January 15, 2024, 7:40 p.m. ET
January 15, 2024, 7:40 p.m. ETBob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in “Better Call Saul,” which ended in August 2022 but is up for multiple Emmys on Monday night.Credit: Greg Lewis/Sony Pictures Television
Nominations for the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on July 12. Two days later, members of SAG-AFTRA joined the writers on the picket line. This double strike, which was finally resolved in November, resulted in the Emmys being moved from a September date to Monday night. That means the Emmys, which often come late, will really jump ahead this year for the 2023 ceremony.
On the one hand, they will be awarded in 2024. And since the Emmy eligibility window goes back to the old fall-spring broadcast schedule, the series to be honored on Monday night had to have aired between June 2022 and May 2023. That means some of the nominated series premiered about 19 months ago, and it also creates a strange dissonance between last week's Emmys and Golden Globes.
For example, the FX series “The Bear” dominated the musical or comedy category at the Globes – it won best series, star Ayo Edebiri won a Globe and so did the series' newly minted lead, Jeremy Allen White, as Carmy. This was White's second Globe, and that's because these awards, which adjust eligibility based on the calendar year, recognized the second season of the stressful comedy, which aired last June. But the Emmys are still stuck in the even more stressful first season, with a Carmy who works out less.
What does it mean to give awards to shows that ended their run so long ago? Such delays have become more common in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed various editions of the Grammys, Oscars and Golden Globes for months. The 2020 Tonys have been postponed for more than a year. But in the context of television, which continues to produce show after show and season after season even though the picket lines were full, these shifts can seem more confusing and acute.
“House of the Dragon,” which premiered in August 2022, is nominated for eight Emmys, including outstanding drama series. (Most of the other nominations were in the design categories; the show won for best fantasy or science fiction costumes.) There was a time when this Game of Thrones prequel dominated online discourse. (Remember the Negroni sbagliato? Maybe not.) But “House of the Dragon,” which won best drama at last year's Golden Globes, aired its final episode nearly 15 months ago and has barely been aired since still mentioned.
Voting for the Emmys took place in August 2023, when some shows had already moved far into the background. That was a year after the final episode aired of “Better Call Saul,” which has been nominated for 53 Emmys in its six seasons but has yet to win one. On Monday evening, stars Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn will compete for best drama, screenplay and acting.
“Dead to Me,” which earned Christina Applegate a nomination for outstanding actress in a comedy series, also wrapped more than a year ago. The Emmys will consider Season 5 of “The Crown” when Princess Diana is still alive, rather than the already completed (and Globe-winning) Season 6, in which she is absent from most episodes. Similarly, the Emmys judge the second season of Only Murders in the Building – since then there have been more murders and an entire musical. And how many more meals has “The Bear” served since the first season was released in June 2022?
Television moves quickly. Awards are slower units and the algorithms always suggest something new. Many viewers may now be wondering: “Better Call”… who? “Dead to”…what? Let's hope that at least the people in the theater have good, long memories of it.