Emmys celebrate TV's best, but are viewers overloaded? - Daily Nation

Emmys celebrate TV's best, but are viewers overloaded?

Saturday September 19 2015

Cast and crew from the TV show

Cast and crew from the TV show "Mad Men" in the press room after the show won the Best Drama Series Award during a past Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on September 20, 2009. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
More by this Author

The Emmy Awards on Sunday will celebrate the best of the hundreds of television shows flooding US airwaves, in what many critics have called the small screen's "golden age."

But have audiences reached saturation point? Is there, in fact, too much good TV?

"We're in this insane expansion — it's getting a little crazy," Tom Nunan, a professor at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television, told AFP.

"I'm a freak addict of these shows but even I can't keep up."

According to industry experts, about 400 television shows will be on offer this year in the United States, up from 371 last year and roughly double the 213 from five years ago.

"This is simply too much television," John Landgraf, head of the cable channel FX Networks, said recently, sparking gasps in the industry.

"My sense is that 2015 and 2016 will represent a peak in US TV, and afterwards we'll see a decline."

The production of television series shot up in the last 15 years as cable channels joined traditional networks in offering original programming.

Streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu have since arrived on the scene with their own offerings.

"There are 60 channels who buy or commission scripted content," Nunan said. "It is a strange confluence of new platforms along with overwhelming buying capability."

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY?

Sensing the winds of change, acclaimed film actors — from Kevin Spacey on Netflix's "House of Cards" to Viola Davis on ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder" — have flocked to the small screen.

This in turn has not only boosted the quality of the shows on offer, but also increased the diversity of the projects that are developed for TV.

At this year's Emmys, the shows nominated range from epic fantasy saga "Game of Thrones" to stylish 1960s drama "Mad Men" to ensemble comedy "Modern Family" and Amazon's transgender dramedy "Transparent."

"Mad Men" is seen as one of the best shows in a triumphant era in television that has included mob classic "The Sopranos," cop saga "The Wire" and crime drama "Breaking Bad."

"This is the most exciting period I've ever seen in television, and it's probably the most exciting place to be if you're a storyteller," actor Ron Perlman, star of Amazon's new series "Hand of God," said recently at a meeting of TV critics.

Robert Thompson, a professor of television and pop culture at Syracuse University, said he believes web providers like Netflix and Amazon will continue to grow thanks to their ability to take more risks artistically, compared to traditional TV channels that rely on advertising to survive.

And once viewers subscribe to these pay channels, he added, they usually stay.

But he also notes that shows do not necessarily need to be ultra-sophisticated to be good.

"There are a lot of high-quality shows that are less artistically ambitious but very well-executed like 'Empire,' which was a very good show," Thompson said of Fox's breakout hip-hop family drama.

For Nunan, the biggest issue is not the fear that the era of good TV shows will suddenly disappear. It's figuring out how to watch them all.

"People are trying to keep quality," he said. "I just think it's getting more and more difficult to find time to watch the shows."

 

 

Here is a list of the nominees in key categories for the 2015 Primetime Emmy awards, which will be handed out in Los Angeles on Sunday.

 

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

"Better Call Saul"

"Downton Abbey"

"Game of Thrones"

"Homeland"

"House of Cards"

"Mad Men"

"Orange is the New Black"

 

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

"Louie"

"Modern Family"

"Parks and Recreation"

"Silicon Valley"

"Transparent"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

"Veep"

 

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"

Kyle Chandler, "Bloodline"

Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"

Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"

Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"

Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"

 

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA

Taraji P. Henson, "Empire"

Claire Danes, "Homeland"

Viola Davis, "How to Get Away with Murder"

Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black"

Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"

Robin Wright, "House of Cards"

 

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY

Anthony Anderson, "Black-ish"

Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"

Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"

Will Forte, "The Last Man On Earth"

Louis C.K., "Louie"

William H. Macy, "Shameless"

Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"

 

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY

Lisa Kudrow, "The Comeback"

Lily Tomlin, "Grace And Frankie"

Amy Schumer, "Inside Amy Schumer"

Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"

Amy Poehler, "Parks And Recreation"

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA

Jonathan Banks, "Better Call Saul"

Ben Mendelsohn, "Bloodline"

Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey"

Peter Dinklage, "Game Of Thrones"

Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"

Michael Kelly, "House Of Cards"

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA

Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"

Lena Headey, "Game Of Thrones"

Emilia Clarke, "Game Of Thrones"

Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"

Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"

Uzo Aduba, "Orange Is The New Black"

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

Andre Braugher, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Adam Driver, "Girls"

Keegan-Michael Key, "Key & Peele"

Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"

Tituss Burgess, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Tony Hale, "Veep"

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY

Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"

Niecy Nash, "Getting On"

Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"

Allison Janney, "Mom"

Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"

Gaby Hoffmann, "Transparent"

Jane Krakowski, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"

 

LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Timothy Hutton, "American Crime"

Ricky Gervais, "Derek Special"

Adrien Brody, "Houdini"

David Oyelowo, "Nightingale"

Richard Jenkins, "Olive Kitteridge"

Mark Rylance, "Wolf Hall"

 

LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"

Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Queen Latifah, "Bessie"

Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Honorable Woman"

Frances McDormand, "Olive Kitteridge"

Emma Thompson, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street"

 

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE

"Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case"

"Bessie"

"Grace of Monaco"

"Hello Ladies: The Movie"

"Killing Jesus"

"Nightingale"