The best Emmy contenders of 2022 on Netflix, Hulu and HBO – SFGATE

Apple TV Plus’ “Ted Lasso” debuted in 2020, but the first kernel for the show dates back to 2001.
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The Emmys are upon us. The television industry’s biggest award show happens tonight (inexplicably on a Monday), with dozens of prestige TV franchises battling out for bragging rights. 
Although it’s not always the case, this year, the nominations seemed to match up with the social media buzz. HBO’s marquee drama “Succession” earned top honors (25 nominations), followed by heartwarming comedy “Ted Lasso” (20), and HBO’s Hawaiian resort whodunit “White Lotus” (20).
In the past year, we at SFGATE have written about dozens of show, ranging from the height of trash TV to some award bait that didn’t quite catch. Although we’re hesitant to make any real Emmys predictions (except that Jason Sudekis will make a stellar fashion choice), we have spilled plenty of words about the nominees.
So without further ado, here is our best writing about this year’s Emmys contenders.
Bob Odenkirk, left, plays the Jimmy McGill, a.k.a. Saul Goodman, in “Better Call Saul.”
Nominations: Drama series, lead actor, supporting actress, music supervision, sound editing, sound mixing, writing
“The ‘Better Call Saul’ finale had its cake and, man, it ate it, too. Justice was served, but a soul was saved. 
“This absurd prequel about Walter White’s shifty strip mall lawyer from ‘Breaking Bad’ is surely one of the only prequels from the Unnecessary Prequel Industrial Complex that has even slightly justified its existence. And it could be called the last direct link to the so-called Golden Age of Prestige Television of the late 2000s and early 2010s.” — Alex Siquig, read more
Nominations: Drama series, production design, casting, editing, hairstyling, makeup, prosthetics, music supervision, sound editing, sound mixing, special visual effects, stunt coordination
“’Stranger Things’ became a breakout hit in the mid-2010s thanks to its adorable adolescent cast and Dungeons & Dragons-style approach to sci-fi, but the music has always been a huge part of keeping the show authentic to its 1980s setting. Much of that’s due to the vintage synthesizer score supplied of Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of the Austin-based band Survive, but in recent years, as the show’s budget has ballooned to more than $30 million per episode, filmmaking duo the Duffer brothers have had much more to spend on music licensing.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Jean Smart in “Hacks.”
Nominations: Comedy series, guest actress (4), guest actor, production design, casting, cinematography, costumes, directing, editing, hairstyling, sound mixing, writing, 
“’Hacks’ begins with a joke that Las Vegas legend Deborah Vance (played by Jean Smart) seems like she’s repeated a thousand times. She recounts an experience with a disappointing sexual partner, then makes a joke about lesbian stereotypes that sounds stuck in the ’90s (of course, Melissa Etheridge is the punchline). The number of times she has actually told this distasteful joke is probably closer to 2,500.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Apple TV+
Nominations: Comedy series, lead actor, supporting actress (3), supporting actor (3), guest actress, guest actor (2), production design, casting, directing, editing (2 episodes), hairstyling, sound editing, sound mixing, writing, 
“All of the Ted Lasso commentary online largely sticks to the same abridged origin story: The Ted Lasso character was used in two sketch-length promos starring Sudeikis previewing NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League in 2013 and 2014. But after reading literally everything Ted Lasso, there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s the most comprehensive origin story I could come up with … .” — Grant Marek, read more
Amanda Seyfried plays Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in “The Dropout.”
Nominations: Limited series, actress, casting, directing (2 episodes), writing
“Hulu’s entry is the first dramatic retelling of Theranos’ rise and fall. Holmes is played by Amanda Seyfried, whose credits range from ‘Mean Girls’ to ‘Mank.’ The show comes on the heels of the release of Showtime’s Uber drama ‘Super Pumped’ and before Apple’s upcoming WeWork series ‘WeCrashed,’ proving the spring of 2022 to be the season of must-see tech startup TV.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Nominations: Limited series, supporting actress (5), supporting actor (3), production design, casting, costumes, directing, editing, music composition, main title theme music, music supervision, sound mixing, writing, 
“Created and directed by Mike White of ‘School of Rock’ fame, ‘White Lotus’ follows a group of wealthy tourists on a weeklong vacation to a luxury, high-end Hawaii resort. The show has an upstairs-downstairs feel: We get the perspectives of the guests, predominantly, but the resort workers play an integral role as well, especially the recovering drug addict and alcoholic hotel manager, Armand (played by Murray Bartlett), and the sympathetic massage therapist, Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), who’s trying to escape the resort and open her own wellness center. SFGATE wanted to understand the veracity of the claims the show makes, so we went to the source: former and current Hawaii resort workers.” — Michelle Robertson, read more
Actress Matilda Lawler plays the role of young Kirsten Raymonde in the HBO Max series “Station Eleven,” based on the novel by Emily St. John Mandel.
