Can Recent TV Reboots Defend Their Emmy Crown?


The big story of the 2017/2018 TV season has been the rise of reboots. Every network buys into reboot fever for a variety of reasons. One sells through established intellectual property easier than original ideas to mass audiences. What’s old can be new again with the right take. Furthermore, our current climate provides plenty of new areas for classic characters to explore.

On top of that, many of these rebooted series have illustrious awards histories. These shows enter the race with more pressure than their other competitors. They have a reputation to uphold.

With reboot culture being so new, it’s hard to gauge how Emmy will react. We often stereotype voters as lazy, checking off what they already know. However, shows like “Homeland” and “30 Rock” illustrates they do go for new series too. Plus, head-scratchers like Merritt Wever, Ben Mendelsohn, and Bobby Cannavale reminds us that we often don’t know what voters are watching.

See below for the power rankings of the reboots most likely to show up at the Emmys.

“Will and Grace” (NBC)

Emmy History: 83 Nominations Total

  • Series – 6 Nominations, 1 Win (2000)
  • Actor – Eric McCormack – 4 Nominations, 1 Win (2001)
  • Actress – Debra Messing – 5 Nominations, 1 Win (2003)
  • Supporting Actor – Sean Hayes – 7 Nominations, 1 Win (2000)
  • Supporting Actress – Megan Mullally – 7 Nominations, 2 Wins (2000, 2006)
  • Directing – James Burrows – 6 Nominations
  • Writing – Jeff Greenstein – 1 Nomination
  • Guest Actor – 9 Nominations, 3 Wins (2003, 2005, 2006)
  • Guest Actress – 5 Nominations

No comedy is walking into the Emmys with more previous nominations than “Will and Grace,” NBC’s flagship reboot. In many ways, the show set the template for what a modern reboot could look like. All of the four principal cast members have been making the rounds promoting the reunion. Even better, it appears they are all happy to be back and excited to be renewed for two additional seasons. Sean Hayes, in particular, has had the strongest work of the quartet. This puts him in a safe spot for a nomination.

The show remains the only ensemble to have all four regulars won Emmys in all four acting categories. Yet, the landscape has changed drastically in the decade “Will and Grace” was gone. There are more shows out there than ever. Also, shows like “Atlanta” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” reflect how people and networks are much more adventurous in their comedy than at the turn of the millennium. It would be foolish to predict “Will and Grace” misses. Yet, it’s hard to see it return to its heyday nomination and win haul.

“Arrested Development” (Netflix)

Emmy History: 25 Nominations Total

  • Comedy Series – 3 Nominations, 1 Win (2004)
  • Comedy Actor – Jason Bateman – 2 Nominations
  • Comedy Supporting Actor
    • Jeffrey Tambor – 2 Nominations
    • Will Arnett – 1 Nomination
  • Comedy Supporting Actress – Jessica Walters – 1 Nomination
  • Comedy Directing – Joe and Anthony Russo – 1 Nomination, 1 Win (2004)
  • Comedy Writing – 5 Nominations, 2 Wins (2004, 2005)

“Arrested  Development” possesses a bit more experience in this field than our other reboots. When Netflix aired the fourth season of the award-winning show a few years ago, it was met with more confusion and criticism than it experienced in its first run. Structuring it around one character at a time divided the show’s diehard fan base. In fact, the creators recently recut the fourth season to resemble the original run two weekends ago as a promotion for the new, secret fifth season.

Still, even with less than stellar reviews, lead Jason Bateman was able to reap a nomination for the reboot. This bodes well for the ensemble if the fifth season really hits. Still, the show knows the awards issue that befalls a stellar ensemble. Without a standout, it’s hard to rally around one person. This leads to vote-splitting. Even during the original run, different stars each year got nominated in the supporting categories. Part of the reason Jason Bateman prevailed in the rebooted season was that he was the lone lead from the show. It will be interesting to see who rises to the top in this latest season.

