I wrote last week about how the Oscars have become irrelevant.
This week it is the Emmys.
The award show for 2020 was the lowest rated in its history.
There are several factors to this that include the lack of a red carpet, which draws a great deal of interest. I know my wife always likes watching what the stars are wearing for the ceremony. The lack of a live audience also makes the show less interesting. Yes, the nominees were connected like the most star-studded zoom conference in history, but that is not the same as the energy you get from a live audience. The jokes on these award shows tend to be flat and boring, but without even the polite laughter of the audience, the silence underscores the lack of humor.
On top of this, you had Jimmy Kimmel as a host who brought with him a lot of politics. In fact, many of the winners took the time to speak out about the election. Again, whether they like the president or not, about half of the audience does. It seems strange to alienate half of your potential customer base.
I've also mentioned in the past the problem of winners coming from obscure TV shows. But this is just a result of the larger problem that no one seems to talk about:
There are too many TV shows.
I don't mean that there shouldn't be a wonderful variety of things to watch. I mean that there is too much content to sift through and judge in terms of quality. At least for the Oscars I sometimes try to make an effort to see all of the movies nominated for the major awards so that I have some context as to how people are voting and why. This requires a few hours a week to catch up in time.
But for TV, you would need to watch hundreds of hours of programming in order to be caught up on all the nominees. I just caught up on Cobra Kai, a show that has been around for a few years. How am I to have time to watch the entire series of Schitt's Creek and Succession, even if I wanted to? I have a list of shows that I still want to watch that have since been cancelled like Person of Interest, Once Upon a Time, Bones, and Heart of Dixie.
Before the inclusion of cable and streaming shows, the Emmy's only awarded things on broadcast television. While this may have been a tad elitist, it also made it possible for more people to engage in the awards. You catch a few episodes of each of the nominated shows and get a sense of what they were all about. And even if you didn't watch one or two of the shows, you still had a good handle on the rest.
With that being said, you can understand that people would not be that interested to tune in to see the unpopular Schitt's Creek sweep the categories. That isn't a knock on it's quality. I have a very good friend of mine who swears by its humor. My wife and I gave it a few episodes and it wasn't our taste. I would have been ecstatic if The Good Place swept the categories, but that is also a show that not a lot of people watched. The Emmy's tried to suck us in by nominating popular shows like The Mandelorian and Stranger Things in the Best Drama category, but I can't help but feel tricked.
And this should have been a much bigger year for television. With the lockdowns people had time on their hands to gobble up TV shows. But instead of rewarding viewers for tuning in, the Emmy's once again held up content that most people have never seen.
So what were the results last week.
1. Schitt's Creek Sweeps
Again, I don't watch the show, but swept the comedy categories.
2. Watchmen wins big.
I don't have HBO, but as a huge fan of the original source material, I am curious about this show. I've heard that it starts off like political allegory, but then it moves beyond that to tell an actually compelling story. I will try and catch this on DVD when I get the chance.
I have no idea what this show is about but people love it.
4. The Ubiquity of Comic Book Characters
I was struck by how many of the winners have also played comic book characters in movies or TV. Obviously, you have the content for Watchmen, but 5 of the acting winners total have played characters in super hero films.
5. Only 2
Only two winners were from show's I have seen:
Julia Garner from Ozark. She is very good, though the show is just way too dark for me.
Billy Crudup from The Morning Show. Again, he was good, but the show was so insufferable that I dropped it in the middle of the fourth episode.
Now, I am usually an advocate for cutting down the amount of awards given on the night, but I looked at some of the shows that won awards in the secondary categories and they more like shows I watch or want to watch like: Dave Chapelle: Sticks and Stones, Rick and Morty, Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, SNL, This is Us, The Mandelorian, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Masked Singer, Star Trek: Picard, The Superbowl, and Stranger Things.
It's almost like the things that run towards my tastes have been rated to the "kids table" of awards while the adults can honor the more "sophisticated" material.
Perhaps it is foolish of me, but I'm sad that I have lost my excitement for these award shows. Perhaps I am finally putting aside childish things. But I miss the fun of it all.