July 30, 2020 at 1:23 pm #1203615912
This year’s nominations made me think a lot about the concept of a show’s awards trajectory. We tend to think about trajectories as essentially one of two binaries: upwards or downwards. Breaking Bad had an almost perfect upwards trajectory, where as Homeland basically had the reverse. But is it that simple? While all five of these shows had pretty disappointing award results this year, only one of them remains a real critical favorite. Does that count for anything? Is it better to have a constant (almost stagnant) awards run, picking up and losing noms here and there and never really winning, or to have a really strong opener that proves industry support and then progressively lose it.
Obviously, if this year’s nominations taught us anything it’s that this stuff is unpredictable, but assuming these shows produce their next season with quality about on par with their most recent one, who has the potential to do the best moving forward? Also, are any of them completely done, even if they were to produce a fan-favorite season that could be be compared to their first?July 30, 2020 at 1:35 pm #1203615962
Stranger Things. It’s still a phenomenon and the fact it got into drama series with such a weak performance shows some pulse. With a spring release I believe it could do better than this year. Moss’ snub shows THT is on its death bed, it most likely won’t return. Better Call Saul is lucky next season is its last.July 30, 2020 at 1:39 pm #1203615977
This may sound crazy and I am not a stan of the show but I voted Better Call Saul.
Looking at the Emmy nominations this year what scratches my head is the fact that Better Call Saul managed to expand its writing and sound nominations and stay in Series despite collapsing in acting. I think whilst it is losing to Succession for writing this year we need to keep an eye on it in Writing for its final season as I have a feeling it could do what The Americans did. I also think whilst Seehorn is never getting nominated, Odenkirk might be able to win à la Rhys.
I think The Handmaid’s Tale could do better (I don’t think it’s ever getting to the heights of its first two seasons awards wise or its ever getting back into Directing) if the quality is better. I think Moss’s snub this time can perhaps be compared to when Julianna Margulies missed in 2013 or Claire Danes missed one year before returning the next (i.e she isn’t going to win unless she has a killer season but she’s probably returning). I think the actors are the only people who will bring it back but they seem to have moved on from it and latched onto Succession (who would have thought we’d ever say this?)
I think the popularity of Stranger Things and Westworld will get them into random categories above the line (I have a feeling Brown will return for example). As for whether they can reach the quality or awards potential they had for their first season? No. Stranger Things is more or less a rewrite of season 1 each season and Westworld has fallen off a cliff and permanently paralysed itself. That being said the actors do seem to have some sort of respect and considering how much the acting branch seems to like Newton and younger performers I wouldn’t be surprised if they did well in nominations and potentially won something above the line if there is a year where any of the big 3 (Succession, Ozark and The Crown) or any future big contenders (Ratched? The Nevers? The Gilded Age?) miss eligibility one season and their networks push them heavily as their sole shows.
This is Us is on the same trajectory as The Good Wife except it’s probably unlikely to win anything outside of a possible Brown farewell.
FYC Emmys: "The Crown" in all categories, "I May Destroy You" in all categories, "It's a Sin" in all categories, "Small Axe" in all categories, Billie Piper ("I Hate Suzie"), Yvonne Strahovski ("Stateless") and Ruth Wilson ("His Dark Materials")July 30, 2020 at 1:41 pm #1203615981
I think they can all rebound, depending on the quality of their seasons and the climate in which they’re competing. This year, I think, was very much in a vacuum (due to the circumstances), and I don’t think we’ll see this happen again.
I am most worried about This Is Us because it had arguably its best season yet, but severely underperformed. Same goes for Saul, but that one will be competing for its final season next time, and we all know how shows tend to underperform for penultimate seasons. THT, Stranger Things and WW, on the other hand, were competing for their least acclaimed seasons but still did okay-ish, which makes me think they could rebound with good timing and great seasons. THT and ST’s Best Drama Series noms prove that there’s still some support for them left, even if not as much as in prior years. And, don’t forget, both aired an entire year ago!July 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm #1203616384
Stranger Things seems like the kind of industry and mainstream favourite that can rally late around its fifth season as they sometimes do. The other four have been falling too dramatically to reverse course. It is so rare that things rebound anyway that things should not be given the benefit of the doubt by default. The best template for Stranger Things is 24. It burst onto the scene with PGA and TCA Program of the Year wins, plus a Globe for Kiefer Sutherland. It chugged along at the Emmys for a few years, picking up various craft wins, but falling out of writing and directing fairly quickly. It even fell to eight nominations for its third season, but its haul was always respectable. Then the field opened up a bit and it had arguably its best season, so it exploded to its most nominations, even while falling out of casting because it was so old by then. Stranger Things has admittedly not been quite as good as 24 at hanging onto its nominations, but it compensates by being a bigger commercial hit. On the surface, it is not so far removed from the other four in the poll (and my argument is easy to dismiss by mentioning the David Harbour snub), but I contend that its decline has been smoother, which suggests a leveling off and less concern for the future.July 31, 2020 at 9:21 am #1203618458
I know you’re not a fan of the show, Riley, so asking you to say something positive about it probably hurts lol, but on what planet does Better Call Saul not perform better for its last season than it did for this season? Unless you’re looking at potential wins, in which case, yes, I’d agree Stranger Things is probably best poised.July 31, 2020 at 9:35 am #1203618474
Better Call Saul has only one more Emmy cycle to compete and Stranger Things has two, so they will definitely never be dropped. Westworld was snubbed because it had a terrible season, depending on the quality of further seasons it may come back but I’m not that hopeful. The Handmaid’s Tale has this crazy ambition of lasting 10 seasons, if that really happens it will certainly get dropped along the way but if it lasts 5-6 seasons in total it might maintain its series nomination but that Moss snub is a big blow. For The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld it depends on that year’s race and the quality of their seasons.July 31, 2020 at 10:55 am #1203618686
THT is on life support. Wiley would not have gotten in on the two percent rule, and Moss being snubbed for a wild card passion pick doesn’t look good. It’s not as politically relevant as it used to be, and it hasn’t done much to keep itself in the conversation. It could come back one more time if it makes 2021 eligibility, but if it misses next cycle, I’d say it’s pretty much done for.
