Best Limited Series
Admittedly, this is going to be one of the high points of the night.. Last year, everyone thought ‘True Detective’ would have a lock on this, and now its probably never going to air another season. Ryan Murphy could theoretically have three series competing in this category (though he only deserves to have one). But it is more likely that the series in this category will deal with some of the more relevant issues in a world that needs them explored.
‘American Crime’ (ABC)
Unlike ‘True Detective’, two of the series in this category completely denied the idea of sophomore slump. This series, arguably the best thing on broadcast television, was of the most heartbreaking. Dealing with the alleged rape of a male high school student, this series wove a tale of the dark side of teenage sexuality, racial discrimination and class struggle. While this season was one of the bleaker offering of 2016 so far, it also featured some of the most mesmerizing performances, especially from its young cast. No one was spared, but uncomfortable truths were revealed.
In its sophomore season, Noah Hawley tried to do something even more epic than the Emmy winning first season. He and his writers not only proved it was possible, they were spectacular in doing so. Starting from a triple homicide, dozens of characters across three states were involved in a Grand Guingol of blood, family issues, twist after twist, and the instability of the late 1970’s, all climaxing in the Sioux Fall Massacre that was hinted at in Season 1. The series even managed to have a cameo of Ronald Reagan, but there was no city on a hill for most of those involved, even those few who survived. Had the Emmys taken place last January, it assuredly would have swept all the major awards. As it is, there’s probably going to be several in the series future.
‘The Night Manager’ (AMC)
John Le Carre has always managed to fit better on the small screen then the large one, and in this six-parter, we found ourselves in the midst of one of the more suspenseful cat and mouse games for the 2015–2016. From the brilliant performances from a superb cast, this espionage thriller, updated by the man himself, was one of the best retellings of his own works in quite some time.
‘The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
I thought I knew everything there was to know about the biggest media event of the last quarter century. Turns out, not so much. And watching some of the best character actors in either media play some of that events most memorable figures was a lot more entertaining and raised the bar for scripted true-crime drama. This may be Ryan Murphy most unvarnished, plainest hour — and not coincidentally, its one of his best.
‘Show Me A Hero’ (HBO)
David Simon is more than familiar with taking issues about race and social situations and making it dramatically accessible. Here, working with fellow cultural artist Paul Haggis, he took the true story of Public Housing in Yonkers in the 1980s, and (big surprise considering the source) turned it into a deeply human story about class and race still incredibly relevant today. Simon has been shunned by the Emmys all too often; hopefully this time, he’ll get fair treatment.
‘The X-Files’ (Fox)
This spot is far more likely to be filled by the gaudier, excessive, and overblown ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’. And admittedly, this revival was something of a mixed bag. But when it dealt with the more human elements of our heroes lives — perhaps most tragically when it came to the passing of Scully’s mother — it reminded us of the heart this series and the pull these characters have. And it’s finest hour — ‘Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Beast’ — demonstrated just how delightful this series could be when it remembered not to take itself too seriously. It’s a long shot, but it was better than some of the other likely nominees.