Sunday, December 17, 2017

'Game of Thrones,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' and 'Stranger Things' nominated for Drama Series at the 2018 WGA Awards

I ended 'The Handmaid's Tale' leads speculative fiction on television at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards by writing "I'll see if I have the time and energy for the WGA Awards tomorrow."  It seems I have, so here goes.

As I wrote when I reported last year's speculative fiction nominees at the Writers Guild Awards, "there appears to be critical and popular consensus both on which speculative fiction shows are best, but also that they are among the best shows on television right now."  Replace popular with professional, as the People's Choice Awards will effectively skip this year, and the same is happening with this year's speculative fiction series and miniseries now that the WGA has weighed in.  The drama series are "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid's Tale," and "Stranger Things," which have shown up on four nomination or award lists so far this month (five in the case of "Game of Thrones" because of its soundtrack nomination at the Grammys.  The miniseries is "American Horror Story: Cult," although the Hollywood Foreign Press Association likes "Twin Peaks" better.  Expect this to be true all the way to the Emmy Awards next year, as there will be second season of "The Handmaid's Tale" airing within the Emmy eligibility window.  However, the Emmy Awards should have a fourth speculative fiction drama to recognize, as the second season of "Westworld" will air in the spring as well.  The current Golden Age of speculative fiction on television will continue for at least another year!

In addition to "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid's Tale," and "Stranger Things" being nominated for Drama Series, "The Handmaid's Tale" earned a nomination for New Series.  I expect the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel to be the favorite to win both.  "American Horror Story: Cult" is the sole speculative fiction in Long Form Original.  Short Form New Media Adapted has episodes of speculative fiction series as three of its four nominees, two episodes of "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot" and one of "The Walking Dead: Red Machete."  Once again, the short form series in "The Walking Dead" universe get more love than the main shows.  Speaking of missing love, an episode of "The Leftovers" earned a nomination for Episodic Drama.  That's a series that I thought was neglected during its three-season run.  Competing against it is "The OA."

Three shows, "Bob's Burgers," "BoJack Horseman," and "The Simpsons," occupy all five slots in Animated Series, as "BoJack Horseman" and "The Simpsons" have two episodes each nominated.  Two shows with fantastic elements, "Just Add Magic" and "The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special," earned nominations for Children's Episodic and Specials.

Science and technology appear in the nominations of "Silicon Valley" for Comedy Series and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" for Long Form Adapted.

Follow over the jump for all the nominees in the above categories plus my opinions about their chances.

Here are the nominees from Deadline.


The Americans, Written by Peter Ackerman, Hilary Bettis, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX

Better Call Saul, Written by Ann Cherkis, Vince Gilligan, Jonathan Glatzer, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, Heather Marion, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith; AMC

Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D.B. Weiss; HBO

The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu

Stranger Things, Written by Paul Dichter, Justin Doble, The Duffer Brothers, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Kate Trefry; Netflix
As I wrote, I expect "The Handmaid's Tale" to win this.

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Written by Larry David, Jon Hayman, Justin Hurwitz, Jeff Schaffer; HBO

GLOW, Written by Kristoffer Diaz, Liz Flahive, Tara Herrmann, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Carly Mensch, Emma Rathbone, Sascha Rothchild, Rachel Shukert; Netflix

Master of None, Written by Aniz Adam Ansari, Aziz Ansari, Andrew Blitz, Zoe Jarman, Cord Jefferson, Sarah Peters, Sarah Schneider, Michael Schur, Leila Strachan, Gene Stupnitsky, Lakshmi Sundaram, Lena Waithe, Jason Woliner, Alan Yang; Netflix

Silicon Valley, Written by Alec Berg, Shawn Boxe, Adam Countee, Jonathan Dotan, Mike Judge, Carrie Kemper, Andrew Law, Rachele Lynn, Dan O’Keefe, Meghan Pleticha, Chris Provenzano, Clay Tarver; Graham, Wagner, Aaron Zelman; HBO

Veep, Written by Gabrielle Allan, Rachel Axler, Ted Cohen, Jennifer Crittenden, Alex Gregory, Steve Hely, Peter Huyck, Erik Kenward, Billy Kimball, David Mandel, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Dan Mintz, Lew Morton, Georgia Pritchett, Will Smith; HB
I think this will likely to go "Master of None," which won the comparable award at the Emmys. The runners up will be "Veep," which has been strangely absent from the nomination lists so far, and "GLOW."  Sorry, nerds of "Silicon Valley."  At least you were nominated while "Big Bang Theory" was not.

