Watch out for ‘Invincible’ in the Emmy race for Best Animated Program

Amazon Prime’s hit series “Invincible” could well become the first freshman series in a decade to crack the Best Animated Program line-up at the Emmys. Sure, the category has been dominated by long-running shows including “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Futurama,” “Family Guy” and even “Spongebob SquarePants.” And edgier programs such as “Archer,” “Rick and Morty,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Big Mouth” have broken through but none did this in their first season.

The highly acclaimed “Invincible” could buck this trend. The first season scored a whopping 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.8/10 average rating on IMDb. It boasts an A-list voice cast that includes Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Golden Globe champ Sandra Oh, Oscar nominee Steven Yeun and “Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill. The co-creator is Robert Kirkman of “The Walking Dead” fame.

“Invincible” tells the compelling story of seventeen-year-old Mark Grayson, a high school student who’s just like every guy his age, except that his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet. As he develops powers of his own, he discovers his father’s legacy may not be as heroic as it seems. Mark must use both his own powers and humanity in order to restore peace to his cherished earth.

Our current odds predict that three animated heavyweights — “The Simpsons”, “Bob’s Burgers” and “South Park” — will be joined in the race by “Big Mouth” and “Archer.” But “Invincible” is sitting in sixth place, with a half dozen of Gold Derby’s Emmy experts foreseeing a nomination.

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They are aware that “Archer” and “South Park” haven’t been nominated for a few years; “Archer” last competed in 2017 and “South Park” in 2018. Once TV academy voters drop you, it’s very hard to get picked up again. So at least one of these may fail to make the journey back. That leaves at least one slot to fill.

If not “Invincible,” then what show? Perhaps the second season of “Harley Quinn.” This DC series was snubbed last year despite meriting 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It would be the first DC comic adaptation to reap a bid since “Batman: The Animated Series” way back in 1993. It contended for its first season but was spurned thereafter.

The most recent rookie show to contend in this category was “The Ricky Gervais Show” back in 2010. Gervais is an Emmy darling, reaping 15 bids across the years for such iconic shows as “The Office” and “Extras.” Last year, several freshman series failed to make the cut including Apple TV+’s “Central Park.” Netflix’s “Tuca and Bertie” and Amazon Prime’s “Undone.”

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