Six television shows with science or technology-related themes and characters are nominees for the 2016 Emmy Awards. In total, all six shows have garnered 31 nominations, including in the most noteworthy categories such as best series, directing, acting, and writing. Though fictional, all are inspired by real-world issues. Two focus specifically on the contemporary culture of technology.
The two technology-themed shows are MR. ROBOT and SILICON VALLEY, which are at opposite ends of the humor spectrum. MR. ROBOT, a drama on USA Network, stars a computer programmer slash hacker and deals with such prescient issues as cyberatacks and anti-corporate sentiment. SILICON VALLEY, the HBO comedy, stars a group of misfits led by a software engineer trying to make a successful startup. SILICON VALLEY is nominated for Best Comedy Series. The filmmakers Mike Judge and Alec Berg are each nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. The writers Dan O’Keefe and Alec Berg are each nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Sam Esmail is nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for MR. ROBOT. MR. ROBOT is nominated for Best Drama Series. Rami Malek, who stars as a programmer with an imaginary friend, is nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama (read Science & Film’s article about the psychology of imaginary friends). Thomas Middleditch, who stars in SILICON VALLEY as the head of a data-compression startup, is nominated for Lead Actor in a Comedy. SILICON VALLEY is nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. MR. ROBOT is nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.
Another comedy is CBS’s half-hour THE BIG BANG THEORY; the best-friend duo of the show are physicists—one is an experimental and one a theoretical physicist. Bob Newhart is nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in THE BIG BANG THEORY for playing a wise character in the protagonists’ dream life. Laurie Metcalf and Christine Baranski are also each nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in THE BIG BANG THEORY. The show is also nominated for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program, and is up against SILICON VALLEY.
Two shows are period dramas based on true stories. The Showtime drama MASTERS OF SEX is based off the lives of William Masters and Virginia Johnson who were researchers in the 1950s who pioneered the study of the body’s physiological response to sexual arousal; they were also in a relationship. Cinemax’s drama THE KNICK deals with the medical technologies invented at the turn-of-the-century in New York and how they changed the medical profession (Science & Film interviewed Dr. Stanley Burns, THE KNICK’s medical advisor). The two shows are each nominated for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period Program, and for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series. Nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series is Allison Janney in MASTERS OF SEX. THE KNICK is nominated for Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series. Director Steven Soderbergh is nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
The rest of the nominations for these and other shows can be found online. The Emmy Awards will be held on September 18 and broadcast live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 7pm EST. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is hosting. For more, read Science & Film’s interview with THE KNICK’s medical advisor and an in-depth look at the technology in SILICON VALLEY.