Yes, Hollywood has barely caught its breath after the most memorable Academy Awards in years and another awards campaign is on the precipice, Emmy season. Television Academy members have already received their Emmy screener (FX’s “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”) and before long Los Angeles will be covered with more for your consideration billboards touting Emmy contenders than summer blockbusters. That’s how big the Emmys have become.
The season traditionally doesn’t begin until May, but planning is well underway at every network and streaming service from NY to LA. And with more original programming fighting for the spotlight it’s creeping earlier and earlier ever season. Keeping all that mind here are some questions to keep in mind as some major contenders return or premiere over the next few months.
What shows are going to get snubbed in the Outstanding Drama Series category?
Even with “Game of Thrones” sitting this year out thanks to its July premiere and Emmy favorite “Downton Abbey” no longer on the air (whew) it’s going to be crazy competitive to make the field of seven nominees. The list of former nominees and winners that have a shot to get in are “Homeland,” “House of Cards,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Americans” and “Mr. Robot.” New contenders include Golden Globe nominees “The Crown,” “Westworld,” “Stranger Things” and “This Is Us” (every series but “This Is Us” also earned a SAG Ensemble nomination). That doesn’t include previous nominee “Orange Is The New Black” or new series such as “The Good Fight,” “Sneaky Pete,” “The OA” (never discount Netflix), “Legion” (granted, a wild card), the much buzzed about “The Handmaid’s Tale” and always looking on the outside, but should be in the mix players such as “The Leftovers,” “Rectify” and “Halt and Catch Fire.” Which shows simply won’t make the cut?
How big an impact can ‘This Is Us’ have?
There hasn’t been a network TV program to earn a Drama Series nomination since “The Good Wife” and “Friday Night Lights” in 2011. It’s been five straight years of cable, premium cable or streaming service nominees since (even “Empire” couldn’t crack the field following its first season). You could argue, however, there hasn’t been a new network drama series that was both as critically acclaimed and as big a hit during that period as NBC’s “This Is Us.” It was a fixture on a number of year-end top 10 lists, was named one of AFI’s Top 10 series of the Year and was a surprise WGA Award winner over “Game of Thrones,” “Better Call Saul” and “Shameless” (that’s key guild support everybody). Sterling K. Brown received both Golden Globe and SAG nods for his performance while co-stars Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz earned Supporting Globe nods. It could easily be recognized in a number of acting, writing, directing and other creative categories but will the fan base freak out if it doesn’t get a series nod? (More importantly, will the networks?)
Which new Netflix series will dominate the nominations?
Honestly two series that you can expect to hear a ton of about for the next few years: “The Crown” and “Stranger Things.” Not only are both likely to get Drama Series nods but many would peg either show as the frontrunner to win. Beyond that you can expect multiple acting nods and a ton of creative nominations. Reaching the 20 nomination mark for both programs is more likely than not.
Will Emmy voters finally recognize ‘The Americans’?
FX’s critically acclaimed series finally earned a Best Drama series nomination last year as well as nods for leads Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. It also earned a Writing nod and wins for Margo Martindale for the second year in a row in the Guest Actress category even though she may have had less than 3 minutes of screen time in season three (we seriously love Margo, but…). The good news, of course, was the major category nominations. It meant The Television Academy was catching up to an all-time classic series and if it continues its impressive run of quality programming it – in theory – could take the next step and win in a major category (hopefully Drama Series). It already took its first major guild win, a WGA Award this January, so the industry support is clearly growing.
Is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ this year’s Emmy surprise?
Talk to TV critics and they’ll tell you one of the most impressive pilots they’ve seen so far this year is Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Not only is the adaption of Margret Atwood’s Sci-Fi novel even more timely than when it began production, but it features six-time Emmy nominee Elisabeth Moss in the title role, was written/created by Bruce Miller (“The 100”) and was directed by renowned cinematographer Reed Morano (“Frozen River,” “Looking,” Beyonce’s “Sandcastles” from “Lemonade”). And, before you discount it, Hulu already earned its first Primetime Emmy nominations last year and know how to play the game. Can “Handmaiden” take the streaming service to even greater awards heights? If the series can break through the pop culture zeitgeist this spring, watch out.