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The Death of the Miniseries, In Emmy Form


 

After two straight years in which there had been only two nominees for Best Miniseries, the TV Academy’s rules gave it the right to eliminate that category, and that’s what it’s done, by merging it with Best TV Movie. This is in line with the way other awards do it, but it’s still a sad reminder of the decline of the full-fledged limited-run miniseries. It’s understandable why they’ve declined; there’s usually a preference for making something a continuing series. There are shows today that could have been, and possibly would have been, miniseries in another era; you could see The Walking Dead as a miniseries with a possible sequel to come if it catches on, rather than a six-episode first season with many more seasons to come. Not everything should be an open-ended series, but most things are going to be — an obvious exception being Trudeau or John Adams type of stories about historical figures, which have to end but are too big to fit into one movie.

Another rule change that reflects how TV has changed is the award for Best Cinematography. Once split into half-hour and hour categories, it’s now been changed to multi-camera and single-camera categories. This makes sense, since the two types of cinematography are so very different. It’ll be interesting to see, though, how comedies do in the single-camera category; they’re shot faster than dramas and with less ostentatiously spectacular photographic effects, so just as comedies rarely get their due in movie cinematography awards, single-camera comedies might have trouble competing with dramas.

Update: As pointed out in comments, the cinematography award is just a return to the way things were for most of the ’00s. Meaning the hour/half-hour distinction was more of a failed experiment, possibly meant to give single-camera comedies more of a chance to compete for the cinematography award (since few of them got nominated in the straightforward single-camera category). Unless they have separate categories for multi-camera comedy, single-camera comedy and drama, something’s always going to get left out.


 
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The Death of the Miniseries, In Emmy Form

  1. The cinematography awards were split into multi-camera and single camera from 2000-2007 so this isn't exactly a seismic shift. In those eight years, Ally McBeal was nominated twice; Everybody Hates Chris was nominated once; and the other nominees were all dramas.

    • Thanks. I've updated the post with a correction.

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