American Vandal, Written by Seth Cohen, Lauren Herstik, Dan Lagana, Kevin McManus, Matthew McManus, Jessica Meyer, Dan Perrault, Amy Pocha, Mike Rosolio, Tony Yacenda; Netflix

The Deuce, Written by Megan Abbott, Marc Henry Johnson, Lisa Lutz, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, Will Ralston, David Simon, Chris Yakaitis; HBO

GLOW, Written by Kristoffer Diaz, Liz Flahive, Tara Herrmann, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Carly Mensch, Emma Rathbone, Sascha Rothchild, Rachel Shukert; Netflix

The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu

Ozark, Written by Whit Anderson, Bill Dubuque, Ryan Farley, Alyson Feltes, Paul Kolsby, David Manson, Chris Mundy, Mark Williams, Ning Zhou, Martin Zimmerman; Netflix
As I wrote, I expect "The Handmaid's Tale" will win, but it could still lose to "GLOW" in an upset.  It depends on whether the writers like comedy over drama.

American Horror Story: Cult, Written by Brad Falchuk, John J. Gray, Joshua Green, Todd Kubrak, Crystal Liu, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Adam Penn, James Wong; FX

Feud: Bette and Joan, Written by Jaffe Cohen, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Gina Welch, Michael Zam; FX

Flint, Written by Barbara Stepansky; Lifetime

Godless, Written by Scott Frank; Netflix

Manhunt: Unabomber, Written by Jim Clemente, Tony Gittelson, Max Hurwitz, Steven Katz, Nick Schenk, Andrew Sodroski, Nick Towne; Discovery Channel
"American Horror Story: Cult" is the speculative fiction series, but I expect "Feud" will win.

Big Little Lies, Teleplay by David E. Kelley, Based on the Novel by Liane Moriarty; HBO

Fargo, Written by Monica Beletsky, Bob DeLaurentis, Noah Hawley, Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert, Based on the film Fargo; FX

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Teleplay by Peter Landesman and Alexander Woo and George C. Wolfe, Based on the book written by Rebecca Skloot; HBO

The Wizard of Lies, Teleplay by Sam Levinson and John Burnham Schwartz and Samuel Baum, Based on the Book Written by Diane B. Henriques and Truth and Consequences by Laurie Sandell; HBO
I'm rooting for "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" as the science show, but I think it has the worst chances of the field.  I'd rank the shows ahead of it as "Big Little Lies," "Fargo," and "The Wizard of Lies."

“John Hancock” (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot), Written by James C. Oliver & Sharla Oliver;

“Chapter 2” (The Walking Dead: Red Machete), Written by Nick Bernardone;

“Justicia” (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot), Written by Mark Leitner;

“Starboy” (Zac & Mia), Teleplay by Allen Clary and Andrew Rothschild, Based on the novel Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts;
As much as I want to root for the superhero team and the survivors of the zombie apocalypse, I have a feeling that "Zac & Mia" have the best shot.

“Brunchsquatch” (Bob’s Burgers), Written by Lizzie Molyneux & Wendy Molyneux; Fox

“A Father’s Watch” (The Simpsons), Written by Simon Rich; Fox

“Ruthie” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Joanna Calo; Netflix

“The Serfsons” (The Simpsons), Written by Brian Kelley; Fox

“Time’s Arrow” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Kate Purdy; Netflix
This is between "BoJack Horseman," which won the WGA Award for Animation last year and "Bob's Burgers," which won the equivalent Emmy Award this year.

“The Book of Nora” (The Leftovers), Teleplay by Tom Perrotta & Damon Lindelof, Story by Tom Spezialy & Damon Lindelof; HBO

“Chicanery” (Better Call Saul), Written by Gordon Smith; AMC

“The Heart Attack is the Best Way” (Good Behavior), Written by Chad Hodge; TNT

“Homecoming” (The OA), Written by Brit Marling & Zal Batmanglij; Netflix

“Slip” (Better Call Saul), Written by Heather Marion; AMC

“The Soviet Division” (The Americans), Written by Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields; FX
As much as I am rooting for "The Leftovers," as this will be the last year it can be recognized, I think "The Americans" might pull this one out.

“American Girl – Ivy & Julie” (American Girl), Written by May Chan; Amazon

“American Girl – Knowledge is Power” (American Girl), Teleplay by Alison McDonald, Story by Alison McDonald and Caron Tschampion; Amazon

“Just Add 1965,” (Just Add Magic), Written by Lauren Thompson; Amazon

“Meet Julia” (Sesame Street), Written by Christine Ferraro; HBO

“The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special,” Written by Raye Lankford, Jessica Carleton, Ken Scarborough; HBO
I'd prefer "Just Add Magic."  I expect the award will go to one of the two "Sesame Street" nominations instead.

That's it for the WGA Awards until the movie nominees are announced.  Stay tuned for a post about "The Last Jedi" at the box office.  Star Wars!

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