Review Round-Up: What Did Critics Think of the Emmys?

by | August 27, 2014 | Comments

NBC’s Monday night broadcast of the 66th Annual Primetime Emmys brought in a lot of viewers — many of whom had plenty to say about it. Here’s what the critics thought of the show, including who won, who lost, who hosted, who nailed it, and who might want to stay home next year.

How did Seth Meyers do?

Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter: Meyers was funny the majority of the night. While he didn’t deliver searing, belly laugh-inducing jokes (Jimmy Kimmel and Ricky Gervais did, with Jimmy Fallon, late in the evening, helping Stephen Colbert make up for a terrible bit), Meyers was affable and steady and kept the banter light and upbeat.

Robert Bianco, USA Today: Unlike jokes from some other Emmy hosts, none of Meyers’ were mean, pointed or unsuited to the occasion… That choice may not have made Meyers the most exciting host, but he was good-natured and efficient — as witness that on-time ending. Those are qualities we don’t always see at the Emmys.

Michael Starr, New York Post: Meyers didn’t appear to be jittery and played it safe, a good TV traffic cop keeping everything moving along.

Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press: No gimmicks. No dancers. Just a smart guy in a tux saying funny things. NBC late-night newcomer Seth Meyers scored big laughs with his opening monologue, which took aim at fat-cat network targets, not the nervous nominees.

Brian Lowry, Variety: Meyers adopted a minimalist approach to open the show, delivering a straight stand-up routine aimed at the TV-literate crowd — both in the room and at home — that resembled some of the better Oscar intros of years past. Going with a monologue not only played to the host’s strengths but reflected a sense TV has indeed grown up, without requiring inordinate bells and whistles to set the ball rolling.

Daniel D’Addario, Salon.com: [NBC] has a few potential hosts on its air, and seems to have chosen wisely with Seth Meyers; the Late Night host has his limitations, but does straightforward observational humor well.

How beautiful was that “In Memoriam” segment?

Michael Stark, Tampa Bay Times: The night’s most meaningful moment came later in the show, when the In Memoriam montage accompanied by Sara Bareilles’ lovely rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Smile” led into an anticipated Robin Williams tribute. It didn’t disappoint. Williams’ longtime pal and colleague Billy Crystal weaved a touching and bittersweet tale about working with Williams that emphasized his ability to inspire laughter anywhere. Followed by excerpts of Williams on TV over the years, it was the perfect blend of sentimental and celebratory.

Matt Roush, TV Guide: As expected, Billy Crystal delivered a genuine, sweet, funny and movingly personal tribute to colleague and friend Robin Williams at the end of a classy In Memoriam segment featuring Sara Bareilles singing “Smile.”

Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix: Though Robin Williams’ death is still raw for all who knew him and/or loved his work, Billy Crystal gave a composed, beautiful tribute to his longtime friend and collaborator, capturing what made Williams both a brilliant comedian and a great friend. And the clip reel of Williams’ TV highlights ended on the perfect one: Williams in his classic “An Evening at the Met” HBO special imagining a conversation with his young son, tenderly escorting him offstage and assuring him things will be okay.

Sara Smith, Kansas City Star: Billy Crystal sent off his pal Robin Williams with a low-key appreciation, calling him “the brightest comedy star in our galaxy.”

Did the Academy pick the right winners?

Brian Lowry, Variety: The parade of repeat winners — and overlooking of projects that injected new blood and excitement into this year’s races — simply flummoxed whatever plans the producers might have had. There was probably no bigger example of that, frankly, than the momentum-busting Emmy haul for the latest season of PBS’ Sherlock, which felt slightly deflating, no matter how red-hot Benedict Cumberbatch (an upset winner, and not in attendance) is right now.

Robert Bianco, USA Today: As for the awards, for the series at least, they were largely predictable — and largely a rebuff to shows like True Detective and Orange Is the New Black that tried to game the system by moving into categories where they didn’t belong. Repeat winners abounded, led by series champs Modern Family for a record-tying fifth time and Breaking Bad for the second. Which is fine: Complain about repetition all you want, but why should people who were great this season be punished for having been great before?

Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter: Jim Parsons winning — his fourth time! — for lead actor on Big Bang Theory only further fueled the notion that Emmy voters were mailing it in. Not an unfamiliar charge, obviously, but one you’d think they’d have corrected in a decade or two’s time.

Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times:[Breaking Bad is] a great show, a deserving show, but in this time of such rich and varied splendor, it’s hard to justify a sweep of any sorts.

Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe: Alas, there can’t be Emmy term limits; it goes against point of celebrating the year’s best.

Frazier Moore, The Associated Press: The prime-time Emmys, bestowed for 66 years, are meant to celebrate excellence in television. But in Emmy’s eyes, excellence too often takes the form of stamina, not the burst of inspiration that may have launched a series and its characters many seasons earlier and since settled into routine.

Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Daily News: Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that there are more good things on TV — and now on online platforms — than there are Emmys to go around. And more, too, than some Emmy voters, who do seem to watch broadcast TV, may get around to seeing.

Andy Greenwald, Grantland.com: It’s OK that the Emmys continue to go to the same handful of people. Really, it is. I just wish the ceremony around those lucky few could be filled with the energy of the ones who still have empty space on their mantels.

What about those comedy bits?

Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press: Billy Eichner might be new to some people. But anyone’s who’s watched “Billy on the Street” on the Fuse network or Funny or Die’s website knows how hilarious it is for a crazed grown man to ask people impassioned questions about pop culture.

David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer: Weird Al’s weak theme song medley was two minutes we’ll never get back.

Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix: Weird Al’s attempt to provide lyrics to the theme songs for Mad Men, Scandal and other shows mostly didn’t land, but the Game of Thrones song at the end — which had backup singers reminding the audience they can pause the opening credits map, and admonishing Weird Al for spoilers — worked.

Hank Stuever, Washington Post: It only felt like the 2014 Emmys once “Weird Al” Yankovic (a throwback himself, who has nevertheless happened to release one of the year’s best albums) took the stage to supply lyrics to some of the top nominees’ instrumental theme songs, including the manic jazz riff of Showtime’s Homeland intro and the thrumming anthem of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Curt Wagner, RedEye: Weird Al Yankovic’s made-up TV theme song medley was an unfortunate part of the telecast, but it did give us Andy Samberg, dressed as King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, interrupting Lena Headey as she presented the next award.

Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Billy Eichner of Billy on the Street was a bright spot, joining Meyers for a taped piece asking New Yorkers Emmy questions. Eichner’s best line: “Hotmail just picked up 12 new episodes of Judging Amy.”

Eric Deggans, NPR: Love that Chris Hardwick used his Emmy presenting moment to crack on Internet trolls’ bad grammar.

Esther Breger, The New Republic: Sofia Vergara began to spin onstage, providing “something compelling to watch” as the Academy’s CEO discussed, of all things, diversity. Vergara has defended the grossly sexist scene, but the queasy objectification was hard to forget in a ceremony that reflected the worst aspects of modern television.

Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post: Most daring but unfulfilling intro: Stephen Colbert and his imaginary friend. Equally daring but more fulfilling: Key and Peele.

Ana Luisa Suarez, Hollywood.com: Amy Poehler AKA Beyonce, is half the reason we even tune into these awards shows. She’s either hosting, presenting, or just being fabulous, and that’s alright by us.

