Friday, September 20, 2019

Emmy Episode Analysis: Best Drama Series

This year, I’m splitting my top two category predictions into two posts each. I went through the statistics and chances for each show for The Film Experience, and in this post, I’ll be looking at the submitted episodes for each show, with titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

Smoke,” “Breathe,” “Something Stupid,” “Coushatta,” “Wiedersehen,” “Winner

For its fourth nomination in this category, its first bid since its third season was nominated in 2017, this show chose the first two and last four episodes of the ten-episode season. They’re all winning submissions which chronicle protagonist Jimmy’s attempts to stay relevant without his law license, featuring magnetic scenes with him spinning masterful lies, often with his far more ethical partner Kim by his side. These choices are as good as they’ve ever been, though there’s nothing particularly showy about the storyline as compared with the three equally strong previous years.

Episode 1,” “Episode 2,” “Episode 3,” “Episode 4,” “Episode 5,” “Episode 6

While this show merited only two nominations, I’d say it easily has the best showcase when it comes to episodes. It’s one of two shows which has its entire season represented given that it was comprised of only six episodes, and each one of them is more enticing and action-packed than the next. There’s plenty of suspense, but where this show – and each of its episodes – truly excels is when it catches viewers off-guard, including a major development halfway through that represents its sincere commitment to viewer satisfaction. If episodes were all that mattered, I’d put my money on this show having a chance to upset.

Winterfell,” “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” “The Long Night,” “The Last of the Starks,” “The Bells,” “The Iron Throne

Like the previous show, this one has all six of its episodes submitted, though none of them are only an hour, giving it yet another advantage over its competition. Its episodes feature a lot of greetings, talking, action, talking, action, and moderate resolution – in that order. The final season was highly divisive but Emmy voters have embraced it wholeheartedly, and it’s actually likely that the few voters unfamiliar with the show will be more impressed than devoted fans with what these episodes have to offer. Writing-wise, episodes two and four are strong, while episodes three and five feature staggering production values that make for one hell of an engaging viewing experience. It will be hard to beat these.

Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?,” “Nice and Neat,” “The Hungry Caterpillar,” “Desperate Times,” “Wide Awake,” “You’re Mine

This show’s first nomination, for its sophomore season, comprises six of its eight episodes. Interestingly, one of the two omitted is actually star Jodie Comer’s submission. I wasn’t overly fond of the first four episodes of the season, which track the fallout from the season finale, and appreciated the last two much more when unexpected partnerships and relationships had started to build. This show is definitely weird and not for anyone, and I’m not sure that any of these episodes, taken two at a time, would be able to win over voters.

Reparations,” “The Precious Blood of Jesus,” “Outer Darkness,” “One Way Out,” “The Badger,” “The Gold Coast

This show’s first nomination, for its second season, includes the first two hours, the sixth and seventh, and the ninth and tenth (the finale). I’d weight them all equally, featuring some decent performances and a whole lot of moodiness. Regular viewers are certainly invested in the storyline, but it’s hard to access that by checking in to these episodes. To me, what’s most disappointing is that there are always more miserable obstacles rather than any true progress achieved. I’m not sure that’s different than season one, but this desolate series doesn’t feel like a winner to me.

Pose,” “Access,” “Giving and Receiving,” “The Fever,” “Love is the Message,” “Mother of the Year

This freshman FX series submitted six of its eight episodes, opting for the first four, the sixth, and the eighth. As someone who wasn’t enthralled by the pilot because the subject matter isn’t of particular interest to me, I found myself much more engaged upon returning to the show to sample the remaining five installments. In addition to the fantastical nature of the ball scene, this show does human drama very well, and these episodes make a great case for spotlighting this particular underrepresented portion of the world. There’s an emotional case for this show to upset, but I don’t think it’s quite universal enough for all viewers, sadly.

Celebration,” “Which Side Are You On?,” “Austerlitz,” “Prague,” “Pre-Nuptial,” “Nobody Is Ever Missing

I watched the pilot of this show and wasn’t into it, and when I came back to watch the rest of the submissions, I was surprised to find myself skipping all the way to episode six. The decision to select episodes six through ten along with the pilot is an intriguing one, though I did find the plot extremely intriguing if still considerably over-the-top. Evidently, this is a case where a show might take longer for viewers to get into, and smart submissions showcase the best of what it has to offer, which is a large and talented ensemble portraying chaos as well as they can. This show is definitely watchable, but these episodes do still feel a bit off-the-rails.

Vietnam,” “Sometimes,” “Songbird Road: Part One,” “Our Little Island Girl,” “Waiting Room,” “R and B

This show, back here for the third time in a row, had the most episodes to choose from, with eighteen at its disposal. I’m actually not impressed with those selected, with only the last one, the penultimate hour of the season, as a smart choice. “Vietnam” was too flashback-heavy in a way I found pointless, and both “Sometimes” and “Songbird Road: Part One” continued the melancholy focus on Jack’s brother without much success. The last three were a marked improvement, dealing instead with strong characters like Beth and Kate, but this show isn’t going to win with this slate.

What should win (based on entire season):Bodyguard” or “Better Call Saul
What should win (based on individual episodes):Bodyguard” or “Pose
What will win: Check out my next post with statistical data and my rundown of each show’s overall chances!

Next up: Best Comedy Series

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