Emmys 2016: ‘Fargo,’ ‘Happy Valley,’ ‘The Night Manager,’ ‘The People v. OJ Simpson’ top Limited Series picks
It really wasn’t that long ago that we felt like the Limited Series category was more of an afterthought at the Primetime Emmy Awards … technically, it was called “Miniseries” back then. There were not many of these out there for a time, but over the past couple of years, there has been a real renaissance and we’d be willing to wager that this past year has been one of the strongest years for limited series ever. This year, even “American Horror Story” could be left in the dust, and it for a time was the token recipient of category rules in a limited field.
We’ve got for you below our five picks for the best of the category, and just like every other Emmy article we’ve written this month, we want your picks in the poll below! Results will be announced on July 13, one day before the actual nominations are announced. (Quick note: Some submission rules can be tricky, so there’s no guarantee that the following shows will all be eligible for this category. This is just our personal interpretation, and these articles are effectively created for fun.)
“Fargo“ (FX) – Okay, so we really didn’t love the part with the UFOs. Still, are you really going to argue against this as one of the best limited series on TV? The writing is sharp, the performances strong, and the visual aesthetic is completely different than anything else out there. We figure that it must be somewhat unpleasant to film in these temperatures, but it’s certainly worth it when you actually see the work on TV. Through two iterations, “Fargo” remains an achievement.
“Happy Valley“ (Netflix) – The British import features not just a strong, capable lead in Sarah Lancashire as Catherine, and it also contains some of the strongest, most emotional, and personal stories we have seen to date. Take, for example, the dynamic between Catherine and Tommy Lee Royce. There’s an intense hatred between the two, but the writers also present a powerful form of restraint that you don’t often seen elsewhere. Maybe there could be a dispute as to category here, but for us given its episode count and overall length it belongs here as opposed to a full-fledged Drama Series. (Hey, if other shows with relatively-continuous stories get to qualify, why can’t it?)
“The Night Manager” (AMC) – The second British series on this list, “The Night Manager” was a fantastic tale of undercover espionage and humanity that aired originally on the BBC. It proved to be a wonderful star turn for the burgeoning Tom Hiddleston, but beyond that there was a great cast including Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. It may only be six episodes, but it told a dark, wonderfully-complex story with a visual landscape like no other.
“The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” (FX) – We would be ignoring the elephant in the room if we presented like “The People” was anything other than the presumptive favorite to be nominated and win many awards in the Limited Series / TV Movie field. There’s a reason why: It’s fantastic, gripping, and manages to make one of the most familiar cases of all time still feel powerful and gripping. The cast inhabits many of these people in ways we never quite imagined they would going into it.
“Roots” (History) – A late entry into the category, “Roots” narrowly made it into eligibility this year thanks to its Memorial Day premiere. It’s to its benefit that voters will be looking at it so soon, since the power of its writing and the strength of its many performances will remain fresh in mind during the voting process. We figured going in that it would bring a variety of emotions to the table, but we think it did more than that: It harkened back to the original miniseries, but also established its own life and brought a message that is just as important to the world today as it was decades ago.
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