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Fix the Emmys: 2009 Edition

By admin Published: July 16, 2009

I've already posted some notes, as well as writing a brief column covering some of the same ground for tomorrow's Beacon Journal. Now that I have complained, I am going to be -- wait for it -- pro-active and offer four ways the Emmys can make themselves better. To wit:

1. Kill the "best miniseries" category. Miniseries are the polkas of the Emmys. It's nice that "Generation Kill" (and therefore David Simon) have a chance of winning a best something after "The Wire" was so often snubbed. But even as Emmy was expanding other categories to make room for nominees, it came up with just two miniseries nominees, "Gen Kill" and "Little Dorrit." That suggests that there's not enough going on in the field to make it viable awards material. So retool the movies category to include minis (which Emmy does with some of the awards anyway).

Now, as soon as I have said that, I worry that "Torchwood: Children of Earth" will get overlooked in next year's nominations if there's no miniseries category. But I have to hope that, because it is so good, it will still get some respect. Not that "The Shield" ever did.

2. Put a cap on nominations in a category. "30 Rock" got four out of five comedy writing nominations. "Mad Men" got four out of five drama writing nods. Fine shows, but when one program can swallow a category like that, excellent work gets overlooked. So shouldn't there be a limit to the number of nominations for a single series in a category? I lean toward one, but would be content with two. That would guarantee at least three shows being nominated, as well as reducing some of the nomination inflation.

3. Get William Shatner to never, ever submit his name in any category ever again. Come on, actors do drop out of consideration. He already has more Emmys than he deserves, and this year he took a slot that could have gone to Walton Goggins for "The Shield" or Taylor Kitsch on "Friday Night Lights." It's time to stop this particular madness.

4. Make the nominators watch complete seasons of shows they consider. It's too easy for a program to create short-term Emmy bait by giving a star or a storyline a big moment which is otherwise surrounded by mediocrity. Let's give more credit to the shows that dazzle week in and week out. And let's make the voters really look at how something nuanced unfolds over multiple weeks. Viewers watch shows week after week, getting a cumulative impression. Why shouldn't the Emmys have to do the same?

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