How Game of Thrones Changed the Emmy Game – Vanity Fair
It’s a Friday in August, which means you should probably hit the road now if you want a Sunday parking spot at Zuma Beach.
Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re taking geeks seriously this Emmy season, bracing for a storm of Stephen King content, and putting Milo Ventimiglia in charge of all of our party invitations.
FROM THE MAGAZINE: EMMY MONSTERS
Emmys voting starts in 10 days, and TV Academy members are giving the nominees a last hard look, including genre shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and HBO’s Westworld. In this month’s magazine, I examine a major shift
in the world of prestige TV, toward taking monsters, robots, and dystopias seriously after decades of disdain. Though HBO’s Game of Thrones wasn’t eligible for Emmys this year, the ratings and awards juggernaut has had a profound impact on the town’s perception of what constitutes a serious, quality show. As Ron D. Moore told me, of rolling out his smart update of Battlestar Galactica in 2004, “There was real TV and then what we were doing.” In a post-Game of Thrones world, that dragon, at least, has been slain.
KING OF ALL MEDIA
VF.com’s Hillary Busis e-mails:
Why are there suddenly seven Stephen King adaptations either currently showing, or coming soon to a screen near you? The versatile horror master himself doesn’t know: “You sow your seeds, and sometimes they all come up at the same time, and that’s a great thing. It’s my lucky year; what can I say?” he tells V.F. contributor Dana Schwartz. But Schwartz goes a little deeper in this detailed look at 2017’s glut of King content, which includes everything from a wannabe blockbuster (The Dark Tower) to a pioneering TV series on the Audience network, owned by AT&T (Mr. Mercedes).
NORMAN SAYS NO
VF.com’s Yohana Desta e-mails:
Norman Lear, a 95-year-old living legend who revolutionized TV, is finally receiving a Kennedy Center Honor. Unfortunately, he’s not really interested in it—and it’s all because of Donald Trump. James Poniewozik of The New York Times reports that Lear will “boycott the December reception at the White House” because, in case you haven‘t been paying attention to Lear news lately, the icon despises Trump. Lear has elegantly railed against Trump in interviews, calling him “America’s middle finger” numerous times and deriding his intelligence. “Donald Trump is a thorough fool,” he said in a 2016 interview with the Daily Beast. So no, he will not be suffering that particular fool—even while receiving the most prestigious artistic honor this country has to give. In the Times piece, Poniewozik notes that other honorees include Gloria Estefan, L.L. Cool J, Carmen de Lavallade, and Lionel Richie. While none have announced Lear-esque boycotting plans, Estefan will apparently use the event as an opportunity to challenge the president’s immigration policy. Tune in to all that on December 26.
VF.com’s Laura Bradley e-mails:
Well, here’s something most This Is Us fans probably didn’t expect: come fall, Sylvester Stallone will join the show as a guest star. The Rocky actor will be playing himself, apparently a movie idol for Justin Hartley’s actor character, Kevin. As for how on earth this happened, the answer is actually pretty simple: Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack, co-starred with Stallone in 2006’s Rocky Balboa. Although the two don’t see much of each other these days, Ventimiglia told reporters that Stallone is very warm and encouraging whenever they bump into one another, so he gave the Italian Stallion a call. Break out your tissues and prepare for conversations next year about whether Stallone could win an Emmy.
BACK IN THE U.S.S.R.
VF.com’s Hillary Busis e-mails:
There’s nothing else on TV (or streaming) quite like Comrade Detective, a super high-concept comedy that takes the form of a fictional Cold War-era Romanian cop drama. Also, it was produced by Channing Tatum. Also, Tatum dubs over a Romanian actor as the title role, opposite the voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Confused? V.F. contributor Chloe Schildhause breaks down the series, which is much more than a comedy—it’s an eerily timely satire of propaganda. As Tatum says, “You gotta make people listen, and keep them entertained . . . [and] I just really wanted to do a TV show that showcased the fashion in Romania in the 80s.”
That’s the news for this sweaty Friday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and aerated Emmys gown suggestions to Rebecca_keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.