LOS ANGELES - Cult TV drama series "Breaking Bad" and comedy hit "Modern Family" were the big winners Monday at the annual Emmys, which paid moving tribute to late Hollywood icon Robin Williams.
Royal feud saga "Game of Thrones," which had garnered the most nominations, went home with none of the big prizes from the 66th Primetime Emmys, television's equivalent of the Oscars.
Other highlights included a passionate on-stage kiss between Bryan Cranston and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a bizarre segment in which curvy Colombian actress Sofia Vergara rotated on a platform.
"This is... a wonderful time to be working in television," said "Breaking Bad" director Vince Gilligan, accepting the top prize - best drama - at the climax of the three-hour show in Los Angeles.
"Breaking Bad," about chemistry teacher-turned-drugs-kingpin Walter White, also took the best drama actor award for Cranston, and the best supporting prizes for Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn.
"Modern Family" meanwhile won best comedy series for the fifth year in a row, equaling a record set by "Frasier" between 1994 and 1998.
The evening's big loser was "Game of Thrones," which was shortlisted in 19 categories.
The show - already renewed for a fifth and sixth season - is produced by cable TV service Home Box Office, which had a total of 99 nominations, compared to 31 for online streaming giant Netflix.
In the end "Game" left with only relatively minor prizes.
Julianna Margulies won the best drama actress for "The Good Wife," while best television movie went to "The Normal Heart," about gay activist Larry Kramer's work to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s.
In a moving acceptance speech, Kramer - who is HIV positive - appeared on stage with the film's makers, wrapped in a scarf and hat as he was applauded by the star-studded audience.
On the comedy front, Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Parsons were among early winners, along with Louis C.K. and Ty Burrell.
Parsons won best comedy actor for "The Big Bang Theory," Louis-Dreyfus best comedy actress for "Veep," Burrell for "Modern Family" and Louis C.K. for "Louie." There were giggles - and cheers - when "Breaking Bad" star Cranston planted a prolonged kiss on the lips of Louis-Dreyfus as she went up to collect her prize, in one of the more outrageous segments of the evening.
Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel also drew laughs, joking that Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey - nominated for bleak cop drama "True Detective" - was too handsome for television.
"Beautiful son of a bitch. That's not a television face, that's a movie star face," Kimmel joked, adding: "You don't belong here. And take Julia Roberts with you while you're at it," said the late-night talk show host.
Robin Williams tribute
In one of the more surreal moments, "Modern Family" star Vergara introduced Television Arts and Sciences President Bruce Rosenblum - and then proceeded to stand on a rotating platform, displaying her figure-hugging dress, while he gave a speech.
The skit was presumably intended as an ironic comment on how boring such speeches are - it was difficult to concentrate on it with Vergara showing off her derriere.
But online critics immediately mauled it for being sexist. "She was treated like a literal object," opined Jezebel, a website devoted to women's interests, which highlighted a tide of tweets attacking it.
The ceremony took a serious turn when honoring Hollywood great Williams, who died in an apparent suicide on August 11 at age 63, rocking the entertainment world.
With emotions still raw, his friend and fellow actor-comedian Billy Crystal paid tribute to the Oscar winner during the "in memoriam" part of the primetime programme.
"He made us laugh. I spent many happy hours onstage with Robin. His brilliance was stunning, the relentless energy breathtaking," said Crystal, adding Williams' star remained undimmed.
"The glow will be so bright, it will warm your heart and make your eyes glisten, and you'll think to yourselves, Robin Williams. What a concept."