Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Which New Shows Could Make The Biggest Impact On The 2024 Emmy Awards?

From a post-apocalyptic video game adaptation and a Japanese samurai epic to a traumatic account of a stalker, this year’s new television contains a terrific group of conversation starters. Netflix has the dark comedy phenomenon “Baby Reindeer,” created by (and starring) comedian Richard Gadd and based on his real-life experiences of harassment. “Baby Reindeer” leads a boasting slate of new Netflix contenders, including “3 Body Problem,” “The Gentlemen,” “Ripley,” and “One Day,” all of which recently received nominations at the 2024 Gotham TV Awards. The Gotham nominations shed more light on where the Emmy race is headed and which streaming service could lead the nomination tally overall.

In Gotham’s breakthrough drama series category, Amazon Prime Video showed strength with the sci-fi gamer adventure “Fallout” and the assassin couple thriller “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Both shows have been renewed for a second season. In particular, “Fallout” could fill in the void left behind by HBO’s “The Last of Us,” a video game adaptation that performed well at last year’s Emmys, with 24 total nominations. On the limited series side, Prime Video has Lulu Wang’s “Expats,” a sprawling Hong Kong-set story of expats whose lives become intertwined with a tragedy. With a huge ensemble cast including Nicole Kidman (an executive producer on the series), Sarayu Blue, and Gotham nominee Ji-young Yoo – plus an esteemed production including Emmy-winning casting director David Rubin – “Expats” could find a home in multiple categories. In comedy, the streaming service has “Gen V,” a college superhero spinoff that builds promisingly on its Emmy-winning origin series “The Boys.”

However, new comedies will face stiff competition, considering the many beloved shows returning to the Emmy race. From FX’s “The Bear” and ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” to HBO Max’s “Hacks” and Hulu’s “Only Murders In The Building,” the category is already stacked. However, Apple TV+ might have the juice to break through with “Palm Royale,” a colorful period comedy with soapy twists and turns. Set in 1969 in Palm Beach, the story follows a social climber (Kristen Wiig) journeying through an unhinged high society in search of acceptance. The all-star cast includes seven-time Emmy winner Allison Janney, Emmy winner Laura Dern, Emmy nominee Ricky Martin, and seven-time Emmy-winning television legend Carol Burnett. While “Palm Royale” may have an uphill battle for recognition across the board, the starry talent and glossy production could be enough to sway some voters.

Fortunately, newcomers will have more room to shine in the drama categories. Most of last year’s drama series Emmy nominees will not return to compete this year. Plus, new seasons of shows such as “Severance,” “Yellowjackets,” and “House of the Dragon” have not been released in time for the eligibility deadline. New shows have the opportunity to build momentum here, and FX has a major contender with the breakout series “Shōgun.” The historical 1600s saga is based on James Clavell’s classic 1975 novel of the same name. Co-created by Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo, “Shōgun” has been such a massive hit series for FX that more seasons might be on the horizon, which seems likely given that the once-limited series will now compete in the drama categories. Also in the drama competition with a Gotham boost are new shows from Disney+ (“X-Men ’97”), Showtime (“The Curse”), and Hulu (“Black Cake”), which are looking for solid footing on Emmy nomination morning. In particular, since its November 2023 premiere, “The Curse” has maintained buzz, especially for two-time Oscar winner Emma Stone’s performance.

HBO received 127 Emmy nominations last year, 93 of which went to “Succession,” “The White Lotus,” “The Last of Us,” and “Barry.” Without these heavy hitters in the competition this year, does HBO have enough new contenders to fill in all the gaps? The platform can rely on returning hits “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (season 12), “True Detective” (season 4), “Hacks” (season 3), and “The Gilded Age” (season 2) to accumulate nominations. However, there is some uncertainty around which of the platform’s new shows will be prioritized. Given the meteoric rise of Netflix’s “Baby Reindeer,” and the added competition of such titles as “Lessons in Chemistry” (Apple TV+), “Fargo” (FX), and “Ripley” (Netflix), HBO may not have its usual dominance across the limited series categories this year.

Among the new HBO shows looking to break through, “The Sympathizer” could become a significant acting play. Created by co-show runners Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar, the series is based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2015 novel of the same name. Oscar-winner Robert Downey Jr. – who plays multiple roles, including that of a CIA agent and filmmaker – is projected to take home Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series. For the Lead Actress in a Limited Series category, HBO’s “The Regime” could put up a fight for the crown. Oscar-winner and two-time Emmy winner Kate Winslet stars as a delusional dictator of a fictitious country whose power begins to unravel. While “The Regime” did not receive the most favorable reviews by critics overall, Winslet herself has an enticing track record at the Emmys. She won the lead actress category for HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” and for “Mildred Pierce.” Is the third time a charm for her? Or, will “Lessons in Chemistry” solve the category with Brie Larson? While Apple TV+ released the show last October, Larson has maintained awards buzz for her performance. She already has a few precursors in her corner, including nominations at the most recent Golden Globe Awards, SAG Awards, Critics Choice Awards, and Satellite Awards.

With Emmy nomination voting set to start in a few weeks, which new releases will stay fresh in voters’ minds, and which will lose momentum? Could another contender explode out of nowhere and capture the zeitgeist? Let’s look closely at five new shows making an impact as voters catch up.

