Last year, the freshman season of Amy Sherman Palladino’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, from Amazon, dominated the 2018 Emmys winning Comedy Series, Directing and Writing (both for ASP, a first for a woman), Lead Actress and Supporting Actress among its eight wins. Its domination with other awards bodies and guilds (winning absolutely everything except the DGA) was unprecedented for a first year comedy but there was one component to Maisel’s reign and that was the absence of the champ at the time, HBO’s Veep. The two will go head to head this season, but who will win?
We might have the answer looking at the last two years of the Drama category. The first season of Hulu’s breakthrough The Handmaid’s Tale won Outstanding Drama Series, Lead Actress, Supporting Actress plus Directing and Writing among its eight wins in 2017 – just like Mrs. Maisel did in 2018. But, that was the year that HBO’s Game of Thrones took a season off as the reigning champ. When it returned last year, it decimated The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season Emmy take. So scared is everyone of GoT’s final season (due in April) that nearly all of the majors have held off their new seasons to compete next year.
That means that most Emmy winners rise or fall on the strength or weaknesses of their main competition.
Veep, which returns with its 7th and final season on March 31st, didn’t win its first Comedy Series prize until its fourth season; the 5-time winning juggernaut Modern Family from ABC was too strong, the last vestige of the network hold in the top category. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, however, came out swinging from season one. She won Lead Actress in a Comedy Series SIX years in a row for Veep, two of those years she was the show’s sole win. JLD is as solid a case for an actor receiving unbridled Emmy love as there is working today.
While Veep’s final season has yet to air, the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has. All episodes debuted on December 5th, just three months after its massive Emmy-winning haul but oddly, it felt like it came and went without much fanfare. It got good reviews but one would have expected a louder and more sustained bang. It feels like it’s all but disappeared but then, we’re just ahead of the Emmy FYC season and Amazon’s push for Maisel last year was almost unprecedented in scope. Much like its streaming rival Netflix did with Roma’s Oscar campaign last season. They’ll be back in full force, to be sure.
Here are my current, ranked predictions for Outstanding Comedy Series:
- Veep (HBO)
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
- Barry (HBO)
- The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
- The Good Place (NBC)
- GLOW (Netflix)
- black-ish (ABC)
Several shows are going to be just on the outside, looking for a chance to break into the top 7, many from networks looking for their first nomination here. PopTV’s Schitt’s Creek has built a huge cult audience and social media fanbase. Many thought it was going to break in last year and it probably got close. If the mini-network can scrounge the dollars needed to mount a visible campaign, it could be in.
Comedy Central has the freshman season of The Other Two from creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider and it seems that CC is going to make a play here.
While Netflix has GLOW and The Kominsky Method as surer bets, Russian Doll from creators Natasha Lyonne (who also stars), Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland is going to stir some votes. But, they also have the final season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which has received four Comedy Series nominations in a row.
Pamela Adlon earned a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nomination for Better Things last year and her show is FX’s best shot a nomination so I can see them pushing for this hard.
Nominations for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards come out Tuesday, July 16th.