The Emmy Nominations: 'Mad Men' And 'Modern Family' Are Still On Top : Monkey See The Emmy nominations were very good to Modern Family and Mad Men, of course, but they also found room for a few less likely but still satisfying nominees from the football fields of Texas and the government offices of the Midwest.
NPR logo The Emmy Nominations: 'Mad Men' And 'Modern Family' Are Still On Top

The Emmy Nominations: 'Mad Men' And 'Modern Family' Are Still On Top

Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks star in Mad Men, which again did well at the Emmys. AMC hide caption

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Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks star in Mad Men, which again did well at the Emmys.


This morning's Emmy nominations certainly recognized plenty of the usual suspects: Mad Men, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, you know the drill.

But they also saved a little love for Friday Night Lights — finally nominated for Outstanding Drama Series in its fifth and final season — as well as Louis CK, Justified, Parks & Recreation and some other critics' favorites that seemed like snubs waiting to happen.

The nominees for Outstanding Drama Series alongside Friday Night Lights include two new shows from HBO: the prohibition-based Boardwalk Empire and Game Of Thrones, along with past nominees Dexter, The Good Wife, and Mad Men. (Mad Men leads all dramas with a total of 19 nominations.) There will definitely be some grousing about the exclusion of FX's Justified, but some of that blow is likely to be cushioned by a nice complement of acting nominations for Lead Actor Timothy Olyphant, Guest Actor Jeremy Davies, and particularly beloved character actress Margo Martindale in the supporting category. If there was one performance this year that had tweeting critics insisting that failing to recognize it would prove once and for all that the Emmys have no credibility (as if the endless snubbing of The Wire didn't establish that years ago), it was Martindale's.

Over in Outstanding Comedy Series, the critically beloved Parks And Recreation and the very popular The Big Bang Theory busted into the category with Glee, Modern Family, The Office, and 30 Rock, which have all been here before, in some cases multiple times. (Modern Family leads the comedies with 17 nominations.) There's no cable comedy nominated this year, in keeping with the recent trend that broadcast television has done a much better job staying in the awards game when it comes to comedies than dramas.

Speaking of Big Bang, one of the nominees few prognosticators probably would have picked is Johnny Galecki as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He and co-star Jim Parsons both turned up on the list, and while Parsons won last year, Galecki hasn't shown up in a lot of past discussions as a likely nominee, but there he is. The two iconic nerds will face Steve Carell of The Office, Matt LeBlanc for playing a version of himself on Showtime's polarizing Episodes, perennial 30 Rock nominee and past winner Alec Baldwin, and comedian Louis C.K., whose FX series Louie has a smallish but very, very devoted following.

Melissa McCarthy's CBS comedy Mike & Molly was one of the very, very few successful new shows of last season, and that, combined with her well-loved performance in Bridesmaids, may have helped boost her into her nomination for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. There, she'll meet Laura Linney of Showtime's The Big C, Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, Amy Poehler of Parks & Recreation, Tina Fey of 30 Rock, and nifty semi-surprise nominee Martha Plimpton of Fox's Raising Hope — another of the slender slice of the freshman class that has survived.

In the dramatic acting categories, the closest thing to a surprise was that nomination for Timothy Olyphant for Justified. Steve Buscemi nominated for Boardwalk Empire is new but not terribly newsworthy. The other nominees — Jon Hamm in Mad Men, Michael C. Hall in Dexter, and Hugh Laurie in House — are pretty much standard at this point, and Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler broke through last year.

The actresses include two women from new series: Kathy Bates from NBC's lukewarmly received legal drama Harry's Law and Mireille Enos from AMC's The Killing, which came on the scene this spring in a fireball of critical enthusiasm and finished its season by making an awful lot of its fans really, really angry. (If you didn't follow that controversy, it would be difficult to explain without massive spoilers, but suffice it to say the word "unsatisfying" came up ... a lot.) The rest of the nominees — Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men, Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights, Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: SVU, and Julianna Margulies from The Good Wife — are repeats from past years.

Other news bites getting some attention this morning:

Popular So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley was nominated for Reality-Competition Program Host, squeezing out the hosts of Top Chef and Project Runway.

The Twitter vote for Most Aggravating Snub (Again) seems to be going to Community, which was completely shut out. In fairness, some of its more likely nominees might have been in the supporting categories, and Modern Family — where this year, all six of the major players were nominated — takes up a lot of real estate in those categories. (The only two other guys to squeeze in were Glee's wonderful Chris Colfer and the beleaguered Jon Cryer of the doubly beleaguered Two And A Half Men.) Runner-up is probably either Fringe or Nick Offerman of Parks & Rec, and while Offerman would be a great and worthy nominee, again, when one show takes four nominations in a single category, it's hard to break in. David Simon's Treme also got a big nothing, but at this point, fans of his past work (including the aforementioned The Wire) expect very little from the Emmys.

The Kennedys — which lost its home on The History Channel and wound up on "ReelzChannel" (which, yes, is a thing you may very well have on your cable system) was nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie — along with actors Tom Wilkinson, Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper. The Kennedys will face, among others, the popular import Downton Abbey, which also snagged a nomination for Maggie Smith.

Saturday Night Live took four Music and Lyrics nominations: three for digital shorts like the Michael-Bolton-laden "Jack Sparrow," and one for a Justin Timberlake monologue.

There are a lot of nominations to discuss, so check out the full list and give us your thoughts.