Premieres and finales figure prominently
With the Writers Guild of America strike cutting through the middle of the television season, series openers and closers might grab an even bigger share of Emmy nominations than normal.
Those episodes traditionally hold the edge, as show producers tend to rely on big storytelling and scene-stealing moments to grab viewers back or send them off with a major cliffhanger.
This year, there are even fewer alternatives: On most broadcast series, several episodes were completed after the strike began — which means they were shot without any script revisions and in some cases without a showrunner on set.
Furthermore, it was generally agreed that the first few post-strike episodes of many shows were weaker, as scribes and thesps dusted off cobwebs and got back into the groove after a three-month break.
The disjointed season could be a boon for new series like “Pushing Daisies” (which will contend in the comedy categories). Frosh skeins frequently turn to their pilot episode for Emmy contention, because with bigger budgets and meticulous preparation, they look sharp and boast the kind of visual effects that aren’t usually feasible. In a year like this, the difference between those entrants and veteran series might be more defined.
Arguably, the more that Emmys hinge on first and last episodes, the less the kudofest offers an accurate reflection of the TV landscape. Those entry and exit segs are usually jam-packed with activity and frequently deviate from a show’s normal rhythm, giving Emmy voters less of a real sense of what a show and its actors are all about.
On the flip side, with fewer episodes to choose from, Emmycast producer Ken Ehrlich believes the competish may wind up more balanced.
“Perhaps the strike has provided a more level playing field,” he says.