‘The Night Of’ rave reviews: Already an Emmy contender for 2017

Even though we are right in the thick of the current Emmy season, it’s never too early to begin identifying potential nominees in next year’s race, right? We already have a strong contender for next year’s Limited Series category with the premiere of HBO’s “The Night Of” on July 10. It has claimed some the most rapturous reviews of the summer TV season.

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“The Night Of” follows the character of Naz (Riz Ahmed), a young Muslim-American charged with the brutal murder of a young girl, as he is processed through the justice system with the help of his attorney, Jack Stone (Emmy-winner John Turturro). Turturro took on the role after the death of James Gandolfini, who passed away shortly after the series began filming and is posthumously credited as an executive producer.

“The Night Of” is the creation of Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”), who also directed seven of the eight episodes, and novelist Richard Price (“Clockers,” “The Wire”), who wrote or co-wrote all eight episodes. The show is based on Peter Moffat’s British serial “Criminal Justice,” which won two BAFTAs and an International Emmy Award for Best Actor Ben Whishaw.

Below, a sampling of the critical raves about the series, which currently holds an impressive score of 90 on Metacritic:

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Matt Roush (TV Guide): “This eight-part limited series is as good as TV crime drama gets, scrupulously skirting the pitfalls of cheap melodrama and forced sentiment to deal unsparingly with grim consequences, rendered with a searing realism that’s the trademark of co-creator and novelist Richard Price, collaborating with writer-director Steven Zaillian.”

Mary McNamara (The Los Angeles Times): “Having chosen pragmatism over self-pity, ‘The Night Of’ becomes something new: An anti-antihero drama. Like found-object art or high camp, it is deceptively ambitious in its ability to dance so closely to the edge of derivation. Fortunately, Zaillian and Price are working with a remarkably nimble ensemble, and in Turturro they have not just an actor but an artiste.”

Tim Grierson (The Wrap): “Courtroom dramas, police procedurals and prison thrillers are all well-trod television turf, but when they’re approached with superior degrees of intelligence and sophistication, they can still yield myriad riches. Such is the case with ‘The Night Of,’ HBO’s superb limited series that doesn’t break new ground so much as it showcases a group of actors, writers and directors working at an exceptionally high level, merging potentially familiar genres into a thoroughly absorbing study of disparate characters brought together by a murder whose perpetrator remains a mystery.”

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The show is also proving popular with our intrepid forum posters as well. Their thoughts:

Marcus Snowden: What a thrilling episode of television. [The premiere] didn’t drag once throughout it’s 70 minute run time. I am thrilled for Riz Ahmed. If this miniseries is as great as the critics say it is, then he is going to win a hell of a lot of Emmys next year (that is in case there is no “Fargo” or “American Crime Story” in competition).

Kyle Bailey: This opener was phenomenal. It’s an hour and 10 minutes long and it flew by. I was captivated. This is how you pace a show without indulging it with so much going on at once and lots of metaphors (*cough* “True Detective”). I can’t wait for the rest. Also love to see John Turturro in an amazing vehicle like this.

Cobalt Blue: Just caught the premiere and it was superb. One of the best episodes of TV so far this year. I was totally glued to the screen throughout.

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