Laying The Odds At This Year’s Emmys
Predicting Best Drama
Every year for the past decade, I have done my level best to try and predict the winners for the Emmys. Partially because it can be incredibly difficult to do so, I spend a lot of analysis going for what the Academy should do and what they will do, and most of the time I’m wrong on both counts. So this year, I’m going to try something different.
For the first twenty years of Entertainment Weekly’s existence, when they tried to predict the Academy Award winners, they would lay betting odds. I don’t knew who crunched the numbers, but they were a lot more accurate with their predictions then they have been when they gave it up. Strangely enough, they never tried it with the Emmys, and due to financial cutbacks, I doubt they’ll start now.
Earlier this year, I located a website called Gold Derby, which is basically an interactive website for people to guess what shows and actors they think will win awards. I relied on them rather heavily when it came to making my Emmy predictions that year. (A lot of good that did me.) They’re now having a similar contest for the Emmys in general.
So I’m going to combine the two. I will list the nominees along with the current odds. For each nominee, I will give reasons why they could win, and reasons against them winning. Then I’ll make a level prediction: what I think should win, and what will. Don’t try this at home, kids.
As always, I will start with the Dramas.
Better Call Saul: 15–2.
The prequel to one of television’s greatest shows officially became one of the greatest series in TV history in its own right, as we saw the origins of the superlab, Mike’s first real test for Gus Fring, and Jimmy McGill finally embrace his destiny. Pro:With Game of Thrones finally gone, this is officially the best show on TV, and unlike its prequel, it is really overdue for Emmy recognition. The TV Critics Association gave its seal of approval says as much. Con: Same problem all the other series have this year — its not Game of Thrones.
Netflix’s supercharged thrilled about an MI6 operative trying to protect a politicians whose views he doesn’t agree with. Pros: Was one of the early favorites in Emmy voting, getting recognition from the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice. Con: Most of the buzz around the series has faded — Golden Globe winner Richard Madden wasn’t even nominated for Best Actor — and its second tier Netflix at best.
Game of Thrones: 4–1
What perhaps might be the last real watercooler series — and certainly one of the most watched shows in history came to a conclusion this year. Pro: It received a record 32 nominations from the Academy, and everyone figures its due for a coronation by the Emmys. Con: To say that last season — never mind the last episode — was polarizing is the understatement of the year. George R.R. Martin has now publicly stated that he will have a different ending when he writes the final books. That’s not a good sign as to the perception of how the series ended.
Killing Eve: 11–2
The darkly comic series between a reluctant spy hunter and a psychopathic assassin — both female, and both trying to deny the rabid attraction between each other. Pro: This has been the real watercooler series of the last two years, featuring two of the greatest acting performances in a very long time. The Peabodys were more than willing to honor it. Con: Even the most rabid fans say the series dropped a notch this year. Maybe it missed showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge. (Then again, she was justifiably busy. See Comedies)
It’s not much of an understatement to call this series Netflix’s Breaking Bad. But this Missouri set series has a dark and alluring soul of its own that really lures you in. The dark saga of the Byrde family — caught between two warring Missouri families — is enticing and fascinating. It’s one of Netflix’s gems. Con: As good as the series is, there’s a real possibility that it and the cast would’ve been ignored had not Stranger Things and The Crown postponed their third seasons to avoid a Game of Thrones showdown. Emmy voters may consider that.
Ryan Murphy’s final collaboration with FX takes a really dark look at an ignored community — the African American gays and transgenders living in 1980s New York. Pro: This is one of the darkest and grittiest series the usually camp Murphy has ever done for any source, and as a result, its one of his best work. The Peabodys agreed. Con: The Emmys don’t have a great history honoring African American or gay themed series. Is their tent big enough to hold both?
HBO’s series about the backstabbing Roy family, led by an aging patriarch, trying to gain control of a multi-billion dollar media empire. Pro: Darkly funny, and very relevant, this was one of HBO’s sleeper hits, with some truly brilliant acting. Con: This is a difficult series to watch, and an even harder one to enjoy. Besides, if the Emmys are going to pick an HBO series, we know which one it will be.
This is Us: 9–1
NBC’s brilliant weepie about the Pearson family, who find ways to make us laugh and wonder in the past, present — and in the final shocking scene, the future. Pro: It’s a network show, it’s a hit show, and its cast and writers can stand with any of the cable or streaming shows — witness ‘The Waiting Room’. The SAG awards honored it for the second straight year. It’s kind of due. Con: The Emmys seem to have given up on awarding Best Dramas to network series.
PREDICTION: Better Call Saul clearly deserves to win, and its cast and crew have really earned it. I still think it has a chance for an upset, but otherwise, Emmys are coming for Westeros.