Many of us banked on a buzzy new show like "Orange is the New Black" or "True Detective" steering the post-Emmy narrative, but instead it's a middlebrow British crime series in its third season. "Sherlock" was the night's big winner, with seven awards. The BBC series toppled HBO's "The Normal Heart" to win two acting accolades (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. That puts it ahead of the six wins "Breaking Bad" saw.
Yet Cumberbatch, who triumphed over category favorites like Mark Ruffalo ("Normal Heart") and Billy Bob Thornton ("Fargo"), wasn't even on hand to accept his trophy. Nor was Freeman. To their credit, neither was favored to win -- in fact, pundits on awards site GoldDerby ranked Cumberbatch fourth most likely to prevail. Matt Bomer was considered an easy bet for his skeletal performance in "The Normal Heart."
"I didn't think we'd win anything, genuinely," "Sherlock" writer Steven Moffat said backstage after winning. "I'm a bit worried about rewinding and seeing my speech."
Historically, the "Sherlock" dominance isn't all that surprising. Nine of the 10 previous years saw a movie or miniseries monopolize the awards, including "Behind the Candelabra," "John Adams" and "Angels in America."
• With four each, Bryan Cranston and "NYPD Blue" star Dennis Franz are now tied for the most Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series wins in Emmy history.
• The fifth consecutive "Modern Family" victory puts the show on par with "Frasier" for the most Outstanding Comedy Series wins.
• Aaron Paul's third grand slam gives him more Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series trophies than any other living actor. His record is tied with Art Carney ("The Jackie Gleason Show" and "The Honeymooners") and Don Knotts ("The Andy Griffith Show"), who won for comedy shows before the supporting categories were split by genre.
• HBO is this year's most awarded network, but its 19 wins are down from last year's 27. CBS (11) and PBS (11) are tied for second place, while NBC (10) and ABC (8) round out the Top 5.
• File this one under non-achievements: Not a single black winner graced the Emmy stage on Monday night. (It should be noted that Uzo Aduba and Joe Morton netted guest-acting honors at the Creative Arts Emmys, but those awards were presented earlier this month.)