Tag Cloud

YouTube Premium Reality Competition APB Rocketman cancelled TV series trailers Grammys Esquire comics laika IFC GoT The Walking Dead screenings Marvel animated south america FXX docuseries Music Arrowverse worst movies spain vampires adenture Marathons popular blockbuster See It Skip It elevated horror remakes The Walt Disney Company TCM Western WGN Certified Fresh Logo Comic Book PaleyFest sequels Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt E! Martial Arts Christmas composers RT21 YouTube Red Pride Month cancelled television festival wonder woman based on movie Mary Tyler Moore Calendar mockumentary TCA 2017 NBC crime teaser CBS Television Academy Hallmark Christmas movies President E3 italian Tokyo Olympics cops Crunchyroll independent dark Masterpiece 21st Century Fox reviews talk show crime thriller Disney+ Disney Plus critics Tomatazos spy thriller Sundance Cannes serial killer Fox News child's play batman BET Awards Epix IFC Films deadpool Netflix Christmas movies Rom-Com Mary poppins TIFF Pacific Islander jurassic park discovery ESPN Sony Pictures Alien The Arrangement Walt Disney Pictures Drama witnail DGA The Academy festivals 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 90s Broadway golden globe awards Crackle a nightmare on elm street TV renewals Lifetime ABC Signature james bond nfl Holiday science fiction Holidays romance franchise latino TBS spider-man 99% Rock chucky ghosts Oscars toronto travel Creative Arts Emmys Fall TV Lionsgate Ovation basketball robots stop motion Columbia Pictures Wes Anderson Paramount Network Avengers Premiere Dates Captain marvel Starz Star Wars new york Endgame TCA Awards cancelled TV shows Bravo marvel cinematic universe Image Comics BBC richard e. Grant Winter TV Awards Tour Shondaland high school satire Spike TLC adventure Watching Series movies Television Critics Association australia Family Valentine's Day aapi Superheroes Teen 72 Emmy Awards japan new star wars movies television canceled TV shows parents fast and furious halloween Apple cartoon Comedy Central boxing CNN revenge blockbusters binge Comedy dceu Amazon Prime Hallmark HBO Go SDCC comedies anime Video Games First Reviews LGBTQ space new zealand scary movies stoner Paramount international asian-american Netflix Spring TV Universal ABC TNT award winner Lifetime Christmas movies Trailer Brie Larson Summer tv talk werewolf french all-time SXSW streaming Discovery Channel war Lucasfilm New York Comic Con BAFTA NBA 2019 Country Nickelodeon Sundance TV period drama Reality kaiju hollywood VOD politics NYCC theme song spinoff Fantasy USA Network Musical Kids & Family 2020 cinemax Stephen King TV Land Action Women's History Month Adult Swim PlayStation cults rotten movies we love adaptation harry potter emmy awards Mindy Kaling Hulu Interview rt archives football documentary History psycho 1990s Quiz best 007 Funimation Mystery USA Pop TV saw Comics on TV documentaries ID Trivia Biopics Writers Guild of America monster movies AMC Cartoon Network name the review X-Men live action sequel Tumblr spanish language razzies dragons 93rd Oscars A24 2017 TruTV zombies Box Office twilight jamie lee curtis Nominations Sci-Fi Classic Film telelvision A&E ABC Family golden globes dc screen actors guild FX sag awards canceled Opinion Pirates singing competition streaming movies spanish foreign Tubi hist aliens thriller Pixar CW Seed Film Festival MCU police drama Thanksgiving Britbox indiana jones Photos BBC America Legendary Food Network christmas movies Apple TV+ DC streaming service toy story LGBT Emmy Nominations Polls and Games Disney pirates of the caribbean Disney streaming service nature crossover 2018 Turner Classic Movies hidden camera Warner Bros. 45 biography Turner Marvel Studios TV movies YouTube facebook renewed TV shows technology boxoffice ViacomCBS prank Disney Channel DirecTV anthology Countdown Cosplay Fox Searchlight cooking finale psychological thriller Pet Sematary Emmys Infographic cats dogs OWN Baby Yoda superhero political drama Character Guide Song of Ice and Fire First Look sitcom The CW movie Super Bowl El Rey Rocky 2015 Schedule king kong Amazon Prime Video Podcast video on demand Ghostbusters Ellie Kemper 2016 blaxploitation ITV venice dramedy heist movie Disney Plus GIFs HBO Max BBC One comiccon classics unscripted VH1 Pop GLAAD Hear Us Out RT History 71st Emmy Awards green book Musicals CBS All Access FX on Hulu San Diego Comic-Con Film MSNBC 24 frames Exclusive Video olympics die hard true crime women suspense versus MTV American Society of Cinematographers National Geographic Year in Review historical drama target Showtime TV One supernatural Marvel Television rom-coms worst medical drama Spectrum Originals Black History Month godzilla Travel Channel Vudu Elton John Shudder Peacock Binge Guide FOX The Witch OneApp Election transformers DC Universe Paramount Plus fresh ratings Animation game show VICE films SundanceTV crime drama nbcuniversal PBS breaking bad Sneak Peek cars Syfy Tarantino Black Mirror black Superheroe Star Trek video reboot hispanic book adaptation Heroines Academy Awards japanese zombie casting 20th Century Fox social media kong concert YA Awards universal monsters doctor who directors Apple TV Plus scene in color lord of the rings criterion 4/20 rotten news Toys CMT mutant Freeform stand-up comedy legend cancelled children's TV kids Horror 2021 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic books HBO Mary Poppins Returns know your critic comic Sundance Now romantic comedy indie archives game of thrones series The Purge Dark Horse Comics scorecard TCA slashers strong female leads Winners DC Comics sports disaster Extras Nat Geo Amazon miniseries superman Anna Paquin BET free movies king arthur Red Carpet obituary mission: impossible TCA Winter 2020 Amazon Studios justice league Mudbound Chernobyl zero dark thirty docudrama halloween tv Acorn TV WarnerMedia what to watch joker Best and Worst quibi TV Set visit book diversity natural history Trophy Talk Comic-Con@Home 2021