Game of Thrones shouldn’t have won Best Drama Series.
Game of Thrones shouldn’t have won Best Drama Series. Supplied

Emmys, you picked the wrong winner

Every year, the Emmys generate loud cheers and some outraged jeers with its picks. What did it get right and wrong in 2019?

DRAMA

Well, this is probably an obvious position to take, and one I've taken before, but Game of Thrones didn't deserve to win Best Drama.

Yes, it's an absolute juggernaut that changed our expectations for how big a TV show can be around the world. Yes, it wove a rich, imaginative world of characters that had us gasping at its shocks and turns.

But it's also true that the best seasons of Game of Thrones are years behind us.

There's no denying that Game of Thrones is an incredible accomplishment when it comes to technical brilliance (one or two rogue coffee cups or water bottles aside) - for sheer scale and ambition, Game of Thrones is in a league of its own.

And for that, it won 10 Creative Arts Emmys last week, deservedly so. Peter Dinklage is a good pick too, more so than other years when he's won - at least he had a decent arc this year.

As if to prove itself wrong, Game of Thrones didn't even win any other significant awards on the night - Succession took the Writing award and Ozark won Directing.

TV is a writers' medium, to win Best Drama without the Drama Writing award is a disconnect.

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This moment right here: unintentionally funny Picture: HBO/Supplied
This moment right here: unintentionally funny Picture: HBO/Supplied

 

But is it the overall best drama? No, it's not. While it had some amazing moments this season, namely the two episodes when people did a lot of talking, its final instalments mostly ranged from uneven to wildly baffling.

The rushed story arc for Daenerys is one of the most divisive storytelling turns of the year, and one that was not well executed. For that alone, Game of Thrones should have been disqualified.

So who should've won, you ask?

Easy: Succession.

In a relatively weak category (especially compared to the comedy categories which were on fire this year), Succession was the only choice.

The dramedy centred on a toxic media empire family did not miss on any measure. It was perfectly written, perfectly performed and dynamically filmed.

It's also perfect for our times, this scathing exploration of absurd wealth and the grotesque inhumanity that accompanies it.

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Succession creator Jesse Armstrong won the Emmy for Writing for a Drama Series
Succession creator Jesse Armstrong won the Emmy for Writing for a Drama Series

 

Elsewhere, Julia Garner's win for Ozark is what happens when you have four Game of Throners in the same category - which is not to take away from Garner her victory because she is very excellent. Though the GoT vote splitting should've paved way for Fiona Shaw's enigmatic Killing Eve character.

And Billy Porter's win is an absolute triumph. Killing Eve's Jodie Comer is an amazing winner, even more than her co-star Sandra Oh. Comer had a ripper of a season.

 

Jodie Comer won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama. Picture: Aimee Spinks/BBC America
Jodie Comer won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama. Picture: Aimee Spinks/BBC America

 

COMEDY

Thank you, Emmys for recognising the genius that is Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her transcendent series Fleabag.

The early indications were good when Waller-Bridge won for Comedy Writing for the first episode of the tar-black comedy Fleabag, followed by her surprising triumph over Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Comedy Actress.

Don't get me wrong, Louis-Dreyfus was spectacular in that final season of Veep, but she already has six Emmys for playing Selina Meyer, and 11 overall, so it's not like Louis-Dreyfus is left wanting. That Veep won nothing tonight is quite surprising for a series Emmy voters have loved rewarding.

Fleabag is one of the best, if not the best TV show of the year, in comedy or drama, six perfect episodes that are hilarious, insightful, dark and hopeful. It takes a character who's deeply flawed and elevates it to masterpiece level.

 

Long reign Phoebe Waller-Bridge Picture: Amazon via AP
Long reign Phoebe Waller-Bridge Picture: Amazon via AP

 

The comedy categories were so competitive this year so any one in every category would've been a deserving winner - that's how strong comedy's game is right now. Which means there's little right or wrong in the comedy winners.

Alex Borstein - amazing. Tony Shalhoub - brilliant. Bill Hader - a multi-hyphenate talent. And, obviously, Waller-Bridge.

All hail Queen Phoebe. May she long reign on our screens.

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge also did a rewrite of the upcoming Bond movie Picture: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Phoebe Waller-Bridge also did a rewrite of the upcoming Bond movie Picture: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

 

LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

Limited series and TV movie is a mixed bag, as it often is.

No one series really dominated like Big Little Lies did two years ago or The Assassination of Gianni Versace did last year, with voters peppering its accolades to different shows.

Michelle Williams bested Amy Adams in the Lead Actress race - both have been nominated for multiple Oscars with no wins, so the competition was always going to be between them.

Jharrel Jerome was both a sentimental favourite and a deserving winner for his electric and emotional role as one of the Central Park Five in Ava Duvernay's Netflix miniseries When They See Us.

But director Duvernay was snubbed in both the directing category and the Limited Series for her searing series. Possibly not as many voters watched it, which, even compared to Chernobyl was difficult viewing given the frustrating injustice it depicted.

 

Chernobyl won the Emmy for Limited Series
Chernobyl won the Emmy for Limited Series

 

Chernobyl's victory for Limited Series plus the writing and directing awards reflected the show's overall accomplishments including taut storytelling and meticulous production design. It's a great series and kudos to its win.

Sharp Object's Patricia Clarkson losing out to The Act's Patricia Arquette, both playing mothers with Munchausen-by-proxy was a bummer but not entirely unexpected. Arquette's role was showier and she's beloved by Emmy voters.

And Sharp Objects was handicapped by the fact that it premiered more than a year ago.

Black Mirror taking the TV Movie statue for Bandersnatch was silly - it's the third time the anthology series has won the category.

Bandersnatch was genuinely exciting for its technological exploration of interactivity on storytelling, but, as a pioneer, there were still a few bugs to work out.

Not to mention, the story itself wasn't very good, nor did it really have that punch one would expect from Black Mirror, especially compared to its two previous winners, USS Callister and San Junipero.

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