Thursday, September 10, 2015

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

"Pot Luck," "A La Carte," "Cop Story," "Bobby's House," "Untitled," "The Road Part 1"

This is the third consecutive nomination for Louis C.K.’s FX comedy. This year, it becomes the one nominated series in this category that I don’t watch regularly, so I sat down for my annual marathoning of this show’s submitted episodes a few weeks ago. It’s pretty standard stuff, with a few good laughs in there as Louie navigates fatherhood, friendship, romance, and more specific instances of cops, nightmares, tours, and getting beat up by a girl. I think this show needs to really be on fire to win this award, and that’s not the case right now, especially with an announced upcoming hiatus before season six.

"Closet? You'll Love It," "Connection Lost," "Spring Break," "Marco Polo," "American Skyper," "The Day We Almost Died"

I’m tired of this show. It has won this award five times in a row, tying “Frasier” for that honor and ready to break a record if it wins a sixth trophy this year. The highest grade I gave any of these episodes was a B- for the finale, “American Skyper,” which was at least entertaining, but this show has abandoned literal comedy, instead trying to be clever and metaphorical for the entire length of every episode. I feel like this show is going to win again, but how can it with a handful of certifiably stronger and fresher shows also in the race?

"Leslie and Ron," "Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington," "Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show," "Pie-Mary," "One Last Ride"

Maddeningly, this is only the second ever nomination in this category for this show, which was here for season three and hasn’t shown up again since. I love this show, and I’m thrilled that it miraculously and deservedly made it in this year. Almost all of these submissions are top-notch, but I have to take issue with the “Johnny Karate” episode, which was weak and also not a good showcase for non-fans of the show. Hopefully the other five can convince voters that this really was the best comedy on television this season. I’m not optimistic but I would be so happy if this won.

"Sand Hill Shuffle," "Runaway Devaluation," "Bad Money," "Server Space," "Binding Arbitration," "Two Days of the Condor"

This show returns with its second nomination, once again nominated just for Best Comedy Series, directing, and writing. Its six submitted episodes are all strong instances of its style and format, starting with the season premiere, a few entertaining installments in the middle, and ending with the season finale. This show is too much of a low-key niche hit to pull off a win, and I suspect that it will be nominated many times without ever scoring a major Emmy trophy.

"Pilot," "Rollin'," "Moppa," "Symbolic Exemplar," "Best New Girl," "Looking Up"

Amazon’s breakout series is the network’s first foray into awards territory, and it did pretty well across all categories. Its submission of a few early episodes and three later installments that find the show much deeper into its plot and character conflict will no doubt impress voters, but the question is whether it should be considered a comedy. Given the fact that other dramedies have lost repeatedly to sitcoms, I think the chances of this show winning are low. It’s always possible though – who would have thought that Amazon would have a Best Comedy Series Emmy nominee?

"Kimmy Goes Outside," "Kimmy Goes on a Date," "Kimmy Kisses a Boy," "Kimmy Goes to a Party," "Kimmy's in a Love Triangle," "Kimmy Goes to Court"

This is Netflix’s second comedy series to earn a nomination in this race after “Orange is the New Black” last year. It scored well in other categories, earning five acting nominations, and its six submitted episodes are definitely quality indicators of the type of show it is. I don’t personally love it, and I think that all six episodes are about equivalent in terms of balancing absurdity with more sweetness, weighing heavily on the former. “30 Rock,” which was also created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, won this award three times, which bodes well for this show’s chances, but I’m not sure I see it happening.

"East Wing," "Data," "Convention," "Mommy Meyer," "B/ill," "Testimony"

This is the fourth nomination for HBO’s satirical comedy about the (vice) president of the United States. Season four was just as on-point and awesome as the three that came before it, and the question is whether Emmy voters will ever realize that it’s great – this year it’s up for three acting awards, writing, and directing – or if they’ll just keep nominating it and rewarding only star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Though the two episodes I liked best from the season – “Storms and Pancakes” and “Election Night” – weren’t submitted, the six that were are all great. If anything can beat “Modern Family,” I think this is it.

What should win (based on entire season): “Parks and Recreation”
What should win (based on individual episodes): “Parks and Recreation”
What will win: I think this is the year that Veep eclipses “Modern Family.” Is that a smart prediction? No. We’ll see!

Next up: That’s a wrap!

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