Emmy Tracker: The Americants

On this week’s Emmy Tracker update, we say goodbye to The Americans as a full-fledged 2016 Emmy contender

Maybe we were being kind, but our first cut from the Emmy Tracker has to be The Americans.

It’s not a judgement on the quality of the show. It’s still (from what little I’ve seen) a very fine show with a lot of very fine fans who passionately love it. That’s all good stuff, but it doesn’t win Emmy love. As often with the Oscars, sometimes great art just doesn’t click. It didn’t click with The Wire. It didn’t click with Sons of Anarchy. Neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Sports Night nor Homicide: Life on the Streets. And it’s not going to click this year in The Americans‘s fourth season.

Honestly, only critics have ever really embraced the series. The Americans premiered in 2013 to universal critical huzzahs and strong viewership, posting just over 3 million live viewers. Subsequent seasons have seen critical adoration continue even if audiences have started to trail off. The fourth season has averaged just under 1 million live viewers, although it’s entirely possible delayed viewing benefits the series. Still, Emmy has never embraced the show aside from consistently recognizing Margo Martindale in the Guest Actress in a Drama Series category. She finally won the award last year in a season that was also recognized with a writing nomination, it’s most prominent Emmy recognition to date.

There’s no reason to think that it won’t repeat this year, but it’s time to accept that the Emmy boat has sailed for the series. Therefore, it becomes the first casualty from the Emmy Tracker even if we’re leaving Matthew Rhys in contention. For now…

So, what pops up in its place?

Well, for one thing, it hardly matters as the top seven slots for Drama Series are likely already locked, barring any shocking omission of USA’s red-hot Mr. Robot. Looking in on the outside are Showtime’s Billions, Netflix’s Narcos or Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, Starz’s Outlander, and maybe HBO’s Vinyl.

So what else are the big changes this week?

  • In Drama Actress, Keri Russell is out and Krysten Ritter is in for Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Honestly, it was an omission on my part for not including Ritter in the first place. She’s in nearly every scene of the show, and she balances the character’s self-loathing and contempt for humanity with a nice sense of vulnerability and fear. Sure, as written, the character is a little one note, but the series received a not-insignificant Peabody nomination recently. She’s yet to be recognized for the role, and that’s why she’s not higher in the list. But it doesn’t mean she’s not in the top ten.
  • In Drama Supporting Actor, we’re taking out Ben Mendelsohn for Netflix’s Bloodline mostly because season two is sight-unseen and his return will presumably be largely flashback or ghost/vision-driven. Until we know the size or impact of his role, he’s off the list. As a replacement, we’re tossing in Hugh Dancy for his showy role in The Path. Dancy has a lot of good will stockpiled thanks to committed work on NBC’s acclaimed Hannibal series. A plum spring placement can only increase the worth of his strong performance. Also, we’re bumping down Ray Romano’s placement because, frankly, no one likes Vinyl, and it’s not getting two acting nominations. Bobby Cannavale’s going to snort his way to a nomination for sure.
  • In Drama Supporting Actress, we blew it and omitted the powerful Maggie Smith from the final season of Downton Abbey. Going out, for now, is Billions‘ Maggie Siff. She made a strong impression in the freshman season, but I know Maggie Smith (in my dreams) and Maggie Siff is no Maggie Smith. In other repositioning, we’re bumping up Lena Headey over Uzo Aruba based on her short-but-fantastic Game of Thrones season six premiere performance. We’re also bumping up Emilia Clarke since Emmy voters clearly love her (as she was nominated last year). If someone new breaks it into this category, then it’s most likely Rhea Seehorn for Better Call Saul. Gotta go with the show that has Drama Series heat.
  • In Comedy Supporting Actress, we’re bumping Anna Chlumsky up to the leading slot (for now) thanks to the huge buzz around Veep‘s highly acclaimed season premiere. Tony Hale is the only other cast member to be recognized outside of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. If Veep maintains the pace from the season five premiere, then it may finally be Chlumsky’s turn.

That’s effectively this week’s changes to the Emmy Tracker, fair readers, aside from recognizing recent awards winners (SAG, GG, WGA, DGA, etc). Next week, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the Comedy races. Until then, what else needs updating in the Drama categories? What are we missing from the Emmy Tracker? Sound off below!

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