The fun in predicting the nominees for the best limited series is that every year, unlike the comedy and drama categories, we see wildly different contenders: akin to the films, it’s always a rather excellent mixed bag. Even returning anthology series, while retaining a similar blueprint have something exciting to offer, even if they may not be able to live up to the glory of a previously told anthology series from the same show.
This year’s potential contenders, while not many, have already made a lot of noise at the Golden Globes and SAGs, while also raking in significant audience support and cracking the numbers. HBO is still looking strong with the audience favourite, the bleakly excellent ‘Sharp Objects’ starring an amazing Amy Adams, and ‘True Detective’ returning for a third season. While Netflix has stayed in the game previously with ‘American Crime Story’, with ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ and ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ each winning in the years they were nominated, this year they have Cary Fukunaga directorial ‘Maniac’ and the upcoming ‘When They See Us’. Hulu has risen to the scene like no other and this year, will have the highly awaited ‘Catch-22’ starring George Clooney up for a nomination. FX too is looking to repeat its string of recent successes with the recently released Fosse/Verdon. All in all, this is going to be an interesting race, and we for one can’t wait to find out who lifts the trophy come September this year at the Emmys ceremony. Read on to find what shows I think are the strongest contenders for Outstanding Limited Series at Emmys 2019. These contenders have the best odds of getting nominated this year.
8. Good Omens
More than films, it is always trickier predicting the success of new shows, especially when it comes to doing it for awards. On the outset, ‘Good Omens’ looks like the kind of show that would appeal to a general audience more than the critical circles, unless it is ridiculously well made. The show releases just one day ahead of the Emmys nomination closure, and stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant as Aziraphale and Crowley respectively, an angel and demon who must team up to stop the end of days. I have a lot of good faith in this show until it debuts in May, and the primary reason behind that would be the involvement of Neil Gaiman in the writing department, the name behind shows like ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Lucifer’ and ‘American Gods’, with his signature wry humour visible from the promos. With the involvement of a few more Hollywood biggies including Frances McDormand and Benedict Cumberbatch, it surely has an edge and a good shot at actually making the nominations once it is released.
If there is one series that has the potential to surprise everyone this awards season, it has to be ‘Maniac’. This is exactly the kind of stuff voters look for to throw a curveball your way. ‘Maniac’ was easily the best show to look at this year. Its visuals, architecture, costumes and soundtrack seemed to be stuck in the retro era, while all else is techno-futuristic making for quite a unique cocktail, and that is exactly what makes this series so rare. This trippy and wild limited series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill is helmed by Cary JojiFukunaga, and just the names in there, coupled with the remarkable critical reception should help it sail through the nominations blockade, or atleast build up a springing surprise.
A retelling and insider’s account of the romantic and creative relationship between Broadway stalwarts Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ is Fox’s latest offering and a potential candidate plainly from the looks of it. At the same time as predicting its nomination, I can also predict that it will most probably see a falling out in the weeks to come if the show is not off to a great start. One of the reasons its chances may shoot up are if Sam Rockwell or Michelle Williams performances are quite simply put, extraordinary in nature. What’s more is that Adam Bernstein (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Fargo) will be directing one episode in the eight part miniseries, and from just that, it may be looking to grab a nom or two.
5. True Detective
‘True Detective’, following a first season that took home mostly all major awards, had a second season that was for the lack of a better word, disappointing, the same being reciprocated in the awards circuit as well. Its third season, however, saw a bit of a resurgence and proved to be better than the second by miles, however nowhere close to the glory of the first one. With Mahershala Ali playing the troubled detective, this may not be a very conventional choice, but the third season has mostly been able to correct the wrongs of Season 2, and in doing so has won back a lot of its audiences’ approval and appreciation. Ali too adds a lot of cred when it comes to critical circles, so the show is bound to do well there as well. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s nominated. Wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t either. Could go one of two ways.
4. When They See Us
Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ will be released by Netflix just one day short of the nominations closure. The primary reason I predict this is the event it is based on: the Central Park jogger’s case wherein five young men of colour were accused of a crime they never committed, which was the brutal rape of a jogger from the NYC Central Park. They were arrested almost immediately in yet another case of wrongful judgment against people of colour and jailed for several years until finally being acquitted of all charges and being exonerated, eventually going on to settle for a $40 million lawsuit against the city of New York. Now since it’s a four episode limited series, I find it difficult to predict the extent to which the show will be able to cover the sequence of events, but this has the potential to become television’s very own ‘Fruitvale Station’.
Reigning in for Hulu, we have ‘Catch-22’ that has already caught a lot of eyeballs and will be kicking of its six episode limited run in May with great momentum, courtesy of those very eyeballs. Based on the classic 1961 novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. The series is being headlined by George Clooney who will also serve as director for two episodes. Hulu has been notable in the entertainment arena for delivering quality stuff, with more and more entrants pouring into the award-winning category as well, and from the looks of it, ‘Catch-22’ looks like another win for the streaming service. Its setting in the World War II era and historical significance, coupled with its adapted screenplay based off of an influential novel should help it score some brownie points.
2. Escape at Dannemora
‘Escape at Dannemora’ was nominated in its category at the Golden Globes, and had Patricia Arquette picking up the trophy for her outstanding act. Helmed by the incredibly talented and multifarious Ben Stiller, ‘Escape at Dannemora’ is the story of a prison employee who becomes romantically involved with a pair of inmates and helps them in plotting their escape from the prison. The incredibly talented cast including Arquette, Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano seriously push its chances up at being an overall well rounded series. While Arquette has been picking up every major award for her visibly moving performance that in turn adds to the show’s chances, its true story premise and Ben Stiller’s credibility as a director following few successful stints should see it through the nominations line at least.
1. Sharp Objects
The prediction of a nomination for ‘Sharp Objects’ doesn’t require a lot of head scratching, and given how well made this series was, and inversely how well it was received too, it shouldn’t be a head scratcher either when I predict its win in the here and now. Bolstered by strong performances from an ensemble headed by three incredibly talented ladies, Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Eliza Scanlen, ‘Sharp Objects’ is one hell of a show, also my personal favourite from 2018. It is dark, almost bleak, and psychologically disturbing at so many levels, often unforgiving in its dramatic repealing of the many secrets the human brain is capable of housing under. It’s crafty and exceedingly well made as well, with visible meticulousness put into crafting each shot. If this rare show doesn’t qualify as a sure shot winner, I don’t know what else does.