In this week’s Awards Tracker Jalal takes a look at the most likely comedy contenders in a wide open race and advocates for some ADTV favorites
Veep – the three year reigning champ in the comedy categories – is currently on hiatus which means that the upcoming Outstanding Comedy Series category is the most competitive it has been in years. Not only is the series race wide open, but the Washington DC satire’s absence is making way for new nominees in the acting, writing, and directing races. On top of that another Emmy favorite, Master of None, isn’t returning this year making it even easier for new shows to gain traction.
Heading into the 2018 Emmys the big question in the Outstanding Comedy Series category is whether or not a new show like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or GLOW will be the breakout sensation or if voters will use Veep’s absence as an opportunity to finally reward their favorite shows that lose year after year to the political comedy.
No comedy amazed critics last year more than FX’s Atlanta. Critics rallied behind the show with an overall Metacritic score of 90 and the show held onto that momentum all the way to Emmy night with Donald Glover winning two awards for acting and directing. The second season, subtitled Robbin’ Season, just premiered this month to even stronger support from critics with a Metacritic score of 97. Glover has managed to earn an even bigger fanbase with his music which just earned a Grammy and that massive popularity might turn him and his show into the comedy frontrunner.
In the past two years ABC is the only broadcast network to be recognized in the comedy series race with nominations for Modern Family and black-ish. With a more wide open comedy race this year both family sitcoms have a good chance at returning but the question needs to be raised if voters are hinting at moving on from them. Modern Family has won the award five times in the past but nine seasons in voters have mostly moved on and even SAG moved on from the show this year.
Transparent was one of the most buzzed about dramedy on TV when it first premiered on Amazon in 2014 but like most dramedies at the Emmys voters quickly moved on and it just missed the mark last year in the comedy series category. The fourth season isn’t looking any better after it earned more press for Jeffrey Tambor’s alleged sexual misconduct than the actual show itself.
Yet to Premiere
With 16 nominations Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is by far Netflix’s most successful comedy at the Emmys. Not much is known about the upcoming fourth season except for the fact that it doesn’t premiere until May 30th, the second to last day of Emmy eligibility. On top of that Netflix is only airing the first half of the season since Tina Fey has been preoccupied with her Broadway production of Mean Girls. Netflix has had mixed success to premiering their shows at the last possible second for awards consideration. Arrested Development under-performed with voters but last year House of Cards earned seven nominations.
Silicon Valley should never be underestimated at the Emmys after four consecutive nominations and countless recognition in the directing and writing races. The upcoming fifth season premieres this weekend and the biggest question heading in is just how the tech-bro comedy will reinvent itself without TJ Miller. One of the show’s biggest critiques is its lack of roles for women and if the upcoming season tackles those issues by dealing with the sexism in the tech industry it just might be able to become a major player in the race. On top of all that the show might gain even more attention after Kumail Nanjiani’s Oscar nomination and hit movie.
Premiering directly after Silicon Valley is Barry, HBO’s other potential major contender in the comedy race. The upcoming comedy stars Bill Hader as a former marine/hitman travelling to LA for a hit only to be entangled in a local theatre troupe. Barry has Emmy friendly talent in front of and behind the camera with Alec Berg producing. Early reviews have been strong and if it holds up to its potential it might easily be a comedy contender.
The two new comedies heading into Emmy season GLOW and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on the surface have nothing in common but actually have very similar Emmy narratives. Both comedies are period pieces centered on women creating their own paths to success in the entertainment industry. On top of that both shows did well with the various guild awards with GLOW becoming a favorite of the actors branch with four SAG nominations and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel winning the PGA award as well as two Golden Globes.
Heading into Emmy season The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is quickly becoming the frontrunner in the Outstanding Comedy Series race. Because of its high production value it’s bound to be the most nominated comedy of the year and critics (especially here at ADTV) have been raving about Rachel Brosnahan’s star-making lead role. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has earned a lot of loyal fans over the years and there is a good chance voters will rally behind the long overdue showrunner.
When Grace & Frankie first premiered it was a fun but forgettable comedy starring two legends. Now in its fourth season the comedy has become one of the most underrated shows on TV tackling rough subjects like aging, dementia, and mortality. It’s rare for a show to break into a top category in its fourth season but if any comedy has the momentum its Grace & Frankie.
Netflix has received a lot of praise for its innovative shows but the streaming network also has the best and most underrated single-camera sitcom with One Day at a Time. More so than a lot of other comedies the modern remake tackles issues like veteran affairs, immigration, and gentrification in and has one of the most authentic portrayals of a modern family in the Alvarez family. In the past month critics have really rallied behind the second season in attempt to convince Netflix to renew the show and hopefully the support will also convince voters to start paying attention.
Revamps & Reboots
2018 is the year of the TV reboot with Netflix finding a massive audience with Fuller House and broadcast networks counting on large-scale reboots in Will & Grace and Roseanne. Last fall Will & Grace was one of the most talked about comedies and since then the new season has really found its groove. Unfortunately for the Emmy favorite it underwhelmed at many of the early awards groups. Still of all the reboots Will & Grace is probably the most beloved and shouldn’t be counted out.
Roseanne Barr is by far one of the most polarizing comedians in America and that’s not even taking into consideration her political beliefs. That could work in ABC’s favor for their upcoming reboot of Roseanne as it immediately begins to take a look at the working class family’s relationship with Trump. If it tackles the topic successfully it could become an unlikely Emmy contender although its best chance at a nomination is likely for industry favorites like Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman.
The most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t technically a reboot but it has been six long years between seasons and in the meantime the television landscape has completely shifted. I initially didn’t think voters would be so quick to embrace the newest season but after PGA, WGA, ACE Eddie, and multiple SAG nominations there is no denying that Curb Your Enthusiasm will most likely break into the comedy series race.
In a Perfect World
Week after week Superstore proves why it’s the funniest show on TV with the strongest ensemble on TV to the point where Mark Hammil is even tweeting praise for the show. Superstore clearly cares for their entire team giving everyone in the ensemble time to shine with breakout moments for actresses like Lauren Ash as Dina and my personal favorite Kaliko Kauahi’s Sandra.
Emmy voters have become obsessed with auteur-driven comedy in recent years but after last year’s snub of Insecure they revealed that they only really care about auteur comedy from men. The fact that awards groups have largely ignored Insecure and Issa Rae is criminal. The second season was praised by critics and tripled its overall viewership so there is no reason for voters to ignore the show groundbreaking show for a second year in a row especially when Rae is on the same level as other creatives like Donald Glover, Aziz Ansari, and Pamela Adlon.
No show has won over the hearts of the entire ADTV team quite like Schitt’s Creek. We’ve been shouting our praise for the comedy since the first season and now in its fourth season the show has begun to find a larger audience in large part because of its streaming syndication on Netflix. This season especially deserves Emmy consideration for its sincere romance between David and Patrick which has quickly become one of the best queer relationships on TV.
|Biggest Locks||Strong Contenders
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Grace & Frankie
Will & Grace
Readers, what are your early predictions in the Outstanding Comedy Series race? What new shows are you rooting for?