3 Emmy longshots to bet on for Best Limited Series: ‘A.D.,’ ‘Houdini,’ and ‘The Casual Vacancy’

Olive Kitteridge,” “American Crime,” “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” “Texas Rising” and “The Honorable Woman” have the best odds to reap nominations in the Emmy race for Best Limited Series, according to the predictions of Gold Derby users and Editors. But in order to win Gold Derby’s prediction contest prize of $1,000, you not only need the highest accuracy rate but maybe the most game points, too. That means you may be smart to bet on a longshot or two when you make your predictions. Click here to get stared. You can change your picks later as often as you wish.

Below: Three 100/1 contenders worth gambling on for Best Limited Series.

A.D.” (NBC)
Predicted by 1 Editor, 0 of our Top 24 Users

Subtitled “The Bible Continues,” this is the sequel to “The Bible” (2013), which premiered to 13 million viewers, became a blockbuster home-video release, was nominated at the Emmys for Best Miniseries or Movie and was recut as “Son of God” for theatrical release.

Exposure should be high, especially since “A.D.” airs on NBC, whereas “The Bible” aired on the History channel. Given poor critical reviews (44 on Metacritic) and its only other nominations being for sound, exposure is likely what got “The Bible” into Best Miniseries.

Miniseries shared a category with movies when “The Bible” competed, but the academy has since separated them, which means almost twice as many nomination slots.

Cable has dominated the miniseries races in recent years. “A.D.” would be the first from the big four commercial broadcast networks to be nominated in the main field since CBS’s “Elvis” in 2005 and the first from NBC since “The ‘60s” and “The Temptations” in 1999.

Critical reception is weak at 53 on Metacritic. “The Bible” overcame a low score, but voters now may opt for fare of supposed higher quality, like “Olive Kitteridge” (89), “Wolf Hall” (86), “The Missing” (85), “American Crime” (84) and “The Honorable Woman” (82).

Audiences may be tiring of this franchise, as fewer tuned in to the premiere of “A.D.” — 10 million — than any of the installments of “The Bible.” The recent news that producers intend to expand “A.D.” to a regular annual series further lessens the novelty.

The Casual Vacancy” (HBO/BBC)
Predicted by 0 Editors, 1 of our Top 24 Users

Of the 13 HBO miniseries that have been eligible for Emmys, 10 have been nominated for Best Miniseries and only three were left off the list: “Parade’s End” (still nominated for Best Actor and Writing in 2013), “House of Saddam” (four nominations in 2008, including a Supporting Actress win) and “Laurel Avenue” (1994, the network’s first miniseries eligible). Gold Derby is not predicting “The Casual Vacancy” in any category — making it HBO’s least successful miniseries ever — probably just due to lack of awareness.

Although its end-of-April airdate has been detrimental to its racetrack odds at Gold Derby, that lateness will keep it top-of-mind when voters actually cast their votes.

The Television Academy has long been enamored with Brits and this is actually a British co-production that has already premiered on the BBC to positive reviews.

This program is an adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s first novel intended for an adult readership. The films based on her “Harry Potter” series were commercial and critical successes that struggled at the Oscars. Might that misfortune follow her to the Emmys?

Houdini” (History)
Predicted by 0 Editors, 1 of our Top 24 Users

The industry guilds overlap membership with the Television Academy and “Houdini” was nominated by eight of them (acting, costumes, directing, hair and makeup, production design, sound editing, sound mixing, writing), two more than Best Miniseries frontrunner “Olive Kitteridge” (acting, costumes, directing, editing, hair and makeup, writing).

“Houdini” was the most-watched miniseries of 2014. Nielsen ratings are irrelevant for dramas (ask “NCIS” and “The Walking Dead”), but they carry miniseries at the Emmys. The most-watched miniseries has been nominated at least the last three cycles. All similarly aired on the History channel and had spotty critical backing: “Bonnie & Clyde” (54 on Metacritic), “The Bible” (44) and “Hatfields & McCoys” (68).

With 51 on Metacritic, this is not a critics’ pick. However, the guilds remind us that critics and the industry do not always agree.

“Houdini” aired way back in September, so voters may have forgotten it.

Because the guilds employ a calendar-year eligibility period, “Houdini” did not face many spring 2015 limited series at the guilds that it will at the Emmys, including the aforementioned “Wolf Hall,” “American Crime,” “The Casual Vacancy” and “A.D.”

Are you convinced? Click here to make your Emmy predictions for Best Limited Series as well as other drama, comedy, variety, and reality categories. You can also use our drag-and-drop menu below to get started.

Best predictions will win $1,000 (see our contest rules). And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Emmys last year – and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.

Average Gold Derby users just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our User racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds. The Top 24 Users did the best at predicting last year’s Emmy nominations (78.55%) when competing against Gold Derby’s Editors (77.68%), all Users (74.78%) and the Experts (74.64%). Which group will be victorious this year?

Register/log in to your account (or create an account with one click using Facebook, Twitter, or Google) so you can also compete to predict the Daytime Emmys, Tony Awards nominations, and such reality shows as “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” “Dancing with the Stars, “American Idol” and more.

More News from GoldDerby