The “2020 Emmy Winners for Outstanding Drama Series” will be a major contender at this year’s ceremony on September 12. But if you’re wondering if the HBO drama can beat last year’s champ Netflix’s “The Crown,” TV’s matchup of royal houses will have to wait.
Once upon a time, hit series dutifully premiered every fall, meaning you could have dramas like “Hill Street Blues” and “ER” or sitcoms like “Cheers” and then “Frasier” in contention every year for their longest runs. Run.
Now, however, the prestige series operate on their own schedule, skipping years — or more — between seasons. Throw in a pandemic that disrupted production schedules, and viewers would be forgiven if they couldn’t keep track of what they deserved year after year. In addition A scorecard.
Take “Barry” and “Atlanta” (both humorously entered), which return to awards contention (first in multiple categories, second for star Donald Glover) for the first time since 2019 and 2018, respectively, after their extended layoffs.
Among the best-drama nominees, the aforementioned “Successor,” “Stranger Things,” “Euphoria,” “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” all round out the field with new shows in 2021, including “Squid Game,” “Yellowjackets” and “Detachment.” But They don’t have to worry about competing with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” whose fifth season begins on September 14.
“Ted Lasso,” meanwhile, will have a chance to repeat as best comedy, meaning the Apple TV+ show can defend its crown, while “The Crown,” um, won’t. “Hacks” also makes back-to-back appearances, but arguably stiffer competition this year includes newcomers “Abbott Elementary” and “Only Murders in the Building,” along with four series not on the 2021 menu: “Barry,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” (“Curb” is in a trailblazing class of its own, spanning 11 seasons and 51 Emmy nominations over the past 22 years.)
Some shows require a separate asterisk due to the Emmy eligibility window, which covers a 12-month stretch from June to May.
Both “Stranger Things” and “Better Call Soul” split their seasons, with the former falling within that time frame but the latter not, meaning they’ll be eligible again in 2023.
The Emmy calendar can be confusing depending on when a series premieres. For example, if you just finished watching the second season of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” remember, it’s the first season nominated this year.
Limited series avoid questions of repetition, but not time. It’s again a loaded lineup that includes Hulu’s “Dopesick,” “The Dropout” and “Pam & Tommy,” Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” and HBO’s “The White Lotus,” which aren’t based on a true story.
There, too, differences in the Emmy calendar and rules play a role. Take the “Star Wars” prequel “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which premiered before the May 31 deadline but refused to make subsequent episodes available to voters in advance, delaying its consideration until 2023. (Star Ewan McGregor won his first Emmy last year for another limited series, Netflix’s “Holston.”)
The major television Emmys are followed annually by the so-called Creative Arts Awards, which are presented Sept. 3-4 in dozens of technical categories.
For those who enjoy questions about score keeping or network bragging rights, HBO and HBO Max took home a total of 26 awards, followed by Netflix with 23 and streaming services Disney+ (9), Hulu (8) and Amazon Prime (6).
Netflix held the 47-year-old record last year with 44 total statues from all ceremonies, leading in 2020 and 2019 after tying with Netflix in 2018, twice nearest rival HBO.
“Stranger Things,” “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” each collected five awards last weekend (and could add to that tally on Sept. 12), as did the special “Adele: One Night Only” and the docuseries “The Beatles: Get Back.”
“The Heir,” which has won nine Emmys in 2020, has only received one award for Outstanding Lead Actor so far. Or more precisely, the best casting in those dramas televised during the 2021-22 qualifying period.
The Emmys will air on NBC on September 12 at 8pm ET.