A colourful parade at the Emmys

The excellent Modern Family's Sofia Vergara after the Emmys award ceremony.
The excellent Modern Family's Sofia Vergara after the Emmys award ceremony.

For some viewers, the red-carpet run-up to the Emmy Awards (E Channel, Monday) would pretty much approximate one of Dante's circles of hell.

But there's no denying that the non-stop gush accompanied by stunning and gravity-defying gowns (the secret is special sticky tape) can be mesmerically addictive.  The coverage included the moreish "Stiletto Cam" and "Mani-Cam" - special vantage-points for close-ups of the stars' lethal-weapon shoes, and their bejewelled, enamelled paws.

Some atavistic tribal communique ensured few television stars turned up not wearing hot colours: chartreuse (Julie Bowen) canary, (Julianne Moore, Claire Danes), mahogany (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). This meant anyone in the obligatory standout red did not stand out this year. 

Consequently and perversely, the stars who did stand out were the more mutedly garbed: Christina Hendricks, from Mad Men, in a no-colour gown and eschewed bling, which meant there was nothing to distract attention from her legendary contours, and  Emily Van Camp, from Revenge, in her mauvy-taupey ensemble, not set off by the no-manicure manicure look and the no-makeup look. The sly pusses.  

Towering in equally rebellious pastel was Project Runway arbiter, model Heidi Klum, whose seafoam-and-legs look transfixed the camera. And Lucy Liu came in bronze chain mail. Another cunning look-at-me-and-only-me device. Jena Malone (The Hunger Games) stopped on the catwalk to discuss with E the likelihood her "girls" - the bits filling the front of her off-the-shoulder gown - would make an unscheduled appearance.

Almost as an afterthought, there were the actual awards - and a reminder of how, among much dross, there are some superb dramas and comedies coming out of this industry's recent creative renaissance.  So much so that the much-ballyhooed Mad Men and Downton Abbey missed out in favour of the taut spy thriller Homeland and edgy drama Breaking Bad.

Satirical sitcom Modern Family, which manages to be shrewd and dippy at once, cleaned up in the comedy stakes, and  Louis-Dreyfus was rewarded for her remorseless sendup of American politicians in Veep. 

Moore also triumphed for her supernaturally recognisable portrayal of Sarah Palin in Game Change.

Best manicure: Zooey Deschanel's tiny thumbnail tellies. But oh,  the pain of extricating oneself from all that secret sticky tape afterwards.

The Dominion Post