The Crown. The 10-episode first season which airs on Netflix is created and written by Peter Morgan, Golden Globe winner for Best Screenplay for The Queen, and nominee for the same award for Frost/Nixon. The show starts with Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip in 1947 and follows the lives of the royals up to her coronation as Queen Elizabeth II, on to 1955. Globe nominee Claire Foy, who plays Elizabeth, told the HFPA, “The Crown is not a documentary, it’s fiction. But the research done around that was surprising. The Queen is a very, very discreet and private person. You can’t really read any exposes or sensational facts about her. It’s not a glimpse behind closed doors, but it’s imagining that situation with those people and what might have happened.” Morgan has said that the royal family are “very, very aware” of the show and that “through untraceable back channels, countless approaches have been made” to get them to endorse it.” In addition to the show and Foy getting a nomination, supporting actor John Lithgow also received one for his portrayal of Winston Churchill.
Game of Thrones. This is the sixth nomination for the HBO series which is the most downloaded show in the world. Based on the fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones tells the story of the fight for the Iron Throne in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, with all the attendant intrigue, battles, betrayals, and love stories of a sprawling epic, with a healthy dose of magic, dragons and a ghostly race of undead. As the series outpaced Martin’s books, the sixth season was filmed after executive producer Martin shared future storylines with the showrunners. One thing that fans know to watch for is the unexpected and dramatic death of a major character in the 9th episode of each season, a development that explodes over the internet the day after it airs. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, one of the lead cast members told us his feelings for a potential death. “You have a feeling that not many people will be left standing by the end. It’s interesting to see how it plays out. The day will come and I’ll be sad not to meet up with the cast and crew every year because they are wonderful people. You have to put it in perspective. It’s another job and they end one day.” Lena Headey, who plays his sister/lover, is another nominee this year.
Stranger Things. A young boy disappears from the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana under mysterious circumstances. His distraught mother, friends and the town cops all begin a massive manhunt for him, but as the title suggests, things are not straightforward. A telekinetic girl, a mysterious government agency and a terrifying creature from hell are all part of the mix. Created by the Duffer brothers, Stranger Things is set in the 1980’s and influenced by the movies of that decade, with Winona Ryder, an ’80’s fixture in Hollywood, in the lead. The Duffers have cited Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Carpenter as huge influences in the show. (King even tweeted that he liked the show.) Every network rejected it until Netflix picked it up. Ryder is nominated as well for her performance as Joyce, the mother.
This is Us. An ensemble show about a family and their relationships, loves and lives that flashes back and forward in time. A couple expecting triplets has one stillborn child, and ends up adopting an abandoned child that appears in the hospital at the same time. This Is Us airs on NBC and garnered Globe nominations for cast members Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz as well. Moore talked to us about the audition process with Milo Ventimiglia. “We had a chemistry read together and we immediately hit it off. We shook hands and then the next thing I knew, he had to sort of be nuzzled in my neck because we were doing the scene from the pilot, the very first scene where we’re playing husband and wife. And it was just like, oh, yeah. This is totally fine.”
Westworld. Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie of the same name, Westworld focuses on a Western-inspired theme park which is populated by ‘hosts,’ androids that cater to every whim of the guests that visit it. No fantasy is too far-out to be fulfilled, no storyline taboo. But when the robots malfunction and start exhibiting signs of consciousness and sentience, that throws a wrench into the business model of the administrators of this park, a group led by Anthony Hopkins. Series creator Jonathan Nolan told the HFPA, “It really allowed us to explore the idea of the origin of artificial consciousness. We believe that his topic is not only current, but imminent, this idea that we are bound to be presented with a new form of sentient life on earth which no form of humanity has ever experienced before. We don’t think we are necessarily well prepared for it.” Cast members Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood were also nominated for their performances.