In a year when everybody was looking forward to seeing the all-but guaranteed Emmy award sweep of Veep for its 7th and final season, Fleabag caught a lot of people by surprise. This BBC comedy, which had its season two have its US debut on Amazon Prime this spring three years after season one, follows a dysfunctional London woman and her equally dysfunctional family.
As simplistic as it may seem, it’s way more character driven of a show than it is by plot. But in a year when the only major network show to win any Emmy gold was Saturday Night Live, this years Emmy’s served as a showcase for the new direction the medium is heading into.
Fleabag came in and swept up Outstanding Comedy Series, Oustanding Comedy Actress for Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also took him the Emmy for Writing in a Comedy Series), and Harry Bradbeer for Director of a Comedy Series. As Bridge was walking up to the stage for one of her many acceptance speeches, she acknowledged the shock herself commenting “This is getting ridiculous.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, meanwhile, got Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress Emmy’s for Alex Borstein and Tony Shahloub, respectively while Bill Hader took home his second Emmy for Barry. Last Week Tonight got Writing for a Variety Series while Saturday Night Live got Outstanding Variety Series.
Major surprise of the night was the complete shut out of Veep, which was a shoe-in given that this was its final season and how they completely swept the Emmy’s in years previous (as well as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s public battle with breast cancer). In fact, this is the first year its nominated where it didn’t take home at least one of the big prizes. But as a consolation prize was a terrific send-off to the series that saw the entire cast onstage that was met with a standing ovation, followed by a bit leading into announcing the Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series.
If these award shows prove anything, it’s that once and for all you can’t predict what happens. And with Amazon Prime being the big winner last night with Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it is clear that presence of streaming giants isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.