Mondays, right? It’s a rough day to try to do anything, period, and an even rougher day to throw a major awards show. But that didn’t stop NBC from airing the 70th Annual Emmy Awards a day later than is traditional, to make way for Sunday Night Football, the only thing American viewers eat up even more eagerly than hot red-carpet goss.
Whether it was beginning-of-week malaise or something else that was afflicting the ceremony, there’s no denying that this year’s Emmys felt more than a few steps off its game. Hosted by SNL “Weekend Update” co-anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost, the 2018 edition looked and sounded like the mutterings of an exhausted industry — especially in the wake of last year’s fired-up broadcast, presided over by an energetic (and actually funny) Stephen Colbert. And though the ceremony quite literally made a production number out of its commitment to honoring diversity, 22 of 26 Emmys were snatched up by white performers, creators and producers — proof positive that lip service only goes so far.
Top honors this year went to HBO’s Game of Thrones for Outstanding Drama, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for Comedy and FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story for Limited Series. Meanwhile, national treasure/light of our lives Betty White was honored for her decades in the industry, and critical darling The Americans took home a long-awaited pair of statuettes for its final season (Matthew Rhys for Lead Actor in a Drama and showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields for writing).
But even a surprise marriage proposal — or Leslie Jones’ fabulous opalescent pantsuit — couldn’t do much to liven up a ceremony that seemed to be simply going through the motions. We may still be in the Peak TV era, but this year’s Emmys made us wonder if we’ve started the long downhill climb.