TV Review: Emmys (2021) - How About a Round of Applause for the People in the Back?


I have a troubled relationship with awards shows.


At once, I'm delighted to see the human behind the characters, but behind the scenes is an immense campaign to elevate series that have financial backing. The timing of the release of a show can affect its likelihood to be nominated, and the parameters regarding what constitutes the best performance often range from awarding an outstanding achievement to bestowing recognition for longevity in the industry. Who is swimming in the heat of the moment, and how long can it last?


A project can take three years to move from development into production and be completed in post-production. First, the idea is presented to a room full of dollar signs. If accepted, the project goes into development, leading to a writer's room where more story is conceived, plotted and written. Once the series is greenlit with approval by the studio/streamer, the show brings on each role to create the world you see on the screen. Set decorators, hair and make-up teams, camera departments, casting offices, caterers, set assistants... all of these people must be found and work in cohesion. Next, the actors are cast in each episode, and it's filmed over some time. Dailies are pieced together in post-production. Music, special effects, and credits are added. Finally, the show is screened for the studio, perhaps reshot or recast, and screened again. Eventually, it receives a release date and is either uploaded or aired.


What entertains us at home for hours is a dedicated effort to bring a product to the screen. Hundreds of productions go through this lengthy process, involving an extensive catalog of creatives to execute the vision. Yet, a small selection of shows, generally appreciated by heat or a stellar cast, are nominees. It's the nature of the competition, but money also buys eyes.


Perhaps in the era of streamers overusing the plus symbol, there needs to be a reimagining of what the Emmys can be. It's not just network and cable competing with series shown on a weekly rotation anymore. The evolving world of television needs awards shows to reflect how the medium has changed as streamers continue to expand.

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