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.
The networks largely responsible for restoring the relevancy of this category are ready to go to war in 2017. HBO and FX both have two contenders each. The pay cable giant behind past winners like “Olive Kitteride” and “The Pacific” has “Big Little Lies” and “The Night Of” competing in 2017. Meanwhile, the basic cable critics’ darling — who won last year for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and in 2014 for the first season of “Fargo” — is bringing back Noah Hawley’s third season as well as Ryan Murphy’s latest acclaimed limited series franchise, “Feud: Bette & Joan.”
Narrowing down the contenders, even within each network, isn’t easy. HBO probably has a better shot with “Big Little Lies,” given it’s fresh in voters’ minds and sports bigger A-list names. But “The Night Of” set the summer ablaze in 2016, and its 13 total nominations indicates continued support at the Academy. (That being said, “Big Little Lies” has 16.)
FX has a proven winner in “Fargo,” but the new season is coming off the weakest reviews of the series. Though far from overtly negative, that slight downtick in perceived quality as well as the total nomination count for each show — 18 to 16 — could mean “Feud” is the stronger option.
And then there’s “Genius.” The Nat Geo original came through big time for the network, garnering 10 total nominations when many worried the time-hopping Albert Einstein story might struggle to crack the major categories. It didn’t, but it’s got a tougher challenge ahead if it wants to win.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Limited Series, 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.
- “Big Little Lies”
- “Feud: Bette & Joan”
- “The Night Of”
Will Win: “Big Little Lies”
Could Win: “Feud: Bette & Joan”
Should Win: “Big Little Lies”