HBO has released a one-minute trailer for the third and final season of “The Leftovers” (watch above), two months ahead of its April 16 premiere. The preview shows protagonists Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) relocating from Texas to Australia in the wake of a worldwide flood. Will these last episodes bring the show redemption at the Emmy Awards after being shut out in 2015 and 2016?
The post-apocalyptic drama is inheriting the timeslot that has been occupied the last six years by “Game of Thrones,” the network’s biggest hit ever and reigning Emmy winner for Best Drama Series, as it is taking this Emmy cycle off. The premiere of “The Leftovers” will lead directly into the series finale of “Girls”; all other episodes will lead into “Silicon Valley,” the network’s most-watched comedy in same-night ratings. Reigning Emmy winner for Best Comedy Series “Veep” also premieres April 16 and will play half an hour after “The Leftovers” for the duration of the latter’s season, which is on track to conclude June 4, just over a week before the start of Emmy voting. This scheduling suggests a level of confidence reserved for the network’s biggest Emmy players, but “The Leftovers” failed to score a single Emmy nomination for either of its first two seasons — not even for either of its stunning main title sequences.
Its best bet for an Emmy breakthrough this year is in the Best Drama Writing category. The Writers Guild of America was the only of the 16 film and television industry guilds and societies that nominated “The Leftovers” — and they even nominated it for both seasons, suggesting that it was on the fringes for an Emmy nomination, given the voter overlap. Showrunner Damon Lindelof is a past favorite of the writers’ branch of the TV academy; his scripts from five of the six “Lost” seasons were nominated from 2005 to 2010.
“The Leftovers” might have its best shot yet this year, given the tendency of the writers’ branch to give goodbye hugs, like last year with “Downton Abbey” and “The Good Wife.” The former received consecutive nominations for writing, then was snubbed until its final season three years later. “The Good Wife” received an Emmy writing nomination for its pilot, but was not nominated again until its series finale seven years later, despite seven WGA nominations in between, including a win.
Although “The Leftovers” has mostly been ignored for industry-voted awards (and was shut out by the Golden Globes as well), it won a Peabody and earned a USC Scripter nomination for its second season. The critics have really embraced it, with the Television Critics Association nominating the second season for Best Drama Series. The Critics’ Choice Awards gave the first season a pair of nominations, then tripled that total for the second, setting the record for most Critics’ Choice nominations for a drama in a single eligibility period. Carrie Coon went on to win Best Drama Actress.
If Coon or one of the other actors breaks through at the Emmys, they would be the latest in a long line of performances that were nominated or awarded in their early seasons by the critics, but snubbed until their third seasons or later by the Emmys. From the 2010s, that includes Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell (“The Americans”), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) and Matthew Fox (“Lost”).
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