The writers branch of the TV Academy has repeatedly served up some of the most pleasant surprises on Emmy nominations morning. In past years shows that were otherwise snubbed — such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Community” — have reaped writing bids. Last year, the British import “Catastrophe” that streams here on Amazon contended for Best Comedy Writing. This year, it could be another Britcom on Amazon, “Fleabag,” that is recognized for its writing. There are several striking similarities between these two shows.
“Catastrophe” stars its creators, Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, as an American businessman and Irish teacher who have a fling in London but decide to make a go of it when she gets pregnant. “Fleabag” was adapted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge from her Oliver Award nominated one-woman show. She also plays the title character, a twentysomething facing an uncertain future after the death of her best friend and cafe co-owner Boo (Jenny Rainsford).
Over the course of the first six episodes of “Fleabag,” we meet her circle of friends and family, including her ex-boyfriend Harry (Hugh Skinner) who continues to haunt her doorstep, her super-serious sister Claire (Sian Clifford) and her nameless absentee father and interfering stepmother (Bill Paterson and Olivia Colman).
Because Delaney and Horgan wrote all six episodes of “Catastrophe,” they could only submit one episode and wisely chose their pilot. Likewise, Waller-Bridge crafted all six installments of “Fleabag.” She should follow their lead and submit the pilot as it sets up the character and story. The Writers Guild Awards of Great Britain nominated “Catastrophe” for Best Situation Comedy last year while “Fleabag” won that award this year.
Both of these shows have contended the Critic’s Choice Awards. “Catastrophe” scored bids for Best Comedy Series and Most Binge-worthy Show. “Fleabag” and Waller-Bridge were surprise entries this year for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress.
Delaney and Horgan won Best Comedy Writing at last year’s BAFTAS and Horgan contended for Best Comedy Actress. Waller-Bridge scored three BAFTA bids this year, Best Comedy Actress, Best Comedy Writing and Breakthrough Talent. “Fleabag” is also up for Best Scripted Comedy, Best Comedy Actress (Colman) and Best Fiction Editing.
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