Too many crooks, not enough room

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What’s the best strategy for getting ahead in the fiercely competitive Emmys Outstanding Limited Series category?

Should you drop your show early, so voters have plenty of time to watch, absorb, and live with it before they’re overwhelmed by other contenders? HBO’s “The White Lotus,” Hulu’s “Dopesick,” and Netflix’s “Maid” hope so.

Or is it better to come out in the first two months of the new year, as members of the Television Academy begin to think more seriously about this year’s Emmys? This could be the ticket for later Hulu entries like “The Dropout”, “Pam & Tommy” and “The Girl From Plainville”.

Or should you wait and premiere in the last month or two of Emmy eligibility, where you might be one of the last things voters discover and love? Starz’s “Gaslit,” HBO Max’s “The Staircase,” and FX’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” opt for this strategy.

When the nominations are announced on July 12 after voters cast their ballots between June 16 and June 27, the finalists will likely be a mix of those three periods. But the ever-competitive category is so crowded this year that you could fill a list of nominees worthy of nothing but shows about real-life con artists, con artists and cheaters: “The Dropout” (Amanda Seyfried as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes), “WeCrashed” (Jared Leto as WeWork founder Adam Neumann), “Inventing Anna” (Julia Garner as fake heiress Anna Delvey), “Super Pumped” (Joseph Gordon- Levitt as former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick) and “We Own This City” (Jon Bernthal as corrupt Baltimore cop Wayne Jenkins).

Or accused murderers: Elle Fanning in “The Girl From Plainville,” Purdue Pharma executives in “Dopesick,” Colin Firth in “The Staircase,” Mormon murderers in “Under the Banner of Heaven,” and Jessica Biel in “Candy. “.

What makes it particularly difficult is that the limited series category – which this year is technically an outstanding limited series or anthology series – is limited by Television Academy rules to what will almost certainly not be only five nominees. As with most categories, this one will require over 80 eligible series to trigger the jump to six nominees, and there simply aren’t many limited series made.

So while Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series are guaranteed to have eight nominees each, Outstanding Limited Series will only have five, despite becoming such a prestigious category that it was awarded as final prize at last year’s Emmys.

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And that sets up a daunting battle between dozens of limited series that released in three distinct phases of the Emmy schedule.

The first phase began even before last year’s Emmy nominations were announced on July 13, with Mike White’s HBO premiere of “The White Lotus” to acclaim on July 11 and “Dr. Mort” making its debut four days later September and October saw “Scenes From a Marriage” (which scored a Toronto Film Festival premiere), Ryan Murphy’s “Impeachment” (part of the “American Crime Story” series, which once dominated the category), Netflix’s “Maid” and its dark “Midnight Mass” and Hulu’s “Dopesick”, which became the most awarded limited series thanks to the winter guild awards. December closed the year with a cult favorite, “Landscapers,” and two major contenders, “Station Eleven” and Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” spin-off “1883,” just in time to capitalize on its parent show’s newfound visibility on the music circuit. rewards.

The second phase took place in early 2021, when ABC dropped its Emmett Till drama “Women of the Movement” early in the new year. February brought a trio of suitors in Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy,” Netflix’s “Inventing Anna,” and Showtime’s “Super Pumped.” And then the floodgates opened in March, with Seyfried in “The Dropout”, Renée Zellweger in “The Thing About Pam”, Samuel L. Jackson in “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey”, Leto and Anne Hathaway in “WeCrashed” , Fanning in “The Girl from Plainville” and Oscar Isaac in “Moon Knight”.

The latest wave of suitors took place during the last six weeks of eligibility, from mid-April to the end of May. There were two scandal shows, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ and ‘A Very British Scandal’, as well as the star-studded anthology series ‘The First Lady’. And in the last week of April, there was “Gaslit” on the 24th, “We Own This City” on the 25th, and Mormon mystery “Under the Banner of Heaven” and Hollywood tale “The Offer” on the 28th. May, not to be outdone, dropped ‘The Staircase’, ‘Candy’, ‘Angelyne’ and, on the last day of eligibility, Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols column, ‘Pistol’.

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While this year’s field is stuck and looks can be deceiving ahead of the vote, the top five appear to be three shows voters have gotten to see since 2021 — “The White Lotus,” “Dopesick” and “Maid” — plus “The Dropout” from March and “The Staircase” from May.

But a number of limited series, including “Gaslit” and “1883,” are strong contenders to enter, while others (“The Girl From Plainville,” “Pam & Tommy,” “The First Lady”) may have better luck in the acting categories.

Here’s what we see as the lay of the land before the vote in a very crowded category.

The High Five
“Dopesick” (Hulu)
“The Staircase” (HBO Max)
“The White Lotus” (HBO)
“The Stall” (Hulu)
“Maid” (Netflix)

Just behind
“Gaslit” (Starz)
“1883” (Paramount+)
“Under the Sky Banner” (FX on Hulu)
“Inventing Anna” (Netflix)
“Station Eleven” (HBO Max)

15 More
“We Own This Town” (HBO)
“The Plainville Girl” (Hulu)
“Knight of the Moon” (Disney+)
“Pam and Tommy” (Hulu)
“A Very British Scandal” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Scenes from a Wedding” (HBO)
“WeCrashed” (Apple TV+)
“The First Lady” (Showtime)
“Candy” (Hulu)
“Women of Movement” (ABC)
“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” (Apple TV+)
“Indictment: History of American Crime” (FX)
“The Offer” (Paramount+)
“Super Pumped” (Showtime)
“Landscape Artists” (HBO)

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