Outstanding Comedy Series
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Yes! Hurray! Veep is ineligible! Some other series and actors can finally have a chance. And with Master of None over with, and Transparent dealing with its own scandals, its likely they’ll be a lot more new blood. Of course, given that we live in the age of the reboot, its equally likely will see some nominations from much older series, like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Will & Grace, and possibly Roseanne (though that’s also damaged goods). I don’t have a problem with a couple of reboots, but why not nominate some series that are new and have their own level of quality?
One of the best series on TV right now is this mediation on race relations and poverty disguised as a comedy. Donald Glover and company did something nearly impossible with Season 2; they took an already extraordinary series and kicked it up a notch, doing some truly brilliant experimental work. From the breakup of Earn and Van, to Paperboi’s walk in the woods, to the incredible ‘Teddy Perkins’, to the marvelous look back at how childhood scars never fade. Atlanta isn’t just one of the best comedies of the year, its far and away one of the best series of the year.
When the series premiered with a musical tribute to Juneteenth, this wonderful comedy series showed that it had lost none of its edge going into Season 4. (It’s spinoff, grown-ish has more than enough material to be nominated for Best Comedy in a lesser year.) But when Dre and Bow’s near perfect marriage started to crumble, and the series dealt with one of its first serialized arcs, the show went into territory you didn’t think a network comedy could do anymore. Both Anderson and Ross went to such new levels that when they finally began to work out their marriage, it didn’t seem labored or stressed at all. It more than deserves to be listed among the great comedies.
Crazy Ex- Girlfriend (CW)\
I know, I know, I’m shouting in the wind. How can I convince the Emmys to recognize a series that’s on a network they’ve decided, as far as they’re concerned, doesn’t exist? But it’s such a good series. And as Rebecca finally fell apart, was diagnosed with a personality disorder, managed to find her way to healthy relationship, and finally began taking responsibility for her actions — all while singing and dancing her way through songs that are not only great homages but brilliant music in their own right — it really makes you wonder how the hell the Emmys can, in good conscience regulate it to technical awards. This series, like its lead actress-writer-director-everything deserves acknowledgement.
Now this is a true accomplishment. Ostensibly a series about the formation of a woman’s wrestling league for cable television in the 1980s, this series takes on a strong look at the sparseness of women’s roles anywhere, female friendship, trying to build something out of nothing, and a real look at what its like to be a woman any time. This is the first series handled by Jenji Kohan that I am heads over heel in favor of. It’s one of the most brilliant comedies of the year, its also one of the most brilliant dramas. And the level of performances from the entire cast — from Alison Brie and Marc Maron on down — makes you realize that this is what entertainment and messaging merged should be like. I can’t wait what the second season will bring.
The Good Place (NBC)
After ending Season 1 with one of the greatest twist endings in history, you didn’t think there was anyway they could do a season 2 without forking everything up. They didn’t. If anything the series was willing to try and be even more experimental as Michael’s reboot crashed and burned over and over, forcing the characters to go into entirely new territory as they tried to get out and find the real good place. And by showing that people are capable of evolving — even after they’re dead, even if they’re not human in the first place — the series has taken on an optimistic tone that I didn’t think the show could possibly do. This is a triumph, and I can’t wait to see what they do next year. But while I’m waiting, give them some forking Emmy nominations.
All right, even without Veep, there are a lot of good comedy series on HBO. And I could make a convincing argument for Barry or Vice Principals. But this series, even though I’m nowhere near its demographic, is an impressive piece of work. Were it just for the brilliant numbers and fantasy sequence that Issa Rae creates, it would be worth the time. But the way it take a look at a lot of impressive area — particularly in its ridiculous yet simmering sex scenes — as well as some looks at race that I’m pretty sure not even Shonda Rhimes would dare approach — and you have one of HBO’s most radical series. Both Rae and the series were denied last year. Let’s hope they remember this time.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
This series has already won the Golden Globe and the Broadcast Critics prize for Best Comedy. On the other hand, it is a series created by those marvelous Palladino’s, so it needs all the plugs it can get. This series finds the sweet spot that so many of the Palladino series tend too, and that it manages to have a brave, trailblazing heroine stuck in the middle of both an era and a field that doesn’t lend itself to women breaking into it. It’s fun, its entertaining, its a period piece. The writers have been worthy of awards since Gilmore Girls, the lead actress has been worthy of an Emmy since House of Cards. Why does this series have to fight to be among the best of the year when its so clearly, well, marvelous?
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Arrested Development (Netflix)
Yes, its a reboot. Yes, Jeffrey Tambor is at the center of it. None of this, however, changes the fact that this is one of the most remarkable, creative, and imaginative comedy series in history. Somehow, it manages to be so ahead of its time that by the time it comes out, its practically passe. But it has the most remarkable comedy cast assembled since the Mary Tyler Moore show, none of whom lose their chops even after being apart for five years. Ignore the controversy. Just laugh. And try to remember that any resemblance between the Bluth family and people in the White House really is purely coincidental. I think.