The most notable is, of course, the struggle for broadcast network shows to make the Emmy cut. For all of the discussion about audience declines and new paradigms, the broadcast networks still draw relatively large audiences for their biggest hits. "NCIS," for example, draws more than 20 million people a week, and even "Grey's Anatomy," which has been in a slow audience decline for years, still pulls 11 million viewers each week.
However, of the 12 shows nominated for best comedy and best drama, only three are on commercial broadcast networks. (A fourth, "Downton Abbey," is on PBS.)
It's the cable shows, with their hard-core fan bases and chattering-class chatter, that get most of the buzz. That doesn't necessarily help boost ratings for the Emmy Awards, which try to appeal to all TV watchers.
It's the same problem the Oscars face when the Motion Picture Academy nominates a bunch of worthy, but low-grossing, films: Without the draw of blockbuster nominees, water-cooler interest wanes. (And so do ratings.)
But the broadcast networks haven't helped their cause, says Greenwald.
"The real tragedy is the way the networks have not been able to make the pivot," he said. "What they do best is reach as many people as possible, but what they've been doing is either reaching for the lowest common denominator or trying to lurch themselves into being like cable, which never works out well for anyone."
In picking the winners, the Television Academy has also risked alienating its audience, says O'Neil.
"The one thing you can usually count on with Emmy voting is unabashed elitism and snobbism," he said. The shows that win, he points out, are "highly styled, very upscale, aspirational shows." That explains why a show like "Roseanne," the top-rated sitcom that won a slew of other honors during its long run -- including a Peabody -- never won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series.
With its brassy lead and working-class setting, "It represented all the things that made (Emmy voters) disgusted," O'Neil said.
Expect the unexpected
What could raise interest in the Emmys?
The show could add more nominees to its major categories, as the Oscars have done for Best Picture. That would allow it to welcome a broader range of shows, whether low-rated but passionately watched programs such as "Orphan Black" or popular, well-crafted but overlooked dramas such as "Blue Bloods."
But an even more intriguing idea would be to have an additional category -- call it "Outstanding Series" or "Show of the Year" -- that throws every major nominee, as well as some fan picks, into the mix. It could be the Emmy equivalent of the NCAA basketball tournament or the Grammys' many-genre album of the year category.
Greenwald likes the idea.
"I think it would be a very good reflection of how we watch TV now," he said. "That would be fascinating to watch."
But, in the meantime, we'll just have to make do with the nominees and categories we have, not the nominees and categories we want. Goldderby's O'Neil, for one, doesn't expect too many surprises: "Breaking Bad" for Best Drama, "Modern Family" for Best Comedy and the usual bunch of trophies for HBO -- which won 20 on Sunday at the Creative Arts Emmys, where many categories were presented. (CNN's original series "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" won two awards.)
And, despite the presence of host Neil Patrick Harris, ratings may take a beating, thanks to a face-off against TV's No. 1 show -- that would be NBC's "Sunday Night Football" -- and the penultimate episode of "Breaking Bad" on AMC.
But, O'Neil adds, you never know. There are any number of tea leaves that indicate one thing and then don't pan out at all.
It's enough to actually create some excitement.
"You stop using logic," he said. "This is the Emmys."
The 65th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sunday on CBS from Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre.