I arrived in Los Angeles yesterday for TCA summer press tour, and one of my first assignments was this Quartz reaction to today’s Emmy nominations. As the streaming network more than doubled its 2013 nomination tally, from 14 to 31, it’s shifted from interloper to frontrunner.
But today’s impressive tally also increases the pressure on Emmy night. After last year’s Emmys, I wrote that Netflix was one of the night’s biggest winners, even though it didn’t win any major awards. Last year, just earning those nominations and smaller wins (like the directing Emmy for House of Cards) legitimized Netflix in the same way that early Emmy victories had once done for HBO, AMC, and FX.
This year, however, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have catapulted from “just happy to be here” to frontrunner status. That means on August 25, Netflix needs to win one of the big trophies—outstanding comedy series for Orange, or outstanding actor in a drama for Kevin Spacey of House of Cards—to truly be considered one of television’s elite networks.