TV fans are days away from being inundated with Emmy contenders. Due to tweaks to the Academy’s eligibility timeline, new seasons have to complete their runs prior to May 31 if they want all episodes to be considered for this year’s ceremony — which means weekly releases have to start a bit earlier, hybrid releases may come out in bigger batches, and all-at-once drops could have a slight edge. (Recency bias: It’s real.)
It also means the field as we see it today is about to dramatically shift in the coming weeks. Winter awards always feature a mix of last Emmy season’s favorites and the coming season’s hopefuls, which makes them particularly meaningful for freshman series yet to be considered by TV Academy members. And with Sunday night’s WGA Awards marking an unofficial end to the 2022 calendar year’s awards cycle, at least one major player has emerged.
“The Bear,” Christopher Storer’s FX production that became a Hulu hit last summer, is primed for an even bigger 2023. The first season took home Best Comedy Series at the WGA Awards, marking a key accomplishment unto itself. Not only have past winners become Emmy darlings (including “Ted Lasso” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), but “The Bear” topped a category favorite in “Abbott Elementary,” which has already done well with Emmy voters and continued to earn accolades this winter.
Just not as many as “The Bear.” After pulling in three Emmys in September 2022, “Abbott Elementary” locked down the SAG Ensemble prize and Best Comedy Series at the Critics’ Choice Awards, among plenty more nominations. But with its win Sunday at the WGA Awards, “The Bear” tallied wins at three separate guild awards — snagging Comedy Series at WGA and PGA, plus Best Actor at the SAG Awards — as well as a nomination at the DGA Awards (which “Abbott” missed). It lost Best Comedy Series to “Abbott” at the Critics’ Choice, but its incredibly strong showing with the guilds means more for its future at the Emmys.
All this may be moot with “Ted Lasso” about to debut — the Apple TV+ megahit wasn’t eligible for any of the winter awards — but “The Bear’s” robust run still has one more ace up its sleeve: Season 2 is expected this summer, and with Season 1 already eligible for this year’s Emmys, “The Bear” could have new episodes rolling out while voting is underway — and long after “Ted Lasso” wraps.
It also won’t have to worry about “Hacks” (which beat “The Bear” for Best Episodic Comedy, but producers confirmed won’t return in time for this year’s Emmys) or the WGA’s biggest winner, “Severance” (which obviously competes as a drama, which “The Bear” less obviously… isn’t). Dan Erickson and Ben Stiller’s Apple TV+ series emerged victorious for Best Drama Series (where it toppled Emmy hopefuls in “Better Call Saul,” “Yellowjackets,” and “Andor”) and Best New Series (knocking off both “The Bear” and “Abbott”).
No other TV show won more than once, as WGA voters spread the love. Paramount+ enjoyed an early surge, as “Inside Amy Schumer” won Variety Sketch Series over “SNL” (its second win at the WGAs out of four nominations in five seasons) and the Gaten Matarazzo-starring “Honor Society” surprised in TV & New Media Motion Picture. HBO led the way, though, with wins for “The White Lotus” (in Limited Series) and “Jerrod Carmichael’s Rothaniel” (Variety Special), in addition to “Hacks.” “Better Call Saul” got a bit of a momentum booster by taking home the Episodic Drama prize (for “Plan and Execution” by Thomas Schnauz), though the jury’s still out on whether its final season can make noise in a crowded Emmy field.
Last but certainly not least, Prime Video’s genre-bending gem “Undone” won the WGA Award for Animation (specifically honoring Elijah Aaron and Patrick Metcalf’s magnificent episode, “Rectify”). Here’s hoping that’s exactly what Amazon had been waiting to hear before picking up Season 3!
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