Like Best Drama Series, the Best Comedy Series category is about to experience a potential shake-up this year, which may allow for some new faces to be nominated. ABC’s Modern Family is expected to remain on its throne with another nomination this year. Modern Family has won Best Comedy Series five years in a row and if it wins this year, it will be the most awarded show of all time. Last year Modern Family had to fight for its win against Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, whose first season was a heavy contender. However due to the Television Academy’s new ruling, Orange is the New Black no longer is considered part of the comedy category and has instead been placed within the Drama Series category this year. The Television Academy has ruled that in order to qualify as a Comedy Series, the show’s episodes must be thirty minutes in length, with exceptions being made on a case-by-case basis. This ruling inadvertently puts Modern Family in the frontrunner position to win, thus potentially making television history in September.
Along with Modern Family, it is to be expected that fan-favorite from CBS, The Big Bang Theory, will also be nominated. The show has maintained a loyal fan base, which has typically has been upheld due to Jim Parsons’ acting. Another safe assumption for being nominated is FX’s Louie. Voters like the Louie C.K. dark-comedy and it is likely they will honor it as being the dark horse nominee, as they have for the last two years. HBO’s Veep also is guaranteed to grab a nomination as well. The satirical political comedy has gotten the best reviews of its series with its fourth season and is steadily growing a wider audience. HBO is also pushing for Silicon Valley to grab another nomination. The show’s second season has been regarded as an improvement over its first with positive reviews from critics and received a Golden Globe nomination back in January. However, the show’s reception with fans is scarce, thereby putting it in a vulnerable position.
This may be an opportunity for some other veteran shows that have been long snubbed to finally grab their first Best Comedy Series nomination. Showtime’s Shameless finished its fifth season this year and was largely ignored until last year when the show was finally inducted into the Comedy category. NBC’s Parks and Recreation finished its seventh and final season this year, which could potentially give the series the sentiment it needs to get it its first Comedy Series nomination since 2011. FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the surprise snub last year, especially after winning the Golden Globe in 2014 for Comedy Series. If voters have taken more to the Andy Samberg comedy, perhaps it could lead to Brooklyn Nine-Nine getting its first nomination. HBO’s Girls, which was considered groundbreaking when it first came out in 2012, was snubbed last year for the top award after being nominated for its first two seasons. The show has lost much of its momentum with both critics and fans, but maybe there is still enough appreciation for the Lena Dunham show for it to grab a surprise nomination. One other show from HBO that has critics raving, but is mostly unknown with television viewers, is the Lisa Kudrow comedy, The Comeback. The show first premiered on HBO in 2006 and was well-received, with Emmy voters nominating the show for Best Direction and nominating Lisa Kudrow for her first acting nomination since her role on Friends. It wasn’t until this year that the show premiered its second season on HBO and it has been met with critical acclaim, and very easily could be the surprise nominee this year.
Yet despite the existence of these veteran shows, the more likely scenario in this category will be that the remaining three slots will be awarded to freshman shows. Academy voters enjoy giving new comedy shows, especially ones that have brought in good ratings, a moment to shine. Shows such as Glee or Desperate Housewives can attest to this notion, who were nominated in their first season and then fizzled away with voters. Shows that have enjoyed a good first season have been The CW’s Jane the Virgin, which managed to grab a Best Comedy Series nomination in this past Golden Globes, winning one for its lead actress, Gina Rodriguez. The Billy Crystal comedy from FX, The Comedians, has some speculating if it could succeed in being nominated. This seems unlikely since the show is reliant upon Crystal’s acting and the actual show has been seen as average, at best. The same can be argued about Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, which has gotten relatively good reviews, but mostly in regards to Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Netflix is more likely to successfully promote Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt into being nominated this year. The show from co-creator Tina Fey has gotten some of the best reviews this year and has already gained a loyal fan following that makes the idea of the Academy snubbing this show seem almost inconceivable. The same sentiment can also be extended to the groundbreaking Amazon show Transparent, which had everyone talking about the comedic genius of the show, while also being provided with positive awareness about the transgendered community. Transparent currently stands as Modern Family’s largest threat this year due to its Golden Globe win for Comedy Series this past January. Therefore, this year’s Best Comedy Series race sems to be another competition of new versus old. Modern Family may have been able to defeat Orange is the New Black last year, but can it succeed in defeating another freshman show again this year?
Below are Dan’s predictions for Best Comedy Series:
1. Modern Family
2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
5. The Big Bang Theory
7. Jane the Virgin
Spoiler: The Comeback
Long Shot: Shameless