Since 2010 only three networks have won Best Limited Series: FX, HBO and PBS (this includes 2011-2013 when the category was combined with TV Movie). But other networks and streaming services will try and stop the trio’s stranglehold. And for HBO this is personal with nine previous wins they’re one away from tying the record of 10 currently held by PBS and NBC.
Let’s take a look at what each network will submit to try and crack the lineup.
The Stranglehold Trio:
- Sharp Objects
- True Detective
Chernobyl, the telling of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, is HBO’s latest Limited Series and is airing at the perfect time—right before voting begins. Sharp Objects looks good for a nod—but how well will it perform when it’s been a year since it aired. True Detective previously competed as a Drama Series for season one which led to the rule change. And season two was almost completely ignored. With a return to form, True Detective will try and make the Limited Series lineup again.
FX could have been at a serious disadvantage without its golden goose Ryan Murphy. But then came Fosse/Verdon and with some razzle dazzle it could set itself apart from its grimmer competitors.
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a very familiar story IF you’re talking about the musical. A Limited Series based on the novel might be a tough sell for the television academy.
Steaming for a first win:
Netflix was the first streaming service to win Best TV Movie for Black Mirror: San Junipero (2017). Hulu was the first streaming service to win Best Drama Series for The Handmaid’s Tale (2017). And Amazon made history as the first streamer to win Best Comedy Series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2018). This leaves only one Series award left to make history—Best Limited Series.
- When They See Us
Last year for the first time Netflix was the most nominated network. How did they finally close the gap on HBO? It was their first major foray into the Limited Series races (Godless). If Netflix is going to become the premiere steaming service starting to rack up wins on the Limited Series side is a good place to start.
Netflix is taking a page right out of HBO’s playbook and making their prestige Limited Series available right as voting begins. Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, based on the true story of the Central Park Five. Premiering at the right time could make this series not only the front runner but the most nominated Limited Series. Maniac, debuted in the fall but the sci-fi pharmaceutical trial-based series could be outside the television academy’s comfort zone. But with nominations at PGA, DGA, WGA and SAG Awards it could still make the lineup.
- The Act
Hulu had hoped to make more of an impact last year with The Looming Tower. They return this year with two completely opposite series. The Act is the true-life story of a girl who’s a victim of her mother’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy and her attempt at escape that ends tragically. Catch-22 is an adaptation of the classic novel. Both have impressive casts but The Act was released weekly and Catch-22 was released all at once on May 17th.
A Very English Scandal
Scandal, is Amazon’s best chance and its comedic undertones will help it to stand out. Also helping Scandal is its only three parts and easily bingeable, which should help it to easily make the lineup.
Not to be ignored:
AMC: The Little Drummer Girl
AMC looks to enter the Limited Series lineup with their tale of an actress trying to infiltrate a terrorist cell. The actress aspect could help this series make an impression.
Bravo: Dirty John
Based on the mega popular same-name podcast. This true-life story takes place in Los Angeles so voters maybe familiar with this con man tale. And while this is Bravo’s only scripted series, they’re not new to the Emmy race after making an impact on the reality side previously.
Nat Geo: The Hot Zone
Nat Geo has become a major player recently at the Emmys on the Limited Series side with back-to-back nominations for their anthology series Genius. This series focuses on the spread of the Ebola virus and the television academy might check it out since it happens to star one of their favorites—Julianna Margulies.
Showtime: Escape at Dannemora
Dannemora the true-life prison break limited series looks to help Showtime make an Emmys comeback after practically falling off the map. After a decent winter awards season with wins at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards for Patricia Arquette and a surprise win at the DGA Awards for Ben Stiller, look for Dannemora will be a major factor at this year’s Emmys.
TNT: I Am the Night
Patty Jenkins’ Black Dahlia thriller reunited her with Wonder Woman star Chris Pine. TNT hopes to keep their success going after The Alienist scored a Best Limited Series nomination last year.
My Preliminary Predictions
- Escape at Dannemora
- Sharp Objects
- A Very English Scandal
- When They See Us