I have a hard time understanding how one makes a distinction between a miniseries and a drama series. If a show has many episodes, AND returns the following season, wouldn’t that make it a series and NOT a miniseries? Some examples this year would be Luther, Downton Abbey, Sherlock etc. Even longer series that only air once make more sense to me. The Pacific and From the Earth to the Moon had more than 10 episodes, but they only aired once. Luther has already aired its second season..will it qualify again next year? I’m just confused.
I believe the rule is simply that a show has to have been confined to a limited run at the time it was aired and not have a “created by” credit at the start of each hour. Enforcement is completely lax, however. Direct sequels (the Prime Suspect miniseries, Return to Cranford) should obviously remain eligible as miniseries, but Downton Abbey and Luther were both renewed for second seasons ahead of Emmy nominations. Downton Abbey probably only got away with entering in Miniseries/Movies because it aired in four parts in the US, making it ineligible for Drama Series categories. I don’t know why Luther wasn’t disqualified; the show aired six episodes for their first season (the minimum required to compete in series races) and it was announced a second season would be commissioned last year and it’s already aired in the UK.
The Emmys used to take distinctions more seriously, disqualifying Best Miniseries nominee Rumpole of the Bailey in 1988 because it was clearly a series. They eventually opted to move it to Best Drama Series before voting began.