“Roseanne” (ABC)

Emmy History: 25 Nominations Total

  • Comedy Actor – John Goodman – 7 Nominations
  • Comedy Actress – Roseanne Barr – 4 Nominations, 1 Win (1993)
  • Comedy Supporting Actress
    • Laurie Metcalf – 4 Nominations, 3 Wins (1992 – 1994)
    • Sara Gilbert – 2 Nominations

“Roseanne” remains the biggest question mark of the season. On one hand, it’s the highest rated show on TV. Being a hit gets certain shows into the race in a big way, such as CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” in the past. Yet, the show earns controversy both for its protagonist’s politics, but more so for its creator’s politics. What’s more telling is how the Emmys weren’t even in “Roseanne’s” cornerback in the original run. While Laurie Metcalf ran the gauntlet, winning three times in a row, the show never broke into writing, directing or series. Metcalf stands the best shot at a nomination this year. Anything further would be a bit shocking or meant as a mea culpa for its original run.

“Twin Peaks” (Showtime)

Emmy History: 18 Nominations Total

  • Drama Series – 1 Nomination
  • Drama Actor – Kyle MacLachlan – 2 Nominations
  • Drama Actress – Piper Laurie – 1 Nomination
  • Drama Supporting Actress
    • Piper Laurie – 1 Nomination
    • Sherilyn Fenn – 1 Nomination
  • Drama Directing – David Lynch – 1 Nomination
  • Drama Writing – 2 Nominations

Few shows rose as high and fell so quickly as “Twin Peaks” in its original run. Of the show’s 18 nominations, the majority came for the highly rated first season. It took a ratings, critical and awards drop in season two. The Showtime return of the show got a lot of puzzled looks, but a lot of attention. Many people really fell for it passionately. Plus, it got wrapped up in the year of Laura Dern, who may be the best path for “Twin Peaks” to sneak into the awards conversation. Still, “Twin Peaks’” latest season aired quite a while ago. It commanded a lot of buzz when released. However, has that buzz sustained itself a year later?

“Queer Eye” (Netflix)

Emmy History: Outstanding Reality Program – 2 Nominations, 1 Win (2004)

Few new Netflix shows have been as buzzed about as the new “Queer Eye” reboot. All five new members have been transformed into bona fide stars across all social media outlets. With only eight episodes, the show amasses plenty of tones. It’s fun and flighty when it needs to be. However, it never loses the weight of its premise. It may be 2018, but the Fab Five are going to talk to Trump voting conservatives and bring up police brutality. Makeovers aren’t only for the straights. One particular episode finds the group making over a closeted gay man looking to come out to his family. The original run was an Emmy winner. With the right campaign (which Netflix is certainly promoting) this has a shot at repeating the win.

“Star Trek Discovery” (CBS)

Emmy History: 144 Nominations (overall series)

  • Drama Series
    • Star Trek (NBC) – 2 Nominations (1967-68)
    • Star Trek: Next Generation – 1 Nomination (94)
  • Supporting Actor – Leonard Nimoy – Star Trek (NBC) – 2 Nominations (1967-68)

Over all sorts of incarnations, “Star Trek” always manages to get Emmys. Granted, many of these are in the tech categories. Still, shows like “True Blood” and “Game of Thrones” have helped genre shows break into the Emmys. CBS All Access hasn’t launched a major awards contender yet. “The Good Fight” came off of the Emmy-winning hit “The Good Wife,” but couldn’t muster a nomination. Star Trek has gotten into top categories before. However, “Discovery” keeps a relatively low profile, despite being a big budget venture.

“American Idol” (ABC)

Emmy History: 68 Nominations

  • Outstanding Reality Competition Program – 9 Nominations

“American Idol” pioneered reality competition shows in its original run. In fact, all nine of its nominations came consecutively. Due to the incredible winning streak of “The Amazing Race,” “American Idol” never won during its heyday. ABC’s spinoff of the show hasn’t captured the zeitgeist in the same way. However, guilt can be a powerful thing. If voters feel bad they never gave the original the win, then maybe (just maybe) this new incarnation can make it.

The reboots don’t stop with this year. Next year sees many more classic shows returning to the small screen. CBS’s “Murphy Brown” looks to be the most high profile of the latest batch. Candice Bergen won five consecutive awards for her leading portrayal of the title character. CW also gets into the reboot game this upcoming season as it brings “Charmed” back. Netflix once again dips into the IP as well as it brings “The Magic School Bus” back, with Kate McKinnon in the lead vocal role.

Do you think any reboots will return to the Emmys? Share your predictions in the Circuit Center or comments below.