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The 2021 Emmy Nominations Are Revealed On Tuesday


The 2021 Emmy nominations are revealed this morning and will reflect a strange year for television. The pandemic, of course, forced many shows to delay or suspend production, even as people staying home gave them more time to watch. Glen Weldon, co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, is with us. Glen, good morning.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: I'm one of those people who had more time to watch series. So what are some that might get honored here? We'll start with dramas.

WELDON: Well, you're going to look for the usual suspects, of course - "The Crown," "The Handmaid's Tale," "This Is Us." I personally would love to see "Pose" get some long-overdue love now that it's finished up its run and also "Lovecraft Country," which was just cancelled by HBO, but it was a really ambitious show. I think "Bridgerton" has a shot, though Emmy voters might consider it a bit light and frothy for serious drama consideration. But as a nerd, you know, this is the first year that Disney+'s Marvel shows might be up for consideration. It's going to be interesting to see if the Emmy voters embrace them or if they just treat them like they treat every other sci-fi or genre show and ignore it.

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

WELDON: If they do take them into consideration, "The Falcon And The Winter Soldier" would be nominated in this category, drama. But "WandaVision" was submitted as a limited series for some reason. And if a Marvel show breaks through, then maybe a "Star Wars" show could, too. Don't count out "The Mandalorian." I would love to see it get something besides just the technical special effects recognition stuff like this gets.

INSKEEP: I appreciate you identifying as a nerd. I think that's brave. I like you coming out in that way. That's really good.

WELDON: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: What about the best comedy series?

WELDON: Well, this isn't a case of the usual suspects because we don't have a season of "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" this year, and that thing is an Emmy sponge, so that leaves room for new nominations. For comedy, look for "Ted Lasso" to be a stone-cold lock. Look for it to pick up a boatload of nominations today. I'm personally hoping that "Hacks" gets some of the love it deserves. And you can probably count on a "Black-ish" nomination. And Emmys really seem to love "The Kominsky Method" on Netflix. And if Peacock's "Girls5eva" doesn't get nominated here - I'm hoping it does - look for it in the writing category because, man, the joke density on that show is hugely impressive.

INSKEEP: Glen, you said something earlier about limited series category. I guess that's what it sounds like - something short?

WELDON: Yeah. I mean, in a lot of cases, the shows that broke through, the ones that we used to call water-cooler shows, are - all belong to this category, chief among them "Mare Of "Easttown," which is going to have a very strong showing not only because it's good, but also because it had its cultural moment right at the time when Emmy voters - in that window of time when Emmy voters were voting for these nominations. I suspect to see "The Queen's Gambit" and certainly "The Underground Railroad." They'd be nuts if they didn't.

As I mentioned, it'll be interesting to see what Emmy voters make of "WandaVision." That's a television series that, for most of its run, was really about the format and structure of the American sitcom - television about television; Emmy voters love that. But what I'm personally pulling for is "I May Destroy You" on HBO. That is a very smart, very funny, harrowing, really well-observed portrayal of sexual assault and its aftermath. It stars Michaela Coel. More people need to see that show, and a nomination would help.

INSKEEP: And is that why the Emmys remain relevant - they just call attention to things that maybe have been even slightly overlooked?

WELDON: Even more so today than ever because there is more television today than there ever has been, and winning an Emmy can help a show really cut through the noise and find an audience. Now, that's going to be less important for an institution like "The Crown." But for a new show like "Ted Lasso" - look; if universal critical praise and word of mouth hasn't sold you on that show yet, then maybe an Emmy nomination will.

INSKEEP: Glen, it's always a pleasure hearing from you. Thanks so much.

WELDON: Thank you. My pleasure.

INSKEEP: Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMBIENT JAZZ ENSEMBLE'S "RISE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
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