TV fans everywhere mourned the loss of two great shows in 2017, as HBO’s “The Leftovers” ended its three-season run on June 4 and A&E’s “Bates Motel” closed its doors after five years on April 24. While neither program is an Emmy favorite — “The Leftovers” has never earned a notice while “Bates Motel” has only reaped three noms — the factor we like to call the “goodbye hug” could come into play for both shows. In particular, lead actress Carrie Coon has major awards buzz for “The Leftovers” series finale, and supporting player Vera Farmiga could make an Emmys comeback after being nominated in the lead race in 2013.
In recent years we’ve seen several performers prevail for the final seasons of their shows. Just last September Maggie Smith took home the trophy for the departing “Downton Abbey.” Notably, Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) finally won in 2015 on his eighth Best Drama Actor nomination. Three “Breaking Bad” stars scored statues for their farewell season in 2014: Bryan Cranston (his fourth overall), Aaron Paul (his third) and Anna Gunn (her second). And Kyle Chandler had to wait until the final year of “Friday Night Lights” (2011) to cross the Emmy finish line.
“The Leftovers” finale ended with Coon’s character Nora Durst telling Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) that she traveled to a parallel universe where she saw the victims of the Sudden Departure, including her missing children. Feeling like a “ghost” there, Nora later returned back to our world and lived a life of seclusion for many years until Kevin finally tracked her down. Emmy voters would have watched the finale just one week before balloting began, helping to keep Coon top of mind as they made their Best Drama Actress picks.
In the Emmy race for Best Drama Supporting Actress, Farmiga could pull off a frightening upset for playing the doomed Norma Bates. Though her screen time was reduced in the fifth and final season of “Bates Motel,” it’s hard to deny that Farmiga still chewed every bit of scenery alongside co-star Freddie Highmore. But are Emmy voters too chicken to reward a horror TV show? If Farmiga prevails, she’ll join the list of the 13 scariest Emmy wins of all time, including Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story: Murder House”) and Michael Emerson (“Lost”).
Besides “The Leftovers” and “Bates Motel,” other departing TV shows that could benefit from a goodbye hug at the Emmys include ABC’s “American Crime,” Netflix’s “Bloodline,” HBO’s “Girls,” Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” and SundanceTV’s “Rectify.”
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