Can anything beat ‘The White Lotus?’ – Daily Rewards
Last June, as we headed into the start of the 2022 Emmy season, a buzzing limited series danced on the lips of Emmy watchers everywhere. Scheduled for a summer premiere date, it boasted an all-star cast interacting with each other in an exclusive, luxurious resort. He hailed from a famous writer/creator and seemed like an early contender for limited series fame.
This limited series was Hulu’s Nine perfect strangers.
But a funny thing happened on the way to its August premiere date: The White Lotus created.
Granted, Nine perfect strangers and The White Lotus have only a handful of superficial similarities, but as a critical and early audience reaction to The White Lotus emerged, Mike White’s Maui series dominated the summertime buzz with its sickly, hilarious take on well-meaning but incredibly self-centered tourists. While HBO handed out weekly episodes, social media couldn’t get enough. Whereas Nine perfect strangers came and went in a weekend, Jennifer Coolidge, who gives a career-best performance as LotusTonya McQuoid, received a standing ovation at the 2021 Emmy Awards.
Now that the 2022 Emmy season officially ends tomorrow, it doesn’t seem like a limited series premiering since then has had the buzz, overall goodwill, or pure entertainment value like The White Lotus. A strong reception during last winter’s guild year-end rewards season further cemented its place in voters’ minds. To me, the series looks like a firm favorite, which looks likely to win several awards next September.
Certainly, there have been other very strong candidates along the way.
Strangely, Nine perfect strangers decided to go big little lies road and declared a second season earlier this month. This takes him out of the limited series controversy, which many believe will come to The White Lotus once Mike White revealed Coolidge’s Tonya McQuoid would be making an appearance in the sequel to the anthology series, The White Lotus: Sicily. However, the location and the rest of the cast are completely different, and neither HBO nor White has revealed the extent of Coolidge’s presence in Sicily. Unless the Television Academy intervenes, The White Lotus will remain a limited series.
For several months, Hulu’s Dope seemed the most likely contender for The White Lotus. Based on the book by Beth Macy Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Pharmaceutical Company that Made America Addicted, the sprawling limited series certainly has the clout, the social prominence, to show well at the Emmys. Directed by Michael Keaton, Dope also features an all-star cast of award-winning actors including Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosario Dawson, Will Poulter, and more. Michael Keaton’s high-profile sweep of key performance awards last winter (Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes and SAG) keeps the series in the minds of voters, and his revelation of a personal addiction tragedy in his life underlines the importance of the series. Still, aside from Keaton’s performance, it doesn’t seem like many are liking the show. Yes, it’s widely respected, but it feels like a must, a feat that plagues a handful of limited series this year.
Whereas Dope can technically be classified as a “true crime” limited series, it definitely falls into the arena of white-collar crime, just like other high-profile Hulu limited series The Stall. Like with Dope, The stall examines the negative impact of pharmaceutical companies (in this case, the ill-fated tech startup Theranos and its partnership with Walgreen’s) on the healthcare industry. Oscar nominee Amanda Seyfried (man) stunned audiences with her transformative performance as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. She’s probably the lead actress’ favourite, pairing well with likely lead actor Michael Keaton of Dope. However, as good as The stall is that there is a significant buzz around the series and the need for its duration of 8 episodes. At the end of the day, The stall likely sees an Emmy Series Limited nomination on the strength of its central performance Seyfried.
The other side of the limited-edition True Crime coin involves a myriad of more traditional murder-based stories. HBO The staircase and FX Under the banner of heaven premiered at the end of the Emmy season to critical acclaim. A season-ending premiere is usually the sweet spot for winning Emmys and both titles certainly have massive fans, but they’re both intense and often nasty series in a category that, more often than not, rewards worthy obsessions. of frenzy. While both series seem destined for nominations, heaven probably holds the upper hand, if people are looking at it. Based on the book by Jon Krakauer and featuring recent Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield, heaven is a sprawling exploration of Mormon faith, fundamentalism, and lore versus a murder investigation. When we watch the series, we understand that it is about much more than murder. It’s incredibly heavy material, and after finishing all seven episodes, I’m not sure I want to ever see it again. While it’s flawed, the performance, direction, and craft are all top-notch, and Emmy nominations seem assured all around. Whether or not it can win the top prize depends entirely on whether people watch it or not. Garfield’s presence will help, but the show often focuses on incredibly nasty subject matter that might turn off many voters.
True crime obsessives already know a lot about The staircase directed on the show, and that may handicap him in the Emmy game. Rather than focusing solely on the Michael and Kathleen Peterson murder case, the series expands its scope to include the documentarians who produced the infamous docuseries of the same name. But was it a smart decision? Beyond the first Peterson trial, The staircase recently emerged as another entry in the “Does This Really Justify These Many Episodes” game. Moreover, his greatest asset is also a potential liability in that he refuses to take sides on Peterson’s guilt. There remains a passive third, giving three different possibilities of Kathleen Peterson’s death. Yes, that includes the infamous “owl theory”. The staircase is a class act in every way with two of our best actors – Toni Collette and Colin Firth – leading a solid cast. But will people care at the end of the day?
These are the most likely contenders for our top five limited edition slots. If the category expands to six, I would strongly urge Emmy watchers to consider Disney+ Moon Knight. I initially put this series aside thinking it would be yet another superhero story, but many, I guess, are sleeping on this series as much as I am. Like with Wanda Vision before that, the creative team behind Moon Knight threads an intensely emotional narrative among superhero events. The limited series provides another example of trauma and its lingering impact, something that apparently isn’t completely until episode five of the six-episode series. I wonder if the voting members of the Television Academy will come up with this story independently or if Disney will have to work overtime to reveal it. Also in his favor: a fantastic performance by Oscar Isaac that should definitely be in the Emmy conversation for the lead actor in a limited series. To forget Scenes from a wedding: it is his most skilful and creative work in years.
Other potential contenders for limited series include Netflix Housemaidby Starz Gas lightingFX Impeachment: A History of American Crimefrom Amazon A very British scandalParamount 1883HBO station elevenand Hulu Pam and Tommy.
However, among the titles in the running, I have not yet seen a consensus around a competitor. Dope, The stalland Under the banner of heaven all have their supporters, but I personally believe that The White Lotus is truly the only series with wide enough support to win.
What do you think? Do you have a case for another limited series? Sound off in the comments!