Emmys cliffhanger: Which shows will win for their final seasons?

It’s the year of departures. With 2023 Emmy season on its way, there are a plethora of shows that are competing for their final seasons, including last year’s Best Drama Series winner “Succession,” which will be concluding with Season 4. There is also some speculation that “Ted Lasso” – which won Best Comedy Series its entire run – may end with its current third cycle, as its star and developer Jason Sudeikis has hinted with the overall storyline. Aside from those, there are also the farewell seasons of “Better Call Saul,” “Barry,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Dead To Me.” Will any of these shows snag Emmy gold one last time?

When it comes to Best Drama Series, only three shows have won for their final seasons: “Game of Thrones” (2019), “Breaking Bad” (2014) and “The Sopranos” (2007), each of which had their endings garner varying degrees of reception and audience reactions. With “Succession” having won for its last two seasons, it may be hard to resist given that last time, it broke the record for the most acting nominations in a single year. And it is probably safe to expect similar nominations for its final installment, especially for its main actors like Brian Cox, Sarah Snook, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron, and winners Jeremy Strong and Matthew Macfadyen.

HBO’s family drama could also nab certain guest actor noms for those that are returning, like previous nominees Alexander Skarsgard, James Cromwell, Harriet Walter, Hope Davis, Arian Moayed and winner Cherry Jones, along with a couple of writing and directing bids. Of course, we will have to wait to see what the last season holds in store, especially with its series finale, but if it can maintain buzz and can get a large number of key nominations the same way “Game of Thrones” dominated the tally for its final season (which was considered by many to be divisive), it may be able to walk off with its third trophy.

But watch out for “Better Call Saul,” which aired the second half of its final season back in August to universal acclaim, similar to its predecessor “Breaking Bad,” which used the same strategy to win for both of its halves. The prequel may be able to use that to its advantage for its final six episodes and potentially break the longest Emmy losing streak for a scripted series currently going at 46 nominations without a win. It is looking likely to have a decent lineup to go with Best Drama Series, as stars Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn may cautiously get another nomination like they did for the first half, along with a writing nomination, since the branch has always supported it. But it will be those extra mentions that could pull it over the edge, like Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks or Carol Burnett in supporting, or perhaps a directing nomination.

Over at the comedy category, if it indeed does turn out to be the final goodbye for “Ted Lasso,” we can probably expect tremendous support for the show. It has been undefeated for Best Comedy Series two years in a row and the same goes for Sudeikis in Best Comedy Actor, so he is certain to get a nomination, likely along with his perennial castmates Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed and winners Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham. And depending on what other cast members may stand out in this season, they could add to that list, as well as multiple writing and directing citations as they have received in years past.

The show has more competition for that farewell season narrative as “Barry” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are also ending their runs, and have found success with the Emmys (with the latter winning Best Comedy Series its debut season). Both have won multiple acting awards for their cast members and sustained their nominations for previous seasons, so we’ll have to wait and see how their last episodes are received. It is also worth noting that “Dead To Me” has concluded and while that has never made the top category lineup, the sentiment could make it break through especially since its leading actresses Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini received nominations previously.

The history of awarding final seasons for comedies is more evident, but still a rarity as only two shows have won in the new millennium: “Schitt’s Creek” (2020) and “Everybody Loves Raymond” (2005). Before then, you have to go back to the early decades of the Emmys when classics like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1966), “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1977) and “Barney Miller” (1982) triumphed for their partings. Even more recently, “Veep,” which won three consecutive Emmys leading up to its final season, came up short against “Fleabag” (2019) for its second and final year, so it is all about what has the momentum. With this many shows bidding farewell, it will be exciting to see what will transpire as the Emmy season continues to roll ahead.

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