This category couldn’t be more diverse in the style of direction and episode content. The primary competition in this category is between show veteran Veep and newcomer Transparent. When comparing both, it is difficult to determine where voters will lean more towards. Veep is nominated for its “Testimony” episode, which was the highlight episode of the show’s fourth season. The entirety of the episode was filmed as a collage of grand jury testimony and one-on-one depositions with all show characters. The excellence of this highly original episode is how the testimony of the characters led the episode’s narrative forward while still maintaining a level of comedy throughout. This is a definitive directing achievement and hardly will be ignored by voters. However, voters may be equally captivated with Transparent’s “Best New Girl” episode, which was the season’s sole flashback episode. Transparent incorporated singular flashbacks in various episodes, but it was “Best New Girl” that many of these flashbacks were elaborated upon, establishing to the show viewers the character-types and motivations of all the show’s principle characters. The episode established an understanding as to how and why certain characters came to be who they are in present day. The episode also perfectly captures a sense of lost past, loneliness, isolation, frustration, curiosity, innocence, and empowerment; It is through these emotions that all characters experience individual evolutions that made them who they are. “Best New Girl” is an astounding episode for Transparent, though its impact is not felt completely if one has not seen the entire Transparent season, which may be the scenario with many voters.
There is a slim chance that Veep and Transparent could cancel each other out, allowing for one of the other nominees to sneak in a win. The pilot episode for The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson,” set up a necessary foundation for the freshman show, providing insights to the title character that were both humorous and saddening to see at the same time. The pilot episode of The Last Man on Earth also highlighted the concept of ‘what would one do if humanity suddenly ended,’ which was done in the style of no rules versus rules. It was an amusing concept that takes a cliched narrative and offered a new, and comedic, spin to it. Silicon Valley’s season two premiere, “Sand Hill Shuffle,” directly tackled the issue that plagued its first season: the death of Christopher Evan Welch, a principle character in the show’s starting episodes. The episode is a direct homage to the actor, who tragically died of lung cancer, by finally offering fans of the show a funeral that honors both the character and actor. Yet the episode also was strategic by using this character death as a catalyst to introduce new issues and complications for the show’s second season. Lastly, voters like Louie and one must admire how Louis C.K. has been able to produce, star, direct, and write his own episodes and maintain consistency over the show’s five seasons. He is nominated for “Sleepover,” which is an episode that showcases the Louie series perfectly: miscommunication followed by awkwardness. “Sleepover” captures the various facets of the title character’s life that involve moments of best intentions gone wrong, misunderstandings with friends, and attempting to appease family. The episode offers the very best of what Louie has to offer and voters may want to give Louis C.K. his first directing Emmy as a result of that.
The Last Man on Earth
Will Win: Veep
Could Win: Transparent
Should Win: Veep
Could Upset: The Last Man on Earth