Emmy Tracker: Will Shocking Endings Boost or Kill Emmy Chances?


Vinyl and Penny Dreadful both died this week. Did their Emmy chances die with them?


I’m not sure which ending was more surprising. My jaw was literally on the floor on Monday morning when I read that Penny Dreadful killed off Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives during its third season finale. Even though the last thing viewers saw was “THE END,” I immediately assumed the series would either resurrect Ives (Red Priestess, perhaps?) or would continue without its tortured star. Then, later in the week, HBO did what nearly everybody wanted but no one expected: they pulled the plug on Vinyl, a Martin Scorsese / Mick Jagger vanity project. So, immediately, the question of what Emmy voters would think given this widespread news during the Emmy voting period popped into my head.

Let’s dive into this, shall we?

There isn’t really a lot of historical data to prove sudden departures enhance a series’ Emmy chances. The final season allure of Emmy voting really only applies to previously nominated series like Breaking Bad or, this year, Downton AbbeyPenny Dreadful is actually far more awarded a series that you’d might think, winning 10 awards across from mostly critics’ groups. Shockingly, its first season failed to win a single Emmy and was completely ignored for its lush period design and fantastic cinematography. It was recognized for makeup and twice for music.

Still, viewers saw the second season as a significant improvement over the good-but-not-great first season. Early awards recognition for the second season seemed to be on an upswing. Eva Green managed a surprise Golden Globe nomination, and the Critics’ Choice Television Awards bestowed four nominations on the series. Granted, none of these resulted in a win. Beggars, you know?

Eva Green hadn’t surfaced on the Emmy Tracker before now. I’d certainly made a plea for her before and continue to sing her praises. Is there a chance that this wide publicity about the end of the series actually a good thing for her? Penny Dreadful didn’t become one of those heavily buzzed dramas, which is a shame. The series was resolutely good, full of lushly photographed gore and sumptuous costumes. Maybe that turned Emmy voters off. However, as the series made headlines with the unexpected and shocking end, Eva Green could benefit from the attention. This ending could be a reason for Emmy voters to check out the series and see what all the fuss is about, particularly if it’s not a long-term commitment now. Or it could make them trash the screener. It’s a rather sticky situation that is difficult to predict.

Still, I’m giving Eva Green an upgrade over Krysten Ritter for the tenth slot. I doubt she makes it in, but there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Maybe there is if you’re Vinyl.

Vinyl is one of those series that nearly everyone gave up on halfway through (earlier?) its tumultuous first season. Still, HBO seemed to stand by it, giving Scorsese and his team a chance to course-correct in the expensive series’s second season. But that, like Andrew Dice Clay in the series premiere, is no mo’. If Emmy voters considered Vinyl, then they likely ripped the record off the turntable and tossed it in the garbage.

I mean, seriously. Screeners meant to represent 400-plus scripted series bury Emmy voters. You’re telling me they’re going to spend time with a series in which HBO has so little faith as to not even grant it a second outing? To pull the plug midstream? A show that battled reviews and toxic buzz to try and push stars Bobby Cannavale and Ray Romano into the Emmy acting races? It’s all done, folks. It’s toast.

Cannavale may still sneak in there on his name and wild-child performance. In my opinion, that would be a horrible fucking shame over far more deserving actors. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where Freddie Highmore’s career-defining work as Norman Bates on Bates Motel isn’t as highly regarded at Cannavale’s manic gyrations. It’s probably going to help Kyle Chandler’s Bloodline season two domination sneak into the top six categories. I would be OK with that, but Cannavale gets a downgrade into the lower ranks of the category as Vinyl flushes its way down the pipes.

And of Ray Romano? I quite liked his performance in the pilot, but he’s toast too. Who replaces him in the top ten? Alan Alda’s startling work on Louis CK’s Horace and Pete seems to be getting a lot of last-minute Emmy buzz. And, honestly, just look at the poor guy. He looks like he’d slept in a dumpster behind Louis CK’s house. He flushed vanity for his art, and he’s great in the series.

Welcome to the Emmy Tracker, Mr. Alda.

Photo courtesy of LouisCK.com



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