On the eve of the Emmys, my fiancé and myself, who are both avid television watchers and have seen most of the nominees for the main television categories collectively, have a few things to say about the nominees, who should ultimately win the gold, and who were wrongly snubbed altogether.
Drama – The Emmy nominees this year, especially in the Drama categories, are all interesting, deserving candidates for the best that dramatic TV has to offer. While the winner for Best Drama Series should probably be the amazing final season of the Americans, if not for that finale alone, I have a feeling it will go down to the equally deserving The Handmaid’s Tale, last year’s winner, or the powerhouse that is Game of Thrones, the winner from the year before. Ultimately, we feel that Handmaid’s will edge it out here, not only for how good and topical the show still is, but because the Emmy voters will still have a chance to award GoT for their final season, whenever that happens.
For the acting categories, Elisabeth Moss seems like a sure deserving bet, but the other categories don’t seem as set in stone. Sterling K Brown will probably win for the wonderfully soapy This is Us, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Matthew Rhys wins for his powerful turn in The Americans.
There aren’t many shows that I would have put in the drama categories, since the Emmy’s did a decent job of selecting deserving shows, but the fact that dramedy Orange is the New Black got shut out entirely, even for the sprawling inclusive cast, is a shame.
Comedy – While there are still some strong nominees in the Best Comedy Series category, the comedy nominees feel generally weaker than the drama ones. There are some amazing shows (like the two front runners Atlanta and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, of which I think Atlanta will squeak by with the win), but there are also some not quite as good nominees (how does Curb Your Enthusiasm and the frankly quite weak season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt still get nominated for this when The Good Place does not? That’s blasphemy).
I love that Ted Danson was nominated for The Good Place, and that that Supporting Actress category is absolutely stacked with talented performers, but there are some extremely notable snubs (particularly in the Lead Actress department, where Alison Brie from GLOW, Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin were unjustly snubbed)
Aside from the aforementioned The Good Place, shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, and Grace and Frankie (notably, all shows about women, and not starting an old white guy; again, looking at you, Larry David) are all missing from this list.
Limited Series/Move – We have only seen one nominee from each of these lists (the fantastic episode of Black Mirror that will probably win, and the also quite good Godless, where I hope Jeff Daniels wins), but I have to talk about how horrendous the snub of Twin Peaks is, in both the Limited Series and the Lead Actor category for Kyle Maclachlan. How did that happen? This is one instance where my fiancé and I disagree, as she was not nearly as enamored with this bizarre, confrontationally weird and wonderful show as I was. But come on TV academy!
Thanks Jacob and Kari for your picks for the series and lead acting categories. I haven’t seen all of the nominated shows, but I do have some thoughts on the supporting, writing and directing categories. First, it’s a shame that Game of Thrones received two directing nominations while Westworld got none. Both shows deserve a spot in this category. Westworld had some of the best directed hours of television this year and it’s a shame it couldn’t be included with its HBO cohort. I think The Handmaid’s Tale probably has this category locked anyway. On the comedy directing side, I’m surprised to see The Big Bang Theory included, but very pleased that the pilot for GLOW made it in. That said, I’ll be shocked if Atlanta or Barry don’t walk away with this trophy.
On the writing side, we find another example of the Emmys failing to spread the love. Atlanta and Barry have two nominations each, at the expense of recognition for shows like GLOW, Grace and Frankie and The Good Place. These nominations also reveal a pet peeve I’ve long had with the Emmys. Unlike the Oscars, animated work is never included in the writing categories, and that is a shame because some of the funniest writing this past year was for shows like Rick and Morty and Big Mouth. At least “Pickle Rick” won the creative arts Emmy award for Outstanding Animated Program last weekend.
On the writing side, my major complaint is this: I loved season two of Stranger Things, but I don’t think the writing really took it anywhere new. Sure, the ending of the nominated episode was touching, but I’m not sure it deserved to be singled out here as some of the year’s best writing. I would have included “Kiksuya”, the most heartfelt hour of Westworld so far, among this group. As is the recurring theme in this post, however, The Handmaid’s Tale is going to win this category.
For drama supporting actor, the Emmy better go to David Harbour from Stranger Things. For supporting actress, the Emmy will probably go to either Ann Dowd or Alexis Bledel from The Handmaid’s Tale, but I would like to see Thandie Newton from Westworld, or Lena Headey from Game of Thrones, take this category. Both are overdue.
For supporting actress in a comedy, all signs point to another Kate McKinnon victory, which is fine, but I would really like to see it go to Betty Gilpin from GLOW. Supporting actor in a comedy will likely go to Henry Winkler from Barry, but I learned long ago to never count out Alec Baldwin or Tony Shalhoub.