"Modern Family" has won the Emmy for comedy series four years running. The only show to take it five straight years? "Frasier." Should "Family" win again, we might need therapy. An early look at this year's comedy races.
"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix)
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Fox)
Prime contenders: "Girls" (HBO), "Parks and Recreation" (NBC)
Bubbling under: "Silicon Valley" (HBO) "New Girl" (Fox), "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime), "Shameless" (Showtime), "Alpha House" (Amazon), "House of Lies" (Showtime).
For your consideration: "Silicon Valley." "You can't call it satire when you are showing it like it is," Mike Judge has said of his latest show, a spot-on, hilarious skewering of geek culture and modern capitalism with all the self-loathing and absurdity that those subjects require.
Analysis: The new Emmy rule that could expand the series categories to seven nominees (should the sixth and seventh vote-getters be within 2% of each other) could well come into play here, allowing all five of last year's eligible shows ("30 Rock" lives only in our memories) to return, along with two stellar newcomers ("Orange" and "Brooklyn"). Should the field stay at six, "Girls" could be vulnerable as the noise around the show (it always seemed like everyone who watched also blogged about it) quieted and became more reasonable. (And where's the fun in that?) Seemingly lost in the conversation is that Lena Dunham's series was funnier and more consistent than ever this year.
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Louis C.K., "Louie"
Andy Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"
Prime contenders: William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Robin Williams, "The Crazy Ones"; John Goodman, "Alpha House"
Bubbling under: J.K. Simmons, "Growing Up Fisher"; Adam Scott, "Parks and Recreation"'; Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"; Jeff Garlin, "The Goldbergs"; David Walton, "About a Boy"
For your consideration: Danny McBride, "Eastbound and Down." Yes, yes ... never going to happen. But, as the Kenny Powers saga came to a satisfying end, we'd be remiss not to take one last chance to salute McBride's self-delusional antihero, a character even harder to love (though we did) than "Breaking Bad's" Walter White.
Analysis: Two slots open with Jason Bateman ("Arrested Development") and Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") leaving, creating opportunities for prior nominees (Galecki), newcomers (Samberg) and actors in shows that were either little-seen (Macy and Goodman) or canceled outright (Williams).
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Taylor Schilling, "Orange Is the New Black"
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Anna Faris, "Mom"
Prime contenders: Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"; Emmy Rossum, "Shameless"; Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"
Bubbling under: Mindy Kaling, "The Mindy Project"; Wendi McLendon-Covey, "The Goldbergs"; Minnie Driver, "About a Boy"; Malin Akerman, "Trophy Wife"
For your consideration: Schilling shouldn't need much help winning a nom, and we'd like to think she'll end up winning the Emmy in August. Playing Piper, her transformation from naivete to Pennsatucky Punisher was nuanced and completely transfixing.
Analysis: Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Laura Dern ("Enlightened") are gone, which probably guarantees the return of the remainder of last year's class — winner Louis-Dreyfus, Poehler, Dunham and Falco. Deserving newcomers Faris and Schilling provide the intrigue as they attempt to unseat Emmy Queen Julia.
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andre Braugher, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Tony Hale, "Veep"
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"
Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"
Prime contenders: Adam Driver, "Girls"; Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Bubbling under: Max Greenfield, "New Girl"; Taran Killam, "Saturday Night Live"; Matt Walsh, "Veep"; Christopher Evan Welch, "Silicon Valley"; Nick Offerman, "Parks and Recreation"; Fred Armisen, "Portlandia"; Terry Crews, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
For your consideration: Joe Lo Truglio, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Lo Truglio's Boyle might be our favorite new character on TV, a man whose passion for living — and pizza — doesn't always work in his best interests (hence the comedy) but never fails to make us smile. (Google "Full Boyle.") "Brooklyn" deserves at least a couple of spots in this category.
Analysis: Hale broke "Modern Family's" three-year win streak last year. We wouldn't be surprised if all four members of the ABC hit return (though we wouldn't be happy either), but we like Braugher to win. The novelty of the former "Homicide" star switching to comedy makes a great story. His expert comic chops seals the deal.
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney, "Mom"
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie"
Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"
Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"
Kate Mulgrew, "Orange Is the New Black"
Prime contenders: Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"; Margo Martindale, "The Millers"; Jane Lynch, "Glee"
Bubbling under: Any member of the "Orange Is the New Black" ensemble; Cecily Strong, "Saturday Night Live"; Carrie Brownstein, "Portlandia"; Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero and Chelsea Peretti, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
For your consideration: Amy Schumer, "Inside Amy Schumer." Her Comedy Central sketch show doesn't always rise to the level of her stand-up, but when it's great — and it often is — it packs a bracing honesty that's ground-breaking. With Louis C.K. now an entrenched favorite, voters should recognize Schumer's sharply observed, biting comedy here (where Schumer is being submitted) and for variety series.
Analysis: This category sported seven nominees last year, and you have to figure that both Mulgrew and Janney — high-profile newcomers with juicy roles — will win nods. So something has to give, beyond Jane Krakowski's ("30 Rock") exit. We're guessing veterans Lynch and Vergara will need to make way, and even Wever, last year's winner, is no cinch to return (though that acceptance speech helped).
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