My Picks for This Years Emmys: Limited Series
There are more than their fair share of contenders in this category. And considering that last year the Emmys nominated 5 contenders when every other category got six or more seems a little odd. So I have no idea where the Emmys will come down this season. But there have been a lot of great contenders this year — some which people wanted more of, some which are gone too soon. Here are my picks
American Crime (ABC)
It’s one of the greatest achievements on any medium, broadcast or streaming, cable or otherwise. Daring to do things with an anthology series that not even Ryan Murphy has been willing to try yet, the third season dealing with the consequences of human trafficking was its darkest yet — and arguably its best. A series with some of the greatest actors in any medium doing some of their best work anywhere — and there were more than a few Oscar winners in the cast. Regina King did some of her greatest work, and I really hope the Emmys will recognize some of the less honored players, like Timothy Hutton or Benito Martinez this time out. It was a travesty that this series was canceled. The Emmys should recognize it for its greatbess.
Big Little Lies (HBO)
David E. Kelley had great return to form this year, adapting a brilliant novel into one of the most astounding works I’ve seen anywhere, even on HBO. Framed as a murder mystery where both the victim and the perpetrator were not revealed until the last minutes of the final episode, this series turned into a devastating look at some of the lives of quiet desperation of a group of women, trying to find a life for their children in Monterey. There were so many brilliant performances that its going to be difficult for Emmy voters to pick just a handful to honor. And it was astounding, even among the dark levels, just how funny this series could be. This may be the one to beat for Best limited series this year.
It has always astonished me how Noah Hawley can do what he does with each subsequent incarnation of his brilliant anthology series. Looking within the world of darkness and criminals, you see that the few elements of goodness in the world are always either being ignored or stomped out. This time taking place in the age of social media, with arguably its most frightening portrayal of villainy yet (we’ll get to David Thewlis in due time, believe me), this episode had more than its share of unsettling moments, brilliant characters, and stunning visuals. There may not be any elements of the Coen Brothers movie in this series, but this is still a show they should be more than proud to be attached to.
Feud: Bette & Joan (FX)
One could few this next incarnation of Ryan Murphy’s ever widening grip on the anthology market in two ways: either as a relevant tale of ageism and antifeminism in Hollywood that has echoes to this day, or simply as a series which takes a stark and unflinching look at two of the greatest actresses the world has ever seen, and the dark feuds that followed them before, during and after their one collaboration in the classic What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Either way, we got to see two of the greatest actresses in any medium once again demonstrate how good they are, and how good a finger Murphy has upon the Zeitgeist of America
The Night of (HBO)
The only reason this series could possibly be ignorde by the Emmys is if their memories can’t stretch as far back as last July. It doesn’t, however, change the fact that this by far one of the most twisting works by a network that seems to have rediscovered its focus after years of wandering. Telling two equally compelling stories — one about a crime that was never truly resolved, and the consequences for the accused, the other about an attorney who almost against his will finds himself helping the protagonist — this is one of the rare projects of a miniseries that deserves another installment. Even if it never gets one, the performances and writing were do good to be ignored by people with short memories.
When We Rise (ABC)
For the briefest of moments, ABC rediscovered what it was like to devote four consecutive nights of programming to a brilliant, and socially relevant subject. Even if it got collectively lower ratings than The Catch, the fact was, it featured some of the most undervalued actors in Hollywood telling the story about one of the most compelling stories — the rise of the gay rights movement — through some of the more important activists. This story may have been seen by few, but it especially relevant now.
Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
I don’t know if this series will be considered until next season. And even if it is it’s going to be really difficult for even the most devoted fans to admit that it is logical, coherent or understandable. But that may be irrelevant. This is the most stunning and visually imaginative series since, let’s be honest, the original Twin Peaks aired a quarter of a century ago.. And in an era where every other classic series remade is almost always a pale imitation of what was great about the original, it takes real balls to make one where the title town is barely present, and even fewer of the original characters are there. It may be the greatest folly of Lynch’s career, or his greatest achievement, but one can’t deny that its wonderful and strange.