×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmys 2016: Streaming Surprises (‘Comedians in Cars’) and Snubs (‘Orange Is the New Black’) Show New Status Quo

We long ago passed the point where it felt at all strange for a show on a streaming service to grab Emmy love. Instead, the Academy now refers to distributors as “platforms” rather than “networks,” and we consider a paucity of nominations for “Orange Is the New Black” to be a snub.

Netflix weighed in with 54 nominations in total, up quite a bit from 2015’s 34. But that might seem a natural consequence of Netflix’s massive push toward more original programming. The streaming service has more than doubled the amount of originals it submitted, and many of these new series were the ones that helped make up for shortfalls from series that mysteriously fell out of favor.

To wit: The number of comedies Netflix submitted for consideration more than quadrupled, from two to nine. Newcomer “Master of None” came in like a wrecking ball, picking up three big category nods, including best comedy and lead comedy actor for Aziz Ansari.

Perhaps most curious was the case of “Orange Is the New Black.” The hourlong was reclassified as a drama for 2015’s ceremony after flooding the comedy field the prior year (thanks to the change in the Emmy rules), but still garnered four big nominations, including eventual best supporting actress winner Uzo Aduba. Yet this third season — the one eligible for kudos this year — only garnered one nod for casting.

It wasn’t as though Netflix had a massive increase in drama asks this year: In 2015, the streamer had nine submissions; in 2016, it had 10. Others point to a creatively weaker third season, yet it had a higher Metacritic score than the first season, for whatever that measure is worth.

The answer to this mystery might lie in the “Peak TV” narrative. Voters eventually get used to the novelty of nominating streaming series, and the sudden attention heaped on FX’s “The Americans,” which wrapped its fourth season this year, may have pushed “Orange” out.

Admittedly, that doesn’t jibe with voters’ sudden interest in Crackle, Sony’s ad-supported streaming service, which earned three nominations. Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” now in its eighth season and just renewed for a ninth, was the surprise recipient of a variety talk series nod. The series had been nominated before for Emmys, but in the short format category that favors digital series. “We felt it was misplaced,” says Crackle general manager Eric Berger. “We felt it was worthy of a great variety talk show you might see on TV, so this year we made a decision to move it into the variety category.”

What’s more, stop-motion animated comedy “SuperMansion” weighed in with two nominations in the voice acting category for Keegan-Michael Key and Chris Pine (not, a little weirdly, Emmy catnip Bryan Cranston, who voices the main character).

On its own, that’s not a surprise, but it’s a little odd after taking into account the snubbing of Netflix’s two animated comedies, “Bojack Horseman”—which is stacked with voice talent, including “Breaking Bad” alum Aaron Paul—and “F Is for Family.”  “It’s not a hype thing as much as recognition of the quality,” Berger says.” The Stoopid Buddy guys, along with Bryan Cranston, know a lot about quality in this area, and they know a lot about funny.” That said, Berger points out, “I think this really is one of those cases where the quality broke through.”

Another puzzle is why voters were so disinterested in Hulu’s originals. Though several series drew critical acclaim, particularly comedies “Casual” and “Difficult People,” the Disney-NBC Universal-Fox-owned service only received two noms, for special effects (James Franco time-travel drama “11.22.63”) and writing for a variety special (“Triumph’s Election Special 2016”).

But this was also the first year Hulu had any real contenders, and consensus is it might simply take more time for them to achieve the critical mass required to break into the major categories.

Amazon, which has a slightly more established awards-show record in comedy, was also up in total nominations from 12 last year, to 16, as “Transparent” garnered 10 nods, including big category ones like best comedy and lead comedy actor (Jeffrey Tambor). What helped swell its total, though, were four more minor nominations for dystopian drama “Man in the High Castle,” and a comedy writing nod for U.K.-set comedy “Catastrophe” (from which Amazon presciently picked up two more seasons a couple hours before the nominations were announced). Golden Globe winner for best comedy or musical series “Mozart in the Jungle” even managed to pick up a nomination, for sound mixing.

More TV

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content