2013 Emmys Signal a Shift in the Industry

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The 65th Prime-time Emmys air tonight at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific on CBS.

As the stars take to the red carpet tonight, they do so as the medium they work in is undergoing a change. Perhaps not a change any of them saw coming. Often seen as the neglected peons of the entertainment world, television and its actors have slowly but surely taken over their much more lauded counterparts, the big screen.

Some of the biggest names among the nominees tonight, like Kevin Spacey, Michael Douglas, Robin Wright, and Matt Damon, are all more well known for their work in feature films than in television. In a continuing trend of movie stars making the move to the small screen, these actors are leading the way.

It isn’t just the people that are changing, it’s the medium itself. Gone are the days where America turned to NBC on a Sunday night to watch the movie of the week. No longer is the audience contained to the big four major networks. We’ve even come so far that it seems a distant memory when The Sopranos took to HBO and subsequently changed the way we look at cable and programming on premium channels.

One need only take a look at the “Outstanding Drama” category to see where the industry was, where it is, and where it is heading. Once upon a time, the shows listed there were network stalwarts. L.A. LawGunsmokeThe West Wing, and even Lost (an oddity given the slight that sci-fi and fantasy shows have often felt at big awards shows), were all on major networks. PBS, which returns again to the “Outstanding Drama” category with Downton Abbey had a run for many years with Upstairs, Downstairs.

House of Cards 600x337 2013 Emmys Signal a Shift in the Industry

In 1999, The Sopranos was the first premium channel show to be nominated and HBO hasn’t looked back since. The show finally took home the big prize in 2004 and since then it seems as if Emmy voters were content to let premium cable continue to reign. That is, until this year. While the favorite to win tonight is AMC’s Breaking Bad, there is no denying that the nomination of Netflix’s House of Cards sent tremors through every network executives’ office. Could the internet, with it’s services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and even perhaps YouTube, be the new HBO and premium cable?

Only time will tell, but perhaps tonight’s ceremony will be a herald of things to come.

Of course even with all these changes in the television industry, one thing remains a constant and that is the yearly snubs. Of course not everyone and everything can be nominated and in this burgeoning new golden age of television we seem to be enjoying, there are plenty of names swirling around. However, there were still some names that were shockingly absent when the nominees were announced.

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah in Orphan Black 600x330 2013 Emmys Signal a Shift in the Industry

Perhaps the biggest, and most egregious of those names is Tatiana Maslany. If you have kept up with TV news at all in recent months you’ve no doubt seen mention of the Orphan Black star being passed over for a wonderful, but not in a great show, Connie Britton. There is no argument to be made that Nashville is a better show than Orphan Black which resulted in the vocal backlash among both the audience and those who talk about TV for a living. 

Another huge disappointment came in the “Outstanding Comedy” category. NBC has had a rough few years, ratings and audience wise, but the shows they produce are often critical darlings. So it comes as a surprise that Parks and Recreation did not get an Emmys nod. Its star/writer/producer Amy Poehler (who will present tonight along with fellow nominee and NBC cohort, Tina Fey) was nominated but it’s a toss up whether or not she will win out in a very talented group of women.

breaking bad finale poster 2013 Emmys Signal a Shift in the Industry

We could list countless others who should have been nominated (Margo Martingdale for The Americans is one) but in the end what we’ll likely all be discussing are the winners. As previously stated, Breaking Bad (who it seems in a horrible planning mistake airs its series finale penultimate episode this evening) is expected to be big winners tonight. Both Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston are nominated in their respective categories as well as the show itself being up for “Outstanding Drama”. A fitting swan song for the meth cooks?

Tune in tonight at 8 Eastern/7 Central to see if your favorites in television make their way to the Emmys stage!

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