The Emmys is an awards show that critics love to scorn, and this year was no exception. Although some had hoped that the presence of Neil Patrick Harris, who enlivened this year's Tony Awards, would bring the same sort of energy to the Emmys, nearly all expressed disappointment. Although still hostier than most mere mortals, Harris seemed off his game Sunday night, wrote Mary McNamara, the TV critic for the Los Angeles Times. Several critics (including McNamara) complained about the decision to devote so much of the telecast to tributes to TV performers who had died during the past year. Commented David Rooney in the Hollywood Reporter: Every moment of genuine levity had to contend with another deep plunge into self-important sobriety. Spreading the 'In Memoriam' salutes throughout the show was a large part of that problem, laying such a thick carpet of gloom that it made much of Harris's material seem smug. At Dateline.com, Nikki Finke concluded her live snarking of the telecast by remarking, I'd call this Emmys 'Breaking Sad.' Live blogging the affair for The New York Times, Jon Caramanica observed, It's stunning that no one looked at a show rundown and did the math to realize that 10-15 percent of the show touched on death, directly or indirectly. And this, with TV as vital as it's ever been. On the other hand, Michael Starr in the New York Post commented that he was relieved that the telecast shunned controversy and reverted to a traditional show that was a throwback to earlier awards ceremonies, unsullied by overt, obnoxious political statements, wardrobe malfunctions, twerking or some idiot jumping on stage for some reason.