Saturday, August 26, 2017

Emmy Predictions 2017 - Who Will Likely Win for Writing in a Comedy Series?

The nominations are in for The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting is happening now. So, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Writing in a Comedy Series.

The Nominees:
  • Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe for Netflix's Master of None - "Thanksgiving"
  • Alec Berg for HBO's Silicon Valley - "Success Failure"
  • Donald Glover for FX's Atlanta - "B.A.N."
  • Stephen Glover for FX's Atlanta - "Streets on Lock"
  • Billy Kimball for HBO's Veep - "Georgia"
  • David Mandel for HBO's Veep - "Groundbreaking"

I didn't know that Lena Waithe was the first women of color to be nominated for Writing in a Comedy Series until she talked about it at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. That just seems so impossible while also seeming likely because of the industry's overall preference for straight, white males. It makes me want her to win in this category alongside Aziz Ansari. It helps tremendously that the "Thanksgiving" episode of Master of None was easily the best episode of the second season as well as one of the most noteworthy episodes of the year. It's not just a random nomination where she broke the record but doesn't have the potential to win. In fact, I would say that Ansari and Waithe are the frontrunners in this race. Master of None won in this category a year ago. It has a proven track record and returned to the category with a stellar submission. It would be a well-deserved victory that also breaks a record that should have been shattered a long time ago.

But like with most of the other comedy races, there is fierce competition in this category. Two other shows have two nominations in this race. That hasn't always been helpful in the past. Sometimes having two episodes nominated from the same show can cause vote splitting in the writing and directing categories. If there isn't a clear preference, then it's easy for something else to sneak in for the victory because it has enough support. So, it could be an uphill battle for Veep and Atlanta. Both are tremendous shows. Veep is a past winner in this category as well. Of course, that was for its previous creative administration. Armando Iannucci won in his final year on the show. The David Mandel era gets lots of nominations but hasn't emerged victorious for writing or directing. It still won for Best Comedy Series. So, it wouldn't be surprising to see it win in this category again. I'm just not sure if voters could single out "Georgia" or "Groundbreaking" as the better episode.

The same is also true of Atlanta. As a new show, it has an unproven track record at the Emmys. There's no indication of what to predict. It got so much buzz for its first season. That's why it got many technical nominations and not just for its lead performer. It feels likely that it's going to win in one of the major categories. It represents a strong threat to Veep for Best Comedy Series. It has the support to pull off a victory there. If it doesn't, then winning for writing would still seem like a victory. And if it manages to win both, then it would be even better. But again, it has two tremendous episodes nominated. I would probably give the edge to "B.A.N." because it's such a format breaking episode. But "Streets on Lock" also showed what this show was capable of doing and executing it well.

It's also possible that I'm underestimating Silicon Valley's chances for a victory. Across four seasons, it's picked up numerous nominations at the Emmys. It's always in the major comedy races. That shows support for the show. And yet, it has never won a major Emmy. It's picked up a few technical victories. But it has never won for acting, writing or directing. Sure, it still gets nominated. But after so many years, it's probably more likely that the voters reward the veteran winners in the category or the shiny new shows.

Should Win: Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe
Will Win: Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe
Dark Horse: Donald Glover