The Prime Time Emmy Awards managed to overcome a boring opening, weak jokes and an obsession with death with the only thing over which the awards show's producers had no control a few shocking choices made by the Emmy voters.
Jeff Daniels was stunned when he beat out Hugh Bonneville, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Damien Lewis and Kevin Spacey to win the Emmy as outstanding lead actor in a drama.
"Well, crap," Daniel began his acceptance speech.
(Hamm is now 0-for-6 at the Emmys, leading some to question if he's the Susan Lucci of prime time.)
"The Colbert Report" finally broke "The Daily Show's" decadelong stranglehold on the best variety series category (and also won for writing).
Merritt Wever ("Nurse Jackie") and Tony Hale ("Veep") won supporting acting/comedy Emmys; Bobby Cannavale ("Boardwalk Empire") and Anna Gunn won supporting acting/drama Emmys which pretty much nobody predicted.
"This just in," said host Neil Patrick Harris 2Â½ hours into the show. "No one in America is winning their office Emmy pool."
Other than the surprises, the 65th annual Prime Time Emmys were another ho-hum affair. The biggest surprise may have been that Harris who has hosted a lot of awards shows had his weakest outing ever, starting with an unfunny opening segment that no doubt sent a lot of viewers clicking to other channels.
Here are some other Emmy highlights and lowlights:
Utahn wins an Emmy • He hasn't lived here in many years, but Utah native Derek Hough won for choreography on "Dancing with the Stars." The most memorable part of his speech: "Holy crap."
Best acceptance speech No. 1 • Wever: "Thank you so much. Um, I've got to go. Bye."
Best acceptance speech No. 2 • Jeff Daniels said his last award was "best actor over 50 from the AARP. With all due respect to the AARP, this is better."
Best acceptance speech No. 3 • Stephen Colbert: "The Emmys are so good this year."
Best acceptance speech No. 4 • Michael Douglas gave a shout-out to Matt Damon, his co-star in the ultra-gay "Behind the Candelabra": "This was a two-hander. ... Do you want the bottom or the top?"
Best acceptance schtick • Tony Hale, in "Veep" character, held Julia Louis-Dreyfus' purse as she accepted her outstanding actress in a comedy Emmy.
Best accepting-on-her-behalf speech • Damon, accepting for Laura Linney (lead actress, miniseries): "Laura couldn't be here tonight. She's such a great actress that she didn't even need to show up."
Best presenter schtick • Will Ferrell showed up in a T-shirt and shorts with his three kids to present the best comedy and best drama Emmys, saying he'd been called in at the last minute.
Odd priorities No. 1 • Cory Monteith was singled out for one of five spotlight eulogies, but not Larry Hagman? Jack Klugman? Andy Williams? And all the other people who contributed more to TV than three seasons of "Glee"?
Odd priorities No. 2 • Winner after winner had their speeches cut short as the music played them off the stage but there was time for Elton John to sing a song that "reminds" him of Liberace and for Carrie Underwood to sing a Beatles medley?
Most overdue award • Bob Newhart won for guest actor in a comedy ("Big Bang Theory"), which was actually presented a week ago
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at email@example.com.