Part 3: Outstanding Limited Series
I’ve felt more enthusiastic about this category the past three years. This year, however, its a bit harder to work up excitement. American Crime is gone. Fargo won’t be eligible til next year (though frankly, I should be grateful its coming back at all) No Feud. No Big Little Lies. Hell, I’d even settle for Season 3 of True Detective.
That being said, there are still some very valid contenders this season. But, for the record, I’m probably going to be borrowing from the TV Movie categories more heavily than usual. Not that there weren’t some brilliant performances there. But we’ll get to them.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace (FX)
Okay, it wasn’t at the level of People Vs. O.J. Simpson. But the second season of American Crime Story did have some of the more memorable performances of the year. And by operating in reverse chronology, we got to see a lot clearer what drove Andrew Cunanan to become the monster he was — something we never saw for O.J. Simpson. The series took on the issue of homosexuality in a far darker and more realistic way than we’ve come to expect from Ryan Murphy and company, and in its own way, it was as relevant as Simpson was in 2016. We still had a harder time looking at the title victim, but considering how closely we viewed all the other victims — including Cunanan himself — it was hardly lacking. The odds on favorite to win this year.
Patrick Melrose (Showtime)
A very latecomer to the list of the nominees, that may actually work in its favor. Starting out as a jet-black comedy about the life of a drug-addicted high class Brit, it very quickly veered in even darker territory into such subjects as child molestation, the silence that follows abuses, and how the sins of the father can be visited upon the children.. Of course, all this may be lost on those who came watch the master class of acting that we have come to expect from Benedict Cumberbatch, but it had some brilliant ensemble pieces as well from a very good supporting cast. Ending on the faintest bit of optimism, we can possibly get, this could be one of the great accomplishments of the year.
The Sinner (USA)
Another one of those dark American adaptations of an even darker Scandinavian procedural, the likelihood of this series being nominated depends on whether the voters can be asked to recall a nominee from as far back as last August. But the fact is, the Emmys should recognize memorable female performances, and its likely that they’ll remember Jessica Biel’s unforgettable turn as a woman who murdered her own child, and Bill Pullman’s solid portrayal of the man who more determined to find the motive than the criminal herself. Considering its coming back for Season 2, I think it very likely that they’ll remember it.
Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance)
Admittedly, its more likely that any of a half-dozen more popular series will get the nomination than this New Zealand mystery. But Jane Campion’s very dark female led series was a surprise favorite among the Emmys when the first movie came out three years ago. And the brilliant work of Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman is more than worthy of Emmy discussion. It’s likely that The Terror will take this spot, but one would be hard pressed to find a better group of female performances this season.
Twin Peaks (Showtime)
This is going to be a really hard one to pull for. It started airing way back in May. It was far, far less popular than Showtime expected. And even the most devoted of fans of this classic series (of which I am one) would have to admit that it was almost, but not entirely, unlike the phenomena that stunned audiences a quarter of a century ago. In a larger sense, though (and when you’re dealing with any David Lynch project you have to deal with a larger sense) that’s the point. This was a phantasmagorical journey into a world that we only got a taste in the original series. And there were at least three or four episodes that already rank among the greatest of television in this century. It was remarkable, mirrored only by the fact that Lynch, having a cast of hundreds, managed to get his series on the air, with nobody knowing what the hell was going to happened. In the age on the Internet getting everything three minutes after an episode airs, that’s outstanding. And now he wants to do a Season 2. Now that’s wondrous and strange.