Nominations: Lead actor, cinematography, directing, editing, music composition, sound editing, writing
“’Station Eleven’ is a post-apocalyptic drama based on the novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel (written in 2014, filming began in January 2020) about a flu that sweeps through the world almost overnight, killing millions and leaving the few survivors to reckon with what it means to go on when civilization falls.
“The story involves a famous actor trying to launch a late-career renaissance, a religious zealot and a Shakespearean acting troupe known as the Traveling Symphony, but at the heart is a comic book called ‘Station Eleven.’ ‘Station Eleven,’ the comic, follows a mysterious character named Doctor Eleven who floats through space before finding himself on a stalled space station inhabited by warring factions.” — Victoria Sepulveda, read more
Nominations: Competition program, host for a reality or competition program, casting, directing, editing, short form reality series
“Besides running the classically French-influenced bakery Tarts de Feybesse with her husband Paul in Vallejo, she was also a recent contestant on the 19th season of the long-running Bravo reality television series ‘Top Chef.’
“The latest season of the popular culinary competition, where 15 of the country’s most decorated chefs compete for the titular honor, as well as $250,000, is set in Houston. Feybesse made it through many of the show’s out-of-the-box cooking challenges, making sticky rice cakes and beef tartare with cured egg yolk, but was ultimately asked to pack her knives by host Padma Lakshmi in the sixth episode.” — Steph Rodriguez, read more
Nominations: Hosted nonfiction series
“‘On ‘The World According to Jeff Goldblum,’ the actor takes a deep dive into one seemingly familiar topic for each episode. On the first season, which aired in late 2019 and early 2020 and earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding hosted nonfiction series, the actor explored things like tattoos, sneakers and ice cream. For season two, the first five episodes of which drop today on Disney Plus, he’s exploring topics like fireworks, magic and — this is where the Greg and Dana Newkirk come in — monsters.” — Julie Tremaine, read more
Nominations: Host for a reality or competition program
“Chelsea Andersson quit her landscape architecture job to become a full-time maker, a move that will likely be helped out by the fact that she’ll be a contestant on NBC’s third season of ‘Making It,’ an infectiously positive competitive crafting show that reunites longtime ‘Parks and Rec’ stars Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler, who act as the show’s warm-hearted hosts.” — Grant Marek, read more
Brian Cox plays patriarch Logan Roy in HBO’s “Succession.”
Nominations: Drama series, lead actor (2), supporting actress (2), supporting actor (3), guest actress (3), guest actor (4), production design, casting, directing (3 episodes), editing (2 episodes), music composition, sound mixing, writing,  
“The premiere of ‘Succession’ was the first time I made an actual appointment for scripted adult TV since ‘The Sopranos’ ended. This is not because I’m lazy — although I very much am — but because I had long since grown accustomed to the binge TV economy, where the ‘managed dissatisfaction,’ as Netflix founder Reed Hastings called it, of arranging your time around a show instead of the other way around no longer exists. No show should ever dictate the terms of your life to you and, thanks to streaming, it can’t.
“But hey, if one current show was ever gonna make that demand and curtly tell you to F—K OFF if you didn’t obey … well now, ‘Succession’ is the one.” — Drew Magary, read more
Nominations: Short form animated program, sound editing
“‘Love Death + Robots’ is a whip-smart collection of sci-fi stories from a host of different filmmakers that couldn’t be more different visually, but share the same dystopian DNA one might expect from the show’s title. Part of what makes them so enjoyable, and easily digestible, is that the average episode is only 12 minutes long.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.
Nominations: Production design, cinematography, costumes, music composition, main title theme music, sound editing
“Let me tell you a little story about a mischievous god. This omnipotent trickster is the son of Laufey, ruler of Frost Giants. His name is Loki and he has a brother named Thor. Loki likes to use magic to annoy superheroes, is not opposed to murder and looks a lot like Tom Hiddleston. Loki’s always been a live wire in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of those characters who steals every scene but never really takes center stage. Nevertheless, his entry on the MCU wiki is already 24,000 words long, and with his Disney+ show, it’s about to get a lot longer.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Nominations: Production design, 
“There is a scene in ‘Emily in Paris’ where Emily enters a boulangerie, orders a pain au chocolat in painfully butchered French, and immediately sinks her teeth into the pastry. Her eyes grow wide, she blinks rapidly, and her lips part into a comical ‘O’ shape.
“‘Oh my god,’ she gasps. 
