Once upon a time, hit series dutifully crafted each fall, meaning you could count on dramas like “Hill Street Blues” and “ER,” or sitcoms like “Cheers” and then “Frasier,” to be in vying every year during their long run.
Now, however, prestige series tend to run on their own schedules, skipping years — or more — between seasons. Add to that the pandemic that has disrupted production schedules, and viewers have to be forgiven if they can’t keep up with what’s eligible year after year, even with a score card.
Take “Barry” and “Atlanta” (both listed as comedies), which, after their extended layoffs, return to the awards fray (first in multiple categories, second for star Donald Glover) for the first time. since 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Of the Best Drama nominees, “Succession,” “Stranger Things,” “Euphoria,” “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” all missed out on 2021, along with new shows “Squid Game,” “Yellowjackets” and “Severance.” ” completing the field. But they needn’t worry about competition with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which premieres its fifth season on September 14.
“Ted Lasso,” meanwhile, will get a chance to repeat itself as Best Comedy, which means the Apple TV+ show can defend its crown, but “The Crown,” uh, won’t. “Hacks” also makes a back-to-back appearance, while this year’s arguably tougher competition includes new players “Abbott Elementary” and “Only Murders in the Building” as well as four series that weren’t on the menu for 2021: Barry,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” (“Curb” is something of a trailblazing class unto itself, slapping 11 seasons and 51 Emmy nominations at over the past 22 years.)
Some shows require a separate asterisk due to the Emmy eligibility window, which spans the 12-month period from June through May.
The Emmy schedule can also promote confusion depending on when the series premieres. If, for example, you just finished watching the second season of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” remember that it’s the first season that’s nominated this year.
Limited series avoid questions of repetition, but not of timing. It’s a busy lineup again, with Hulu’s “Dopesick,” “The Dropout,” and “Pam & Tommy,” Netflix’s “Inventing Anna,” and HBO’s “The White Lotus,” the only one not based on a true story.
For those keeping score or just enjoying questions about the network’s bragging rights, HBO and HBO Max totaled 26 awards, followed by Netflix with 23 and streaming services Disney+ (9), Hulu (8) and Amazon Prime (6).
Netflix tied a 47-year-old record with 44 statuettes in total last year from all those ceremonies, more than twice closest rival HBO, which led the way in 2020 and 2019 after tying with Netflix in 2018.
“Stranger Things,” “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” each scooped five awards last weekend (and could add to those totals on September 12), as did the special “Adele: One Night Only” and the docuseries “The Beatles: Return.”
The Emmys will air Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.