We’ve known for a short time that the TV Academy is changing up the Emmy categories this TV season. The new rule labels half-hour programs as comedies and hour-long programs as dramas. Anyone who has ever watched television should know that one size fits all approach doesn’t really work, and several hour-long funny shows have petitioned to be included in the comedy race. Unfortunately, one of those shows, the wildly amusing Netflix production Orange is the New Black, will not be allowed to race against the other comedies at the Emmy Awards this year.
When the Emmys announced the category changes back in February, the Television Academy noted that while the definitions for drama and comedy programs are now pretty simple, exceptions would be considered for shows that might straddle the line between comedy and drama. One of these shows was Orange is the New Black, an hour-long drama with plenty of comedic elements. The show was produced by Jenji Kohan, who also put together Weeds, so if you haven’t caught the Netflix series that information might give you an idea regarding tone.
The consideration process does seem fair on paper. According to Variety, shows submitted all episodes to the Television Academy and it took a 2/3 vote from the panel to move a show from drama to comedy and vice versa. Despite the fact that Orange is the New Black runs in the comedy category at the Golden Globes, the Television Academy doesn’t find it all that funny. Now that Orange is the New Black will be forced to compete against the likes of True Detective, The Good Wife, House of Cards, The Affair, and potential newbies like Better Call Saul, its nomination chances seem pretty slim.
While Orange is the New Black is now a drama, a few hour-long dramedies did manage to twist the arms of the TV Academy and reinstate themselves in the comedy race. Among these is the freshman charmer Jane the Virgin, which brought home a win for series lead Gina Rodriguez during this year’s Golden Globes ceremony. In addition, Fox’s Glee was allowed to remain in the comedy race, as was Showtime’s Shameless, which features a lot of dark comedy. All shows that switched over have switched in both the acting and creative categories.
Netflix has some other actual half-hour programs that could still be considered in the category. There’s the unlikely BoJack Horseman, of course, but more likely Netflix will be pushing the critically liked Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on audiences in the comedy category. The Ellie Kemper starrer has earned good buzz since it hit the streaming service on March 6. Besides, while Orange is the New Black might have trouble standing out in the competition among other dramas, Netflix also has House of Cards to fall back on in the category. In addition, the Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek starrer Bloodline hit the service this week and looks to have potential, so we could see several Netflix names in the drama category at this year’s awards.
In the meantime, we’ll let you know if anyone else flip-flops categories.