The writing branch has been one of the likeliest branches to march to the beat of their own drum. When other branches have ignored some of the best shows on TV, the writers have nominated shows like The Wire, The Americans, Battlestar Galactica, Community, and even Buffy The Vampire Slayer. They were also the first branch to grow tired of Modern Family and even took a break from their favorite show, Mad Men, when it was going through a slump. Because the writers sometimes seem to be the only people paying attention, their nominations are usually the most exciting.
Last year’s winners, Game of Thrones and Veep, are likely to continue dominating their categories. Game of Thrones submitted modestly with one episode even though they probably had the opportunity to control the drama race. Veep submitted three episodes and will probably get at least two nominations, although all three submissions stand out (“Morning After,” “Mother,” “Kissing Your Sister”). The other shows with a chance of returning are Better Call Saul, The Americans, Transparent, The Last Man on Earth, and Silicon Valley. Surprisingly, The Americans has the best chance of returning after a WGA nomination and strategically submitting one episode. Silicon Valley and Transparent might suffer from not having a standout episode. Better Call Saul foolishly submitted eight episodes for consideration and is in danger of being left out this year, but fans have been championing the ninth episode “Nailed,” which gives the show a chance.
The other shows with WGA nominations are Broad City, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Mr. Robot. The writers are not going to ignore the most high-profile new show of the season (Mr. Robot) and, now that UKS submitted less episodes, the writers are more likely to bring Tina Fey back into competition. I am very skeptical of a Broad City nomination, but, as the show grows into cult status, the writing branch could nominate it.
The one subject matter the writing branch honors the most is industry focused shows, including comedians creating fictionalized accounts of their lives. Shows that fit into this category include Louie, Episodes, Extras, and Girls. With shows like Louie and Episodes on a hiatus it leaves a lot of room for shows like Masters of None, Lady Dynamite, and even UnReal to benefit. The industry’s obsession with Louis CK means that Horace & Pete can’t be counted out either.
Episode submissions are a huge indicator of which former favorites are in trouble. In the past when shows have submitted an excessive amount of episodes, the writing branch snubbed them entirely including shows like Modern Family, Girls, House of Cards, Homeland, and Orange Is The New Black. The prison drama is the only show to learn from their past mistakes and only submitted three episodes, so if any of them have a chance of returning it would be OITNB. Vinyl also made the mistake of submitting six episodes, although that show has a lot more obstacles to overcome than too many episodes from which to choose.
Both Downton Abbey and The Good Wife solely submitted their series finale episodes, and since the writing branch loves nominating finales they are both contenders to keep an eye on. Just as often as they nominate finales writers also love to nominate pilots. The strongest pilots this year include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mr. Robot, The Path, Lady Dynamite, Casual, and possibly Baskets. A couple of shows that might have a cult following among writers include The Leftovers and Peaky Blinders.
As usual, I ranked the top contenders in likelihood of a nomination. I’m particularly interest in seeing what episodes Transparent, Silicon Valley, and House of Cards are nominated for if they happen to get into their respected categories since none of them particularly stick out. Readers, what episodes are you predicting this year for writing nominations? Are there any episodes you wish were submitted?
- Morning After, Veep
- Parents, Masters of None
- Mother, Veep
- Kimmy Finds Her Mom!, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Hope, black-ish
- Kina Hora (Man On The Land/The Book of Life), Transparent
- Pilot, Lady Dynamite
- Founder Friendly/The Uptick, Silicon Valley
- Kissing Your Sister, Veep
- Josh Just Happens to Live Here!, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- Burning Bridges (2016/B&B-NYC/Rat Pack), Broad City
- Battle of The Bastards, Game of Thrones
- 0_hellofriend.mov (Pilot), Mr. Robot
- Persona Non Grata, The Americans
- Episode Eight, Downton Abbey
- End, The Good Wife
- Nailed, Better Call Saul
- International Assassin, The Leftovers
- Chapter 49 (40/50), House of Cards
- Return (Pilot)/Princess, UnReal
- Episode 103, Horace & Pete
- Episode 3, Peaky Blinders