The last time Henry Ian Cusick guest-starred on a sci-fi series produced by J.J. Abrams, he wound up receiving his first and only career Emmy nomination (Drama Guest Actor, “Lost,” 2006). Now that Cusick has just popped up on Fox’s “Fringe,” will lightning strike twice?
Despite his emotional portrayal of a futuristic agent on this week’s instant classic episode entitled “Letters of Transit,” things don’t look very good for Cusick’s Emmy chances. It’s no secret the Emmys have a hard time warming up to science-fiction series, and “Fringe” is no exception. Just like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Battlestar Galactica” before it, “Fringe” is a critically acclaimed cult series that just can’t get any Emmy love in any of the major categories. Not even John Noble, who prevailed at last year’s inaugural Critics Choice Television Awards as Best Drama Supporting Actor, has been able to make a dent at the Emmys.
Over the past decade, the Emmys have slowly started warming up to shows with fantasy elements. Both “True Blood” and “Game of Thrones” managed to slip into the Best Drama Series race, and Peter Dinklage even won last year for the latter. Of course, it bears mentioning that both of these series come from Emmy magnet HBO. The only non-HBO shows to fall into the top Drama Series race this decade were “Heroes” and the aforementioned “Lost,” which was produced by some of the same folks that now give us “Fringe.” Since Cusick made it in for “Lost,” he has a great shot at being the first “Fringe” actor to contend at the Emmys.
Based on early results from Gold Derby Editors and Users, Cusick’s major competition in the Drama Guest Actor race includes Michael J. Fox (“The Good Wife”), Matthew Perry (“The Good Wife”), Fred Willard (“The Closer”), Robert Morse (“Mad Men”), Alfred Molina (“Harry’s Law”) and last year’s winner Paul McCrane (“Harry’s Law”).
Cusick is actually in contention for two Emmys this year. Besides the “Fringe” guest spot, he’s also a series regular on ABC’s freshman show “Scandal.”