2022 Emmy nominations are out, and as you might have noticed, this year’s group feels even more random than usual. Was Sebastian Stan’s Tommy Lee impression more deserving of the lead actor in a limited series nomination than Samuel L. Jackson’s sensitive portrayal of a man with dementia in Ptolemy Grey in the Last Days? Great in: Adam Scott, John Turturro and Christopher Walken. Separation—which richly deserved its drama series nod—but what about Britt Lower, who was riveting as strong-willed new hire Helly R.? This was a record-breaking year. Plainville Girl, Station Eleven, The StaircasePlease see the following: MaidSo why were titles of inferior quality like Pam & Tommy, Invention of AnnaThe abysmal Dopesick Do you have the power to dominate limited series? Are we allowed to continue nominating past-their prime shows that are mega-popular? Stranger Things You can find more information here The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel You can find more information here OzarkWhy would they choose when there are many stronger alternatives?
In a television landscape with ever-expanding TV content, such seemingly random nominations may be inevitable. FX Research recorded a record 559 scripted series for 2021. But they also reflect where we are in the so-called streaming wars, as the platforms that have launched in the past few years—HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock, and more—vie to create the kind of must-see series that attract influxes of subscribers, while first-generation streamers Hulu, Amazon, and the recently embattled Netflix tweak their original content mixes to better compete in a newly oversaturated market. There are a lot of award-winning shows that were backed up by expensive For Your Consideration ads, which have been especially prevalent this season. You’ve heard of Oscar bait. Emmy bait is this.
Emmy bait, the prestige TV that has been around for decades is now on steroids. It was developed with strategic intention borrowed from film-awards seasons and then released. They are often literary adaptations or period pieces. Or dramatizations of real events. It is important to place emphasis on socially relevant issues. de rigueur. While The Sopranos And Mad Men And Game of Thrones Emmy bait has made their actors stars and stacked its castings with A-listers. This is a feat that was only possible for the last decade on the small screen. Big Little LiesThis might be the Emmy-bait model. This Emmy-bait show was inspired by a Liane Morrisony novel. The series dealt with spousal abuse, rape and featured Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene woodley. In season 2, Meryl Steep also appeared. This show was nominated 21 times for Emmys and won eight.
Like Oscar bait, which evicts superheroes from cinemas between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Emmy bait is concentrated in the month or two before each year’s eligibility window closes, at the end of May. Think back to all of the docudramas and buzz that were released this spring. With Netflix seemingly focused on growing its international audience—a strategy that did yield one surprise smash turned awards juggernaut in drama series contender Squid Game—other platforms have led the trend. WeWork’s postmortem featured Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto from Apple. WeCrashed, Minari Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung in a lavish recreation of Min Jin Lee’s historical epic Pachinko, and an adaptation of Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls starring Elisabeth Moss. Between HBO and HBO Max, we got John C. Reilly in the ’80s Lakers romp The Winning Time The Wire creator David Simon’s return to policing in Baltimore with This City is OursIn a drama that was inspired by the true crime docuseries, Juliette Binoche, Toni Collette and Colin Firth. The Staircase.
HBO Max and HBO Max had an incredible morning with 140 nominations. Apple, however, was stronger than expected thanks to multiple nominations. Ted Lasso And SeparationAll the Emmy-bait titles mentioned above were excluded from major categories. Paramount+, Peacock+ and Paramount+ received very little recognition for their modest attempts at producing awards fodder in spring. Angelyne The poorly executed Godfather Docudrama Get the Deal, respectively. It is clear that Emmy bait doesn’t necessarily guarantee Emmy nominations. However, it sounds like an award candidate when presented to network executives. You should consider The First LadyIt received no nominations for makeup or hairstyles. Critics hated it, ratings were poor, and viewers on Twitter made a miscast Viola Davis’ exaggerated performance as Michelle Obama into a meme. Showtime probably approved the project because of its potential for awards in casting Davis and Sharon Stone in a drama set in the period about three FLOTUSes.
Hulu is the Emmy-bait leader. The spring slate was featured The Dropout Amanda Seyfried plays Elizabeth Holmes Pam & Tommy Sebastian Stan and Lily James as Pamela Anderson (and Tommy Lee) reenact the sex tape saga. Candy Melanie Lynskey and Jessica Biel in true crime murder mystery Plainville Girl Elle Fanning, Chloe Sevigny star in the drama that is based on the notorious texting suicide trial. The service is also home to FX-branded, streaming-exclusive series like April’s Unter dem Banner von Heaven which cast Andrew Garfield as a Mormon detective in an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book. This resulted in rare Emmy-bait comedy. Only Murderers in the Building making an especially strong showing, Hulu cleaned up in today’s nominations—even if its weaker miniseries, like Pam & Tommy and fall’s opioid-crisis docudrama DopesickGreat ones outshined great ones such as Plainville.
Disney+ does not, as a rule, make Emmy bait, in part because its parent company owns Hulu and FX, but also because it doesn’t have to. The service’s audience of franchise fans and Disney-Pixar kids is already enormous, loyal, and doesn’t care much about awards (though it does tend to dominate the technical categories, as Loki, Moon KnightAnd so did others. Amazon’s Maisel Famously, she embodied all that the average awards voter treasures: A mid-20th century setting, showbiz plot, and a loved small-screen voice. Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. This is why it continues to be nominated. The service has been shifting its focus to spectacles of genre in recent years. The Wheel of Time And Not in your rangeThe superhero riff The BoysActually, the drama-series was nominated in 2021.
Emmy bait is not the most problematic trend in television. After all, some of these cannily packaged shows are actually good, and the ones that aren’t usually feature at least one performance worth watching. It’s been nice to see some counterprogramming—namely, grounded programming meant for adult audiences—to the recent, Disney-led onslaught of capes, spaceships, and overextended franchises on TV. The problem is that Emmy bait, like Oscar bait, often positions itself as high art when really it’s preachy, clumsily written, and reliant on stunt casting that distracts from the story it’s supposedly taking so seriously.
These categories will already be cluttered by populist selections when the Emmy nominations are announced. Stranger Things And Ted LassoThese are sometimes further embellished with show that sounds great but is actually very bad. Dopesick, The Morning Show, Impeachment. There are a few exceptional exceptions. Succession And The White Lotus You can find more information here Separation And Yellowjackets, get the recognition they’re due. But what about all the smaller, weirder series that could’ve used some shine? That group is set to grow in 2022. Reservation Dogs, Lady Parts is what we are, There is somebody out there, Type of, Things that are better, Made for Love. Ptolemy Grey. Search Party.—and that’s just off the top of my head. Emmy bait isn’t competing for budgets and viewers and airtime with the franchise behemoths of the streaming era. In an overcrowded market where awards can help compensate for a small audience, it’s the fate of these scrappier shows that hangs in the balance.
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