Friday, August 4, 2023

HBO dramas and 'SNL' split the nominees for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series at the 2023 Emmy Awards

After three days of blogging about climate change and unsustainable behavior, I'm ready to return to the Emmy Awards. I can't be all DOOM all the time.

Today's subject is the short form nominees at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
House of the Dragon: Inside the Episode (HBO)
The Last of Us: Inside the Episode (HBO)
Saturday Night Live Presents: Behind the Sketch (NBC)
Succession: Controlling the Narrative (HBO)
The White Lotus: Unpacking the Episode (HBO)
I found plenty of why I examine entertainment among the nominees for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series, fantasy, horror, politics, crime, and comedy mocking serious attempts to depict those on screen. I showed the last of those in 'SNL' sends up Trump's visit to the train derailment site in Ohio in its cold open and Weekend Update, the behind the scenes to the Mario Kart trailer sketch. I'm not embedding those videos again (click on the link above to watch them), but I'm recycling my reaction to it.
This does double duty. First, it gives fans (and Emmy voters) a look into the work behind the scene, making them appreciate it more. Second, it very gently parodies HBO's Behind the Scenes segments, which do the same thing.
That serves as a set-up for the other four nominees, which are all Inside the Episodes or the equivalent of HBO shows. I'm embedding the ones for the first episodes of the current seasons, beginning with House of the Dragon | S1 EP1: Inside the Episode (HBO).

Ryan Condal, Miguel Sapochnik, and more discuss why they opened the episode with the Great Council, the juxtaposition between the tournament and Queen Aemma's birthing sequence, and the motivation behind Viserys choosing Rhaenyra as heir.
This is the one nominated series I haven't seen, as my wife found the violence in Game of Thrones excessive and gratuitous, so we stopped watching it after the first season. Still, I found this clip interesting and informative. It's also the most watched of the four.

On the other hand, we enjoyed The Last of Us, so I'm rooting for The Last of Us | Inside the Episode - 1 | Max.

Series stars Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Bella Ramsey (Ellie), executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, and more detail the emotionally charged beginnings of the end of modern civilization in The Last of Us.
I watched this clip right after watching the series premiere and it packed just as big a punch the second time around.

Succession | Inside the Episode: Season 4, Episode 1 | Max does a good job of explaining the dynamics inside the Roy family.

In this companion series, the cast of Succession and creator Jesse Armstrong delve into pivotal scenes from each episode. This week, they discuss the new power dynamics following the Season 3 finale, with the three Roy children now working towards a common goal, while Logan and Tom suffer the consequences of their betrayal.
I found this clip to be much flatter than the first two, so while I think Succession is the favorite to win Outstanding Drama Series, it's not my favorite to win this category.

Unpacking Season 2 Episode 1 with Jennifer Coolidge & Haley Lu Richardson | The White Lotus | HBO is the last of HBO's videos I'm embedding.

Jennifer Coolidge & Haley Lu Richardson discuss their characters Tanya and Portia’s motivations in the season 2 premiere — and answer our Vacay Q&A.
Like last season, Season 2 of The White Lotus has a crime at the heart of its farce, but that doesn't show up in this clip. That's what happens when I pick the first episode to minimize spoilers.

Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series
Awkwafina is Hangin' with Grandma (Comedy Central)
Better Call Saul: Filmmaker Training (AMC)
Carpool Karaoke: The Series (Apple TV+)
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix)
Only Murders in the Building: One Killer Question (Hulu)
Carpool Karaoke: The Series is the returning winner. In fact, as the trailer for the current season trumpets, it's the five-time defending winner.

Hop in and ride along for eight brand new episodes of Carpool Karaoke: The Series streaming on Apple TV+ this Friday.
Once again, I'm calling this award for Carpool Karaoke: The Series. The only other nominee that has a chance is I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, which has a second nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for its star. I'm writing about him below.

Before I move on to the next category, I'm going to whine about two of my favorite previous nominees being snubbed this year, The Randy Rainbow Show and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News. I finally get on board the Randy Rainbow train and it's not going to the Emmys. Poop. Not having both means that laughing at politics and government has diminished to almost nothing in the short form categories. Remember that I justify my coverage of the Emmy nominees through using television as a window to examine politics and government. The closest the nominees in these categories get to that are Better Call Saul: Filmmaker Training and Only Murders in the Building: One Killer Question, both of which examine crime and punishment from the perspective of private actors, pun intended, in a law enforcement setting. That's better than nothing, but not by much.

Follow over the jump for the short form acting nominations and the Outstanding Short Documentary nominees at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series
Kevin Hart – Die Hart 2: Die Harter as Kevin Hart (The Roku Channel)
Tim Robinson – I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson as various characters (Netflix)
Ben Schwartz – Die Hart 2: Die Harter as Andre (The Roku Channel)
Die Hart 2: Die Harter has four acting nominations, but no nomination for the series itself. One the one hand, that makes Die Hart 2: Die Harter the most nominated short form series, but does not give me confidence in the chances of its nominated performers. It doesn't help that Tim Robinson is the returning winner. Given that, I'm picking Robinson over Kevin Hart, the star, and his co-star Ben Schwartz to win this category again.

Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series
Nathalie Emmanuel – Die Hart 2: Die Harter as Jordan King (The Roku Channel)
Jasmine Guy – Chronicles of Jessica Wu as Barbara Baldwin (Prime Video)
Paula Pell – Die Hart 2: Die Harter as Cynthia (The Roku Channel)
The Twitter image above shows that The Roku Channel is promoting Nathalie Emmanuel, who is a prior nominee. I didn't see a graphic for Paula Pell, even though she's a previous winner for her writing and a prior nominee for acting, so that tells me who The Roku Channel thinks has the better chance of winning. Also, Jasmine Guy isn't even even playing the title character of Chronicles of Jessica Wu. I'm going to pick Emmanuel to win this category.

Outstanding Short Documentary
The Flagmakers National Geographic
Guardian Documentaries Beirut Dreams in Color The Guardian
MSNBC Films The Sentence of Michael Thompson MSNBC
MTV Documentary Films As Far As They Can Run Paramount+
Op-Docs MINK! The New York Times
I conclude today's entry with the Outstanding Short Documentary nominees. The only one I see being promoted on Twitter is National Geographic's The Flagmakers. I'm not as sure that will sway the journalists and documentarians voting on this award as it might for the Hollywood creatives, but it shows that National Geographic believes in its nominee, enough that I'm provisionally picking it to win. That might help, even as I repeat my catch phrase for awards shows — electorates matter.

Stay tuned for another awards show entry tomorrow, even though I don't know which category or even which awards show to cover. Any suggestions?

Previous posts about the 2023 Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards Previous posts about the 2023 News & Documentary Emmy Awards

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