puzzle.
On the comedy front, fans of The Middle have grown to expect the show to be shut out on nomination day - it's an Emmy fact of life. But it still stings to see the cast ignored, or to see the over-hyped Veep or a dead-on-its-feet 30 Rock take its place.
We all, obviously, have our own favorites, and there are no doubt people who were chagrined to see Southland, Rectify, Parks and Recreation and The Office left off the show lists, or Orphan Black's buzzed about Tatiana Maslany, Parenthood's Monica Potter or Modern Family's Emmy-winning Eric Stonestreet bypassed in the actor categories. And while HBO did well with Girls and Game of Thrones, it was most likely hoping for more from Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom - a high-profile effort that failed to make much of an Emmy splash.
On the other hand, there was a lot of good news to celebrate. In comedy, there were nominations for Louie and The Big Bang Theory, and, despite Stonestreet's absence, a continued strong showing by Modern Family (though not, oddly enough, in the writing categories). It was great to see Breaking Bad and Homeland stake out spots at the head of the drama fields - and while more recognition for The Americans would have been nice, at least Margo Martindale got the guest-actor recognition that was her due.
Nor should we forget another guest actor: Bob Newhart, nominated for his stint on The Big Bang Theory. Hard as this may be to believe, if Newhart wins, it will be his very first Emmy - so here's hoping that happens.
As with any list, the one compiled by Emmy voters is far from perfect. Still, it pays to keep in mind that there are always going to be more deserving shows and actors than there are spots, and that inevitably, someone or some show we think is worthy will be left off. Everyone who doesn't get a nomination is not snubbed, and every nomination you don't agree with is not an abomination. (For example, I would have liked to see Neil Flynn nominated for The Middle, but House of Lies' Don Cheadle is a great alternative.) Strange as this may seem in this world of snark, it is possible for reasonable people to differ.
Let the differing begin.