It’s almost a sure bet you won’t see repeat winners in this year’s Emmy Awards.
Because shows like “Schitt’s Creek” (which dominated the comedy categories) and “Watchmen” (which ruled the limited series area) aren’t around, there’s room for newcomers.
In trade publications, you can see them jockeying for position. “The Crown” will likely dominate the drama category (it’s a past winner) and “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Mare of Easttown” should have limited series spots locked but, then, who else?
By category, here are ones to watch before the nominations are announced July 13.
New blood is quite likely here, particularly since “Ted Lasso” made such a splash and “Girls5eva” helped launch the Peacock network.
Look for both series to score big nominations (“Lasso” seems like the one to beat) and lead the categories.
Also in the mix:
“Hacks” – Jean Smart, an Emmy favorite, got a great shot with “Mare of Easttown” (as Mare’s mom), then followed it up with this telling look at a female comedian who is trying to be relevant. Hiring a young writer to help punch up her jokes, she finds a friend who can confront her on just the right level. Smart should win Best Actress in a Comedy, but her co-star, Hannah Einbinder, bears watching, too.
“The Flight Attendant” – Kaley Cuoco is Smart’s biggest competition for Best Actress. As a flight attendant who gets pulled into a murder mystery, she’s a throwback to those days when terms like “madcap” and “zany” were thrown around. What viewers probably didn’t realize is how good she can traverse drama as well. The series is booked for a second season, but this first one had plenty to admire.
“PEN15” – In its second season, this look at middle school students (played by adults) went deeper and harsher than the first season. Creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle found new ways to choreograph that very delicate dance between friends.
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playbook” – An ambitious musical, “Playbook” wasn’t renewed for the next season, which could give voters reason to give it one last shot. Jane Levy has a good chance of making the Best Actress list; Alex Newell could help Emmy voters reconsider how they categorize actors.
“The Crown” had the best year of its run with Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor stealing focus as Diana and Charles. Gillian Anderson, too, made viewers forget about “The X-Files” when she trotted out a Margaret Thatcher that would make Ronald Reagan think twice. It’s almost certain to rule.
Others to consider:
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” – While it’s an action series, there’s enough here to warrant a spot in the list. The problem? Is it a limited series or a true drama series? Marvel says more could come. But there’s also “WandaVision.” That’s in the limited series category.
“Bridgerton” – The bodice-ripping drama broke a lot of barriers, but it’s also a soap opera. It brought attention to its stars but doesn’t seem to have the staying power for five or six seasons. Look for smaller returns, mostly in behind-the-scenes categories.
“Lovecraft Country” – A wild ride, this sci-fi horror series succeeded where others haven’t. It hit the ground running, then looked for as many “American Horror Story” hallmarks to color its world.
“The Boys” – This deserves to be in one of the categories (comedy, perhaps?) but it may not have the gravitas to go up against “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Mandalorian” or “This Is Us.”
“The Queen’s Gambit” and “Mare of Easttown” are going to be the gorillas in this mist. “WandaVision” has a good shot, too, particularly since Marvel is the new force in town.
“I May Destroy You” – Michaela Coel wrote, co-directed and produced this drama about a writer trying to reclaim her life after sexual assault. A stirring drama, it could make Coel a threat to “Mare’s” Kate Winslet and “Queen’s Gambit’s” Anya Taylor-Joy. It’ll get something if not the big prize.
“The Underground Railroad” – Barry Jenkins found great moments in this story about the Underground Railroad during the 1800s. He didn’t sugarcoat anything and got brilliant performances that could stand the test of time.
“Small Axe” – Steve McQueen, the Oscar winner behind “12 Years a Slave,” assembled five mini-movies into one telling whole. The films address life in London’s West Indian community over a period of years. John Boyega is likely to figure in as a Best Actor competitor.
“Genius: Aretha” -- Cynthia Erivo gave audiences a first look at what the life of Aretha Franklin could look like on screen. While the slice of her life labeled “Genius: Aretha” may not be what the big-screen “Respect” promises, it was a good take, particularly with Erivo’s singing ability and Courtney B. Vance’s acting (as her father).