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Primetimer's Ultimate Emmy Bracket Begins!

Round 1 kicks off with Sharp Objects vs. The Voice and Escape at Dannemora vs. Top Chef
  • (Photos: HBO, Bravo and NBC)
    (Photos: HBO, Bravo and NBC)

    Welcome to Primetimer's ultimate Emmys Bracket! As a person with a working knowledge of how to use the internet, you're no doubt familiar with the bracket, the ultimate arbiter of qualitative worth when measuring everything from sports teams to foods to bands. So obviously this is how we're going to determine the best Emmy-nominated program of 2019 (before the Television Academy steps in makes their own determinations on Sunday the 22nd).

    What Is the Purpose of This Bracket?

    To determine which of the TV programs nominated in the Drama, Comedy, Limited, and Reality Competition Series categories was the best in 2019.

    What Are the Criteria?

    Quality is in the eye of the beholder. As it is for Emmy voters, so it shall it be for us. We only require that determinations be made based on the 2018-19 television season, which ran from June 1, 2018 until May 31, 2019.

    How Will This Work?

    All 26 shows have been ranked, seeded, and matched up on a bracket. Shows will face off one-on-one, with the winners advancing to the next round. For each matchup, we'll present the case for both competing TV shows right here on Primetimer. Then we'll provide a link to a poll on Twitter where you can vote for your preferred show. The winner of the poll advances.

    How Were the Seed Numbers Determined?

    Each show was ranked by total Emmy nominations in 2019. The top 6 seeds were granted a bye into round 2. Then the #7 show was matched up with #26, then #8 with #25, and so on.

    Does the Winner Get a Trophy?


    Let's get started! (Seed number appears before show title)

    Round 1, Match 1

    (photos: NBC, HBO)

    Sharp Objects
    Network: HBO
    Nominations: Eight, including Outstanding Limited Series

    The dark Gillian Flynn-penned miniseries enters the Emmy race having already picked up a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Television Award (though only for its actors, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson). Critics raved about its moody themes and sweaty, suspicious Southern atmosphere, but it never quite caught on like director Jean-Marc Valée's previous miniseries, Big Little Lies. Still, it appears to be picking up momentum in the Outstanding Limited Series category against stiff competition: Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, When They See Us, and Escape at Dannemora

    The Voice
    Network: NBC
    Nominations: Two, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

    After a multiyear streak of wins in the Reality-Competition category, The Voice lost to RuPaul’s Drag Race last year, and there’s no reason to think that won’t happen again. (Although maybe the return of Gwen Stefani will help it next year?) The spoiler in its category, however, could be Netflix’s Nailed It!, which may just be silly and novel enough enough to draw attention away from  eality competition standard bearers like The Amazing Race and The Voice.

    Vote now for who should advance to Round 2:

    Round 1, Match 2

    (Photos: Showtime, Bravo)

    Escape at Dannemora
    Network: Showtime
    Nominations: Eleven, including Outstanding Limited Series

    Director Ben Stiller’s prison-escape drama has already earned lead-actress Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for Patricia Arquette and a Directors Guild of America award for Stiller’s directing. Based on a true story of a prison break in upstate New York, the series caught attention for its starry performances and serio-comedic vibe. This year marks one of the tightest categories for Outstanding Limited Series, but given the year Arquette has had (she’s nominated in Lead Actress for this show and Supporting Actress for Hulu's The Act), it’s likely to at least walk away with an acting prize for her and maybe one for Stiller (although we’re already groaning at the thought of him winning over Ana DuVernay).

    Top Chef
    Network: Bravo
    Nominations: One, for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

    Top Chef has only won this award once, way back in 2010 when it broke the seven-year streak of The Amazing Race. It seems unlikely to reclaim the crown for its Kentucky-set 16th season, however. It was a sure, fine, okay season of television that had a surprising mid-finale elimination, but it did not rise to the level of its competitors in the category. Sorry, Padma.

    Vote now for who should advance to Round 2:

    Watch for more matches in the coming days (and follow us on twitter and/or like us on Facebook for direct access to the polls as they're released).

    Omar L. Gallaga is a longtime technology and culture writer with bylines in The Wall Street Journal, NPR's All Tech Considered blog, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, CNN and the beloved TV websites Television Without Pity and Previously.tv. He's a former newspaper journalist who now lives in New Braunfels, Texas. You can find him on Twitter @OmarG. 

    TOPICS: 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Escape at Dannemora, Sharp Objects, Top Chef, The Voice, Emmys Bracket