HBO’s Watchmen was the big winner at the 2020 Emmy Awards, taking home 11 awards, including Best Limited Series, followed by Best Comedy winner Schitt’s Creek with nine and Best Drama winner Succession and The Mandalorian, both with seven.
HBO was the biggest winner at the 2020 Emmys, taking home 30 awards to Netflix’s 21. Content currently available on Showmax took home a whopping 34 awards, including Best Limited Series (Watchmen), Best Drama (Succession), Best TV Movie (Bad Education), Best Animation (Rick & Morty) and Best Children’s Program (We Are The Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest), with more to come soon. Winners on Showmax include:
HBO’s Watchmen was the biggest winner overall at the 2020 Emmys, with 11 wins from its 26 nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series, Lead Actress (Regina King as Sister Night), and Supporting Actor (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal Abar, beating out castmates Jovan Adepo as Hooded Justice and Louis Gossett Jr. as William Reeves), not to mention Writing, Casting, Cinematography, Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, Picture Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Original Dramatic Score.
A sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic DC graphic novel, Watchmen was the best reviewed new TV show of 2019 on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 95% critics rating.
Created by Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers), the nine-part series was the #1 show of last year for the likes of Empire, Mashable, Vox, and Washington Post, where Hank Stuever said the show takes “my breath away with its bracing vision of racism, mask-wearing vigilantism and super-heroic qualms in a skewed-reality America.”
HBO’s Succession was the biggest winner in the Drama category at the 2020 Emmys, taking home seven awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Lead Actor (Jeremy Strong as Kendall, beating off 2020 Golden Globe winner Brian Cox as his father Logan), Guest Actress (Cherry Jones as Nan Pierce – her second win in the category in two years), Directing, Writing, Casting, and Picture Editing.
In Succession, four very rich siblings behave very badly as they try to win their father’s approval – and control of his company, a global media and entertainment empire. In Season 2, the Roys meet their liberal counterparts as Logan attempts to orchestrate his biggest acquisition yet.
Succession S2 also won Best TV Drama at the 2020 Golden Globes. The drama has an 8.6/10 rating on IMDb and a 97% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Succession returns in darkly funny form, with sharp writing, exceptional performances, and a surprising new level of sympathy for some of television’s least likable characters.”
3. Bad Education
HBO’s Bad Education was named Outstanding TV Movie at the 2020 Emmys, beating off the likes of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend.
Based on true story, Bad Education follows Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman, who was up for Best Actor for the role) and Pam Gluckin (Oscar winner Allison Janney), whose reign over a prestigious school district is threatened by the single largest public school embezzlement scheme in America’s history, which was uncovered by a student journalist.
Bad Education has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Anchored by an outstanding Hugh Jackman, Bad Education finds absurd laughs – and a worthy message – in the aftermath of a real-life scandal.”
4. Rick and Morty
At the 2020 Emmys, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty was named Best Animated Program for The Vat of Acid Episode, beating off the final season of BoJack Horseman, as well as Big Mouth, Bob’s Burgers, and The Simpsons. This is Rick & Morty’s second Best Animated Program Emmy.
Rick Sanchez is a sociopathic genius scientist who lives with his daughter Beth’s family, constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer, and inherently timid grandson Morty on insanely dangerous adventures across the multiverse.
The half-hour animated comedy is the jointly highest-rated animated series of all time on IMDb, with a 9.2/10 rating. Season 4 has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which praises the season as “both an exciting progression and a delightful return to form that proves more than worth the two-year wait.”
5. We Are The Dream: The Kids Of The Oakland MLK Fest
At the 2020 Emmys, HBO’s We Are The Dream: The Kids Of The Oakland MLK Fest was the joint winner of Outstanding Children’s Program with Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, beating the likes of Star Wars Resistance.
Executive produced by Oscar winner Mahershali Ali (Moonlight, Ramy), the 58-minute documentary follows the 40th annual Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest, a public speaking competition where children perform poetry and speeches inspired by the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the American Civil Rights Movement.
BlackGirlNerds praised it as “adorable yet inspirational.”
In HBO’s Euphoria, 24-year-old Zendaya made history at the 2020 Emmys as the youngest Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama winner ever as 17-year-old Rue, who returns home from rehab with no plans to stay clean, and falls for the new girl in town, Jules (played by trans superstar Hunter Schafer).
“She’s younger than Baby Yoda and she already has an Emmy,” quipped host Jimmy Kimmel after Zendaya beat out Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman, Sandra Oh, Laura Linney and Jodie Comer, who set the record last year when she won for Killing Eve at age 26.
Euphoria also won 2020 Emmys for Original Music and Lyrics for All For Us by Labrinth, as well as Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic).
The controversial adults-only teen show, which also earned Zendaya a 2019 People’s Choice Award for Favourite Drama TV Star, has an 8.4/10 rating on IMDb and a 82% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus says, “Euphoria balances its brutal honesty with an empathetic – and visually gorgeous – eye to create a uniquely challenging and illuminating series, held together by a powerfully understated performance from Zendaya.”
7. I Know This Much Is True
Three-time Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Avengers) won his first acting Emmy: Best Actor in a Limited Series for his dual role in HBO’s I Know This Much is True, beating off the likes of Hugh Jackman in Bad Education and Jeremy Irons in Watchmen.
Based on the Wally Lamb bestseller about how you don’t just give up on the people you love, I Know this Much is True follows the parallel lives of identical twin brothers Dominick Birdsey and his brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic – both played by Mark, who lost 20 pounds to play Dominic, then gained that back and put another 20 pounds on to play Thomas.
