If you’re a series enthusiast and enjoy watching the Emmy’s you’ve probably experienced lashing fury whenever the nominees were announced over the past 3 years or so. It’s a “who can squeeze what into the easier category” game that produces a ton of injustice and have always left everyone wondering why nothing was ever done about it by the Academy.
(A little background information about this in case you didn’t know – the shows producers themselves are the ones who submit their shows for consideration in the category they deem more appropriate, hence the common chess playing with the Academy.)
So rejoice TV fans because last week the Academy announced that they have at last made changes to the Emmy’s rules to keep up with the fast changing scripted television programing landscape. Is it everything we’ve been waiting for? Absolutely not – but it’s a change in the right direction. The full list comes out on March but for now let’s talk about the best that has already been announced.
In order of fury-raising common category juggles:
1) Increase in Series Nominees to 7 shows per category
This is very sensible given that production has increased tremendously over the years and there will be no shortage of great shows to fill those seats. That being said, a larger increase would have been more fit.
2) New hard-and-fast Comedy/Drama distinction guidelines
We all know this has been a tricky one over the past years with the rise of popular dramedies such as “OITNB” and “Girls” that don’t particularly fit in either category. Then there’s also the shady – I’m talking to you “Shameless” – shows that submit themselves in the Comedy category simply to increase their chances at being nominated even though they’re not comedies.
If it was up to me we would solve this by creating a dramedy category. Then we’d have “Girls”, “OITNB”, “Transparent”, “Louie” and their like all together. Would it be perfect? No. But it would be better.
The Academy’s solution however was to qualify Dramas as shows with episodes with more than 30 minutes and Comedies as shows with episodes with less than 30 minutes. Producer’s can appeal to be submitted in different categories than what the rules implies.
The effectiveness of this rule will depend on how this appeals process will be conducted. If they perform good analysis we won’t be seeing “Shameless” in the Comedy category ever again and “OITNB” won’t be forced to submit as a Drama. But we’ll have to wait and see.
3) The Mini-Series catch
This is another category that has been frequently juggled to snatch nominations on easier fields. “Downton Abbey” is literally aristocracy when it comes to pretending they’re not a regular show and recently more shows have joined the bonanza such as “Fargo”. “True Detective”, on a very ballsy move, submitted as Drama last year and competed against heavy-weights but that’s the end of the ride for it.
No more – Mini-Series are now programs of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons. Comedy and Drama are still programs with a minimum of six episodes with an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters presented under the same title. Producer’s may also appeal.
4) “My guy is only a Guest Actor”
This is the typical “this actor can’t play with the other big boys so let’s submit as guest actor even though he’s in 90% of the episodes”. Guest actor now have to appear in less than 50% of the episodes so this category is sure to have a good adjustment.
What did you think of the new rules?