Editorial: Sunday's Emmy Awards take on added meaning during the pandemic

  • Netflix's "The Queen's Gambit," with Anya Taylor-Joy as a chess prodigy, was one of the Emmy-nominated series that kept us entertained during the pandemic.

    Netflix's "The Queen's Gambit," with Anya Taylor-Joy as a chess prodigy, was one of the Emmy-nominated series that kept us entertained during the pandemic. Courtesy of Netflix

  • Courtesy of Disney+Both Lin-Manuel Miranda and Libertyville's Phillipa Soo are up for Emmys for Disney+'s filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton."

    Courtesy of Disney+Both Lin-Manuel Miranda and Libertyville's Phillipa Soo are up for Emmys for Disney+'s filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton."

  • Courtesy of Apple TV+"Ted Lasso" with Jason Sudeikis is one of the Emmy-nominated series that entertained viewers during the pandemic.

    Courtesy of Apple TV+"Ted Lasso" with Jason Sudeikis is one of the Emmy-nominated series that entertained viewers during the pandemic.

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 9/15/2021 8:53 AM

This Sunday, people all over the country will tune in to watch the 73rd Emmy Awards.

The annual awards show, which honors the best in television, never draws the same amount of interest as the Oscars or the outlandish outfits of the Grammys. But in 2021, perhaps, we should take a little more notice and acknowledge what many of the Emmy-nominated comedies, dramas and limited series truly were: lifelines during the long, dark months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

When international travel was not possible, we could jet off to France with "Emily in Paris," rub elbows with the British monarchy of "The Crown" or visit galaxies far, far away with "The Mandalorian."

While live theaters were shuttered, we could stream Lin-Manuel Miranda and Libertyville's Phillipa Soo -- both current Emmy nominees -- in Disney+'s filmed production of the hit Broadway musical "Hamilton."

When movie theaters weren't an option, we could binge seasons of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" with Highland Park's Rachel Brosnahan or "Better Call Saul" starring former Naperville resident Bob Odenkirk -- a past Emmy nominee who, we are relieved to note, just returned to work after a heart attack.

Of course, TV wasn't our only escape during the pandemic -- or our most productive.

We caught up on books we had always meant to read, rediscovered the simple pleasures of suburban forest preserve hikes, took on much-needed home improvement projects and chatted with friends on Zoom happy hours that made us feel a bit less isolated.

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Yet, most of us would have to admit that we turned to television more than ever before in the last 18 months. That was especially true during the cold, miserable months of winter when long walks and backyard get-togethers gave way to long stretches inside.

TV gets a bad rap, often with good reason. In a bid for content, networks have shown they'll stoop to all sorts of lows. And if you need proof, just check out the latest "tell-all" episode of TLC's "90-Day Fiancee."

Or not.

But the beauty of television today -- especially if you are willing to foot the bill for streaming services -- is you can channel surf over the trashy and the trite to find something that makes you laugh, makes you think or makes you marvel at the talented artists -- some from right here in the suburbs -- who bring provocative series to your home screens.

On Sunday, the television academy will pay tribute to the year's most-acclaimed shows, along with their writers, actors and directors.

This year, perhaps more than any other, we ought to do the same.

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