2017 Emmy Awards: Watch our Editors clash over Best Comedy Series

Can anything beat back-to-back champ “Veep” for Best Comedy Series at this years Emmy Awards? I joined Gold Derby’s in-house team of Emmy watchers – Chris BeachumMarcus DixonDaniel MontgomeryTom O’Neil, and Paul Sheehan – in a webcam chat (watch above) to find out if anything can take down HBO’s reigning political satire.

As Tom reminds us, “‘Veep’ won under the old system and the new system,” referring to a voting change last year from a ranked ballot to a straight plurality pick that saw surprising victories throughout the categories. Working in its favor is the TV academy’s love of political shows: look no further than the four consecutive victories for “The West Wing” in Best Drama Series. “What they want most of all is to feel that their vote is important, and ‘Veep’ does that.”

If anything could beat it, however, it might be FX’s highly buzzed new series “Atlanta,” which just had victories at the Golden Globes, the WGA, the PGA, and the Peabodys. I believe that, as we saw earlier this year with the surprising Oscar upset of “Moonlight” over “La La Land” for Best Picture, “the TV Academy could want to reward shows that represent diversity. You have to go all the way back to ‘The Cosby Show’ over 30 years ago, back in 1985, to find a show with a predominantly black cast that won Best Comedy Series. That’s a long time.”

That could also help ABC’s family comedy “Black-ish,” which Chris, Marcus, and Daniel are currently predicting. As Daniel points out, “it’s moving in the right direction in terms of its recognition,” after showing up at the guilds and Golden Globes in addition to its Emmy bids last year for Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor (Anthony Anderson), and Best Comedy Actress (Tracee Ellis Ross). As well, “it has the edgy quality that ‘Atlanta’ has in terms of being a choice for younger, hipper voters,” but, “it also has the accessibility of the family comedy.”

Yet Chris wants to see “Black-ish” receive more nominations across the board before he sets his predictions in stone. “I’d like to see it get in a directing or writing, or maybe both. I’d like to see it improve on acting.” He also wonders if “Veep” might look underwhelming in light of our current political climate, asking, “how do you be funnier than what’s really going on?”

All seven of last year’s nominees — “Black-ish,” “Master of None,” “Modern Family,” “Silicon Valley,” “Transparent,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Veep” — are eligible again this year. Which is likeliest to be bounced to make room for “Atlanta” and other new shows? “If ‘Modern Family’ does get snubbed, that’s great news for ‘Black-ish,'” Marcus explains, “because those are the only two family comedies, and it’s not going to split that family vote anymore.”

Yet Paul hopes voters won’t overlook network television’s yearly 22-24 episode output. “I wish people would sort of think, wow, those ‘Modern Family’ people, they’re doing 24 episodes every year that still make me laugh. Or ‘Black-ish,’ probing really provocative subjects for 22 or 24 episodes.”

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UPLOADED May 5, 2017 9:16 am