“I don’t think the Comedy Series [race] is that deep this year,” Gold Derby Executive Editor Paul Sheehan declares to me at the start of our video slugfest about the Emmys’ comedy races. “I can hardly see anything getting nominated,” I concur. Indeed, the shallowness of the field was a common thread throughout our half-hour discussion (watch above).
Even past favorites like “Modern Family” are not safe. “Last year, it wasn’t nominated for editing for the first time, it missed directing for the first time; hasn’t been nominated by the writers for years — everybody’s tired of it,” I explain. “We’re expecting it to get two other nominations aside from Comedy Series, so it’s just as weird if it gets into Comedy Series as if it doesn’t.”
“There’s a show I think could really break out this year,” Paul says about “Black-ish.” “It’s a way for the TV academy to say, ‘we’re not the Oscars, we believe in diversity’ and I think it’s really changed. It’s a second season, but it feels like a first. It’s changed its tone, its attitude; it’s very fresh — it feels very relevant.” Sixteen of the other 19 Experts seem to share these sentiments, as they have it in their predictions, but I am skeptical: “It just seems kind of backwards to me, as HBO increasingly dominates the Emmys and Netflix is coming in and these are the ‘cool shows’ [that] they’d go back and nominate an ABC sitcom about a family (that’s ABC’s fourth-highest-rated sitcom).”
I have “Broad City” in its place, even though it was shut out at the Emmys for its first two seasons. I find that “the industry is going out of its way to recognize Comedy Central,” including when “Broad City” picked up a Best Comedy Series nomination at the most recent Writers Guild Awards. The Critics’ Choice Awards have cited it for Best Comedy Series and Actress Ilana Glazer and I suspect that the Emmys will follow suit.
Looking ahead to what might win, I am going out on a limb for “Transparent” — after it was crushingly defeated by “Veep” at last year’s Emmys — because it won the Producers Guild Award for Best Comedy Series, which has historically correlated well with the Emmys due to shared voters and a shared eligibility period, whereas something like the Golden Globes shares neither voters nor the same eligibility period with the Emmys. PGA is an especially important precursor this year because the Emmys are adopting its plurality voting system, having used preferential ballots through last year. Paul is sticking with “Veep” and notes its topicality with its female president and it being an election year.
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