I Know This Much Is True, which has an 8.2/10 rating on IMDb, also stars Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Emmy winner Rosie O’Donnell (SMILF), Emmy nominees Kathryn Hahn (Mrs Fletcher, Transparent) and Rob Huebel (Transparent), Golden Globe nominee Archie Panjabi (Run, The Good Wife), and Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers).
Adult Swim’s Primal won three Outstanding Achievement In Animation Awards at the 2020 Emmys, for storyboard artist Genndy Tartakovsky, art director Scott Wills, and character designer Stephen DeStefano.
From the creator behind the Emmy-winning series Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky, Primal follows a caveman at the dawn of evolution and a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. The two creatures, one on the way out and one on the way in, become each other’s only hope of survival in a treacherous world.
Primal has an 8.7/10 score on IMDB and a 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Epic in every sense, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal is a stunning feat of visual storytelling.”
9. The Handmaid’s Tale
Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale won Best Production Design from its 10 Emmy nominations this year, beating out Big Little Lies, Killing Eve, The Morning Show, Ozark and Succession.
Season 1 was based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel of the same name, which won the first Arthur C. Clarke Award for its depiction of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States, which has returned to ‘traditional values,’ with women treated as property of the state.
The Handmaid’s Tale has an 8.5/10 rating on IMDb, while Season 3 has a 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “The Handmaid’s Tale‘s third season reigns in its horrors and inspires hope that revolution really is possible.”
HBO’s Insecure had its best ever year at the Emmys, with its first win, for Picture Editing, from eight nominations, including Issa Rae’s second Best Actress nomination as Issa and first-time nods for Best Comedy and Best Supporting Actress for Nigerian comedian Yvonne Orji as Molly.
In Season 4, as the crew emerges from their messy twenties and presses on to their thirties, Issa is focused on uplifting and empowering Inglewood with a block party she’s producing, while Molly braves an unfamiliar work-life balance while navigating her first real relationship.
At the 2020 Black Reel Awards, Issa was named Outstanding Actress while Yvonne won Outstanding Supporting Actress. Season 4 has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Insecure continues to be one of the funniest, warmest, and most beautifully-shot comedies that takes full advantage of its sunny L.A. setting.”
Thirteen was a lucky number for Vikings, as HISTORY’s breakout hit show won its first Emmy after 13 nominations. Viking’s final season won Special Visual Effects In A Supporting Role for episode 10, The Best Laid Plans.
In Season 6, the vikings push further into Scandinavia as a victorious Bjorn returns from The Battle of the Brothers to find that being a hero and a leader comes with its own challenges. Torvi and Ubbe search for clues to Floki’s whereabouts in Iceland, while Ivar follows The Silk Road to Russia, where he encounters a ruler even more merciless and unpredictable than himself. Meanwhile, Lagertha’s hopes for a quieter life on her own farm are threatened by new dangers closer to home.
Vikings has an 8.5/10 rating on IMDb and a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
12. Godfather of Harlem
Epix’s Godfather of Harlem won Outstanding Main Title Design, beating out the likes of Abstract: The Art of Design, The Morning Show, Watchmen, and Westworld.
In the early 1960s, infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker) returns from 10 years in prison to find the neighbourhood he once ruled in a shambles. With the streets controlled by Vincent ‘Chin’ Gigante (Emmy nominee Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil and Jurassic World) and the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch from Selma).
From the creators of Narcos, Godfather of Harlem has an 8/10 rating on IMDb and a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critics consensus calling it “as sharply dressed as it is smartly written.” Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) won Best Supporting Actor at the 2020 Black Reel Awards, where Godfather of Harlem was also up for Outstanding Drama, Actor (Whitaker) and Directing (Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley).
13. Why We Hate
Laura Karpman won Original Dramatic Score for a Documentary Series or Special for Why We Hate, a six-part Discovery series that sets out to answer the question, “Where does hate come from?”
Executive produced by Oscar winners Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) and Alex Gibney (Taxi To The Dark Side, The Inventor: Out for Blood In Silicon Valley), Why We Hate has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Time calls it “a vital show.” Forbes praises it as a “timely series.” And The Wall Street Journal hails it as “startling, and humbling, especially in its representation of human nature as a force almost beyond human control.”
But That’s Not All Folks…
Another 2020 Emmy winner on Showmax is Mr. Robot, which won Outstanding Interactive Extension of a Linear Program for Season_4.0 ARG. The Masked Singer, which won Costumes: Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality, comes to Showmax on 1 October 2020, while Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which won Choreography, is coming to Showmax in early 2021.
2020 Emmy nominees on Showmax include A Black Lady Sketch Show, Ballers, Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, McMillion$, Ramy, Robot Chicken, The Outsider, The Plot Against America, Silicon Valley, We’re Here, Westworld, and What We Do In The Shadows. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Curb Your Enthusiasm are coming to Showmax on 1 January 2021.
More info about the Emmy Awards
The Television Academy’s Emmy Awards recognise excellence in primetime programming and individual achievement for the 2019-2020 television season. The 72nd Emmy Awards were broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Additionally, Emmys were awarded in 100 other categories at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards over four consecutive nights from Monday, Sept. 14, through Thursday, Sept. 17, with a fifth broadcast ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 19. For more information, visit Emmys.com.
Watch this space for updates in the Television category on Running Wolf’s Rant.