Part 3: Drama Over Drama? Not Here
The drama categories with almost every awards group inevitably leave me dissatisfied. The HCA has managed the opposite effect. Take a Look
BEST BROADCAST NETWORK DRAMA SERIES.
This is Us and Big Sky were the two series I pushed for the most with the Emmys. The Good Doctor, for all its flaws, is the kind of series that the Emmys used to love in the past, as well as New Amsterdam. I don’t know what surprises me most about Superman & Lois’ presence: 1, that a CW show was nominated anywhere or 2) that a comic book based series was nominated. (Then again, see above and below.)
I’m not sure what to make of Law and Order: Organized Crime but there are people who would advocate for it. Would I have rather seen A Million Little Things here? Obviously. But you can’t expect perfection the first time out.
BEST CABLE DRAMA SERIES
With the nomination of Cruel Summer, the HCA has justified their existence. This is exactly the kind of series that deserves lots of nominations from the Emmys and will almost certainly be overlooked by them. Bra-fricking-vo.
And it actually gets better from here. Lovecraft Country, Perry Mason and Pose are front and center. And I’m sure everybody who loves Yellowstone — and trust me, they’re out there — is going to be overjoyed. Does Gangs of London deserve to be here more than In Treatment or The Bold Type? I don’t know. But I can hardly complain that much.
BEST ACTOR IN A BROADCAST OR CABLE SERIES, DRAMA
Even fewer complaints. Billy Porter, Jonathan Majors, Matthew Rhys and Sterling K. Brown were among my picks for the Emmys. Freddie Highmore should’ve been nominated for The Good Doctor years ago, and he’s deserved all kinds of nominations for his work in Bates Motel. Is Christopher Meloni worthy? To be fair, he should have gotten at least six or seven nominations for his work in Oz and SVU and he only got one. So call this catching up. I would rather have Milo Ventimiglia here, but good work.
BEST ACTRESS IN A BROADCAST OR CABLE SERIES, DRAMA
You magnificent bastards. You actually nominated both Chiara Aurelia and Olivia Holt for their extraordinary performances in Cruel Summer. Maybe you’ll show the wisdom of the Critics Choice awards and permit them to tie. But at least they’re here.
As are the equally deserving Jurnee Smollett and MJ Rodriguez (who will almost certainly be nominated by the Emmys) and Mandy Moore (who could well be overlooked) Would I rather have seen Uzo Aduba instead of Mariska Hargitay? Obviously. But it’s hard to argue it’s a bad choice.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A BROADCAST OR CABLE SERIES DRAMA
Again, wow. Michael K. Williams and John Lithgow were going to be here. But you actually nominated Courtney B. Vance and John Carroll Lynch. I’m also impressed you sought out Jason Rodriguez for Pose.
Hard to tell about your three other choices. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has more than earned his place here, and I loathe The Walking Dead. I’ve always been impressed by Tzi Ma’s work and you did nominated another CW show. Dylan McDermott is one of the most undervalued actors ever and even I have to admit I was impressed by his work in Organized Crime. Maybe I just think that there could have been room for In Treatment or This is Us here. But it’s a pretty good group.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A BROADCAST OR CABLE SERIES, DRAMA
Actually this is more impressive. Indya Moore and Dominique Jackson for Pose, great. Brooke Smith for Big Sky, better. Wunmi Mosaku and Tatiana Maslany — very impressive. And they nominated one of the actors who play the younger Big Three — I have to admit I’ve never even considered that. And it’s Hannah Zeile. Good job. Catherine Zeta-Jones for Prodigal Son? There are those who would’ve rather seen Michael Sheen no doubt, but she made a hell of an impression. I’m not as sure about Kelly Reilly for Yellowstone, but she is a great actress and anyone who had to go through season 2 of True Detective deserves my respect.
Now on to streaming
BEST STREAMING SERIES, DRAMA
Frankly the only one of these shows I care for is The Crown, but given all of the love people for The Handmaid’s Tale, Bridgerton and The Mandalorian it was perhaps inevitable they’d be here. The Boys is a dark horse. Servant is a nice surprise. At least, you didn’t go for Ratched.
BEST ACTOR IN A STREAMING SERIES, DRAN
Josh O’Connor and Rege-Jean Page were certain to be here, and much as it pains me, probably Pedro Pascal. Karl Urban for The Boys is a pleasant surprise. And I am glad to see Anthony Mackie nominated for something, though it does seem arbitrary that he’s here and Sebastian Stan is not. I guess Bucky has a lot to prove.
BEST ACTRESS IN A STREAMING SERIES, DRAMA
No argument with Emma Corrin and Olivia Colman. Elisabeth Moss was practically inevitable. Sarah Paulson — I just hope I don’t have to watch Ratched. Aya Cash deserves consideration.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A STREAMING SERIES, DRAMA
I love Giancarlo Esposito, don’t get me wrong. But is it really fair to have him competing against himself for both The Boys and The Mandalorian? Oh well, at least he has a future when Better Call Saul ends.
Tobias Menzies more than deserves it. Bradley Whitford is likely to be on the short list for the Emmys even though I’m not happy about it. I guess somebody liked Wyatt Russell as the government’s Captain America after all. And I guess even villains get their due as Daniel Bruhl was recognized. Should Rupert Grint be in here?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A STREAMING SERIES, DRAMA
I think even the biggest fans of The Handmaid’s Tale would find this category overkill. Don’t get me wrong; I love Alexis Bledel, Yvonne Strahovski and Ann Dowd but this a little ridiculous. (I won’t comment on Samira Wiley.) Hardly relevant as Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher will crush them all.
I’m glad to see Ming-Na Wen and Yvette Nicole Brown being nominated, even if I’m not the biggest fans of the series they’re a part of. (Then again, I may end up giving Big Shot a chance)
I have to admit I am impressed that while they went overboard for some streaming series, they didn’t do so with Bridgerton and Ratched. Throw in the love for The Boys and Servant and on this front the HCA isn’t copying and pasting so many of the likely candidates for the Emmys.
Final thoughts for now. I don’t whether the HCA will last or whether it’ll fade it into the woodwork. What I will say upfront is that for a first time awards group, they have done an incredible job selecting some of the truly great series in both drama and comedy for the past year. Usually the phrase: “It’s an honor just to be nominated’ is a hollow cliché. Any one of the actors in most of these categories will be speaking from the heart when it comes to these choices.
In late August, I’ll try to predict what shows I think deserve to win. I expect to have an even harder time than I do with the Critics Choice Awards. And just like that with that group, I think I will be just as happy with the actual winners as the ones I end up predicting. I really hope this group catches on and finds a home on some channel, however obscure. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
Stay tuned, true fans of Peak TV.