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Mike Cohen
Re: I forgot to make an Emmys thread.
on Aug 28, 2014 at 12:41:22 am

[Scott Roberts] " I DON'T GET THE MINI-SERIES RULES. Is it just how the network chooses to enter them for competition?"

Here is what I think is the deal - though no help to the actual Emmys website which is pretty useless.

The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences amended their rules in 2007 so that a mini-series cannot have a story that continues into the next season, and does not have a created by credit.

However American Horror Story breaks one of these rules. Yes it has a different storyline each season, but it is created by Ryan Murphy. But still it gets the mini-series awards.

In 2011 the mini-series and movie categories were merged, but separated again in 2014.

It appears that having three categories simply is a way to give out more awards. Since the epic Roots or North and South style mini series of the 80's are not too common on non-cable nowadays, cable networks seem to blur the lines between series, mini-series and movie.

This topic is a perfect opening to discuss some of the past winners in these categories. Tv movies and mini-series don't get too much play on this here forum, though many are cinema-grade entertainment. I only mention here programs I have actually seen, though in many cases it has been a while!


TV Movie Past Winners
1980 - The Miracle Worker
1983 - Special Bulletin - I remember this, the year before The Day After - a War of the Worlds-style fake news broadcast about the Russians bombing the US. Very compelling.
1988 - Inherit the Wind, about the Scopes Monkey Trial. We watched this in high school.
1993 - Barbarians at the Gate - HBO's first such award
1994 - And the Band Played On - HBO again with the first mass-consumed movie about AIDS - though I think there was a Ryan White TV movie before that.
2004 - Something the Lord Made (HBO) about Vivien Thomas, who went from custodian at Vanderbilt University to heart surgeon with Alfred Blalock, the surgeon who performed some of the first open heart surgery. I'm not familiar with Mos Def as a rapper, but he's a fine actor. And my field of work does not get too many movies made about it!
2006 - The Girl in the Cafe - HBO

These were all approx 2 hour movies which happened to air on television

It will be interesting to see when and if non-broadcast movies are nominated. Netflix has yet to produce a feature, but give it time.

And for Mini-Series

1977 - Roots
1979 - Roots: The Next Generation
insert Levar Burton TNG reference here
1981 - Shogun
1992 - Prime Suspect 2
1993 - Prime Suspect 3

(BTW if you want to see a current British crime drama mini series with really great characters and acting, check out Happy Valley on Netflix)

1995 - Gulliver's Travels - this seemed to be the one of first big budget effects driven mini-series on television (The Stand was on the previous year) and kicked off a string of SyFy Channel quality tv movies from Robert Halmi
1996 - Prime Suspect 5
1997 - From the Earth to the Moon - following Apollo 13, Tom Hanks and Co produced a great series about the Apollo program
1998 - Hornblower: The Even Chance. The first in a series of tv movies about Horatio Hornblower, starring Iaoann Gruffard before he joined the Fantastic Four. Well done high seas adventure, and better than that Russel Crowe movie.
2001 - Band of Brothers - After the success of Band of Brothers, Hanks and Spielberg put together this incredible series about Easy Company - the unit who landed on D-Day and moved through Europe until the end of the war. Also nominated was Dinotopia, another FX bonanza from the Halmi people. Breathe Deep Fly High.
2007 - John Adams - based on the book by David McCullough, and now a staple of July 4th marathons. What I loved about this series is although it was historical, they added so much cinematic artistry that it felt more like a series of short films than what could have been a documentary like retelling of American History. David Morse plays a larger than life George Washington. And this was really a great role for Paul Giamatti.
2009 - The Pacific - another WWII effort from Hanks and Spielberg - not quite as interesting, though again, incredible production values, but what else would you expect from HBO?

Diving into the Creative Arts awards there are some interesting categories:
Structured Reality Program - ie Shark Tank
Unstructured Reality Program, ie, Deadliest Catch
Short-form Live Action Program - so far the nominees have been mostly webisodes from networks, though Funny or Die and Yahoo have some nods
Special and Visual Effects / Special or Visual Effects in a Supporting Role (such as when the effects are not in the foreground, sky replacement, set extensions - maybe?)


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