With Emmy nominations, do we really care about other shows besides 'Stranger Things'?
Posted July 20
Last week, the Television Academy announced its annual awards, the Emmys, for programs from the previous year, and of the four major award shows (the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Tonys), the Emmys are the only ones I care about.
Unlike the Oscars, which are focusing increasingly on obscure films that most people don't see, the Television Academy offers a host of awards that are more reflective of the entire TV-watching experience. They recognize drama, comedy, variety, mini-series and reality programs. They offer an award for outstanding main title design. They recognize narrators, reality show hosts, children’s programming and commercials.
But this year the big question people are asking, of course, is how many awards is the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things" going to win?
"Stranger Things" was last year’s TV surprise success. Streamed on Netflix, the show is an ’80s horror-adventure about young kids in small-town Indiana who play Dungeons and Dragons, struggle with bullies and fight both real-life and otherworldly monsters. It is the kind of show that I am genetically engineered to adore.
Luckily, I am not the only one. The show was more successful than virtually any other series in Netflix history, and certainly the most watched and talked about Netflix show upon its debut. It’s been nominated for a grundle of awards in the last year and won more than its share.
The Emmys blessed "Stranger Things" with 18 nominations, many technical but also several of its biggies. At the top of this list are nods for outstanding drama series, directing and writing.
Now, of course I think "Stranger Things" should win all three, and with "Game of Thrones" out of the way this year, its chances are greatly improved. However, it does have strong competition across these three categories from the following shows:
"Better Call Saul" — which will win votes from people who miss "Breaking Bad."
"The Crown" — which will win the Anglophile/Masterpiece crowd.
"The Handmaid’s Tale" — which is some kind of intellectual anti-Trump something with a former "Mad Men" star (the combination of these two could cause problems for us "Stranger Things" loyalists.)
"Westworld" — HBO’s philosophical epic about robots that everyone has to talk about but no one genuinely seems to like, and wasn’t as good as any 10 episodes of "Battlestar Galactica" chosen at random.
There is also token competition from "House of Cards" (which like many politicians has overstayed its welcome), "This Is Us" (which will win feel-good votes), "The Americans" and "Homeland." The biggest thing "Stranger Things" has going against it is the perception that it’s a kids’ show, but that could possibly give it an edge depending on how the voters are feeling.
On the acting front, the show is well represented, with David Harbour (Sheriff Hopper, the big slab of small-town justice), Millie Bobby Brown (the psychic main character Eleven), and Shannon Purser as the scene-and show-stealing Barb. That last one is the one that has gained the most attention, as Barb was an unexpected fan favorite.
Other awards include cinematography, editing, hair styling, makeup and period-specific production design — yes, I am old enough that my childhood has become the setting for a period piece. (And I’m so glad movies and TV are excited to play in that setting.)
So of 18 nominations, just numerically you could expect the show to win three or four, but with the buzz around it, we "Thing"-heads may be able to see the show ride off with as many as 10. Even if it doesn’t, the show’s second season should smash the internet a few days before Halloween, and the show is predicted to run three more seasons after that.
The award show will be about a month before season two drops, so maybe it will give the kids in Hawkins, Indiana, a bump. But I doubt they’ll need it. The person who needs help is me waiting another three months to see what happens.
Jared is an award-winning writer who comments on the intersections of politics and culture. Reach him on Twitter @whitleypedia - or don't, since Twitter is stupid.