What a difference a year makes. In 2016, Hulu celebrated its first two Emmy wins ever, both in crafts categories. Being third to the high-end original series party, following the deep-pocketed Netflix and Amazon, Hulu was last among them to score its first Emmys last year.
Fast forward to September 2017 when, fueled by breakout The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu dominated the series field with five wins at the main Emmy telecast and eight overall, sweeping best drama, best lead and supporting actress (Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd), best writer Bruce Miller, and best director Reed Morano.
It was a big validation for the upstart streaming services and a disturbance in the pecking order among the three main VOD players, with the once-distant third outpacing formidable rivals Netflix and Amazon to score first the coveted best series Emmy.
This year’s Emmys also will be remembered for hitting two milestones for women — the first ever writing for a comedy series Emmy for Master Of None‘s Lena Waithe (shared with Aziz Ansari) and the first win in Morano.
The strong female presence at the Emmys was solidified by the big wins for female-driven series, The Handmaid’s Tale, HBO’s Big Little Lies, which swept the limited series field with five Emmys tonight and eight total, including best limited series, and Veep, repeat winner for best comedy series and best actress in a drama series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
It was also a great night for diversity. In addition to Waithe and Ansari’s nod, Sterling K. Brown became the first black actor to win the lead actor in a drama series category in 19 years, since Andre Braugher for Homicide. Donald Glover won best actor and director in a comedy series for FX’s Atlanta, becoming the second and first black person, respectively, to win the two categories, while Riz Ahmed was named best actor in a limited series for HBO’s The Night Of.
But while Brown also made strides as the first actor on a broadcast drama to win an Emmy in 10 years, since James Spader for Boston Legal, broadcast television once again missed a chance to reclaim the best drama series crown.
However, it was a broadcast series, one of the longest-running on TV, to top it all this year. NBC’s Saturday Night Live’s Trump-boosted 42nd season took 9 Emmy Awards (Primetime and Creative Arts Emmys combined.), including best variety sketch comedy series and best supporting and guest actor and actress. The truckload of wins added to SNL‘s already record-breaking lifespan Emmy total, which reached 64. It capped an extraordinary season that logged the show’s best ratings in 22 years.
Veep aside, the comedy and drama series categories were dominated by first-timers, a rare for the Emmys which love to stick with favorites for years, as almost all other Emmy victories went to freshman shows, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crown (best drama supporting actor win for John Lithgow) and This Is Us (best lead actor nod for Brown) as well as Atlanta on the comedy side.
While rookies and best drama series nominees HBO’s Westworld and Netflix’s Stranger Things were shut out tonight, they still won multiple awards at the Creative Arts. Meanwhile, with shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Atlanta favored over Stranger Things and This Is Us, the TV Academy went for little seen series instead of big broad hits in their winners picks.
The Emmys on the main telecast were divided up among only five networks, HBO (10), NBC (6), Hulu (5), Netflix (4) and FX (2). There was nothing for CBS, which carried the Emmy telecast.
HBO also was ahead in the overall 2017 total with 20 nods, followed by Netflix with 20, NBC (15) and Hulu (10)