Emmys Unsung Heroes: Abbott Elementary Camera Operators, Love Is Blind Set Designers and More

Variety shines a light on the teams you may have missed this Emmys season.

“Abbott Elementary”

As fans of “The Office” know, half of the humor of a mockumentary is the camera angles, swiftly cut-ting to a reaction shot or zoom-ing in on a ridiculous moment. The cameras on ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” never miss a beat, and the operators feel like just another hilarious scene partner. — Sasha Urban

“The Great”
Food, sumptuous food. “The Great’s” second season served up a feast fit for royal banquets. Peter (Nicholas Hoult) and Catherine (Elle Fanning) ate their way through the Hulu show. It’s creator Tony McNamara who decides what goes on that table and production designer Francesca Di Mottola and her team who come up with the squirrels and rats and other meaty things that the cast have to eat. — Jazz Tangcay

The category is … fabulous emcees! Dashaun Wesley’s years of experience in the scene give him a special edge on HBO Max’s ballroom voguing show, keeping the action moving, subtlety educating the audience at home and dazzling with sickening outfits keyed to each episode’s themes, such as “Sailor Moon’s” Tuxedo Mask on anime night. — Carole Horst

“Love Is Blind”
For a concept as wild as Netflix’s “Love Is Blind,” the set needs to serve those bold concepts. And the pods that viewers see every so often in aerial shots are aesthetically pleasing and practically impressive, tying together the “hear but don’t see” dating style at the heart of the show. Without the production designer Dave Edwards, “Love Is Blind” just doesn’t work. — Carson Burton

Tiffany Anders and Taylor Rowley, the music supervisors of “Pen15,” have a perfect knack for employing needle drops that send viewers of the comedy show back to the Y2K heydays. The series finale in particular employs Santana’s iconically ridiculous ear-worm “Smooth” in a way that’s silly, sad and in the end, genuinely romantic. — Wilson Chapman

“Prehistoric Planet”
Who knew a T-Rex could swim? Apple TV+’s “Prehistoric Planet” shows how the mighty dinosaur could swim across the sea, as long as he avoided the aquatic reptile, the mosasaurus. While the show used some stand-ins, much of the work was done through the magic of CGI and special effects coming together. Who better to create believable photorealistic images than executive producer Jon Favreau? The mastermind behind the live-action “Lion King” used that technology in this series to bring dinosaurs to life. — J.T.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Much of the attention when watching VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — and deservedly so — goes to the competing queens. But this shout-out is to the pit crew. The pit crew in the main franchise is made up of Bruno Alcantara, Bryce Eilenberg and Calixto Quan; they appear throughout to assist Ru and the queens in various challenges and bring an extra bit of fleshy fun to the show as they pop up in skintight trunks and nothing else. — J.T.

From the technicolor Waffle Party to Helly’s blood-red attempted escape from Lumon and plain-old overhead fluorescent bulbs, the lighting on Apple TV+’s “Severance” plays with the limits of the show’s corporate landscape and adds an exciting dimension to the twisted storyline. — S .U.

“Ted Lasso”
Justice. To. The. Stache. Hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin and her team on “Ted Lasso” nail Ted’s signature mustache each and every time on screen, immediately inducting it into the tele-vision facial hair hall of fame. And not to mention Nate’s ever-evolving Season 2 in the Apple TV+ series look into white-haired villainy. Perfection. — C.B.

“What We Do in the Shadows”
DPs D.J. Stipsen and Christian Sprenger handle the mockumentary style of the FX series to perfection, enhancing the comedy of a scene while still making a story about Staten Island vampires feel oddly real. With dramatic zooms and panning shots, the camera is a comical character in itself. — C.B.

Creating a series with no IP means setting the bible for future sea-sons, a process made harder by the details that Showtime’s “Yellowjackets.” From Easter eggs throughout the episodes to consistency in jumping from the past to the present, the continuity team pulls its weight (unlike Jackie). — S .U.

One of the highlights of “Barry” Season 3 is a breathtaking chase sequence set along the freeway, in which the title character rides a motorcycle during a shootout. Wade Allen, the stunt coordinator for the series, worked with a group of professional cyclists for the intense scene, and the result is the most well-staged and choreographed moments in the show’s run. — W.C.

The title sequence of “Pachinko” is one of the most memorable openings in recent TV memory, with its use of “Let’s Live for Today” by the Grass Roots and its performances by the disco-dancing cast. The sequence also helps to establish the tone of the show in part due to the graphic design, which features footage of Koreans in the ‘40s during Japanese occupation and ends with the logo in three different languages — Japanese, Korean and English. — W.C.

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