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Actors Chandra Wilson and Jim Parsons announce the nominees for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie' during the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards nominations held at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on July 16, 2009 in North Hollywood, California.
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The more, the merrier — or so the saying goes. But I'm not so sure that will hold true for this year's Emmys. I was hoping for more diversity, but who ended up as first-time nominees in four different categories? HBO, which led the networks as it always does, with 99 total nominations. And for what?
In the outstanding drama series category, Big Love, a drama about a polygamous family, got its first recognition. It's a show that probably peaked in its first season and doesn't hold a candle to true HBO drama classics like The Sopranos.
In comedy, it gets worse: The quirky but forgettable Flight of the Conchords poked its head in. One of its stars, Jemaine Clement, managed to squeak into the lead actor category as well.
The way the expanded Emmy nominations were supposed to work was to bring in more of the deserving nominees. And there certainly were some welcome additions. My own favorite sitcom, CBS' How I Met Your Mother, snuck into the comedy category.
The timing was perfect here, and not just because the show's star, Neil Patrick Harris, is set to host this year's Emmys. This past season, its fourth, felt like the show was really hitting its prime.
But the Emmys' bid for diversity felt off the mark in other ways. Perhaps the biggest surprise among the nominations was the inclusion of the animated series Family Guy in the comedy category. And while I feel like Family Guy has been long overlooked, it's the "long" part that sticks in my craw; this nomination feels about five years late.
I was hoping adding a sixth slot would somehow shake out some of the, shall we say, over-recognized nominees. And yet they were all still there this morning: Three-time winner Tony Shalhoub is back for the vastly overrated series Monk; six-time winner Amazing Race returns in the reality competition category; and five of the six nominees for outstanding drama actress are returning from last year.
That's why I'll predict here and now that that category's newcomer, Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men, will walk away with the trophy. A few nice surprises like that come awards time in September, and all this nomination nitpicking will be for naught.
Andrew Wallenstein is an editor at the Hollywood Reporter.