“This is how I felt when I bit into San Francisco bakery Maison Danel’s chocolate hazelnut croissant. Rich butter, flaky pastry, nutty chocolate … fireworks. But unlike Emily, I did not then post a cringey Boomerang of myself munching my pastry with the caption ‘butter+chocolate=<3.’” — Madeline Wells, read more
Nominations: Cinematography
“After a successful college hoops career at UC Berkeley between 1998 and 2002, and then stints playing pro ball in Mexico, the United States and a handful of games as a Harlem Globetrotter, Solomon Hughes thought he was done with basketball. 
“Little did he know that more than a decade and a half later, at 43 years old, he’d not only return to basketball, but he’d end up portraying the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in one of HBO’s most anticipated shows of 2022, ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.'” — Steven Edelstone, read more
Nominations: Period costumes, directing, hairstyling, music supervision, voice-over performance, sound editing, sound mixing, 
“I am pleased to inform you that the newest season of ‘Bridgerton’ is an absolute delight.
“Indeed, much of the compulsively watchable period drama’s second outing has refined the elements that make the ‘Bridgerton’ world of balls, promenades and country homes so compelling. Set in a fantasy Regency England, with Queen Charlotte at the helm, it is full of bright colors and healthy aristocrats who do not look as though they would ever catch a cold, let alone syphilis. The show has improved upon many critical elements, including the costuming — which previously had the unfortunate effect of flattening many of the female characters’ bosoms.” — Fiona Lee, read more
Lily James plays Pamela Anderson in “Pam & Tommy.”
Nominations: Supporting actor, casting, costumes, editing, hairstyling, makeup, sound mixing
“There are few celebrity scandals from the last few decades more infamous than the unauthorized sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Maybe you saw the grainy VHS featuring the ‘Baywatch’ star and Motley Crue drummer, streamed it through a pre-broadband internet connection or heard about it through the avalanche of insensitive press coverage. Or perhaps the mid-’90s scandal has been lapped so many times by similar celebrity sex news that it’s vintage at this point. But whatever you think you know about the tape, the new Hulu drama ‘Pam & Tommy,’ based on a 2014 Rolling Stone article by Amanda Chicago Lewis, will make you reconsider.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Apple TV+
Nominations: Main title design, special visual effects
“Where ‘Star Wars’ is dirty and clunky (in an immersive, appealing way), Apple TV’s latest foray into science fiction glimmers and sparkles. 
“In the universe of ‘Foundation,’ the future looks clean and magical. The exception is the dark, turbulent energy of the Galactic Empire rulers, who have presided over the galaxy for thousands of years (you see what I’m getting at with the ‘Star Wars’ comparisons?).” — Michelle Robertson, read more
Nominations: Writing for a nonfiction program
“The first thing all of the women in the Netflix documentary ‘Tinder Swindler’ say they do when they match with a man on a dating app is Google him. And when they did their research on Simon Leviev, they liked what they saw.
“‘You always check the Insta,’ said Cecilie Fjellhoy, one of the women who ended up in a relationship with Leviev. Leviev’s Instagram, shown throughout the film, had 103,000 followers and was filled with photos of private jets, business meetings and faraway beaches. ‘This guy is just having a very different life than I ever will experience. And I was just thinking, it would be kind of cool to just meet up,’ said Fjellhoy.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Nominations: Documentary, cinematography
“Looking to enliven their near nonexistent winter tourism, the sleepy fishing town of Nazare, Portgual invited the veteran, Berkeley-raised surf legend Garrett McNamara to try to tame the previously unridden massive winter swells that crash at the foot of Nazare’s ancient lighthouse. McNamara’s subsequent obsessive quest to master Nazare’s biggest waves is the subject of HBO’s gripping six-part docuseries ‘100 Foot Wave,’ and it’s worth your time whether you care a lick about surfing or not.” — Jaimal Yogis, read more
Nominations: Documentary
“W. Kamau Bell, a Bay Area resident and host of the CNN show ‘United Shades of America,’ has directed a new four-part series for Showtime called ‘We Need to Talk About Cosby’ that focuses on the comedian’s place in pop culture. Like many, Bell saw Cosby as a hero when he was younger, but as accusations of sexual assault came to light, the actor’s reputation as a role model was tarnished. A trailer released today shows Bell and other guests on the show unpacking clues that hinted at Cosby’s alleged crimes early in his career.” — Dan Gentile, read more
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Dan Gentile is the culture editor at SFGATE. He moved to San Francisco from Austin, TX where he worked as a vinyl DJ and freelance writer covering food and music. His writing has been featured in Texas Monthly, American Way, Rolling Stone, Roads & Kingdoms, VICE, Thrillist and more. Email: [email protected]


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