Magazine article Variety

The Sky's the Limit

Magazine article Variety

The Sky's the Limit

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE hottest races at the Emmy Awards last year was the limited series category: "Big Little Lies" eventually triumphed, but when your runners-up include "Fargo" and "Feud," you know it's a quality race. Quite a shift from the start of the decade, when only two shows, "The Pacific" and "Return to Cranford," were nominated in 2010. The year before, only "Little Dorrit" and "Generation Kill" earned noms. Things looked so bleak, the category was combined with the TV movie category for a bit. While the two categories still share acting nominees, the limited series category has been back on its own since the 2014 awards.

In recent years, the category has been dominated by big stars who get the appeal of appearing on television without an open-ended commitment. The same appHBO's lies to off-camera talent; this year alone, filmmakers like David Lynch ("Twin Peaks"), Scott Frank ("Godless") and Steven Soderbergh ("Mosaic") have released limited series.

But how does a limited series differ from a standard drama? The Emmy Rules and Procedures (last updated in 2017) define a limited series as "a program with two [2] or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tells a complete, non-recurring story, and does not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons."

But some shows that begin as a limited series don't know what their future holds. Take last year's winner, "Big Little Lies," based on the book by Liane Moriarty. …

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