Sometimes parting is not such sweet sorrow. When the Television Academy revealed this year’s Emmy nominations earlier this week, “black-ish,” “Better Things” and “This Is Us” were barely recognized, despite the fact that all three shows just took their final bows.
That’s perfectly fine; those shows had their moments in the sun. But you would have hoped their snubs would have left more room for fresh faces that could benefit from the red carpet attention. Instead, much of the love went to established favorites, including “Succession” and “Ted Lasso.”
Voters did a better job of welcoming new talent behind the camera. Nearly half of the directors nominated for scripted series were women; three of the contenders for best director in a dramatic series have Asian roots.
Nearly 40% of the spots for writing scripted shows went to women, a list that includes Quinta Brunson, the star and creator of “Abbott Elementary,” the only network sitcom that got much fanfare.
But did the school-based comedy deserve so much love? Here’s my quick take on other snubs and surprises:
“Reservation Dogs”: “Elementary” is network TV’s best sitcom — which isn’t saying much. Voters could have made a bigger statement by doing more to honor this low-key, high-quality effort about Native American teenagers finding their place in the world. (FX)
“Pachinko”: It’s great to see “Squid Game” become the first non-English language series to make the best drama slate, collecting a total of 14 nominations. But it would have been equally satisfying to see this superior Korean series get more than a nod for main title design. (Apple TV+)
Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, “Gaslight”: This hilarious comedy about Watergate was always a long shot for best miniseries consideration, if only because it aired on a lightweight in the cable wars. But you would think these superstars were too famous — and too hilarious — to ignore. (Starz)
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The First Lady”: How has one of the greatest actors of her generation never won an Emmy or Oscar? Pfeiffer’s touching performance as Betty Ford should have righted that wrong, but she didn’t even make the cut. Nor did high-profile co-stars Viola Davis and Gillian Anderson. (Showtime)
Selena Gomez, “Only Murders in the Building”: Martin Short and Steve Martin will be competing for best actor, but voters overlooked the pop star’s contribution. Her dry wit was an essential ingredient in this comedy cocktail. (Hulu)
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”: This witty costume affair earned writing and directing nods for its 2020 inaugural season but the leads were overlooked. Not this time. When it comes to spitting out timeless insults, these young stars are royalty. (Hulu)
Supporting team on “Dopesick”: No shocker that Michael Keaton got a nomination for lead actor in a limited series, but how nice to see five of his lesser known co-stars — Will Poulter, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kaitlyn Dever, Mare Winningham — also get invites to the party. Expect both Keaton and Dever to win. (Hulu)
Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets,” and Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”: Lynskey was always the best part of “Two and a Half Men.” The same could be said about Coolidge in “2 Broke Girls.” But you always knew those simple-minded sitcoms were beneath them. Thank goodness they finally got TV projects worthy of their talents. (Showtime and HBO)
“Pam & Tommy”: This miniseries earned 10 nominations, considerably fewer than “White Lotus” and “Dopesick,” its stiffest competition in the race for outstanding limited series. But for a project about a tawdry sex tape, the tally is pretty impressive — and well deserved. (Hulu)
— StarTribune/Tribune News Service