The Emmys opted for the tried and true, giving a long goodbye kiss to "Breaking Bad" and its cast, and the fifth straight award for best comedy to "Modern Family."

Bryan Cranston, who played the memorable meth dealer Walter White on "Breaking Bad," won his fourth best drama actor Emmy at television's biggest awards show Monday night, tying him with another four-time winner, Dennis Franz. Aaron Paul won his third supporting actor award playing Cranston's fictional colleague in crime. Anna Gunn, who played Cranston's wife, won for the second straight year and the series won its second consecutive best drama award.

"Downton Abbey," made by Britain's ITV network, was shut out in the drama category, while the BBC's "Sherlock" won three awards.

The bounty proved Emmy voters have a long memory, since the "Breaking Bad" finale aired 11 months ago on AMC.

"Thank you for this wonderful farewell to our show," creator Vince Gilligan said.

"Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan almost seemed at a loss for something new to say as the ABC show matched the five-year winning streak of "Frasier" in its heyday. Actor Ty Burrell won a best supporting actor award.

"It's a wonder that we get to do this for a living, that we get to be the ones up here when there are so many deserving shows," Levitan said.

The ceremony honoring the best of TV wasn't shy about playing the movie-star card. Julia Roberts, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Spacey, Mark Ruffalo and the reigning Oscar winner for best actor, Matthew McConaughey were all nominated for TV roles and all went home empty-handed. Jumping back and forth between television and feature films isn't as unusual as it used to be, with television in a robust creative period. But with a lot of quality work out there, names aren't enough to guarantee an award.

"Six minutes to Woody Harrelson" flashed on screen during British director Colin Bucksey's acceptance speech for best miniseries direction for "Fargo."

Harrelson and his "True Detective" co-star McConaughey were given time to banter before announcing that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch of "Sherlock" won the best miniseries actor award.

"So you won Oscar, (People magazine's) Sexiest Man Alive and now you want an Emmy, too. Isn't that a little bit greedy?" Harrelson teased his fellow nominee, who did not attend the ceremony.

Also not in attendance was Martin Freeman of "Sherlock," who won for best supporting actor in a mini-series. Cumberbatch and Freeman were given little chance by critics to win.

"Sherlock" also earned Steven Moffat a win for best writing for a miniseries.

Moffat took his own shot at Cumberbatch. "Too big to come to the Emmys — give him hell for that. From me," he said.

Moffat spoke a bit about plans to continue "Sherlock," saying a special episode would be filmed in January followed by some additional shows later next year.

For much of the evening, the Emmys seemed to bask in Hollywood's glow, especially McConaughey's aura. He was the willing foil for jokes, particularly by Jimmy Kimmel. "You don't belong here," Kimmel said. "And take Julia Roberts with you."

Yet the only time McConaughey went on the stage was when he Harrelson were presenters. Their HBO series was the subject of much pre-show hubbub — many in Hollywood thought it should be in the miniseries category, not drama — but it proved a moot point as the major awards went elsewhere.

Roberts and Ruffalo weren't honored for their roles in the HBO movie about the early days of AIDS, "The Normal Heart," although the project won the Emmy for best TV movie.

Once the awards began, some of television's royalty added to their trophy cases. Jim Parsons, star of television's most popular comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," won his fourth straight award for best comedy actor. It was the third year in a row for Julia Louis-Dreyfus of HBO's "Veep" to win the best comic actress award.

Julianna Margulies, the star of CBS' "The Good Wife," was the beneficiary of an especially strong season for the show, winning her second Emmy as best actress in a drama.

For all the pre-show talk about new forms of television distribution, it was a good night for network television, between Margulies, Parsons and "Modern Family." Allison Janney won a best supporting actress award for her role in the freshman CBS sitcom, "Mom."

Netflix and its biggest shows, "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," didn't win any major awards.

The Emmys included a tribute to Robin Williams, who died earlier this month, by his comedian friend Billy Crystal.

"He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him," Crystal said.

___

Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.