Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Emmy Race: Best Comedy Series

The Emmy Award nominations look to be even more competitive in all the major categories than last year when the switch was made from five to six nominees in the regular acting categories and series categories. At this point, I’d like to offer a rundown of the potential nominees. I’ve placed contenders in specific groupings that speak to their history and chances.

Last year’s nominees:

ENTOURAGE (3 nominations)
This is a case of a show that had two spectacular seasons and was only recognized for its third (still good) year, and then continued to earn retroactive nominations even when many declared the show to have decreased greatly in quality. That it still made it in among seven nominees last year is puzzling, but I think this year the category will be trimmed to six and voters will have a more cohesive idea of what shows to honor. It could easily pop up again, but it’s unlikely.

FAMILY GUY (1 nomination)
This show pulled off a historic feat by breaking into this category last year with a widened field and an aggressive campaign. I feel like it was more of a symbolic nomination that will be representative of the show’s successes and not a recurring thing. With a couple of new shows in the running, this seems like one of the shows that will have to go to make room.

Thrilling as its inclusion was, once will have to be it for the now-cancelled show.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (1 nomination)
CBS’ fan-favorite sitcom finally made it in for the first time last year, replacing the departing (from the lineup) “Two and a Half Men.” Many suspect that this year it will be replaced itself by another CBS sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” but I have my doubts. HIMYM is a far more accessible show, and only once in the past fifteen years has a non-freshman show only been nominated one time in this category (“Ally McBeal”), so place your bets on this one sticking around.

THE OFFICE (4 nominations/1 win)
Even though it hasn’t had the best of years critically, I have a feeling this show isn’t going anywhere for a long time (unless star Steve Carell departs after next season and it becomes truly awful). In terms of winning, this show no longer has any chance thanks to “30 Rock” and a duo of newcomers this year, but it should almost certainly be set for a nomination.

30 ROCK (3 nominations/3 wins)
A perfect record and three trophies in a row is quite a feat. Don’t expect NBC’s irreverent sitcom to depart this category anytime soon. “Frasier” won this category five years in a row, and even stuck around for three more years after it was finally dethroned, which could very well happen this year with the arrival of two new shows – one a traditional comedy and the other a high school musical. It will absolutely get nominated, though.

WEEDS (1 nomination)
The first nomination for a non-HBO cable series in this category came last year for the fourth season of this show, which underwent a creative resurgence and a geographical transplanting of its characters after what some considered to be a messy third season. If that was true of the fourth season, it definitely wasn’t in the fifth, which didn’t quite follow up and was much messier than the third. I think this show, which viewers may be tiring of, will be ousted this year.

Eligible again and back in the running:

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (5 nominations)
Despite its erratic schedule, this show has actually been nominated every season except for its first. The Seinfeld reunion the show orchestrated this year should only help its case since it’s taken a year off in between seasons twice now, airing in 2005, 2007, and 2009. This show did earn a PGA nomination even when it wasn’t eligible, so I have a feeling that people would vote for it even if it didn’t air, so its actual eligibility should secure it a nod.

Could this be the year?

Star Jim Parsons broke through with a nomination for Best Actor last year for the show’s second season, and many are speculating that this is the year the show enters this field. “Two and a Half Men” first made it in for season three, and it took “How I Met Your Mother” until season four. I personally don’t think that the latter series is going anywhere, so there won’t be any room for a new entry like this, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this show did get in.

Despite the fact that I personally liked season one, most didn’t and are now suggesting that the supposedly superior (and still great, of course) second season could earn Emmy attention this year. “The Office” needed to get past its first six-episode run to earn a nomination (and win), so this show could follow suit. Much as I love it, however, I don’t think everyone else feels the same way, and this series may sit on the sidelines for a bit.

New shows:

NBC dominated this category with four out of five nominations from 1995 to 1997, so it certainly pays to take successful members of NBC’s Thursday night lineup seriously. This new show is one of the only certifiable successes of the 2009-2010 NBC TV season, and star Joel McHale is announcing the nominations, indicating that voters may like the show. It’s not the most popular new comedy, however, and so it will have to contend again the following two shows, and I’m not so sure it can.

I suppose it’s worth noting that this show could have a chance. While Courteney Cox is a decent bet to emerge with her first-ever Emmy nomination, I wouldn’t be so confident about the show doing the same here. This can be a case as simple as the title, which producers are considering changing to better reflect what the show is actually about, being too despicable for the show to earn consideration.

The musical phenomenon should be considered a lock in this category; I’ll just caution against one thing. I wouldn’t dare to not predict it, but I’ll simply point out that sure thing “Pushing Daisies” was snubbed to pretty much everyone’s shock for its first season, and that was another unconventional, hourlong dramedy. That likely wouldn’t happen here considering the show’s Golden Globe and SAG wins, so barring that incredibly improbable event, consider this a frontrunner for the win.

This show has the advantage of fitting exactly what this comedy describes, and while it’s been trounced at the Globes and the SAG Awards by “Glee,” it should do fine at the Emmys with a number of acting nominations (as little as three and as much as five, realistically). Since it’s pretty hard not to like this show and the writing has been more consistent than “Glee,” I have a feeling this show may well take home this award on Emmy night.

Before last year, this show probably wouldn’t have stood a chance. I still don’t think it does, but the nomination for “Weeds” in this category last year means that Emmy voters do seem to watch (and even maybe like!) less overt comedy series. Edie Falco is a shoo-in for an acting nomination, but like “The United States of Tara” last year, I think that’s where this show will stay, even if some ardent fans may disagree.

The roundup:
Five of the nominees in this category are fairly secure: returning shows “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and new series “Glee” and “Modern Family.” Duking it out for the last slot are CBS sitcoms “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory,” last year’s nominees “Entourage,” “Family Guy,” and “Weeds,” and a few other shows thrown in for good measure. I think. Last year gave us four new nominees, all series not in their first years. This year, I think they’ll stick to the newbies.

Current predictions:

What could win? Most would say “Glee,” I’ll go with “Modern Family” at this point.

What’s next? That’s it. Emmy nominations are announced on Thursday morning; check back that day for coverage of the nominees! Thanks for reading.


Fabio Nascimento said...

Just gave it a look in your Emmy Predictions, I think we're pretty much set in most categories (posted mine few hours ago in the blog).

I actually do think McHale and Community will be nominated, along with lots of big names (Danson, Sagal, Olyphant, Baranski, Falco...), maybe they can make room for newcomers like the Glee people, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, I'm looking forward for your AFT Awards (which I adore), I'll start my own awards as soon as I have a break (2010 has been a very busy year).

Movies with Abe said...

Very kind of you to say! I've chosen my nominees for this year's AFT Awards and I'm going to write the text for each category soon. I'm planning to do the top 25 episodes of the season next week and then do a category a day for the AFT Awards the following week. Once that's done, it will be time for Emmy winner predictions!

Looking forward to your awards as well!