As the saying goes: drama is easy, comedy is hard. That rings no truer than trying to predict the nominees for Best Comedy Series this early in the game … but I’ll try anyway.
I predicted all six of last year’s nominees (see all of my previous predix here). This year, only five of these are back in contention due to the new rule where the category is determined by running time (60 minutes you’re drama; 30 minutes you’re comedy). That pushes last year’s comedy contender “Orange is the New Black” into the drama race. And there will also be a seventh nominee in both series races, too. Taking all this into account, let’s take a look at what I’m predicting.
“Modern Family” – Season 6
With five consecutive nominations and five consecutive wins, “Modern Family” ties the record held by “Frasier” for the most of all time. This Emmy staple shows no signs of giving up on continuing its winning streak and breaking the record with a sixth win.
“Veep” – Season 4
Here’s another HBO show with snob appeal, but this year could be different for Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her show. Just like how she was gifted the Presidency last year, she may be gifted a Comedy Series Emmy this season as the premise looks to be a wild one.
“Louie” – Season 5
Emmy voters love Louis C.K., awarding him a trophy for Best Comedy Writing last year and nominating his show for the past two consecutive years. The quality is still high and FX does a very good job campaigning for the show. There are no signs it’s on its way out, so why bet against it?
“The Big Bang Theory” – Season 8
As long as the show stays popular it’ll remain on Emmy’s Best Comedy list. It has laughs and snob appeal that Emmy voters tend to love and it’s the last of the “true” sitcoms on their shortlist. Also, if Jim Parsons‘ fourth Emmy win last year was any indication, this show is still very beloved by voters.
“Silicon Valley” – Season 2
I was one of just two Editors that saw this Comedy Series nomination coming last year (Marcus James Dixon was the other), but no one predicted the other three major nominations it also got. That just proves it’s seriously loved by Emmy voters, and why not? It’s an HBO show about a bunch of nerds looking to make millions. That premise could probably sum up 75% of Emmy voters. It also helps that the show is funny and clever with a terrific cast. It’s hitting its peak and looks to double its nomination tally, not end it.
“Grace and Frankie” – Season 1
With “Orange is the New Black” going the Drama route (for the time being), you can bet Netflix is going to come out guns blazing for a show starring Emmy faves like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston to land a Comedy Series nomination. And with that case, do you really think they’ll have that much trouble?
“Jane the Virgin” – Season 1
But what about “Transparent“? Let’s get one thing straight here: Winning a Golden Globe for series does not automatically get you into this race. Don’t believe me? Ask shows like: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Extras,” “Roseanne” and “Nip/Tuck.” What I’m banking on here is that the love for “Transparent” lives and dies with Jeffrey Tambor (who is a lock for a nomination). If the CW plays this very smart and strategically they can land a historical nomination here much like it did when they snagged a Comedy Series nomination at the Globes, and I’m betting they will. First step is petitioning the Emmy panel to allow this Comedy Series (a comedy much more so than “Transparent,” as it’s much, much funnier) to compete in the comedy races, where it belongs.
If “Jane the Virgin” is forced to head to the drama side, then all bets are off. If they do win their petition, however, much like “Shameless” did last year, it will garner even more buzz within the Emmy community who will opt to give it a look they may not have before. Add to that a feverous campaign the CW will have to (and likely) give it with the help of Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez and this could turn into an “Ugly Betty”-type situation. The only setback is the call letters: CW. It’s completely ridiculous but cannot be ignored; then again, Amazon Prime hasn’t scored an Emmy nomination either so one of these is about break and my bets on “Jane.”
There you have them, my Best Comedy Series predictions at this early stage of Emmy season. Though I do reserve the right to change a prediction or two (especially if “Orange” petitions comedy and it gets accepted), I’m pretty confident in these. What do you say? Let me know in the comments section below.
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