Can ‘Orange is the New Black’ pull off Emmy jawdropper over ‘Modern Family’?

A sizeable majority of our Experts, Editors, Top 24 Users and all Users are predicting that “Modern Family” will win Best Comedy Series for the fifth year running (click here for our current odds). That would tie the record set by “Frasier,” which claimed five in a row from 1994 to 1998.

But recent Critics’ Choice standoutOrange is the New Black” could be poised to pull off a shocking upset. After all, this year’s race looks a lot like the 1999 contest, where “Frasier” was finally defeated by “Ally McBeal.”

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As with “Modern Family,” “Frasier” had owned the Comedy Series race for many years running but after its last win in 1998, voters finally set it aside.

And like “Ally McBeal,” “Orange is the New Black” is a female-driven hour-long dramedy with major Cool Factor. It’s the watercooler series of the moment, and where “Ally” was the first FOX show to claim a top series Emmy (“Arrested Development” and “24” are the only others), “Orange” could break new ground for streaming outlet Netflix.

Moreover, despite “Modern Family’s” four-year domination of the Best Comedy contest, it’s showing signs of vulnerability. It hasn’t been nominated for Best Comedy Writing since 2011. And last year, for the first time ever, it lost both supporting acting races after winning five of these six contests from 2010 to 2012.

But even if voters are in the mood to try something new, why “Orange” and not another popular, acclaimed show like past Comedy Series nominees “Veep,” “Louie,” or “The Big Bang Theory“?

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Certainly those shows are strong contenders, and all three have been building support with the TV academy over the years, but “Orange” has one distinct advantage, which has helped several other shows in previous contests: it premiered new episodes during the voting period.

That factor certainly helped “Breaking Bad” finally win Best Drama Series last year. While voters were considering the Emmy merits of the episodes that aired during summer 2012, they were undoubtedly influenced by the deafening buzz for the final episodes that aired while they had ballots in hand in 2013.

Other summer shows have capitalized in the same way, like four-time Best Drama champ “Mad Men” and 2001 Best Comedy winner “Sex and the City.”

But this advantage is a little more uncertain for “Orange,” which premiered its 13-episode second season all at once on June 6. Depending on their viewing habits, some voters may have watched the whole thing already, while others may still not have seen it by the time they pick the winners.

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Regardless, the new season, which scored 89 on MetaCritic, brought “Orange is the New Black” back to the public consciousness in a big way, which leaves one question: Is “Orange” the new “Ally”?

After taking a look at our photo gallery of the Top 10 Best Comedy Series contenders, make your predictions and then discuss this race in our forums.

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