When the TV academy announced new Emmy rule changes that included an expansion of the Best Comedy and Best Drama categories to at least seven nominees apiece (more if the 2% rule applies), the producers of new shows like “Transparent” and “The Affair” must have breathed a sigh of relief.
But freshman series aren’t the only ones that could capitalize on the increase. It could also be good news for several returning programs that have either fallen out of the top races or are still fighting to break in to them. Below, we profile eight shows hoping to improve their Emmy fortunes.
1. “The Good Wife“
Arguably the most prestigious drama on network TV, CBS’s “Good Wife” was the last broadcast show to be nominated for Best Drama. It earned bids in 2010 and 2011, but was knocked out in 2012, and no Big Four program has been back since. However, the series, now in its sixth season, is as acclaimed as it has ever been, and its cast continues to score in acting races. Star Julianna Margulies won her second Drama Actress prize just last year, so there’s hope for a return in an expanded field, especially when you also consider the absence of “Breaking Bad” and “True Detective” this year.
2. “Parks and Recreation“
The Emmys have never loved “Parks and Rec” as much as TV critics and its devoted fan base, but it was nominated for Best Comedy Series in 2011, and star Amy Poehler has earned Comedy Actress bids for the last five years. It ended its seven-season run in February; could sentiment return it to the top race?
3. “The Americans“
The only Emmy nominations for FX’s spy drama in its first two seasons were for Best Main Title Theme Music in 2013 and Best Drama Guest Actress for Margo Martindale in 2013 and 2014. But the show continues to rise in acclaim, receiving a series-high 92 score on MetaCritic this year.
4. “Masters of Sex“
Showtime’s period drama debuted in fall 2013 but underperformed at last year’s Emmys, earning a trio of acting bids and another for Best Main Title Design. While it’s no surprise that Emmy darlings Allison Janney and Beau Bridges earned guest-acting bids (Janney won), Lizzy Caplan‘s nomination for Best Drama Actress might have been especially meaningful. Caplan isn’t a household name, but she still earned a nomination (her first) in a crowded category full of industry favorites. That indicates, I think, some passionate support within the academy. If it was right on the cusp last year, it could capitalize this year.
5. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine“
The FOX police comedy only won Best Comedy/Variety Stunt Coordination at last year’s Emmys, and its only other nomination was Best Comedy Supporting Actor for Andre Braugher. But it earned its first SAG nomination for Best TV Comedy Ensemble just a few months ago, which shows there’s fondness for it within the industry. Sometimes the TV academy is a year late to recognize a series, and seven or more Best Comedy slots further increases its chances of breaking through.
6. “Boardwalk Empire“
We’ve underestimated HBO’s crime drama before. It has won a remarkable 18 Emmys in the last four years, though it hasn’t been up for Best Drama since 2012. It ended its five-season run in fall 2014, so it could get a farewell hug from the TV academy.
HBO’s comedy started strong at the Emmys, earning Best Comedy bids for its first two seasons, but last year it fell out of the top race and only earned a pair of acting bids, for Lena Dunham and Adam Driver. The series has only missed the top category once, so the expansion could bring it back into the fold.
After a breakthrough first season and a surprise Drama Series victory in 2012, “Homeland” scored another nomination in 2013, but widespread backlash knocked it out of the race in 2014. It was better received in its recent fourth season, however, so the TV academy may be willing to welcome it back.
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