John Doyle: The Emmys are a battle between Cable, Network and Netflix

The variety of awards and categories related to the Emmy Awards (Sunday, CBS and CTV, 8 p.m.) can seem bewildering. But here is a fascinating figure: 15 — how many Oscar winners nominated for Emmys this season. That lets you know that prestige tv is where the actionnbsp;is.

Those 15 range from celebrities Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Kevin Spacey and Jessica Lange to documentary filmmaker Ezra Edelman and veteran director and producer Ron Howard. Maybe the lustre which Oscar winners add to TV is going to be part of the humor delivered by the host, Stephen Colbert. But that is not guaranteed. Colbert is very likely to maintain his anti-Trump mockery going full tilt to an audience very much on hisnbsp;side.

If Colbert finds humor in the awards shindig itself, it is very likely to be derived from the conflict between cable and network to your status of taking home an Emmy. Throw in Netflix and you have got a very interesting competition. For all that Netflix tries to supply cable-level content, the majority of its programs fall in the category of popular fare, not artisticnbsp;importance.

That makes the event intriguing. First, an Emmy isn’t necessarily the mark of true greatness, any more than the Oscar win is. What the Emmys reflect is that the flavor of those voters who work in the TV market. Not all will be familiar with nominated series on FX, National Geographic or PBS. However, you can bet they all have access to Netflix and all thenbsp;networks.

The nominees for best play — the most prestigious award of this year — provide an insight to what is happening. They’re This Is Us (NBC), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Stranger Things (Netflix), The Crown (Netflix), Westworld (HBO), Better Phone Saul (AMC) and House of Cards (Netflix).

This Is Us is a nice show and it rescued NBC from near-total failure. Additionally, for Emmy voters, the series is emblematic: It symbolizes old-school network TV, which provides numerous jobs in the business. The Handmaid’s Tale could be the most chilling, thought-provoking and talked-about show this season, but it represents something else: a trip into the culture wars which flourish from the Trump era. Stranger Things is the spin on the listing. An exceptionally popular series from late last summer, it had the sort of impact that’s significant in a really fragmented TV landscape. But in comparison with Westworld it’s nothing similar to the gravity of tone and seriousnbsp;purpose.

A thing to keep in mind is that the first round of 2017 Emmy Awards have formally been handed out. The Creative Arts Emmys were held last weekend, and while they mostly honor technical accomplishments, they also include several acting awards. Stranger Things and Westworld each won five. This could indicate that both are voter favourites and, come Sunday, the big battle will be between these 2 shows. And it is interesting that Netflix’s The Crown, an enormously costly and praised show, did not pick up much in the Creativenbsp;awards.

The finest limited series category is most likely the most emphatic picture of exactly how great TV drama is appropriate now: Big Little Lies (HBO), Feud: Bette and Joan (FX), The Night Of (HBO), Fargo (FX) and Genius (National Geographic). You may expect Big Little Lies to win, but it is worth noting that a rare National Geographic foray into play was able to attract Geoffrey Rush from the throw and Ron Howard supporting thenbsp;scenes.

In the acting categories, the popular-versus-prestige also plays out. For best actor in a drama series it’s Sterling K. Brown (This is Us), Bob Odenkirk (Better Phone Saul), Anthony Hopkins (Westworld), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) and Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan). Rhys should win it, but Brown is extremely likely to take it for what’s great but grandstanding work on a networknbsp;string.

For best actress in a drama series it’s Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Claire Foy (The Crown), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Keri Russell (The Americans) and Robin Wright (House of Cards). Here Moss must be the clear favorite — as Offred she had been an everywoman in a series which has a powerfully dark view of the standing women in a fictional world in which the culture war was won by the misogynistnbsp;side.

Other results seem pretty certain, also. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) will acquire best variety talk series, and Saturday Night Live will acquire best variety sketch series. Alec Baldwin will win best supporting actor in a comedy series for his outrageously florid portrayal of Donald Trump, while Kate McKinnon, also of Saturday Night Live, will win the best supporting actress in a comedynbsp;string.

What is going to get lost in the shuffle are a range of exhibits and performances that deserve {}: Master of None (Netflix) and the work of its founder, Aziz Ansari, will probably lose out, even if the series surpasses the humor category to reach for a different planenbsp;entirely.

This Is Us will most likely take away a surprising number of Emmys. Chrissy Metz is almost sure to win for best supporting actress, while Thandie Newton (Westworld) and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) deserve itnbsp;more.

And if anyone ends up arguing about the Emmy Awards, the debate will truly be about Stranger Things as well as the merits of a popular show that charms while others provoke angst of the serious or sentimentalnbsp;type.

Then, following Sunday’s broadcast, the new Emmy race begins all overnbsp;again.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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