Thanks to the Emmy broadcast coinciding with the Jewish holidays, I won’t be watching them live. But I will be interested to see whether the leftism of Emmy voters overcomes their desire to reward truly outstanding performances and shows. Will Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad – who is currently giving one of the great television performances in history – overcome the predilection of Hollywood leftists to reward the mediocrity of Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom? Will The Big Bang Theory be rewarded, or will Lena Dunham’s barely-watchable navel-gazing “comedy” Girls win the comedy prize?
The Emmy’s ratings have famously flatlined in recent years, prompting the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to embrace more flashback memorials (if we can’t have new stars, we can at least watch old stars). But by the same token, new modes of transmission of entertainment – TiVo, Hulu, Netflix – have made television vastly more exciting and interesting than at any time in recent history. Episodic television is dying. Serialized television is in. And that means that serialized television is also stealing audiences from the movie business, which relies on longer time frame to tell complete stories. Breaking Bad outdoes every major movie of the recent past in terms of writing, acting, and direction. There’s a reason big Hollywood stars are headed from film to TV just as often as from the small screen to the large screen. All of this also means the death of the traditional studio system, a welcome development to those who have been ideologically barred, at least in large part, from the industry. When House of Cards, distributed via Netflix, can stand tall alongside Mad Men, distributed by AMC, we are watching a transformative moment in American entertainment history.
— Ben Shapiro is author of Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.