And now we come to the grand finale of my prediction posts for Emmy’s key contests. The name of this category has evolved over the years — the new name is designed to find someplace other than Television Movie to showcase individual episodes of what are known as Anthology series. After Netflix continually triumphed with Black Mirror by entering separate episodes as TV Movies, the Academy wisely caught on and has shuffled them off to compete with Limited Series where, basically, they don’t have a chance.
The TV Academy really needs to expand this category as it did with Drama and Comedy series — this year’s also-rans include The Good Lord Bird, Small Axe, The Undoing, Your Honor, The Comey Rule, Fargo and many more. Looking at the five that did make the cut, it’s an almost impossible choice to make, which means the winner could be anyone’s guess. It also has become the most exciting category at the Emmys, offering up ambitious limited series that pretty much smoke anything else on television these days. Here is a rundown of the nominees. Scroll down for the predicted winner.
I May Destroy You, HBO
This British drama from multi-talented Mchaela Coel about a writer trying to put her life back together after a sexual assault is about as critically acclaimed as you can get, and its recent sweep of BAFTAs only adds to its momentum. Voters have caught on to seeing it, and now it is in a position to triumph here, where being British can be a plus. On the downside, nine nominations is the second-lowest total in the category, which indicates that it doesn’t have the kind of across-the-board support of some of its competitors. But I wouldn’t rule it out.
Mare of Easttown, HBO
This late-breaking limited mystery series with Kate Winslet in memorable form really got people talking, even if they weren’t gathered around the water cooler during the pandemic. The series itself was shut down due to Covid delays but managed to get finished in time for a late-spring premiere and created immediate Emmy buzz. With 16 nominations, it is just two behind leader The Queen’s Gambit. Can it make it all the way? It won only once at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys compared to nine for Queen’s Gambit, so the odds are getting longer, but it might prove its mettle in the acting categories in particular.
The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix
If ever there was a nominee coming in as a sure-fire favorite, it is this fascinating period piece starring Anya Taylor-Joy as a young chess wunderkind who takes the world by storm. Its pedigree is impressive — the show literally has swept every precursor awards race since its release earlier in the season — and seemed unstoppable at the Emmys until Mare of Easttown and I May Destroy You started gaining momentum. Now it’s a race, but the impressive sweep of winning nine Emmys at the Creative Arts ceremonies over the weekend really seems to confirm this is a juggernaut that can’t be stopped, as all momentum lost late in the season has been regained — and then some.
The Underground Railroad, Amazon
Perhaps the single most ambitious undertaking of any entry this year, this mammoth and sweeping saga of a runaway slave in the Antebellum South was 10 episodes of extraordinary storytelling from Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins — his adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s book would be Emmy-worthy in any year. However, its puzzling lack of a writing or acting nomination is a possible detriment in pulling off a win.
Marvel makes it to the Emmys with this wildly inventive and entertaining genre series starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, who in addition to reprising their roles from the MCU and Avengers films, add some real fun to the mix by brilliantly playing several different TV icons. Even if voters were to resist the Marvel of it all, they still might be Bewitched by its delightful homage to a bygone era of television comedy — and that could be a real bonus for this Disney+ triumph, which earned 23 nominations, by far the most of any limited series this season.
THE PREDICTED WINNER: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT