Jimmy Kimmel tried.

That's one way of summing up the consensus on the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which were variously rated as "hideous" (, "a lot of fun" (Huffington Post) and "surprisingly snoozy" (Los Angeles Times).

The early, unofficial updated TV ratings suggest audiences weren't all that enthused liked it, thank you very much, with the three-hour telecast averaging 13.2 million viewers, ABC reported, up 6 percent from last year's near-record low.

Repeat wins by Modern Family, Jon Stewart and The Amazing Race took some of the biggest hits from critics; Homeland's emergence in the Drama Series races received a good deal of the praise.  

"It wasn't an exciting night and there were only mild surprises, but the success of Homeland was a welcome one," the New York Times' Allesandra Stanley judged.

Kimmel got credit, too.

The late-night star "helped make the Emmy show less painful than usual," TV Guide's Matt Roush wrote, "giving it his best shot as he set an irreverent tone and sensibility."

The Associated Press' Frazier Moore gave Kimmel what could be called a passing, or passable, grade—"[H]e didn't break a sweat. Nor did he break any records for laughs or memorable moments."

Elsewhere, Kimmel's Twitter stunt with Tracy Morgan was either brilliant or lame; the Breaking Bad-as-The Andy Griffith Show bit was either brilliant or, per the Detroit Free Press, "a borderline bad-taste joke."

More than one critic noted that Kimmel got better as the show went along, and the TV ratings seemed to reflect that.

The preliminary numbers had the telecast building up until about 9:30 p.m., the midway point. That's pretty normal. Overall, though, the show, Nielsen uptick or no, was still killed by football.

That's pretty normal, too.

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