“Baby Reindeer” (Netflix)Baby Reindeer” could help Netflix overtake HBO and lead the Emmy nomination tally this year. The rollercoaster impact of this limited series can be felt both on and off-screen. “Baby Reindeer” has become one of the year’s most talked-about stories for its sensitive depictions of abuse and victimization. Richard Gadd plays Donny Dunn, a fictionalized version of himself, whose life is forever altered when a stalker named Martha (Jessica Gunning) walks into his place of work and never lets go. Having built momentum from incredible word-of-mouth, the Netflix series has become a bonafide global phenomenon. Given that the story is based on Gadd’s real-life experiences, curiosity about Martha’s true identity has led to another set of headlines in the news cycle. The series has also sparked a resonating conversation on men’s experiences of abuse and breaking their silence, as well as the tragic cycle of trauma. With revolving discussions on the subject matter and characters, the work of Gadd (also the series writer) and Gunning should be fresh on voters’ minds. Plus, the series emerged during a time of frontrunner uncertainty in the limited series race.

“Shōgun” (FX)With most of last year’s Outstanding Drama Series nominees out of competition this year, early Emmy predictions had Netflix’s “The Crown” defaulting to a win for its sixth season. While the latest royal offering still has a chance for victory, a new drama frontrunner has emerged from the wings: FX’s “Shōgun.” Set in 1600, the 10-part historical series follows Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) on his quest for power following the arrival of Englishman John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) in Japan. The series joins “The Bear” as one of FX’s most talked-about shows. The combined critical acclaim, high viewership, and technical prowess of “Shōgun” have resonated in pop culture. The material of Clavell’s novel is not new to adaptations. The 1980 NBC version took home Emmys for Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Costume Design, and Outstanding Graphic Design & Title Sequences and received 11 additional nominations. The 2024 version is on track to receive a similar level of Emmy love with its artful visual scope and impressive ensemble cast (including Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano, and Moeka Hoshi).

“Fallout” (Prime Video)Following the success of HBO’s “The Last of Us,” another video game adaptation could make its mark at the Emmys. From creator and director Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher Nolan), “Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic drama that stands out for its unique concept and vision. Set in a futuristic Los Angeles, the story follows mutated surface dwellers and residents of luxury fallout bunkers as their ideologies dangerously intersect. While the surface dwellers have adapted to a post-nuclear world, the fallout bunkers believe they are raising the next generation of recolonization for the presumed wasteland above them. “Fallout” entertains with dynamic storylines, a strong sense of humor, and highly memorable characters. Among the cast who could find Emmy love are Ella Purnell (of the Emmy-nominated “Yellowjackets“) as vault-dweller Lucy MacLean, Aaron Moten as Brotherhood of Steel member Maximus, and Emmy-nominated Walton Goggins as bounty hunter The Ghoul. The grand vision and scope of the series could also translate into several nominations below the line. From the stunts and sound design to the sci-fi costumes and makeup, the crafts are given plenty of showcases. With excellent overall ratings and a huge platform, the scale of “Fallout” could prove too big to go unnoticed this award season.

“The Curse” (Showtime)It feels unlikely that Showtime’s satirical drama “The Curse” will be cursed on Emmy nomination morning. Created by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie – who co-stars alongside Emma Stone – “The Curse” stands out for its dark humor and distinctive concept. The story follows a newlywed couple, Whitney (Stone) and Asher (Fielder), navigating a mysterious curse as they film their eco-living HGTV reality show with producer Dougie (Safdie) in New Mexico. “Flipanthropy” is not your typical home-flipping show; it incorporates the couple’s holistic home philosophy to “rejuvenate distressed homes” in Española while locals are concerned with gentrification and rent increases. Following a New York Film Festival premiere last October, the social satire garnered buzz for its ambition and unconventional storytelling. While Fielder did not break through at the Emmys with his 2022 series “The Rehearsal,” that year had heavy hitters such as “Succession,” “Squid Game,” and “Ozark.” “The Curse” will face less competition and a bigger push for multiple categories, from directing and writing to editing and acting. Stone could also become the third actress – following Helen Hunt (“As Good As It Gets” and “Mad About You”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen” and “Prime Suspect: The Final Act”) – to win an Oscar and Emmy in the same year.

“Lessons In Chemistry” (Apple TV+)Baby Reindeer” is not the only series that can benefit from the “Shōgun” limited-to-drama switch. The 1950s-set “Lessons in Chemistry” could make history for Apple TV+ as the streaming service’s first title nominated in the Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category. The series is developed by Lee Eisenberg (co-creator of the Emmy-nominated “Jury Duty”) and is based on the 2022 Bonnie Garmus novel of the same name. Oscar-winner Larson stars as Elizabeth Zott, a chemist whose career is challenged by patriarchal views and decides to become a cooking host to educate viewers on science. Larson is an early favorite to take home Lead Actress in a Limited Series. Also, Aja Naomi King as legal aide Harriet and Lewis Pullman as scientist Calvin could be on the cusp of receiving their first Emmy nominations in Limited Supporting Actress and Actor, respectively. Going into Emmy season, “Lessons in Chemistry” has already impacted the awards front with nominations from PGA, DGA, SAG, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Golden Globe Awards this year. While “Lessons in Chemistry” premiered early last October and many new titles have been released since then, the series could be resonant enough for voters to check it off for familiarity. The Emmys often reserve a few spots for period pieces in the limited categories, and “Lessons in Chemistry” fits the bill. However, time will tell whether newer shows (like Apple TV+’s own “Masters of the Air,” for instance) will have a more impactful presence in the race.

Which of these Emmy contenders do you think will perform best with Television Academy voters when they go to cast their nomination ballots later this week? Please let us know in the comments section below or on Next Best Picture’s Twitter account. Be sure to also check out our Next Best Series Podcast throughout the Emmy season and our current Emmy Award Nomination predictions here.

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Nadia Dalimonte
Nadia Dalimonte
Editor In Chief for Earth to Films. Film Independent, IFS Critics, NA Film Critic & Cherry Pick member.

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