Emmy Predictions 2018: Outstanding Animated Program

The old guard takes on two newcomers for the title of best animated series. [Updated: August 7]
"Bob's Burgers"
"Bob's Burgers"

Last Year’s Winner: “Bob’s Burgers”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Though “Bob’s Burgers'” win in 2017 marked the series’ second Emmy in this category, no series has won two years in a row since “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” won in 2004 and 2005, and that was when there were two categories: “one-hour or less” and “more than one hour.” (“South Park” did win in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009, but the first was in the “more than one hour” category for “Imaginationland: The Movie” and the next for “one-hour or less” for the series.)
Fun Fact: “The Simpsons” has won twice as many awards in this category than the second place series, “South Park,” 10 to five — and no other series have won more than two.

The Best Animated Series category is not known for a lot of year-to-year turnover, but there’s at least one big surprise among the 2018 nominees. “Baymax Returns,” which many readers may not even recognize until reading its informal title, “Big Hero 6: The Series.” Submitted under the title of its only eligible episode, the Disney XD entry knocked out some mainstays in the category (like “Archer”) and cherished also-rans (like “BoJack Horseman”).

Can it pull off another upset and win, a la “Over the Garden Wall” in 2015? We’ll find out September 17, but it’s got some serious contenders to topple. Another newcomer with an edge of its own is “Rick and Morty.” The Dan Harmon series was snubbed for its first two seasons, but the TV Academy caught up with critics and fans for Season 3. If enough members watch it, the first-time nominee could shake up the winner’s circle.

And then there are the former champs. “The Simpsons” is a 10-time winner in animated series — the most in Emmys history — but it hasn’t won it all since 2008. Perhaps the long-running Fox comedy is due for a comeback, but it’ll have to top the second-biggest winner in the category, “South Park.” Trey Parker and Matt Stone last reeled in the big prize in 2013, more recent than “The Simpsons,” but still a half-decade ago. The most recent season didn’t do much to disrupt the narrative

That leaves “Bob’s Burgers.” Loren Bouchard’s series has only won twice, but both came in the last four years — including last year. With a growing viewership base, a movie on the horizon, and a smart, socially conscious creative team, the animated series is primed to be a favorite for years. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a family show, either.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Animated Series (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well.

The Nominees:

  1. “Baymax Returns” (Big Hero 6: The Series)
  2. “Bob’s Burgers”
  3. “Rick and Morty”
  4. “The Simpsons”
  5. “South Park”

Will Win: “Bob’s Burgers”
Could Win: “Rick and Morty”
Should Win: “Bob’s Burgers”

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