After four seasons, 33 episodes, and a three-year hiatus, Anacostia–The Series won its first Daytime Emmy Award last weekend. The soapy web drama, set in and around Ward 8, picked up an award for Outstanding Performer in a New Approaches Drama Series for actress Martha Byrne and was also nominated for Best New Approaches Drama Series.
Local performer Anthony Anderson, the show’s creator, has written and directed the series since 2009. The series caught on with a small local audience right away and gained a bigger following after adding Byrne, an actress who spent nearly 20 years acting on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, to the season three cast. Her experience with double-crossing, back-stabbing nature of soap operas adds a degree of maturity to the show as it evolves.
The New Approaches category was introduced in 2014 to honor drama series that produced fewer than 35 episodes in a given year. It reflects the changing nature of daytime dramas, as older series leave network television and new series are introduced online. This is the first year Anacostia was eligible for the award, since it produced no new episodes in 2014; it was nominated among similarly neighborhood-minded web series like Beacon Hill, about political scheming in Boston, and The Bay, set in a fictional version of Los Angeles.
For a D.C. resident, the real excitement of watching Anacostia is seeing local landmarks incorporated into the story. The hospital where characters are often sent? That’s United Medical Center. The bar where they exchange pleasantries before beating each other up? That’s Brookland Cafe. Despite the fact that many mainstream TV series now take place in D.C., Anacostia‘s portrayal of the city feels realer than most, despite working on a minuscule budget. We’re looking at you, House of Cards, with your Cathedral Heights Metro station.
Photo via Anacostia—The Series Facebook page