Tube Talk: Some thoughts on this year’s Emmy nominees

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Last week when the Emmy nominations were announced, the first thing I thought was: Why wasn’t Sundance’s mesmerizingly magnificent Rectify nominated for anything? I was so hoping it would get at least one nomination.

Despite only having six episodes in its first season, Rectify was submitted in the drama series categories (as opposed to American Horror Story: Assylum, which was a 13-episode second season of an anthology series and, like last year, was submitted in the lesser contested mini-series categories.)

The second thing I thought: No Tatiana Maslany, either? She spent the first season of Orphan Black playing several distinct characters — Sarah, Alison, Beth (or more accurately, Sarah-as-Beth), Cosima, Helena and a couple more clones. Even better? There were several scenes where Sarah, Beth and Cosima interacted, even arguing between one another, and Maslany’s performance was seamless.

Once the disappointment began to fade, I realized the Emmy voters — notorious for having favorite shows and actors that are nominated year after year, and for excluding newer or lesser-known series and performers — are slowly, but surely, expanding their horizons.

Here are a few things that caught my attention:

• No broadcast network series are nominated for Outstanding Drama, Lead Actor in a Drama or Supporting Actor in a Drama. It’s further proof that cable series like Mad Men, Homeland, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have re-set the bar for great TV.

• Once again this year, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is nominated against an amazing castmate in the supporting category. Last time, it was Giancarlo Esposito. This time, it’s Jonathan Banks. How are Emmy voters supposed to choose? Paul has two statues already, and Banks’ character was killed off, so maybe voters will lean Banks’ way.

• The castmate conundrum is even worse on the comedy side, where three Modern Family actors are vying for the same Supporting Actor award — Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. (And, once again, Julie Bowen and Sophia Vergara are both nominated for Supporting Actress in a comedy.) But multiple nominations in the same category is business as usual for Modern Family.

• Across the major acting categories, there are several first-time nominees — Morena Baccarin (Homeland), Linda Cardellini (Mad Men), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Adam Driver (Girls), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Rupert Friend (Homeland), Tony Hale (Veep), Harry Hamlin (Mad Men), John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C: Hereafter), Carrie Preston (The Good Wife), Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story), Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Robin Wright (House of Cards), to name a few. That seems to signal that Emmy voters are ready to get some fresh blood in the winners’ circle.

• And perhaps the biggest surprise: How is it be possible that Bob Newhart hasn’t already won an Emmy? Give it to him now for guest starring as Professor Proton on The Big Bang Theory.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to

From the July 24-30, 2013, issue

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