Prepare your couches — this year’s Emmy nominations are in, making now a good time to catch up on any streaming gems you may have missed so far in quarantine. According to Variety, Netflix’s sweep of 160 nominations has just broke the record for a single network, er, streaming platform. HBO is a close second, with 107 nominations, many of which went to the Regina King-led (and eerily timely) limited series Watchmen.
We’ve rounded up a small slice of our favorite contenders below, along with snippets of reviews penned by our contributors. Have a look, and prepare your popcorn.
Picking up 30 years after the acclaimed graphic novel left off, this limited series opens with an ominously scored flashback to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, a notorious yet understudied episode of racist terrorism in the US. What follows is a harrowing, occasionally flawed, but mostly gripping portrayal of the reach of white supremacy and the limitations of “heroes.” Led by powerhouse performances from Regina King (Angela Abar) and Jeremy Irons (Adrian Veidt), and featuring strong supporting performances by Tim Blake Nelson (as Looking Glass), Hong Chau (Lady Trieu), and Jean Smart (Laurie Blake), it’s not surprising that the series scored 26 nominations. These include nods for King (lead actress in a limited series or movie), Irons (lead actor in a limited series or movie), and Smart (supporting actor in a limiter series or movie). As our documentary editor Dan Schindel writes in his review, “Though politically uncertain, the series possesses immense emotional intelligence, exploring its characters’ trauma, regrets, paranoia, and confusion with grace. Even if it falls apart, that core is powerful.”
Streaming on HBO Go
Not going to lie, I spent equal parts of season two of Pose vacillating between sobbing, cheering, and shouting at the screen. As our contributor Rachell Morillo writes:
Pose has found a perfect balance between fiction and historical accuracy — one that thrills, inspires, and educates in its depiction of New York City’s ball culture. The show’s cast and crew continue to deliver all the exuberance, audacity, camp, and drama that fans have loved about the show. The reads are endless; the costumes are even more enviable; the balls are bigger, more extravagant; the voguing is hyper-technical.
While occasionally corny, Ryan Murphy’s thoroughly binge-worthy portrait shines a much-needed light on the pioneering Black trans women who lit up New York City’s streets and dance floors at a time when much of society was even less ready to understand and appreciate them for their brilliance than they are now. That these nuanced characters were actually played by trans women actors — MJ Rodriguez as the fiercely protective Blanca, a swoon-worthy Indya Moore as Angel, and a dynamite Angelica Ross (Candi Ferocity) — only adds further cause for celebration, given how rarely trans actors are actually cast in trans roles. While it was great to see Billy Porter pick up a second nomination for his starring role as Pray Tell (whose steamy sex scene with Ricky, played by Dyllon Burnside, sent goosebumps down my spine), the fact that this year was the second in a row that each and every single trans cast member was snubbed for a nomination speaks volumes.
Killing Eve (BBC America/AMC)
Kick ass fight scenes, outfits to die for, a textbook case of mutual obsession, and endless queer sexual tension — what’s not to love about Killing Eve? Focused on a disaffected, yet remarkably lovable assassin (Jodie Comer) and the special agent dedicated to tracking her down at almost any cost (Sandra Oh), the three seasons (and counting) are a treat to behold, though its proclivity for queer-baiting occasionally rankles. Unsurprisingly, both Oh and Comer picked up nominations for best lead actress in a drama series. Fiona Shaw, who plays the delightfully dry, tough-as-nails, and yet secretly wounded Carolyn, also picked a nod for best supporting actress in a drama series. Fittingly, the show also picked up nominations for its casting, costumes, production design, and music supervision.