TV fans know how hard it is in the current "Peak TV" era to keep up with everything good, so imagine how hard it must be for the Emmy voters to stay on top of it all. This overabundance is so overwhelming that this morning's Emmy nominations announcement was bound to be marked by omissions and outrages. For instance...
With "Downton Abbey" over and "Game of Thrones" debuting too late this year to be eligible, the drama categories seemed to be ready for some fresh faces. In fact, five of the seven drama series nominees this year are new shows, including "This Is Us," "Stranger Things," "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Crown," and "Westworld" (with 22 nominations, it's one of the two most-nominated shows of the year; we'll get to the other one later). Unfortunately, that means no series nomination for "The Americans" (which finally broke into the category last year), "Homeland," or departing series "The Leftovers."
At least "Americans" star Keri Russell made it in for Best Actress; perennial "Homeland" nominee Claire Danes couldn't even say that this year. The inclusion of "Westworld's" Evan Rachel Wood is something of a surprise, though. But that means no nomination for such touted actresses as Mandy Moore ("This Is Us"), Christine Baranski ("The Good Fight"), or even Carrie Coon (though the "Leftovers" actress did get a somewhat unexpected nod in the LImited Series category for her "Fargo" role).
For Best Actor, the voters came up with seven nominees, including two from "This Is Us" (Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia), one from "Westworld" (Anthony Hopkins), and Matthew Rhys from "The Americans" alongside the usual suspects, but they still couldn't squeeze in Rami Malek ("Mr. Robot"), Billy Bob Thornton ("Goliath"), or Justin Theroux ("The Leftovers").
There were also seven dramatic actors in the Supporting category, including surprise pick David Harbour of "Stranger Things," yet no Michael McKean ("Better Call Saul"), Jared Harris ("The Crown"), Joseph Fiennes ("The Handmaid's Tale"), Jon Voight ("Ray Donovan"), or Ed Harris ("Westworld").
Even with all the love for "Handmaid's Tale," few expected Supporting Actress nominations for Ann Dowd and Samira Wiley. Wiley was eligible for her shocking final season on "Orange Is the New Black" as well. Emmy voters didn't nominate her for that, but they did recognize her co-star Uzo Aduba, whom they snubbed last year. Millie Bobby Brown's nomination for "Stranger Things" is no surprise, but her co-star Winona Ryder got left out. And fans who expected nods for Vera Farmiga ("Bates Motel"), Margo Martindale ("The Americans"), Rhea Seehorn ("Better Call Saul"), or Maura Tierney ("The Affair") were all disappointed.
For all the new blood in the Drama categories, some veteran shows have a death grip on Emmy voters' imaginations. Which explains the umpteenth nominations for "Modern Family" and "Veep" (though "Veep" is still doing Emmy-worthy work) and the snubs for new shows "Insecure," "Better Things," and "Dear White People." At least "The Big Bang Theory" finally fell off the list, though it's a shocker that awards-show favorite "Transparent" did too. New show "Atlanta" and new-ish "Master of None," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" all made the cut. But if you were expecting the Emmys to rediscover "Girls" during its final season, tough luck.
At least "Better Things" star Pamela Adlon made the Best Actress list, and so did Jane Fonda, joining her "Grace and Frankie" co-star Lily Tomlin for the first time. Allison Janney's inclusion for "Mom" is a bit of a surprise, since the show didn't mount a "For Your Consideration" ad campaign this year; then again, Janney is one of those names Emmy voters love to nominate year after year. Or maybe she was really that good. Even with seven nominees, however, the category couldn't find room for Kristen Bell ("The Good Place"), Lena Dunham ("Girls"), or Issa Rae ("Insecure"). Oh, by the way, five of the seven nominees are actresses over 50. Let's see that at the Oscars or Golden Globes.
Biggest surprise among Best Actor nominees was Zach Galifianakis ("Baskets"), whose inclusion meant no nod for Ted Danson ("The Good Place"), Hank Azaria ("Brockmire"), or Thomas Middleditch ("Silicon Valley").
Supporting actor snubs included Brian Tyree Henry ("Atlanta") and Timothy Simons ("Veep," though his co-stars Tony Hale and Matt Walsh were nominated). Alec Baldwin's nomination for playing Donald Trump throughout most of the "Saturday Night Live" season was recognized, but longtime "SNL" MVP Kenan Thompson's work was not.
Then again, no fewer than three of "SNL"'s women were nominated as Supporting Actress: Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and the departing Vanessa Bayer. Kathryn Hahn got a surprise nomination for "Transparent," which almost makes up for her Lead Actress snub for "I Love Dick." Too bad there was no room for national treasure Rita Moreno ("One Day at a Time"), Jane Krakowski ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), or Gaby Hoffman ("Transparent").
All the "SNL" love resulted in the 42-year-old show tying with "Westworld" as this year's most nominated series. That in itself is a surprise, but then, "SNL" is always at its best during an election year. Even so, "SNL" has never amassed 22 nominations before.
As expected, "Feud: Bette and Joan," "Big Little Lies," "Fargo," and "The Night Of" made the list. So did "Genius," and while that nomination isn't so surprising, it's still unusual to see the National Geographic channel in this category. Meanwhile, awards favorite "American Crime" was left out, and so were the "Gilmore Girls" reboot, "The Young Pope," and seeming Emmy bait "When We Rise"
As for TV movie, did anyone predict "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love" would be nominated? Anyone? Bueller? Kudos to Tomlin and Fonda's "9 to 5" co-star, but that meant no nod for such likelier nominees as "Churchill's Secret" or "David Brent: Life on the Road."
If you expected a "Feud"-like feud to erupt in case only one "Feud" star, Jessica Lange or Susan Sarandon, got nominated for Best Actress -- well, sorry, but they're both nominees, so no catfight for you. Same if you expected only Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon, but not both, from "Big Little Lies." Even so, most pundits expected a nod for Oprah Winfrey in "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," but she was snubbed, while Felicity Huffman ("American Crime") and Carrie Coon ("Fargo") got the last two slots.
The Best Actor category was perhaps the least surprising one on the whole Emmy slate. There were only seven likely names, but since there turned out to be just six slots, it was Jude Law ("The Young Pope") left standing at the end of this round of musical chairs.
The "Feud" love extended in the Supporting Actress category not only to Judy Davis but even to Jackie Hoffman, a surprise nominee as Joan Crawford's long-suffering housemaid. But that meant no love for supporting actresses in another Ryan Murphy show, usual Emmy favorite "American Horror Story," which meant snubs for Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates.
For all the love for "The Night Of," few would have predicted a Supporting Actor nomination for Michael Kenneth Williams, and fewer still for Bill Camp, but Emmy voters recognized them both. Left out were such worthy names as Martin Freeman ("Sherlock: The Lying Detective") and "Fargo" co-stars David Thewlis and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Colbert is also hosting the Emmys on Sept. 17, since it's CBS's turn to broadcast the awards show. Get ready for complaints that the fix is in to hit Twitter in 5... 4... 3... 2...