In this week’s Awards Tracker we take a look at the Emmy chances of the three February TV premieres with the highest Emmy profile.
February TV has been a quiet month for television and for obvious reasons. Audiences have been rushing to the theatre to breaking box office records for Black Panther and most networks are waiting out the Winter Olympics before premiering anything significant. However throughout the month Netflix premiered three shows that have the potential to make an impact on the upcoming Emmys.
The first two months of the year may not have given us our next The Handmaid’s Tale or Atlanta, but audiences and Twitter buzz are proving that there is love out there for the newest installment of Queer Eye and that fans are sticking around for the fourth season of Grace & Frankie. On top of the return of Grace & Frankie and the revamp of Queer Eye, Netflix also debuted their brand new anthology series Seven Seconds and at first glance it might be the perfect mixture of popular genres to catch the attention of voters.
15 years ago Queer Eye revolutionized reality TV and made giant strides for queer representation in the media. On top of that the groundbreaking show became the third reality show to win the fledgling Outstanding Reality Program award and introduced audiences to Carson Kressley, Ted Allen, and was even Andy Cohen’s first major dip into reality TV.
Over a decade has passed since the show won its first Emmy and now Netflix has revamped it simply as Queer Eye. The pillars of the Fab Five are the same (grooming, fashion, culture, food, design) but as they put it their overall goals have changed. The original five were fighting for tolerance but the new group is looking for acceptance. Instead of focusing on straight men in NYC the new group is now centered in the red state of Georgia working with straight and gay men alike.
Reality TV has drastically changed since Queer Eye first premiered. No one had heard of Omarosa and the concept of the Real Housewives was almost laughable. It was hard to gauge whether or not the sincerity of Queer Eye would resonate with audiences today but it has quickly become one of the most buzzed about new shows of 2018. Twitter has been abuzz about the show and endless think pieces have been written about their favorites from the new cast.
Grooming expert Jonathan is the clear breakout star of the show and many viewers probably recognize him from his Emmy winning web series Gay of Thrones. Fashion expert Tan is breaking boundaries as a gay Muslim on TV. Adorably cute but bland food ‘expert’ Antoni has caused a bit of mockery online for not really coming across as an expert. His introductory recipe was a basic guacamole with sour cream.
As audiences discover the new installment and celebrities like Busy Phillips and Kiernan Shipka praise it on social media it has the potential to be a major contender in the Outstanding Structured Reality Program category at the Emmys. This would be a first for a streaming network at the Emmys since reality is one of the few genres that has yet to be taken over by streaming. Voters don’t normally embrace new shows in this category, in fact in the history of the award Shark Tank has been the sole winner with pretty much the same competition year after year. Still audiences so far have had a strong emotional reaction to the show and once Emmy season is in full swing there will be no denying the infectious personalities of the new cast.
A couple of weeks ago the Awards Tracker was focused on the uneventful upcoming limited series race at the Emmys. Initially there was concern that with voters growing tired of Ryan Murphy and no show becoming the critical darling that there would be no strong front runner. This week however Netflix is premiering what might be the first major front runner of the season with their new crime anthology series Seven Seconds.
From the Emmy nominated creators of the crime thriller The Killing, Seven Seconds focuses on the killing of a young African-American boy by white police officers and a community searching for answers and justice. The cast is led by Clare-Hope Ashitey who plays a detective determined to get to the bottom of what happened while also battling an alcohol addiction. All of the attention however is on Regina King who plays the mother of the murdered boy. On top of Regina King’s recent streak at the Emmys she is also featured prodimently in the trailer with what might be the most awards friendly line in recent memory, “God didn’t run my son down in the street and leave him to die. A man did that.”
Recently Emmy voters have proven time and time again that there are two things they love when it comes to limited series: crime dramas and Regina King. On top of appearing to be the most Emmy friendly limited series to premiere this year Seven Seconds also stands out because of its social relevance dealing with issues like racism and police brutality. Some early reviews have compared the new show to Fox’s Shots Fired which was a critical hit that failed to connect with audiences and awards groups.
Only time will tell whether Seven Seconds will become the major Emmy contender it has the potential to be. Because it is premiering on Netflix we won’t know about its success right away and it will have the time to become a sleeper hit with larger audiences. Not all the reviews have been released yet but the early buzz is mostly positive with a Metacritic score of 68 from a handful of critics. Above all else Regina King has proven she should never be counted out and the directors branch might rally behind Jonathan Demme in his last directorial death before his tragic passing last year.
Grace & Frankie
Grace & Frankie was an early hit for Netflix when it premiered three years ago and for good reason. A buddy comedy starring legends like Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin who are force to come together after their husbands leave them for each other seems like a pop culture fantasy that everyone was ready to devour.
Surprisingly the hit wasn’t an awards magnet when it initially premiered. The only nomination for the first season was for Lily Tomlin and voters surprisingly left out Jane Fonda. Last year however the third season over-performed at the Emmys with nominations for both Tomlin and Fonda after they both earned SAG recognition and nominations for the show’s costumes and production design.
On top of all that Grace & Frankie just had its best guild season to date. Both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin claimed 2 spots in their crowded SAG category for the second year in a row. The buddy comedy also earned its first WGA nomination as well as recognition from the Costume Designers Guild and two nominations from the Makeup & Hair Guild.
The fourth season premiered last month and is arguably the comedy’s best season to date. Fonda & Tomlin have perfected their chemistry and are finally given storylines deserving of the two legends. The writers have finally figured out to do with the tedious supporting cast and they even brought in Lisa Kudrow who will surely be a contender in the guest a3ctress race later this year.
As the Outstanding Comedy Series category proves to be the widest open it has been in years Grace & Frankie for the first time might have a shot at breaking into the top race. Because of its broad comedic appeal and Hollywood legends the Netlflix comedy appeals to a wide variety of voters, especially older voters who have a soft spot for more traditional comedies.