Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing). The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards. Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24. The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).
Writers are often the unsung heroes of television. These puppeteers of the written word storyboard and create the perfect tempo within each season of a series. Although they are the creative force behind story arch and character development, audiences are unusually oblivious to who writes each episode of a series they love. An Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series is a way for writers to achieve the recognition they deserve.
“Game of Thrones” ended last month after airing for seven years on HBO. Since its premiere, the series has dominated the television conversation. “Games of Thrones” has won Outstanding Writing for a Drama two times and has four other nominations. Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have written the majority of the show’s 73 episodes and have been the show’s sole nominees in the writing category. This year, “Game of Thrones” is putting all of their eggs in one basket by submitting only the series finale for consideration in writing. This has been a divisive season for “Game of Thrones.” Submitting just one episode (no splitting of votes) may be the best chance to score a nomination.
It has been since 2014 that Netflix’s “House of Cards” received a nomination for writing for the episode “Chapter 14.” With the show being officially voted “out off of office,” this is the last year “House of Cards” could be recognized for its wicked political writing. “Chapter 73,” written by Frank Pugilese and Melissa James Gibson, concludes this drama and headline filled show and is up for consideration.
HBO’s “Succession” follows the Roy family as they fight over who should have control of their media conglomeration. This series finished its freshman season in August of 2018. The season finale was a high point of the show. Jesse Armstrong wrote the finale, “Nobody’s Ever Missing,” and that episode has been submitted for consideration for writing. “Succession” has gathered significant traction and may be able to find lovers within the Academy.
“Pose” is a dramatic musical and has been a breakout hit. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck and Steven Canals created this series for FX. “Pose” focuses on LBGTQ African-American and Latino models/dancers who compete for awards and recognition in NYC’s ballroom culture in the 1980s/90s. Since 2018, “Pose” has received positive reviews and was nominated at this year’s Golden Globes. This recognition could translate to Emmy love. “Pose” submitted “Pilot” (written by the show’s creators) and “Love is the Message” (written by Ryan Murphy and Janet Mock).
The season finale of Amazon Video’s “Homecoming” has been submitted for Emmy consideration in writing. “Stop” brings the season featuring Julia Roberts and Stephan James to a thrilling close. Besides “Homecoming,” the season finales of Netflix’s “Ozark” and “Orange is the New Black” have been submitted this year as well.
BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” was nominated last year for the episode “Nice Face.” Since its freshman season, “Eve” has taken off. The show won a Peabody Award and the top prize at the British Academy of Television Awards. “Killing Eve” has submitted the episode entitled “Nice and Neat” for consideration at this year’s Emmys. “Nice and Neat” was written by season two showrunner, Emerald Fennell.
Last year, the episode “June” from “The Handmaid’s Tale” was among the nominees for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. This year, the series has submitted the episode “Holly.” The episode follows the pregnant heroine (Elisabeth Moss) as she escapes to a governor’s house in the middle of winter. She is then forced to make a decision that will change the course of her life. This episode is a season highlight.
At this year’s Emmys, two of last year’s nominees, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “The Crown,” will not be in contention due to eligibility dates. Also, FX’s “The Americans” (2018’s winner for writing) ended last year. So, there will be at least three spots that are up for grabs for non-repeaters. We will have to wait and see which shows come out on top.
The network AMC is betting on the “go big or go home” strategy for Emmy submissions. Their shows “Better Call Saul,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” and “The Son” is flooding the Academy with contenders for writing. “Better Call Saul,” which is a spinoff and a prequel of sorts to the hugely successful “Breaking Bad,” has submitted seven of their ten episode season. “The Walking Dead” spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead,” has submitted six episodes. And “The Son,” a western drama starring Pierce Brosnan, has submitted seven episodes. More is more?
NBC’s “This is Us” is looking to score its first writing nomination for its third season. “This is Us” focuses on the emotional connections between people while playing out the history of the Pearson family. This year, “This is Us” submitted “R & B” (written Kay Oyegun) which takes a hard look at the marriage between fan-favorite couple Randal and Beth. “The Wating Room” (written by Bekah Brunstetter) plays out throughout one night while the family sits in the waiting room of a hospital. The series is so well-written that it is hard to believe that the series has yet to be recognized in this category. Maybe this year, “This is Us” can finally score that elusive nomination.
CURRENT OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES PREDICTIONS
- David Benioff and D.B. Weiss- “Game of Thrones” – “The Iron Throne” (HBO)
- Jesse Armstrong – “Succession” – “Nobody’s Ever Missing” (HBO)
- Bekah Brunstetter– “This is Us” – “The Waiting Room” (Amazon Video)
- Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder – “The Handmaid’s Tale” – “Holly” (HULU)
- Chris Mundy – “Ozark” – “The Golden Coast” (Netflix)
- Emerald Fennell – “Killing Eve” – “Nice and Neat” (FX)