Today I am going to talk to you about the problem with the Emmy Awards as though there is just one problem and one solution. That is, of course, cuckoo bananas as there are many problems with the Emmy Awards and that there's no real quick easy fix.
The biggest problem with the Emmys is that it is seeking to award the best shows when TV now is broadly an offering of niche programs that few people have actually watched. In the days of yore, it was a tragedy that the widely-watched NYPD Blue beat out the watched-by-barely-anyone Homicide: Life On The Street. And that was in a TV market where there were maybe 15-20 TV dramas that could viably compete for the Best Drama category. Today there are endless streams of viable contenders.
So, today you have what counts as mainstream consensus picks when there is a glut of well-produced shows that could and should be contenders. That's frustrating. But it isn't even exactly what the problem is.
The actual problem is that producers/networks of the shows that are broadly known and, thus, nominated, play games with category submissions to maximize their chances at winning a trophy. This year's most egregious example: The White Lotus, soon to debut its second season on HBO, nominated as a limited series.
And why is Kieran Culkin nominated as a Supporting Actor for Succession while Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong are nominated as Lead Actor - Does Culkin really have less screen time than his co-stars? It's because Culkin has more of a humor-based character and his representatives believe he has a better shot in the Supporting category. It's playing the game on an arbritary field.
See also: how is Barry a comedy? Is it just because episodes run 30 mins? How was the Outstanding Television Movie awarded to Hulu's Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers when Apple TV+'s CODA won the Academy Award for Best Picture?
It's all about gaming the categories. And I don't blame the Emmy folks for letting it happen. But what does need to happen is for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to find a way to mitigate category manipulation. The result is an awards show that feels slight, and under-representative of what actually were the best shows. Already a large number of great shows are locked out of the awards. And that feels worse when it is clear just how many games are being played with the submissions.
My radical idea: No more submission-led nominations.
Networks and producers shouldn't be the ones to decide what gets nominated where. Instead, the Academy should be the ones to determine who gets nominated where. Have producers submit their shows to the Academy with details on cast, other creatives, and with broadcast dates/outlets to prove eligibility. And then when it comes time for nominations, the Academy can publish a list of eligible titles in each category. And leave it to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to determine what is and isn't a 'comedy'. They can do it. After all, they are TV scientists.
It reduces category fraud, improves the integrity of the awards (even if audiences don't vocalise that as a problem, they can smell out whether something feels off), and leaves the Emmys in better shape than they have been for a few years now.
Of course, none of that fixes the other major hurdle which is that most potential Emmy viewers simply don't know the nominated shows...
(Seriously, where is Yellowstone?)
Iron Man Go
Marvel is getting a Pokemon Go-style AR game, partnering with Niantic on Marvel World of Heroes. As you roam your neighborhood, you will be able to team up with your friends and Marvel superheroes to tackle whatever issues are plaguing your hood. Along the way you can also gain abilities, such as wielding Thor’s mighty hammer (the media release doesn't care, but I say it is important to know it is named mjolnir), Cyclops’ laser eyes, and Doctor Strange’s shield spells.
“Become a Marvel Super Hero in the real world,” says the official website. “Create your own hero, patrol your neighborhood to foil crimes, and team up with your friends as well as iconic Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine to save the Multiverse!”
It launches in 2023 and I reckon it sounds like a fun AR exercise.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol is being restored for Disney+. Read: The Mirror
- Peacock is selling Days of Our Lives to subscribers with the promise that it won't be interrupted by breaking news. Last week's final ever episode on NBC was interrupted in some markets by news breaking of Queen Elizabeth II's death. Read: Deadline
- Bosch star Titus Welliver joins the cast of Titans, playing Lex Luthor. Read: Dark Horizons
- Looking for a list of four essential Quantum Leap episodes to watch ahead of the sequel series? This is actually a pretty handly list. Read: Den of Geek
- Looking for a list of upcoming screen projects from Hollywood's current crop of nepo babies? Read: The Guardian
- The female Ninja Turtle Venus de Milo existed in just one short-lived TV series, but on her 25th birthday there is this look back at her conception. Read: TV Line
- Eastenders (with what I assume was a pre-filmed segment) had its characters noting the passing of the Queen in an episode that just aired. Read: Radio Times
US political parasites The Lincoln Project will be the focus of what sounds like a fairly uncritical 5-part documentary series on Showtime. It debuts Oct 7.
Entergalactic, from Kid Cudi, debuts on Netflix Sept 30.
My Little Pony: Make Your Mark debuts on Netflix Sept 26.
Wanna debuts on Netflix Sept 21.It's the story of Wanna Marchi, the biggest scammer in the history of Italian Television
That's it for today. Tomorrow the newsletter will be back to tell you what the Emmys got wrong. And can you believe THAT happened?