This morning the nominations for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced (the full list can be found here). While the usual suspects dominated the awards (“Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men,” and “The Good Wife” all lead the Drama categories), there was one piece of news which will likely send shock waves throughout the entertainment industry. The Netflix original series House Of Cards was nominated in both the Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series, among others. Additionally, Jason Batemen scored a nomination for the return of Arrested Development (also produced exlusivley for Netflix distribution).
Why is this important you might ask? Well, this marks the first time in history that a show originally produced for online distribution received nominations in the major categories of the prestigious award show. It is certainly a big win for Netflix, who have had a difficult past few years with rate increases and angry consumers. Hopefully this will embolden Netflix to continue producing high quality original entertainment
It helped that it was a remake of a successful British series, and it stared Oscar winner Kevin Spacey in the lead role. Despite these factors, this could be among the first great signs of a paradigm shift in American Television. I am reminded of the late 90’s when shows like the Sopranos ushered in a new wave of television where the truly excellent and original shows were not found on the networks, but on pay-cable stations like HBO. We experienced another shift a few years ago when networks like FX and AMC began churning out HBO quality shows (like Mad Men or Sons of Anarchy) and drawing huge audiences away from the old networks. Might this be another chink in the armor of the old ways of television? As more and more people are getting their televised entertainment through non-traditional methods, might we see more and more of this type of program getting mainstream attention? Time will tell.