Last Year’s Winner: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: A limited series from HBO or FX has won this category five years running.
Fun Fact: In 2009 and 2010, there were only two miniseries were nominated in this category, which lead to it merging with the “Outstanding TV Movie” category from 2011 – 2013. Now, limited series are arguably the most in-demand storytelling medium on television.
Only two of last year’s five nominees are offering eligible seasons in 2017, and woe be it for me to bet against “Fargo” and “American Crime” nabbing nods for their third seasons. But what about the other three slots? FX may not have “The People v. O.J. Simpson” this year, but it’s still got “American Horror Story” and “Feud: Bette & Joan” vying for nominations alongside Noah Hawley’s incumbent series.
As usual, it will be doing battle with HBO’s slew of offerings. “Big Little Lies” has star power on its side, and “The Night Of” should still be buzzy come the summer. But don’t discount “The Young Pope,” as Jude Law, Diane Keaton, and Paolo Sorrentino could prove appealing on the awards circuit. And Netflix earned the TV Academy’s approval to run “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” as a limited series, as opposed to an ongoing drama series. Could the “new” contender do some damage?
But of all the potential new nominees, one mysterious option reigns supreme: What in the world will “Twin Peaks” become? A critical favorite and serious contender? Something only for the art house? An unexpected bomb? Showtime will certainly hope for the first option, but we don’t know what to expect from David Lynch’s revival. We don’t even know if it will be Emmys eligible, considering the 18-hour series would have to release more than half of its episodes before May 31 (which would require a special rollout, given “Twin Peaks” is set to premiere May 21).
Showtime does have an alternate option in “Guerrilla,” a period piece starring four-time Emmy nominee Idris Elba and Freida Pinto. Perhaps 2017 is the year David Nevins’ network scores more than one nomination in a category typically dominated by HBO and FX. Similarly, ABC is hoping to sneak in another nominee next to “American Crime.” Dustin Lance Black’s “When We Rise” will have political prowess on its side (even if its reviews have been less than rapturous). Starz has two offerings as well with “The Missing” and “The White Princess,” Fox will do its best to push “Shots Fired” (and perhaps “Prison Break”?), while National Geographic Channel aims to live up to the title of its first narrative event series, “Genius.”
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Limited Series (in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.
- “American Crime”
- “Big Little Lies”
- “Feud: Bette & Joan”
- “The Night Of”
Spoilers: “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” “Guerrilla,” “The Young Pope”
In a Perfect World: “The Missing”