Monday, September 25, 2023

How These Uneven Seasons Of Television Could Shake Up This Year’s Emmy Award Race

It’s difficult to make a great season of television, and it’s even more difficult to produce consistently great television throughout multiple seasons. In an overabundant sea filled with programs to watch, there is a reason why only a few shows rise above the rest. One year, a show could be adored by everyone and embraced by all of the awards shows. Then, the following year, the same series could be snubbed by these same award shows like the plague. This year, some beloved series suffered critically and generally frustrated viewers. Of course, this could possibly hurt these shows’ Emmy potential this particular awards season. Let’s take a look at some of these shows which had frustrating seasons this past year and where they could disappoint with the Television Academy.

Since its debut in 2019, “The Mandalorian” has been one of the biggest series in the world. The Television Academy has always been open to showing love to popular series and genre television. This pairing has fit like a glove; it earned 39 Emmy nominations and 14 wins during its first two seasons. After a two-year hiatus, “The Mandalorian” finally returned this year with a hugely anticipated third season. Although its overall reception was positive, it was not beloved by everyone. This new season was plagued with the remnants of failed spin-off series, underwhelming stakes, and the lack of a focused plot for the majority of its eight-episode run (It didn’t help that big storylines were set up and resolved in a horrendous spin-off series). It wouldn’t be surprising to see “The Mandalorian” only perform below the line at the Emmys this year. What doesn’t help this show is the amount of love that critics and audiences have shown “Andor” since its release. “Andor” truly feels like the prestige drama Disney+ has been hoping it’d produce, and its potential for performing well below the line and in above-the-line categories is high. “Andor” could earn multiple acting nominations and nominations for writing, directing, and even Outstanding Drama Series. This year, the collective goodwill towards “Andor” — instead of “The Mandalorian”- is too strong to ignore. It looks like Disney Plus might have found their new Emmy darling.

Speaking of genre television, “Yellowjackets” was a surprise hit last year with the Television Academy. The show over-performed, earning seven Emmy nominations, including multiple acting and writing nominations, directing, and Outstanding Drama Series. The series had a groundswell of support, and audiences were excited going into its second season. While the second season still earned favorable reviews, audiences were a bit mixed by the time the finale aired. While it was a solid season, it’s easy to feel the seams of the series beginning to stretch. Certain storylines in the present timeline felt dragged out and less engaging than the flashbacks, where most of the second season’s highlights occurred. By the time everything fell into place within the final few episodes, the result was shocking, to say the least. While it’s possible the series could earn three acting nominations this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it underperform in terms of writing and directing nominations. It could potentially be only an acting and series play. While that still sounds good, this was the opportunity for Showtime to build upon its flagship series. After the full release of “Yellowjackets” season 2, it doesn’t seem like the series has enough material to last multiple seasons without quickly getting stale.

“The Crown” has been an Emmy darling for its previous four seasons. In particular, season four swept every above-the-line Emmy in the drama categories. Everyone seemed to look forward to the latest season of “The Crown.” Yet, every single image or video that came out of Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana was like catnip to fans of the series. It seems that this new ensemble — which also includes Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, and Dominic West — couldn’t capture the magic the previous two ensembles brought to the series. The fifth season of “The Crown” received mixed-positive reviews from critics, making it the least heralded season of the show’s entire run. Usually, “The Crown” would be a top-three contender whenever it was in the Emmy race, but there’s a chance it could miss Outstanding Drama Series this year. If it does get in, expect it to be seventh or eighth in terms of chance to win the big prize. What is helping “The Crown” this year is that there’s still overall love from the Television Academy, and it could earn acting nominations for Staunton and Debicki. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the series score nominations below the line and miss out on above-the-line categories such as writing and directing. This awards season, “The Crown” this awards season should just be happy to be along for the ride.

Another series that is (shockingly) in this conversation is “Ted Lasso.” The hit Apple+ series has won the Outstanding Comedy Series, Comedy Actor, and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy awards for its first two seasons. The series has also won Outstanding Supporting Actress and Directing in a Comedy Series. So, why is “Ted Lasso” included here? Although season three of “Ted Lasso” maintains positive reviews, the show is nowhere near as beloved as it used to be. Fans and critics alike have been frustrated by the current season. By the time audiences get to the so-called “final” episode of the show, an overabundance of storylines feels unresolved or at least rushed. Episodes felt incredibly bloated, sometimes lacking a through-line, and, frankly, “Ted Lasso” carried itself like it wasn’t ending. There is still plenty to enjoy this season, but some of the charm that originally made the show so special seems to have withered away. How will this affect its chances of winning Outstanding Comedy Series for its third and supposedly final season? Of course, this could be an overreaction, and the Emmys could support the series until the very end. Regardless, “Ted Lasso” will likely rack up plenty of nominations this year. The problem is that the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race is tight, as the love for “Abbott Elementary” has only grown after its terrific second season. “Abbott Elementary” will surely be an even bigger deal at the Emmys than the previous year. Also, with a new series like “The Bear” possibly making its mark this year — along with the final seasons of beloved series like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Barry” — it is not an easy path to the finish line.

Of course, this could all be a major overreaction. The Television Academy has been known to indulge in series which enjoy, even if the quality isn’t up to the standard they previously set. That being said, plenty of new series are pushing to get recognized by everyone. With multiple major series (in both the drama and comedy categories) ending, this only paves the way for newer series to take their place. Sure, the shows named above could totally skate by this year. Who knows what’ll happen in the next couple of years? Because if they maintain their current paces, it isn’t looking good for these shows in the long run.

Do you think the series listed above will possibly have a weaker year at the Emmys? What series not listed above do you think will suffer this year? Please let us know in the comments section below or over on our Twitter account.

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Giovanni Lago
Giovanni Lago
Devoted believer in all things cinema and television. Awards Season obsessive and aspiring filmmaker.

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