It’s also not looking good for Stranger Things, but I agree that it can come back in full if it’s able to deliver a season with more critical acclaim. It can do this when THT can’t because it’s such a phenomenon, and like GoT, it’ll be a huge part of the cultural conversation no matter the quality of the season.
Better Call Saul will be fine. I don’t think it’ll ever collect a major win (not even in writing), and Seehorn is never going to happen, but Odenkirk will be back, and it’ll finish off strong.
Westworld is already DOA, Newton only getting in because she won last time and Wright only making it because of goodwill and the fact they probably didn’t actually watch the whole season. Newton maybe returns next time, but I don’t expect anything else.
This Is Us will always vaguely be around, I think. It’s only got two more years to go, and I don’t think Brown will ever be snubbed. If it can snag some buzzy guest performances, they can make it in, and in a less competitive year we could see Ventimiglia (if he comes to his senses and submits in supporting) or even Moore pop up again. I have faith it could make it back into series, especially seeing as how it doesn’t seem to be declining in quality (actually the opposite with the fourth season).
Emmys FYC: Maya Erskine in PEN15, Paapa Essiedu in I May Destroy You, Keeley Hawes in It's a Sin, Carl Lumbly in TFATWS, Cristin Milioti in Made for Love, Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision, Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie, Hailee Steinfeld in Dickinson, William Zabka in Cobra KaiJuly 31, 2020 at 11:09 am #1203618708This post was found to be inappropriate by the moderators and has been removed.July 31, 2020 at 5:18 pm #1203619508
on what planet does Better Call Saul not perform better for its last season than it did for this season?
Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks and Rhea Seehorn all missed this year, along with “Bagman” in directing and editing and this happened despite series-best critical acclaim, so I do not see why I would be expected to have faith in its Emmy prospects.July 31, 2020 at 5:38 pm #1203619551
Two words: Farewell season.July 31, 2020 at 5:46 pm #1203619571
Umm she says hi…
FYC Emmys: "The Crown" in all categories, "I May Destroy You" in all categories, "It's a Sin" in all categories, "Small Axe" in all categories, Billie Piper ("I Hate Suzie"), Yvonne Strahovski ("Stateless") and Ruth Wilson ("His Dark Materials")July 31, 2020 at 5:54 pm #1203619576
Worth noting, Veep’s final season was its least acclaimed since the first season, which I think played a big role in its underperformance.July 31, 2020 at 6:06 pm #1203619598
Two words: Farewell season.
Ahh yes, that’s why Homeland (previous drama series winner) and Modern Family (five time comedy series winner) are swimming in nominations this year. Or why Veep (three times comedy series winner) performed so well last year.
As much as I wish Better Call Saul would have an Emmys explosion like Breaking Bad did in its final year, I don’t think it will happen. Maybe I’ll reconsider if it finally wins an award this year. BCS falling out of actor and editing bodes poorly. But I’d love to be proven wrong whenever the final season is eligible!
I say Stranger Things. Riley’s post above was very persuasive.July 31, 2020 at 6:06 pm #1203619600
Worth noting, Veep’s final season was its least acclaimed since the first season, which I think played a big role in its underperformance.
This is true. But I still think that to imply Better Call Saul season 6 will do well at the Emmys is premature considering we haven’t seen this season of Better Call Saul. For all we know it could do quite badly critically (I mean I’m not saying it will of course but it’s a bit premature to say it will do well critically).
I mean even if the Veep comparison is flawed I feel like time after time we say shows will explode for their acclaimed final season simply it’s because of their acclaimed final season. Whether it’s with The Big Bang Theory last year or The Leftovers in 2017.
FYC Emmys: "The Crown" in all categories, "I May Destroy You" in all categories, "It's a Sin" in all categories, "Small Axe" in all categories, Billie Piper ("I Hate Suzie"), Yvonne Strahovski ("Stateless") and Ruth Wilson ("His Dark Materials")
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