Emmy Nominations: Will Underdog Shows Shake Things Up?

Monday night marked the deadline for TV academy members to fill out their ballots for September’s Emmy Awards.

With 2,300 submissions in the acting category and 732 programs (165 drama series alone) it’s easy to see why the exhausted Emmy voter would just vote for the people they voted for last year.

Maybe this explains why we see the same nominees year after year in the series categories, easily the least exciting of the live ceremony. With several lesser-known shows gaining traction among critics, this would be an ideal year for Emmy to shake things up when nominations are announced July 17.

Likely Suspects

“Game of Thrones” courted controversy in its final episodes, from poor lighting to that random coffee cup. A fair amount of questionable narrative choices would seem to make this series, long an Emmy darling on the technical side and thrice a winner of Best Drama series, ineligible for the prize for its last season.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won a stunning eight Emmy awards for its first season. It’s still a critical darling and is aces with top-notch editing, costuming and direction. Expect its winning streak to continue.

Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam MaiselAmazon

Voters will want to send “Veep ” off with some awards for its final season — except that it wasn’t as funny as previous years.

“The Big Bang Theory.” The sentimental voters may want to give the top prize to the nerd hit, and it would be co-creator Chuck Lorre’s first Emmy after decades in the business and many hits.

The Upstarts

“Fleabag.” Easily the year’s funniest show. With creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s profile on the rise (she is writing the script for the next James Bond film), a nomination for Best Comedy Series would really shake up this complacent category. Ditto a Best Actress nod for Waller-Bridge.

“The Kominsky Method.” The Golden Globes bestowed a lot of love on this Netflix comedy starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as a once-famous acting coach and his longtime agent. And it’s Chuck Lorre’s other show in addition to “Mom” on CBS.

“Succession.” The HBO drama really built up a following since it premiered last summer. Expect some nominations.

“Chernobyl.” The devastating British production about the aftermath of the 1988 explosion at the Russian nuclear power plant has won raves. Expect Jared Harris to score a nomination in the limited-series acting category.

“Chernobyl” star Jared HarrisLiam Daniel/HBO

“When They See Us.” Ava DuVernay’s unsparing look at what happened to the Central Park Five at their trials and afterward has struck an international nerve.


It was a so-so year for the actors on “Game of Thrones,” with the exception of Maisie Williams. It was a great year for Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”) and Richard Madden (“Bodyguard”). Michelle Williams was the heart and soul of the uneven “Fosse/Verdon.” Mahershala Ali showed his versatility in “True Detective.” The year’s breakout stars were 19-year-old Joey King (“The Act”) and 21-year-old Jharrel Jerome (“When They See Us”).

You could bet the future on them.

Author: Robert Rorke

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