TV, as we have observed before on this page, is like Longfellow’s little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: It can be horrid. But when it is good, it is very, very good. Last week’s Emmys was a chance to show just how good it can be.
Nobody should start declaring any social victories, but the diversity of the winners and programming was encouraging, including the first African-American woman to win for best actress in a drama series—Viola Davis for How to Get Away With Murder.
By the way, it was not lost on anyone last week that non-broadcast video outlets, particularly pay cable, cleaned up at the awards, per the new norm.
It should also not be lost on anyone that many of the top awards went for content that broadcasters could not air (Game of Thrones, anyone?) because of the government’s indecency restrictions on their content.
Jeffrey Tambor might not be transgender, but he channels trans parent Maura Pfefferman, and the TV industry has begun to explore gender issues with increasing frequency.
That there had not been an actress of color to win the drama series award in the medium’s first 60 or 70 years was kind of shocking, but then it took the FCC longer than that for Mignon Clyburn to get the big chair during her tenure atop that agency.
The wheels of change sometimes grind rather than turn, but with enough people putting their backs to it, change is going to come, and television can help.