Upon the announcement of the 2012 Emmy Nominations, much fanfare ensued as the Academy’s choices clearly represent top-notch TV entertainment and some of our very favorite shows. In fact, one could argue that TV right now is better than ever — and we couldn't be happier.
But upon closer inspection, we realized that not a single TV drama earning double-digit nominations had more than 13 episodes in its entire season. Makes us wonder — are shorter seasons the way to critical acclaim, or just the way to make better TV?
Here’s a breakdown:
13 eps, 17 nods
8 eps, 16 nods
13 eps, 13 nods
12 eps, 12 nods
Game of Thrones:
10 eps, 12 nods
All of these shows are loved by critics and fans alike, so maybe networks are learning that 13 episodes yields a better season than the old standard of 22 episodes or more? Shorter seasons mean fewer filler episodes and tighter concentration on the story arc, and because the series shoots on a shorter schedule, it’s easier to get premium locations, crews, and talent to work on the show.
The odd nomination distribution may have something to do with the kinds of dramatic shows and subtle stories the Emmys typically find worthy of recognition. But even comedy series like Girls, Veep, and Curb Your Enthusiasm — all of which have short seasons, too — were well represented in their respective categories, though there are exceptions like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and 30 Rock. The shorter season formula may end up holding true for comedy as well, but we’ll have to wait to see the winners to know for sure.