STOP ME if you've heard this one before: Jim Parsons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jessica Lange, Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, "Modern Family," "Breaking Bad" and "The Amazing Race" all went home with Emmys last night.
What? You thought NBC was going to waste an original episode of anything on a Monday night in late August?
Early - because NBC didn't want to compete with the MTV VMAs and doesn't like to interfere with Sunday night football - and often more like a rerun than a live show, the 66th annual Emmy Awards was nevertheless a fine night out for host Seth Meyers. The "Late Night" talker began by making fun of the scheduling, "which, if I understand television, means the Emmys are about to be canceled."
Probably not. But 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.
Not that that's going to go down easily with fans of Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" and HBO's "True Detective."
"I don't know what to say. I truly am so surprised," said Lange, who's enough of an actress to actually have sounded surprised as she received her second Emmy for FX's "American Horror Story" (and the third of her career).
Parsons, by contrast, seemed sweetly resigned, as "The Big Bang Theory" star, winning for the fourth time as a lead actor in the CBS sitcom, paid tribute to his fellow nominees (as did Paul, who won his third supporting actor award for AMC's "Breaking Bad").
Cranston, whose award for AMC's "Breaking Bad" (his fourth for lead actor in the series) kept Matthew McConaughey from winning an Emmy and Oscar in the same year, talked about gratitude for the role that changed his career.
Julianna Margulies, winning her second Emmy for CBS' "The Good Wife" - she also won for "ER" - spoke for many fans as she chided former co-star Josh Charles, whose desire to move on led to his character's death this past season. "What were you thinking?"
There were first-time winners.
Category-shopping paid off for FX's "Fargo," an entirely deserving anthology series that won for outstanding miniseries without having to go head-to-head with HBO's "True Detective," another show whose first season told a closed-end story, but that HBO entered as a drama series, only to see it lose to "Breaking Bad."
HBO's "The Normal Heart" won for outstanding TV movie.
The disconnect between the balloting and the ballyhoo seemed greater than usual, as Meyers shared the spotlight with performers like Funny or Die's Billy Eichner and professional cable geek Chris Hardwick, who may have been reaching their largest audiences, even on what will probably not be the highest-rated of Emmycasts.
Among Meyers' best lines: Noting that of the three long-running series that ended this past year, CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" had, unexpectedly, the saddest finale. "Yes, kids. Jesse Pinkman lived, Dexter lived, but your mother didn't make it. Sleep tight."
Billy Crystal's tribute to Robin Williams, which followed the In Memoriam sequence, was touching, though not quite as much as the clip of Williams himself.
As always, there were awards that the show didn't get around to handing out:
Best bit of banter: "Hold on, Clark Gable." Louis-Dreyfus to fellow presenter Cranston, whose unexpected moustache was one of the night's greatest hits (and helped her pretend she didn't actually remember Cranston's having guest-starred on "Seinfeld").
Public service announcements: Emmy producers, eager to keep viewers from straying, did what they could to promote the show's star power, with notifications such as "seven minutes to Bryan Cranston" and "10 minutes to Julia Roberts."
Best continuing bit: Cranston grabbing Louis-Dreyfus and planting a kiss on her as she went to the stage to accept the lead actress in a comedy Emmy - her third consecutive and fifth overall - for HBO's "Veep." After which she acknowledged that he had indeed appeared with her on "Seinfeld."
The non-host-with-the-mostest: To ABC late-show host Jimmy Kimmel, who turned his presenter gig into a host-like monologue, ending with a shout-out to comedian Tracy Morgan, who's still recovering from injuries sustained in that New Jersey Turnpike crash in June.
Happiest reunion (after McConaughey and Woody Harrelson): "The Help" co-stars Octavia Spencer and Janney, who presented together.
Splitting the vote: To Martin Freeman, of "Sherlock," whose competition for supporting actor in a miniseries or movie consisted of much of the cast of HBO's "The Normal Heart." (Kathy Bates, on the other hand, was chosen in a category that included "American Horror Story: Coven" co-stars Angela Bassett and Frances Conroy.)
The size-doesn't-matter award: To NBC's pre-show, which touted the "longest red carpet" in Emmy history. As if 400 feet of fabric could make host Billy Bush pop next to McConaughey.