The face of television is rapidly evolving with streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix delivering the newest generation of must-see watercooler hits. While network TV was once the only game in town, premium services like HBO and Showtime eventually muscled their way to the forefront, paving the way for basic cable networks like AMC and FX to also deliver innovative programming. But these days, it seems the streaming services are on top and this weekend’s Emmy Awards proved that.
Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ based on the acclaimed dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, swept most of the major categories for which it was nominated, disappointing fans of other genre shows, namely Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ which was the most buzzed-about event of last summer and HBO’s wildly controversial ‘Westworld’.
For starters, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ took the biggest honor of the night, Outstanding Drama Series, besting both ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Westworld’ as well as non-genre programs ‘Better Call Saul’, ‘The Crown’, ‘House of Cards’ and ‘This Is Us’, the last of which was the biggest freshman series of last fall’s new TV season.
Elizabeth Moss, who plays lead character Offred/June took home a long-overdue win for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series, after never winning for her many seasons on the lauded ‘Mad Men’. Moss bested ‘Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood as well as Viola Davis (‘How To Get Away With Murder’), Claire Foy (‘The Crown’), Keri Russell (‘The Americans’) and Robin Wright (‘House of Cards’).
Other wins for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ were Ann Dowd for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series, Bruce Miller for Outstanding Writing and Reed Morano for Outstanding Directing. Miller beat out Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (as well as Nolan solo) for ‘Westworld’, while Morano topped The Duffer Brothers for ‘Stranger Things’ and interestingly enough, Kate Dennis, who was also nominated for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
Alexis Bledel won for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Ofglen/Emily, but that presentation was given at last week’s Creative Emmys, which were not telecast. The show also won for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) for Colin Watkinson and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More).
‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Westworld’ both garnered five a piece at the Creative Emmys. ‘Stranger Things’ won for Outstanding Casting In A Drama Series, Main Title Design, Original Main Title Theme Music (Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon), Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series and Sound Editing for a Series.
‘Westworld’ won in the categories for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series, Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within A Scripted Program, Make-up for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic), Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) and Special Visual Effects.
Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ won for Outstanding Television Movie for the ‘San Junipero’ episode. The show’s creator was also recognized for Writing For A Television Movie.
HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ was ineligible for consideration this year because it did not air before the May 31st cut-off date. But it remains HBO’s biggest draw, perhaps diverting attention away from ‘Westworld’ which earned a lot of press, but hasn’t quite broken out as a sensation yet. With ‘GoT’ wrapping up, though,’Westworld’ may have a chance to shine in later seasons.
As for ‘Stranger Things’, it was the most buzzed about show of LAST summer. Since then, possibly due to the fact that the second season hasn’t premiered yet, it’s possible the heat has simply died down to the point that voters opted for something more current.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has not only made waves for being a quality show, but it has been bolstered by the polarizing political climate in the U.S., which includes the threat of the possible loss of medical benefits for women. Some have criticized the show for being too political, while others are upset that the winners did not use their time on the stage to make MORE political statements. (You can’t win, despite winning sometimes.)
Have you watched any of these shows? What’s your favorite? Are there any others that deserve consideration?