The reputation of long-running drug series Breaking Bad was given a shot in the arm at the Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 as it scooped the night’s major honour – the award for best drama.
But the vote had a hint of nostalga with the series ending on the fifth season amid widespread acclaim and devoted binge-watching fans. It beat off competition from True Detective, starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and fellow film star Woody Harrelson.
It was the second year in a row Breaking Bad has won an Emmy for best drama and the fourth time Bryan Cranston scooped best drama actor.
“Thank you so much for this wonderful farewell to our show,” said Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who also celebrated Emmy wins in best supporting actor and actress categories for Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn.
The ceremony in Los Angeles also saw BBC1 drama Sherlock win a host of awards and an emotional tribute to Robin Williams by actor Billy Crystal.
Crystal, with a lump in his throat and a tremble in his voice, described the versatile actor and comedian as “the brightest star in a comedy galaxy”.
Sherlock’s awards meanwhile included best actor and best supporting actor in a mini-series for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and best writing in a mini-series for Steven Moffat.
Breaking Bad triumphed over Netflix’s online political thriller House of Cards, medieval fantasy Game of Thrones, British period series Downton Abbey and ad world portrait Mad Men.
The annual Emmys, which are handed out by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, pitted cable and online newcomers against traditional cable and network heavyweights, with the Academy picking the old favourites over the upstarts.
ABC’s Modern Family about unconventional families won best series for the fifth consecutive year, equalling 1990s NBC sitcom Frasier for the most victories in the comedy catergory.
“Modern Family has been a big, beautiful dream for the last five years and we thank you for not waking us up,” said series co-creator Steven Levitan.
For the first time in 40 years, the awards were moved up from their usual Sunday night spot in September so as not to conflict with NBC’s Sunday Night Football and MTV’s Video Music Awards.