Q. You wrote about how April was crammed with new and returning TV shows. You were right, and it was too much. I try to keep up with shows, but I now find myself overwhelmed. Why would so many channels release their stuff all at once?
A. I know what you mean. Movie studios carefully and shrewdly dodge one another’s big releases, while TV executives seem to be less concerned about glut and overlap. Among the many that came our way last month: “Gaslit” with Sean Penn and Julia Roberts, David Simon’s “We Own This City,” Elisabeth Moss’s “Shining Girls,” the making-of-”The Godfather” series “The Offer,” “The First Lady,” and the returns of “Russian Doll,” “Ozark,” “Barry,” and “Better Call Saul.” They caused a traffic pileup of sorts.
And it’s not over. April is running into early May, with Mike Myers’s “The Pentaverate,” Colin Firth’s “The Staircase,” Claire Danes’s “The Essex Serpent,” a “Kids in the Hall” revival, adaptations of bestsellers “Conversations With Friends” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” a “Bosch” spinoff, and the returns of “Hacks,” “Tehran” (with Glenn Close on board), and “Girls5eva.”
That’s a whole lot of prestige and pleasure for a less-than-two-month period, that’s for sure. I feel a bit like I’m in the middle of final exams, but they’re lasting for weeks on end. I’m liking a lot of what I’m seeing, but it all seems to push the notion of Peak TV — the excess of shows caused by the plethora of streamers and cable channels — even further to an extreme. I’m certain viewers will miss some of these titles, as they get lost in the big shuffle.
There’s a reason this is happening, and it’s not because spring is a time of hope and renewal. It’s the Emmys. TV outlets are hoping to get their shows and actors into the Emmy mix, and the Emmy eligibility period ends on May 31. If you want to qualify for the 2022 Emmy Awards (nominations announced on July 12, winners at the Sept. 12 ceremony), now is the time to get your hopefuls out there, since you have to have aired half a season of a show by May 31. That means that, if you’re on a weekly release schedule, as many streamers now are, April is the deadline. If you release entire seasons at once, as Netflix does, then you have the freedom to premiere in later May.
Many prestige series premiere before April and May, of course, and they avoid the extreme glut, if not the regular average everyday glut. But by premiering their shows just before the summer, the outlets are hoping they’ll remain fresh in voters’ minds when they start their deliberations.