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Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series — Is Hulu the Network to Beat?

Even if networks continue to premiere Best Limited Series contenders on a weekly basis, shows from last year, like "Dopesick," hold strong.

Dopesick -- “The People vs. Purdue Pharma” - Episode 108 -- Rick and Randy’s criminal investigation now threatens Richard Sackler’s empire, activists take action against Purdue, and Finnix tries to heal his beloved community that’s been ravaged by addiction. Dr. Samuel Finnix (Michael Keaton), and Elizabeth Ann (Alayna Hester), shown. (Photo by: Gene Page/Hulu)

Michael Keaton and Alayna Hester in “Dopesick.”

Gene Page/Hulu

ConsiderThis

Last Year’s Winner: “The Queen’s Gambit”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: For the most part, only the anthology side of the category could have a streak. “American Crime Story” has already won the category twice, so should “Impeachment” win, it would make “American Crime Story” the first anthology since “Prime Suspect” to win the category three times. Other possible streaks are at the network level. Netflix could win a second year in a row with a title like “Maid.” Meanwhile, while it hasn’t all been consecutive, a win for HBO with a title like “The White Lotus” would mean the network spent a decade dominating the Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series category, winning seven out of ten years.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Loki” (submitted as a Drama Series); “Black Bird” (the season will not air in time to be eligible); “The White House Plumbers” (the season will not air in time to be eligible); “Love and Death” (the season will not air in time to be eligible)

This article will be updated throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2022 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting will take place from June 16 to June 27, with the official Emmy nominations to be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4, with an edited presentation on the ceremonies to be broadcast on Saturday, September 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET on FXX. Finally, the 74rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, September 12, and air live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

The State of the Race

This is a call to action to expand the Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series category. Yes, there can only be one winner, but in a time where limited series have been raining down on our streaming queues since February, it feels right for the Emmys to give a few more projects recognition like they’ve recently done with the Comedy and Drama categories.

That said, when figuring out what the Limited Series Emmy nominees will be, the shows that got a head start seem like the best bets. “Dopesick,” “Maid,” and “The White Lotus” all premiered around fall of last year, and in doing so, have already won some pretty significant awards. When entering a race as crowded as this, it really does help to be a show people have already actually seen. Many of the other contenders have been airing simultaneously, to the point where in order for voters to really be on top of what their options are, they would need to keep up with over 10 limited series in April and May. That does not seem feasible.

The major outlier in terms of a show that premiered early, but is not having the same amount of awards chatter around it, is “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” The first two installments of that franchise dominated their Emmy years, but the Clinton scandal-focused season has received more mixed reactions. Speaking again to how important it is that people actually watch the show, the issue “Impeachment” ran into was FX viewers being primed to watch the show the next day on Hulu, like all the other major FX shows airing at the time, and it never showing up. Anyone who didn’t tape the premiere, and didn’t have an on demand option available to them, had to wait months to finally binge the season, and at that point there were already shinier new shows moving up their queues. The “American Crime Story” franchise is never one to count out of a Limited or Anthology Series awards race, but it does seem like its winning streak has already come to an end.

FX, and more interestingly Hulu, are doing just fine though. “Under The Banner of Heaven” is streaming on Hulu, and does seem to have timed its premiere well, both being spaced out from lead Andrew Garfield’s recent Oscar run, but still benefiting from all the commendation he has received this year. Meanwhile Hulu, in addition to “Dopesick,” has become the most competitive network in the Limited Series categories with “The Dropout,” “The Girl from Plainville,” “Pam & Tommy,” and more falling into the column of shows people did actually watch. “The Dropout” is likely the most on the bubble in terms of nominations, and absolutely does make it in should nominations expand.

The reason why those shows, and more, are all on the cusp of being nominated rather than being considered this year’s shoo-ins is that they belong to the trend of ripped-from-recent-headlines true crime shows. When the goal is to stand out, it does not help your cause having every piece written about your show comparing it to its Limited Series competitors like “Inventing Anna” or “WeCrashed.” The new HBO Max series “The Staircase” seems most primed to skirt this issue given how even if TV Academy members do not end up watching the full season, they have been assured its story makes for compelling TV thanks to the two seasons of the highly-acclaimed docuseries of the same name, that covers the same fascinating crime.

Predicted Nominees:
“Dopesick” (Hulu)
“Maid” (Netflix)
“The Staircase” (HBO Max)
“The White Lotus” (HBO)
“Under The Banner of Heaven” (FX)

Contenders:
“Gaslit” (Starz)
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” (FX)
“The Dropout” (Hulu)

In a Perfect World:
“Hawkeye” (Disney+)
“Station Eleven” (HBO Max)
“We Own This City” (HBO)

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