The Outstanding Limited Series race at the Emmys has been one of the most hotly contended categories of the past few Emmy cycles, and 2020 is proving no different. I can easily name a strong TEN nominees that all have a solid chance of being nominated – a sign that the Television Academy needs to expand this category to seven nominees.
Off the bat, there’s a multitude of limited series that made a splash on the television landscape, therefore being inserted into the Emmys conversation: Watchmen (HBO), Mrs. America (FX), I Know This Much Is True (HBO), Unbelievable (Netflix), Hollywood (Netflix), Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu), Normal People (Hulu), The Eddy (Netflix), Defending Jacob (Apple TV+), Quiz (AMC), Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix), Mrs Fletcher (HBO), The Plot Against America (HBO), Unorthodox (Netflix), and The Loudest Voice (Showtime).
Obviously, all these limited series won’t be nominated since the Television Academy egregiously insist to limiting this category to five nominee. Obviously some limited series have a much higher chance of being nominated – for example, Watchmen having a higher probability of being nominated over say… Mrs. Fletcher. The point is, there are so many limited series this year that are just on the cusp of grabbing a nomination it could go either way for many.
This is an extremely tough category to predict and the most difficult to commit to so early, so I know I’ll come back as the season progresses and make some revisions before nominations are announced. But now, in mid-June a month before nomination are announced, I’m going with Watchmen, Mrs. America, I Know This Much Is True, Hollywood and Defending Jacob. I’m extremely confident in my predictions for Watchmen, Mrs. America and I Know This Much Is True, but a bit more shaky about my picks for Hollywood and Defending Jacob.
Hollywood wasn’t my favorite limited series this year, but it was extremely easy to get through its eight episodes, thanks to its knockout performances by Jeremy Pope, Patti Lupone, Joe Mantello and Holland Taylor. Not only do voters love anything about old Hollywood and show business, in which Hollywood depicts, they also love Ryan Murphy – the person who’s single-handedly revived the limited series genre. With the exception of 2019, Ryan Murphy had a nominated miniseries in this category for seven consecutive years: American Horror Story (2012), American Horror Story: Asylum (2013), American Horror Story: Coven (2014), American Horror Story: Freak Show (2015), The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016), Feud: Bette and Joan (2017) and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – winning twice for both seasons of American Crime Story. At this point I can’t bring myself to bet against Ryan Murphy, even knowing other limited series deserve to be nominated over Hollywood.
Similar to The Morning Show on the drama side, Defending Jacob is one of the earliest examples that Apple TV+ is committed show the world they produce prestige television. I can see a number of other marquee limited series from this year being nominated like Little Fires Everywhere, The Plot Against America and Unbelievable (I think the nominations from these particular limited series will come in the form of acting nominations). A welcome shock will be Normal People getting in, but this doesn’t quite seem like the show the Emmys would go for – I’m holding out hope for this to perform well at the Golden Globes!
AMC’s Quiz can also be a major spoiler in this race as well. Telling the story of a couple accused of rigging Britain’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, starring Emmy-nominee Sian Clifford (Fleabag) and Matthew MacFayden (Succession) was a mutli-faceted enjoyable watch that combined the television industry, mystery and courtroom drama into a tight three episode series. Other limited series The Eddy, Mrs. Fletcher and Self Made are possibilities to spoil, my confidences are the lowest for these due to the sheer number of contenders.
Here are my frontrunners for Outstanding Limited Series
- Watchmen (HBO)
- Mrs. America (FX)
- I Know This Much Is True (HBO)
- Hollywood (Netflix)
- Defending Jacob (Apple TV+)
Here are my threats for Outstanding Limited Series
- Quiz (AMC)
- The Plot Against America (HBO)
- Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
- Unbelievable (Netflix)
- Normal People (Hulu)
- The Eddy (Netflix)
- Self Made: Inspired By the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)
- Mrs. Fletcher (HBO)
- The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
- Unorthodox (Netflix)
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