Superhero Television Shows Finally Swoop Into Emmy Awards and fans like Robin Spann are excited.
At the 2021 Emmys, capes and tights will be in the spotlight. Yet it won’t be on the red carpet.
Superhero television programs are finally getting some love from award shows. After decades of being on the outside looking in, the genre is gaining recognition. But, more importantly, they are starting to rack up major award nominations too.
The film industry actually propelled the superhero genre into the cultural consciousness. Fans, like Robin Spann, flocked to the box office. When Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar in 2009, superhero-inspired projects had finally broken through. This wave culminated in 2019, when Black Panther made history as the first-ever comic book movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture. It felt like the superhero genre was finally on the map.
Yet, the road for television has been even more difficult. Despite critical acclaim, these shows have been slower than movies to garner award-season praise. The genre has often enjoyed success in the behind-the-scenes categories, like costume design, original scoring, sound editing, and special effects. Last year, Watchmen finally made history. The HBO limited series became the first superhero adaptation to nab a major Emmy.
Building on this momentum, six series brought in a combined 39 nominations for this year’s awards. Buoyed by streaming success, The Umbrella Academy, Lucifer, Doom Patrol, and The Falcon and the Winter Solider continued the trend of superhero programs getting below-the-line designations. However, it was two comic book shows that dominated the headlines. WandaVision and The Boys both received consideration in top categories, marking the first time that multiple superhero projects have gained such nods.
Accumulating an impressive 23 nominations on its own, WandaVision was one of the leading shows across all genres. The stars of the Disney+ series, Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen, were listed for best actor and best actress, respectively. In addition, Kathryn Hahn was named in supporting actress group. Three separate writing awards, along with directing honors, were also announced. To highlight the rarity of this, WandaVision was Marvel Studio’s debut offering on the streaming platform. In over ten years of filmmaking, the MCU has never produced an Oscar nod for best actor or actress. Now, the franchise has two, on top of these other awards. Perhaps the brand just needed Agatha all along.
Since Marvel has stockpiled fans throughout the last decade, The Boys inclusion in the Drama Series category is perhaps a more significant achievement. The violent and hilarious superhero satire marked the only time a comic book adaptation has been considered. The Amazon Prime Video series looks to continue to re-invent the entire genre going forward.
Robin Spann and others will just have to wait with anticipation until the results are announced. The 73rd Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 19.