“Schitt’s Creek” signed off on Tuesday with a simple and, well, simply “The Best” series finale, capping a remarkable six-season run that only grew in quality, acclaim, fan adoration and industry love as the years went on. The Canadian import broke through at the Emmys last year, netting four nominations, including Best Comedy Series, but didn’t win any. But this could be the year (well, it needs to be since it’s the last one) it grabs the top prize, and should it do so, it’d only be the third show to win its first Best Comedy Series Emmy with its final season.
The first one to achieve this was “Barney Miller,” the Hal Linden police sitcom that ran for eight seasons from 1975 to 1982. A seven-time Best Comedy Series nominee, “Barney Miller” only missed a nomination for its inaugural season, when it debuted on ABC as a midseason replacement. It lost to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (twice), “All in the Family” (once) and “Taxi” (thrice) before finally triumphing with its farewell installment in 1982.
The second one was “Fleabag” just last year. Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s brainchild that took the world by storm last summer is a slightly different case, though, since it ended with only its second season, unlike “Barney Miller” and “Schitt’s Creek,” whose respective runs are closer to 10 years than one. (Waller-Bridge has not ruled out revisiting “Fleabag” one day — possibly when she’s 50 — but until that happens, it’s a two-and-done show.)
Now, here’s where the Emmy gods may have been playing the long game. 1982 was also when “Schitt’s Creek” stars Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy won their first Emmys as part of the writing team on their seminal sketch series “SCTV” (they, in fact, had three nominations for “SCTV” in the variety writing category that year). And, of course, last year was the first time “Fleabag” and “Schitt’s Creek” got their first Emmy nominations in any category ever. Perhaps “Schitt’s Creek” is meant to join these two comedies in this exclusive first-for-last club.
“Schitt’s Creek” is currently in second place in our odds, on the heels of 2018 champ “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” With four of last year’s seven nominees ineligible or done for good, the series ought to retain its spot with ease. And now it actually has the momentum to take it all. The final season, beloved by fans and critics alike (not unlike “Fleabag”), was note-perfect in wrapping up the Roses’ story with its finely calibrated cocktail of warmth, optimism and sharp humor, culminating with David (Dan Levy) and Patrick’s (Noah Reid) sweet makeshift wedding, officiated by Moira (O’Hara) — decked out in an incredible papal outfit — with the Jazzagals crooning Tina Turner‘s “The Best” as David walked down the aisle, before the family goes their separate ways. It was the happy ending — literally since that was the episode title and, um, in another sense — that they and we deserved.
However, Emmy voters aren’t exactly sentimental. More often than not, the TV academy has moved on to other shows or buzz dies down by the time a long-running show ends; “Frasier” never won comedy series again after a five-peat, and fellow five-peater “Modern Family,” which concludes its 11-season run (just like “Frasier”) on Wednesday, appears to be in the same boat.
Last year, three-time comedy series winner “Veep” was unable to overcome the “Fleabag” juggernaut with its seventh and final season. Had it done so, it would’ve been the latest former comedy series champ to prevail for its final season, the others being “Everybody Loves Raymond” (2003, ’05) “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1975-77) and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1963-64, ’66; the show was also one of the four winners for Outstanding Program Achievements in Entertainment in 1965, the experimental year in which the Emmys eliminated the regular categories).
There are some exceptions, like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones,” though in the latter’s case, that final season buzz was far from positive, but “Game of Thrones” is a whole different beast unto itself. Both won Best Drama Series for their final seasons. “Schitt’s Creek’s” trajectory is more akin to that of “Breaking Bad’s,” on a smaller scale, in that they were both tiny shows on a basic cable network that gradually built up support and visibility as time went on, thanks in large part to streaming on Netflix. The big difference is that “Breaking Bad” was winning Emmys for Bryan Cranston right from the beginning.
Rounding out our odds are “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in third place, followed by “The Good Place,” which ended its four-year run in January, “Dead to Me,” “Run” and “The Kominsky Method.”
Be sure to make your Emmy nominations predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the thrilling debate over the Emmy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.