HBO’s political satire “Veep” has won both Best Comedy Series at the Emmys for the past two years running and could well pull off a three-peat. Among its competition could be five other HBO series, including its time-slot lead-in “Silicon Valley,” the departing “Girls” and three freshman contenders, “Crashing,” “Divorce” and “Insecure.”
The star of “Veep,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, set an Emmy record last year by claiming her fifth consecutive Best Comedy Actress trophy. If she prevails again this year, she would be the first actress to win this race six times for the same role (Candice Bergen did it five times for “Murphy Brown” in 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995). While “Veep” has won series twice, it has only one writing Emmy (“Election Night,” 2015) and has yet to win a directing prize. Last year, it reaped three directing bids (“Morning After,” “Mother” and “Kissing Your Sister”) and two for writing (“Morning After” and “Mother”) which may have split the vote.
“Silicon Valley” came out of the gate strong, with nominations for Best Comedy Series in each of its first two seasons as well one each for directing and writing. Third time proved the charm as its Emmy nominations increased. The show was again nominated for Best Comedy Series and lead Thomas Middleditch was the first of the cast to be nominated. As well it earned two nominations for both directing (“Daily Active Users” and “Founder Friendly”) and writing (“Founder Friendly” and “The Uptick”). If that momentum continues, look for at least one of Middleditch’s scene-stealing co-stars — T.J. Miller or Zach Woods — to get a Best Comedy Supporting Actor nomination.
If TV academy voters are being sentimental we could see some love for “Girls,” which signed off after six seasons. Creator and star Lena Dunham could get a goodbye hug in either the writing or directing categories. She was nominated twice for Best Comedy Directing — “She Did” (2012) and “On All Fours” (2013) — and once for Best Comedy Writing for the pilot (2012). The show’s breakthrough star, Adam Driver, contended for Best Comedy Supporting Actor three times (2013-2015) and could well be back in that race.
Issa Rae based “Insecure,” on her New York Times bestselling memoir “The Misadventures of An Awkward Black Girl.” She stars in this freshman series that was praised by critics for its “sharp-edged,” “sublime” and “profound” new voice. Rae received her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy TV Actress.
Sarah Jessica Parker, who produced and starred in the Emmy-winning “Sex and the City” returned to HBO with “Divorce.” This rookie contender is a serio-comic look at a couple — Frances (Parker) and Robert (Thomas Haden Church) — and their long and painful uncoupling. Critics praised the show as “one of the best new comedies of the year. Parker, a four-time Globes winner for “Sex and the City,” contended again for her new show but was defeated by Tracee Ellis Ross (“Blackish”).
The wild-card of HBOs new comedies is “Crashing” the show about comedian Pete Holmes forced to make a new start in life after his wife leaves him he decided to move to New York City. Critics have called the show “delights at every turn,” and HBO has renewed it for a second season. Holmes wrote all of the eight episodes of the first season. Executive producer Judd Apatow (who also oversees “Girls”) directed two episodes of the first season including the pilot “Artie Lange.”
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