Emmys: 1/2 hour ‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ is drama, hour-long ‘Unfortunate Events’ is comedy

The rule at the Emmy Awards is that half-hour shows are deemed to be comedies while hour-long ones are dramas. To contend in the other category requires approval from at least six of the nine members of a special industry panel that is drawn up from four governors and five presidential appointees.

Amazon petitioned successfully to have its new half-hour series “Z: The Beginning of Everything” be defined as a drama. Likewise, Netflix got the okay for the hour-long “A Series of Unfortunate Events” to be considered a comedy.

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“Z: The Beginning of Everything” stars Christina Ricci as Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Over the course of 10 episodes, it details how Zelda met and then married F. Scott Fitzgerald (played by David Hoflin) who would later write “The Great Gatsby.” The story takes place first in the south before moving to New York and focusing on the Jazz Age. The first season details their jealous alcoholic lifestyle as well as their money troubles as Fitzgerald struggles to write his next novel.

Critical response to the show was solid and it received a 70% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many reviewers singled out Ricci for the lion’s share of praise and lauded the look of the show as well. The one consistent carp was that this season sets up future ones, as it largely focuses on their courtship and her home life.

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Netflix’s eight-episode adaptation of Lemony Snicket‘s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” earned an impressive 82 score on Metacritic. Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Snicket (aka Daniel Handler), Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris stars as Count Olaf, a creepy guardian who wants to acquire the inheritance of the Baudelaire orphans following the mysterious death of their parents.

Barry Sonnenfeld and Handler executive produce the show for Netflix. While the 2004 film of the same name starring Jim Carrey as Olaf only covered the first three books, Season 1 of the Netflix revival follows the first four novels. A second season was just confirmed.

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