I Lay The Odds For This Year’s Emmys
Week 3, Part 1: Outstanding Limited Series
I’m still not sure why with Best Drama and Comedy upgraded to eight nominees; Limited Series is still stuck at five, particularly considering that I can think of at least three other series that deserved to be nominated. But I won’t argue the point… here.
Little Fires Everywhere: 9–2. Looking inside the world of two different mothers in the 1990s, one white and one black, this limited series explored the dark aspects that cover just about every part of our society — race, sex, abortion, lesbianism, career versus home. Led by two of the greatest actresses in history, this one of the great accomplishments of the year. Pro: Had the Emmys dealt with just shows that came out in 2020, this series would be the flat-out front-runner. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington led a spectacular cast dealing with so many complicated relationships, particularly those involving motherhood and being different. This was a masterwork. Con: There is no logic at all as to why this series got so few nominations. But the fact that it did is going to hurt any chance it did of winning. Besides, it’s not Watchmen.
Mrs. America: 4–1. The story of the battle for the ERA, led by some of the great feminists on one side and Phyllis Schaffly, who would become the face of conservatism on the other. The fact that the battle is still going on even as we speak does not make it any less relevant. Pro: Not long before this series aired, Virginia ratified the ERA, finally winning the battle that Schaffly waged…sort of. That aside, like so many of the great FX produced series, it featured some of the greatest performances imaginable, starting with the extraordinary Cate Blanchett and leading to so many of television greatest actresses, the Supporting Actress category just couldn’t find room for them. This is an even more relevant series about the gender wars that have never stopped. Con: The same problem that just about every other nominated limited series would have. It’s not Watchmen.
Unbelievable: 9–2. The real-life story of three women, a girl whose rape was only to beginning of an excruciating experience by the criminal justice system, and two very different Colorado detectives who find themselves on the trail of a serial rapist who very well links to this one. Pro: This was perhaps the most brutal portrayal of the inequalities of the criminal justice system since American Crime. Led by three exceptional actresses giving some of the best performances of the year, it was by far one of the most relevant series to air in this season. Con: The general disregard for the police procedural the last few months is the only logical explanation I can come up with as to why this series was basically denied so many nominations, especially for Kaitlyn Dever and Merritt Weyer, who were considered shoo-ins by everyone for Best Actress nominations. The voting must have hurt it, and the fact that it aired way back in October couldn’t have helped.
Unorthodox: 9–2. A young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman flees her arranged marriage and religious community to start a new life abroad. Pro: Arguably the biggest shock in the Limited Series category was this Netflix show upsetting higher profile shows. But it explored a world that few viewers — hell, maybe even few Jewish viewers would have pursued. Well acted by a cast of virtual unknowns, it’s a definite dark horse. Con: Surprise nominees practically never win. The series is subtle and not showy, which definitely doesn’t play with a lot of voters. Besides, well see below.
Watchmen: 31–10. Taking place in Tulsa in present day of the Watchmen world, where cops where costumes, where technology is far lower key, and where superheroes are just the subject of limited series on their own, this extraordinary piece of work, much like the extraordinary graphic novel it was based on, dealt with all the issues that caped crusaders couldn’t fix. Horrible things were being planned, and not even the heroes ever understood what was happening. Sounds familiar. Pro: For once, the Emmys and I are in total agreement: this Limited series more than deserved the 26 nominations — more than other program — it got. The daring visuals, the exceptional cast, the brilliant writing are frankly part and parcel with so many HBO projects. But the fact that a series based on a comic book written in the 1980s would be the most relevant piece of television in the entire season is something that I’m sure the writers didn’t expect and were hoping wouldn’t happen. The certain winner. Con: About the only thing standing against is the fact that the Emmys don’t like given prizes to comic books. Somehow, I think they’ll overlook it.
PREDICTION: Easiest one of the night. Only question is how many Emmys will this series take home. In the next few categories, I start making suggestions.