The list of nominees for this year's Emmy Awards was announced this morning, and for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel a pang of disappointment while reading them. In fact, it was a pleasant surprise to see how little they got wrong: shows the Emmys have largely ignored in the past were nominated, as were previously unrecognized performers. And while the awards show snubbed a few choice shows -- which I'll get into later -- we did get the strongest line-up of Emmy nominees in recent memory. Let's take a look at what's great (and not-so-great about these nominees).
Great! FX's 'Louie' is finally getting some major attention. I was starting to think that Emmy voters just weren't watching the best series on television. Sure, Louis C.K. had gotten a few nominations in the past, but the series itself had never been considered for the big Best Comedy Series prize until this year, where it took over Curb Your Enthusiasm's perennial slot in the nominations. C.K. also got a Best Actor in a Comedy nomination (and since Jon Cryer's not up for it this year, maybe there's hope), and guest star Melissa Leo also picked one up -- though I think Parker Posey had the best season 3 guest stint. (C.K.'s stand-up special 'Oh My God' got a Variety nomination, which is great as well.)
Not-So-Great! But outside of 'Louie' and the miniseries category ringer 'American Horror Story: Asylum', FX didn't get much love. 'Justified,' one of the best shows on television, didn't get a single nomination, despite having one of the best casts on television. And the fantastic freshman drama 'The Americans' only got a single, minor nomination, with Margo Martindale (who won an Emmy a few years back for her role on 'Justified') nabbing one for Best Guest Actress in a Drama. It's a shame that these great shows are casually overlooked.
Great! Mandy Patinkin got a nomination for 'Homeland'! Though the show's second season was a little uneven (but not as bad as everyone seems to have agreed), Patinkin's performance was simply amazing. He's one of the most deserving nominees in a strong, strong category.
Not-So-Great! There it goes, everyone -- there went the last opportunity to give John Noble a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his brilliant work on 'Fringe.' You got the nomination every year in a parallel, more just universe, John.
Great! It's always great to see 'Game of Thrones' get award love, and with sixteen nominations, the show certainly did. The show is up for Best Drama (but it seems hardly likely to win), and Dinklage is still up for Best Supporting Actor (though let's face it -- he's the lead). Emilia Clarke rightfully nabbed her first Best Supporting Actress nomination, as did Guest Actress Dame Diana Rigg, who was just delightful as Olenna Tyrell this season. Again, it's a long-shot in all major categories (except for Dinklage, who still faces stiff competition), but it's a nice sign of the show's continued success.
Not-So-Great! Though it would have been like the indie movie at the Oscars, I'm sad that Sundance Channel's 'Rectify' didn't get any sort of recognition, despite being one of the most exciting and boundary-pushing new show of 2013.
Great! Netflix one-two punched its way into the Emmys this year with 'House of Cards,' which scored major nods for stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and even managed to nab one of the precious Best Drama slots (sorry, 'Boardwalk Empire'). While I would have liked to see more 'Arrested Development' love -- season 4's gutsiness continues to grow on me -- Jason Bateman's nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy is pretty major. But this means that the Emmys are taking Netflix seriously, which is great and might continue to raise some important questions about the future of the medium.
Not-So-Great! Why do the Emmys keep trying to convince us that 'The Big Bang Theory' is one of the best comedies on television? Have they seen 'Archer'? Are they even aware of 'Parks & Recreation'?
Great! Finally, let's just take a look at that Best Drama Series category. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland, House of Cards, Downton Abbey. Compare that to nominees in previous years. I can't find a stronger group of shows. I don't know if this is a statement on the Emmys or just on the increasing quality of television in recent years, but damn! This should be an encouraging list for anyone who watches television. Whichever series wins, I don't think I'll even be slightly disappointed, and that's saying something.
The 65th Primetime Emmys are set to air Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.