I have applauded the Emmys for trying to expand their horizons, mix things up, and for responding quickly to the recent and rapid changes that have occurred in television in the last decade. Today, the Television Academy took another giant leap forward to continue to try to push the Emmys forward as television does the same. Let's take a look at some of the changes that will effect this year's Emmys:
1) My favorite new rule is that they are expanding the number of nominees in Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series to seven. Not seven with a tie, but seven solid nominees. Considering the wealth of great television shows out there, this is great to see the offerings expand. I wish they would have gone a step further and done it for the acting categories as well.
2) Instead of just those small panels, second round voting is now expanding to the entire membership, but they still have to see all the episodes. Many think this might open up the second round to more populist choices, I still think that it will be a smaller group voting because not all voters are going to actually watch all of the episode. Also sometimes the populist choices are better than some of the obscure ones that have won, and vice versa. We'll need a few years to see if this drastically changes the winners.
3) This one could get a bit tricky, but for most shows it won't be a problem. Comedies are now defined as shows 30 minutes or less, and dramas as more than 30 minutes. This could be a bit of a problem because there are some hour-long comedies, but in general that probably means shows like Orange is the New Black, which masqueraded as a comedy last year, will probably end up in drama where it belongs. I say probably, because they can petition a panel to review the placement and they can choose to move the show where it wants if they want to. Once again, we'll have to see how this plays out before we can judge its merits.
4) Miniseries will be called Limited Series, and will included shows that tell a complete story without that story line crossing over to another season. At the same time though, drama and comedy series must still have a minimum of six episodes. Sherlock will probably go the way it went last year where it submitted one of its parts as a television movie, but this could be a problem for some of those series that are continuous but less than six episodes a season. Also True Detective will not be in Drama Series again this year, but in the proper category, which, looking at its win total, might actually work out in its favor. But once again, there is a panel to petition.
5) This one is cool, Variety Series is being split into two types, the Talk type, and then one for Sketch shows. I like this because SNL was the only sketch show represented for the last couple of years, while talk shows like Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel, and Real Time dominated the nominations. This will give some love to some underrated shows that have been ignored, most likely shows like Portlandia and maybe even the awesome Key and Peele.
6) Finally, those recurring actors who have tried to slip into the Guest Acting races will now not be able to, and thank God! An actor now must be in less than half the episodes to actually be a guest actor, otherwise they have to compete in supporting or lead. This is my second favorite rule, because allowing actors to submit in either way has led to a lot of category fraud, and plenty of excellent performances that are actually guest can't compete against folks that have a lot more material.