Emmys 2019: Why Chernobyl, True Detective, Spanish Princess, Haunting of Hill House deserve Limited Series nominations
Welcome to CarterMatt’s 2019 Emmy Preview series! This is an annual tradition that we’ve done on the site since 2013, where we highlight some of the best from the TV world. These choices were voted on by our staff, and they represent what the ideal Emmy nominations would be for each category. To go along with that, we then ask you which one of our choices you most want to see recognized with a nomination. It’s strictly for fun, but it’s one of our favorite polls to run and it’s a great way to get the word out there about shows and performers during this key campaign window.
The focus of today’s article is the Outstanding Limited Series category, which has steadily become increasingly competitive over the years. Gone are the years where it felt like series made it in almost by default, and that is even with the Television Academy shoving shows like American Horror Story out of the Academy. These shows are just a fantastic way to draw in big-name actors, and also to tell beautiful stories (at times based on true ones) with a defined beginning, middle an end. It also feels like this category was extremely back-loaded, with a lot of candidates recently premiering in hopes to build last-minute buzz.
Below, you can see our choices for this category — following the description of our “nominees,” you can find the poll to vote for your favorite. (We’re also including some other popular contenders within that poll to widen the field — Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects, and When They See Us.)
Voting Rules – Voting will remain open until Monday, July 15 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time, which is the day before the official nominations are announced. The length of the poll coincides with both Emmy campaigns and lead-up to the official nominations being announced. You can vote however often you’d like; for more technical information if you’re having issues, check out the bottom of this article.
Chernobyl (HBO) – A stunning, haunting saga accented by arguably the best performance of Jared Harris’ career, Chernobyl is not always easy to watch. It’s a visceral look inside a horrifying time in history, a man-made tragedy that lasts generations. The series excels at illustrating the true terrors of being in this place, and then also a better understanding of the key players involved. It sends a message about the world and how to care for it, especially in terms of the fragility of human life. It may be so recent that not all Emmy viewers have seen it yet, but those who have will likely feel it rolling around in their heads for weeks to come.
Escape at Dannemora (Showtime) – More than likely the favorite this year and for good reason. Patricia Arquette is stellar in what may be the most stacked Limited Series Actress field in years, and this entire story is perfectly-paced, well-told, and it captures both imperfections and also desires. It’s also one of those rare series that actually seemed to become increasingly popular as time went on. From the start of the show to its finale, it actually more than doubled its live viewership among viewers 18-49. This is the benefit of momentum and a reason why appointment viewing and word of mouth overtime still works.
Haunting of Hill House (Netflix) – Contemplate the impact this series had on viewers when it premiered, whether it be the quality of the acting, its ability to throw you right into its world, and the content it left for you to think about. This is a brilliant product that proves, perhaps once more, that awards-show viewers either don’t understand horror or don’t care to understand horror. Maybe you can use American Horror Story as an example that the Emmys are starting to embrace it further, but we’re not sure that they’ve made it yet unless the product hands either Ryan Murphy or a well-known cast. What this has is exceptional entertainment, and it may not be enough.
The Spanish Princess (Starz) – The majority of the series’ viewers have likely heard of Catherine of Aragon. It’s the sort of subject that you go over during grade-school — you may forget the details, but the name is still there. The challenge within The Spanish Princess is to expand the world, and the story before the well-established story of King Henry VIII. This is a rich tapestry full of intrigue, complicated alliances, and in the end a woman intent on finding a way to achieve her goal of taking the crowd. It shows that the world of Royal politics is so much more convoluted and twisted than perhaps anyone thought, and that family is just as important a currency as money.
True Detective (HBO) – In the much-improved third season, creator Nic Pizzolatto rediscovered the roots of the series — personal introspection and the torment caused by a case you can’t quite solve, one that is the root of who you are. You see that reverberate throughout Mahershala Ali and his character of Wayne Hays. He’s a man who’s lived a full life, but can’t quite escape a singular shadow. This season is a well-written look into a larger community in the Ozarks, and visually and stylistically it adds a wonderful flavor to the HBO pantheon. When the dust does settle, though, it fixates on this one man.