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Let me start by putting on my old, gripping hat. This is not going to be a column full of complaints, but there will be some. That’s because the Emmy nominations came out this weekand while offering all the usual happy surprises and vicious snubs, they also contained something else: the names of lots of shows that came out more than four months ago, and few of the amazing ones from the spring.
Back in my time (see? Curmudgeon), most shows came in the fall and people had months to get into them. Premium cable networks and streaming services changed that as they intentionally dropped views or at times when network programming paused and they were more likely to get noticed. This year, things hit a whole new level with dozens of bubbly shows with talents from the A-list – Showtimes First ladyApple TV + Essex snakes– lands in the spring. In general, it is a pleasure to have new TV to watch in the spring and summer, but this year there was just too much and many viewers threw in the towel.
Not just random viewers, but also members of the Television Academy. “I just do not think there is any way a single voter can really tackle watching at least a section of everything,” a member told Vanity Fair earlier this month. Not that anyone really needs to worry to much what Emmy voters think – “like what you like,” I always say – but when even the people whose job it is to watch television can not keep up, there is a problem.
Last month, my colleague Jason Kehe made the point that no one knows how to watch movies anymore. He’s right; people just see things in weird chunks now, and sneak into bits and pieces of view where they can. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it leaves everyone with fists of half-finished – and often never-finished – shows. It is therefore no surprise that many of the breakout newcomers from the past year are shows like Resignation and Yellowjackets that both released in the fall and winter and came out weekly, allowing for slow-burn hype. If you discovered them two or even four weeks late, you did not feel like you had missed it completely. (Also, Resignation and Yellowjackets are really good.)
Honestly, I do not know if any of this rises to the level of a problem. If anything, it’s an annoyance and no one complains about very good television. It’s just, well, so much is lost. How Reservation dogs, Our flag means deathand We Are Lady Parts do you get no Emmy nominations? How The staircase only get two? No insult of Euphorias of the world, or Ted Lassos, but it’s depressing. Maybe it’s time for us all to start our annual TV marathon this fall.