No huge surprises. No shocking snubs. And, most likely, no ratings either.
In other words, the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards have done (and likely will do) exactly as planned.
As predicted, "Bridgerton" made a big first-year splash, but the Emmys love period dramas and British accents and spectacular fashion. So check, check and check.
Apple Plus' first-season show "Ted Lasso" came out strong too, while Jason Sudeikis becomes just the second "SNL" alum (after Bill Hader) favored to win a best actor/comedy Emmy. That most viewers have never heard of — much less seen — "Lasso" is irrelevant. It'll probably win best comedy too.
Yes, this remains a strange new era for the Emmys, as for television itself — crippled by the pandemic, and confronting an identity crisis that challenges the very meaning of the word "television." Streaming is a de facto term of art now, and if the Emmys are a reliable guide, broadcast television has continued its yearslong slide into irrelevance.
The dominant narrative this year is in fact a streaming one. The key protagonists are HBO Max (130 nods) versus Netflix (129), while Disney Plus (71) is making a run. The world has changed, the worm has turned, and streaming is king.
Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, the awards ceremony will air Sept. 19 on CBS.
To the categories:
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV Plus)
Poor "Emily in Paris" was so thoroughly trashed by critics that its presence here feels almost like one of those outrageous Golden Globes misfires. Meanwhile, "Cobra Kai" finally gets some Emmy love, even if one of its deserving leads, William Zabka, did not. Advantage: "The Flight Attendant"
The Boys (Amazon)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney Plus)
This Is Us (NBC)
"The Boys" — violent and bro-ish — seems like the odd-show-out, and probably the long shot too. And as great the first few episodes were (and forgettable the last few), "Lovecraft" likely doesn't stand much of a chance either (it's been canceled). Meanwhile, like fans themselves, the Emmy voters have fallen out of love with "The Handmaid's Tale," while "The Mandalorian" is the type of drama the Emmys rarely honor. "Pose" had a good final season, but Billy Porter's expected win should take care of that; "This Is Us" will probably not be honored for best drama until the 6th and (likely) final season. That leaves "Bridgerton" versus "The Crown." Netflix versus Netflix. Advantage: "The Crown"
Aidy Bryant (Shrill)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Jean Smart (Hacks)
Only five nominees means that almost an equal number of worthies (Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, "PEN15"; Lena Waithe, "Master of None"; Renée Elise Goldsberry, "Girls5eva") were overlooked. This is a tough field as it stands, and almost too close to call. Advantage to … Cuoco (but if Janney wins, she'll be only the first actress from a broadcast series to win this since 2011 when Melissa McCarthy of "Mike & Molly" won).
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Kenan Thompson (Kenan)
While still early, Sudeikis has the Big Mo. Yet the questions are intriguing: Could Macy, after all these years and nods, finally get up on that stage? Will Douglas win his first Emmy, or Anderson — like Macy, always invited to the party, never quite celebrated? Could Thompson shock the field? Advantage … Sudeikis.
Uzo Aduba (In Treatment)
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Mj Rodriguez (Pose)
Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)
How to choose between Corrin's Princess Diana and Colman's Queen Elizabeth II? And love or loathe "Handmaid's," Moss was excellent (and also directed one of the best episodes of any season). Looking for her second Emmy, Adubo was a standout on "In Treatment" and had to be, given its long absence. Smollett and Rodriguez are last in this list, but Rodriguez (the first transgender woman to be nominated) could and maybe will surprise everyone. But … Advantage: Corrin
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton)
Billy Porter (Pose)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)
Page has walked away from "Bridgerton," but not before making an emphatic statement, as TV's (sorry, streaming's) most electrifying newcomer. But Majors was a standout in "Lovecraft Country" too. Porter wrapped "Pose" and, in the process, made a reasonable pitch for a repeat best actor win. (He last won in 2019).
Meanwhile, O'Connor's Prince Charles was one of the most memorable performances of the year — male or female. Advantage: Porter.
I May Destroy You (HBO)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
The Underground Railroad (Amazon)
WandaVision (Disney Plus)
"I May Destroy" effectively destroyed the Golden Globes when the calcified voting body failed to even acknowledge the series. The Emmy voters weren't about to make the same blunder. This category, perhaps the strongest field of the 73rd Emmys, features an audience favorite — and a critical fave ("The Underground Railroad," Barry Jenkins' searing adaptation of the Colson Whitehead novel about an imaginary antebellum underground railroad.) The long shots — "Mare" and "Wandavision" — are worthy and possible winners too. Advantage to: "The Underground Railroad"
Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)
When the Golden Globes overlooked both Coel and "I May Destroy You," the world finally knew what everyone else in Hollywood has long known — the Globes are seriously out to lunch. This is one of the strongest fields — too strong, maybe, because Thuso Mbedu ("The Underground Railroad") didn't make the cut. Advantage: Coel
Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ewan McGregor (Halston)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)
This is effectively the "Hamilton" category, and "Hamilton" obviously has the edge, but it's also a confusing apples-to-oranges one: Why a movie mixed in with a limited series (when movies has its own category)? Well? Advantage: Miranda