Two years after winning the last of her eight Emmys for writing the series finale of “30 Rock,” Tina Fey is back in contention with her new series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Fey and Robert Carlock created this laffer, now streaming on Netflix, that showcases one-time “The Office” supporting player Ellie Kemper. She plays a woman who has escaped from a doomsday cult after 15 years of captivity and is starting life over again in New York City.
The show displays the same mixture of wit and absurdity that won Fey and Carlock acclaim for “30 Rock.” With a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s already got the approval of critics. Should audiences follow, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” could be a surefire awards player.
It is a formidable contender for Best Comedy Series. After all, “30 Rock” won that category three years in a row starting with its first season in 2007. Indeed, “Kimmy Schmidt” could very well break the five-year stranglehold of “Modern Family.” However, it will face stiff competition from fellow newcomer and Golden Globes champ “Transparent,” as well as last year’s nominees “The Big Bang Theory,” “Louie,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Veep.”
As the ever-optimistic Kimmy, Kemper stands a good chance of snagging a Best Comedy Actress bid. She’ll likely be up against Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has taken this prize the last three years for her role on “Veep,” as well as Amy Poehler, who could ride a wave a goodwill for the last season of “Parks and Recreation.”
Tituss Burgess — who had a recurring role on “30 Rock” as D’Fwan — could contend in Comedy Supporting Actor for his work as Kimmy’s fame-chasing roommate Titus Andromedon. And the show has two strong contenders for Comedy Supporting Actress nominations: Carol Kane – who won two Emmys for her work on “Taxi” – as Kimmy’s crazed landlord Lillian Kaushtupper, and Jane Krakowski – who competed in the category four times for her work on “30 Rock” – as Kimmy’s insanely rich (and just plain insane) employer Jacqueline Voorhees.
Then there are a slew of guest stars on the ballot, including Jon Hamm as the charming cult leader, Tim Blake Nelson as a bumbling police officer/Kimmy’s stepfather, Richard Kind as an apathetic teacher, and Fey herself as Kimmy’s lawyer.
She and Carlock could also reap a writing bid for the pilot episode, “Kimmy Breaks Out!” The same goes for the writers of every episode, which includes past Emmy winners Jack Burditt (three Comedy Series wins for “30 Rock” and another pair of trophies for Comedy Writing and Comedy Series for “Frasier”), Sam Means (three writing prizes for “The Daily Show”), Allison Silverman (two writing awards for “The Colbert Report” and one for “The Daily Show”), and Meredith Scardino (four wriiting wins for “Colbert”), as well as nominee Emily Altman (Variety Series Writing last year for “Inside Amy Schumer“).
The show’s directing team includes past Emmy champs Todd Holland (two for “Malcolm in the Middle,” one for “The Larry Sanders Show”) and Jeff Richmond (three as a producer of “30 Rock”), as well as nominees Michael Engler (“30 Rock” and “Sex and the City”) and Beth McCarthy-Miller (three for “30 Rock,” four for “Saturday Night Live,” and one for “America: A Tribute to Heroes”), and filmmaker Nicole Holofcener, who directed the episode “Kimmy Goes to a Party!”
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