“The Queen’s Gambit”? “WandaVision”? “Easttown Mare”? Limited Series is the category to watch at Sunday’s Emmy Awards


I offer my condolences to the voters in the Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category of the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Of course, everyone generally thinks Best Drama is the flagship race, but the limited series this year is the most competitive, the most interesting and the one in which I have no idea what will prevail on Sunday night.

I would hate to have been one of the people to choose between “I May Destroy You”, “Mare of Easttown”, “The Queen’s Gambit”, “The Underground Railroad” and “WandaVision”, because how do you even start, with a selection like that?

In contrast, theater and comedy contests seem straightforward.

I’m no expert tipster – my Oscar office record speaks for itself – but I think the drama category is “the crown” to lose.

Frankly, “This Is Us” – the token delivery network competitor – should be happy to be named. The black-focused horror series “Lovecraft Country” was an interesting watch and, like the LGBTQ drama “Pose,” would deal a blow to diversity if it won, which nevertheless seems unlikely. The “Star Wars” spin-off “The Mandalorian” was good in its second season, but not necessarily the best. I find the dark superhero drama “The Boys” to be an acquired taste and while the most recent season of the dystopian series “The Handmaid’s Tale” has kept its promise to shake things up. made arriving destabilized me.

And I enjoyed the period romance of “Bridgerton” and the Duke of Hastings as much as the next viewer, but “The Crown” had an absolutely exquisite fourth season, the best since many of us fell in love. of the Netflix drama when it debuted in 2016.

This is mainly due to Emma Corrin’s performance as Diana Spencer, the future doomed Princess of Wales, followed by Gillian Anderson as “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, although there has been some excellent work going on. from leaders Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter. Even actors in one-off roles have shone, like Tom Brooke as Michael Fagan, the man who broke into Queen’s Buckingham Palace bedroom in 1982.

So yes, this should be the year “The Crown” is inducted with the grand prize.

In the comedy category, if “Ted Lasso” doesn’t win it will be a bigger upheaval than if the underperforming AFC Richmond football team pummeled their arch rivals Manchester City. His only real competition is “Hacks,” starring Jean Smart as a scathing Vegas comedian.

Yet the resistance seems to be in vain in the face of “Ted’s” onslaught on his main character‘s mind-boggling humor, penchant for kindness, and his modeling of nontoxic masculinity, and I write this as someone who has grown to love the series.

Will there be a Ted Torrent, the equivalent of a Schitt’s Sweep, when “Schitt’s Creek” won all comedy categories at the prime time ceremony last year? Probably not, with Smart on the verge of winning her first Leading Actress Emmy in a Distinguished Career, but I’d bet Jason Sudeikis from “Ted” to take on the lead actor.

Let’s go back to the list of limited series. So-called ‘cooler moments’ are hard to come by these days given the way we consume television, but the ones we got last year were mostly from limited series (shows aired for a single season) .

Remember the end of October, when it seemed like talk of “The Queen’s Gambit” – the Netflix drama starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the unlikely chess champion in the 1960s – were all over your networks? social. Netflix, notoriously stingy on viewings, said a record 62 million households watched the series in its first 28 days.

When “WandaVision” hit Disney Plus in January, it rocked not only the Marvel franchise, but our idea of ​​what a TV show could be, mixing the superhero genre with a comedic ode to classic sitcoms and a a touching study of love and sorrow skillfully worked out. by Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hahn. It was the kind of show that made viewers anxious to know what each new episode would bring.

The same was true of HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” which exploded in the air in April. Oscar winner Kate Winslet was the big draw as a life-exhausted small town police detective, but the set helped create nuanced, layered drama, transforming what could have been a standard violent crime story in a televised date.

And then there’s “I May Destroy You” and “The Underground Railroad,” two major shows that cast a dark look on the experiences of blacks: in the first, the aftermath of a sexual assault in London, England; in the latter, slavery in the United States.

Designer Michaela Coel grabs attention in “Destroy” with a raw, magnetic performance as a woman accepting to be drugged and assaulted in a bar bathroom.

(It’s worth noting that all of the limited-series nominees feature women in complex lead roles.)

But if it were up to me, I’d give the Emmy to “The Underground Railroad”.

The series – conceived, co-written and directed by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead – is not just a spectacle but an epic. It mixes magical realism (those who flee slavery ride a veritable underground railroad) with unvarnished depictions of the subjugation of blacks by whites in a way that is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.

It is, in a nutshell, haunting.

For me, the biggest snub about these Emmys is that none of the performers of “The Underground Railroad” were nominated, especially South African Thuso Mbedu; I was convinced she would be the one to beat after the show’s first screening.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can judge for yourself by catching up with Amazon Prime Video. You can also watch “I May Destroy You” and “Mare of Easttown” on Crave, “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix and “WandaVision” on Disney Plus.

Debra Yeo is associate editor and contributor to Star’s Entertainment. She is based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @realityeo


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