Like a gang of cocky teenagers refusing to sit at the kids table, a pack of vibrant new TV series scored serious attention among the nominees for the 62nd annual Emmy Awards released Thursday — providing a potent argument for the creative health of network TV in the process.
Fox's Glee, CBS' The Good Wife and ABC's Modern Family racked up impressive heaps of honors in their inaugural seasons. Glee alone earned 19 nominations, including nods for best comedy series, best comedy actor (Matthew Morrison), best comedy actress (Lea Michele) and best comedy supporting actress (Jane Lynch).
Only HBO's grand World War II documentary The Pacific scored a higher haul, grabbing 24 nods in miniseries categories the premium channel's big-ticket productions usually dominate.
Here's a quick look at my favorite trends and picks revealed Thursday; Jimmy Fallon hosts the primetime ceremony at 8 p.m. Aug. 29 on NBC, providing further proof he may be the biggest winner in the Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien war.
Rumors of comedy's death on network TV were greatly exaggerated: With Glee's 19 nominations, 30 Rock's 15 nominations and Modern Family's 14 nominations, the idea that comedy may be dying on the networks should lose a little steam. If that means we've got to tolerate a fifth nomination for The New Adventures of Old Christine's Julia Louis Dreyfus, so be it.
Hollywood likes Coco more than Leno (or Charlie Sheen-o): Ousted Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien, right, saw his version of the program score four Emmy nods, while Jay Leno scored none. Overpaid and perennially troubled Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen was similarly shut out, signaling Hollywood may be losing patience with him.
Supporting actors rule: Some of the coolest nominations went to TV's equivalent of the backup band. Lynch, Chris Colfer, Neil Patrick Harris and Mike O'Malley on Glee; Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet on Modern Family, and Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson from Lost all scored well-received nods in supporting and guest categories.
Fey vs. White in an SNL showdown: Yes, we still love Betty White, top right, who scored a nomination as best guest comedy actress for hosting Saturday Night Live. But we also love Tina Fey, who was also nominated for her SNL hosting gig. How will Emmy break this tie?
Patience rewarded for some: Mad Men's January Jones, right, finally nabbed a long overdue best actress nomination in drama, along with Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.
Some snubs inevitable: Emmy snubbed two old co-stars; Married with Children alums Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal both came up empty despite stellar seasons for their current shows Modern Family and Sons of Anarchy. Men of a Certain Age creator Ray Romano also was unjustly passed over, though co-star Andre Braugher, right, scored a supporting actor nomination in comedy. CBS' Survivor wasn't nominated as best reality competition show, despite one of its best seasons in a long while, though American Idol was nominated for one of its worst seasons. And David Simon (The Wire) continued his troubled relationship with Emmy, seeing his New Orleans-set HBO drama Treme virtually shut out of major categories.
Diversity still a problem: Just three people of color scored nominations in major acting categories: Braugher, Vergara and the most-excellent Archie Panjabi, right, as supporting actress in a drama on The Good Wife. Couldn't Emmy have overlooked usual suspects Tony Shalhoub (Monk) or Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) to make some room for more minority candidates?