Why Arcane’s Emmy Win Is Such An Ironic Comment On The State Of Netflix Animation
This year's Emmy season has come and gone, and amongst the historic wins for Sheryl Lee Ralph, Quinta Brunson, and Lee Jung-jae, Netflix also took home the statue for Best Animated Program for the very first time. The streaming giant has been nominated in the past for "Big Mouth" and "BoJack Horseman," but it was "Arcane" that finally brought home the gold, and made Netflix the first streamer to ever take home the award.
This year's category was absolutely stacked, with "Arcane" besting the already Emmy award-winning series "The Simpsons," "Bob's Burgers," and "Rick and Morty," as well as the Chadwick Boseman-voiced episode of "What If...?" for Disney+. "Arcane" co-creator Christian Linke accepted the award during the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, delivering a speech honoring the video game world that inspired the series:
"Thank you for this. It's a big deal for us as we come from video games. It's been amazing to see the world embrace our characters and our stories so thanks to Netflix who believed in us from the beginning, thanks to Riot Games, who worked on the whole IP...and to all the people that have been with our game and 'League of Legends' for the last 12 years or so who helped make it as big as it is now."
"Arcane" was more than deserving of the award, with the animation incorporating vividly complex textures, colors, and action sequences that have to be seen to be believed. Netflix's Emmy win helps legitimize the streamer's already remarkably impressive animation division in the eyes of the general public, which is ironic considering this win comes on the heels of Netflix disintegrating their animation department.
Animation Deserves To Thrive
There's been a lot of talk the last month about HBO Max's animation bloodbath, which means a lot of people forget that the animation streaming purge began months prior over at Netflix. The company laid off over 150 staffers last May, with nearly half coming from the animation arm. The streamer scrapped an adaptation of Jeff Smith's beloved "Bone" comics, Lauren Faust's "Toil & Trouble," a film adaptation of the Adam Kline book "With Kind Regards from Kindergarten," Ava DuVernay's adaptation of Tui Sutherland's "Wings of Fire" fantasy series, and two projects centered on education kids about racism from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Fortunately, Kendi's "Stamped From the Beginning" was already in post-production and was spared.
Netflix has a fantastic catalog of animated offerings, like the painfully adorable stop-motion series "Rilakkuma and Kaoru," and this year's Outstanding Short Form Animated Program Emmy winner, "Love, Death + Robots." The latter won for the episode "Jibaro" written/directed by Alberto Mielgo, who also took home the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for "The Windshield Wiper" earlier this year.
Netflix becoming the first streamer to win the Outstanding Animated Program feels a lot like that time HBO canceled "Lovecraft Country" after one season, only for it to later take home multiple Creative Arts Emmys after it had already been canned. The streamer has an incredible upcoming slate of animated projects on the horizon, but it's hard to get excited knowing how quickly they could all get the axe. Here's hoping that Emmy trophy shines bright enough to influence their decision making when it comes time to make budget cuts.
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