Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Emmy Predictions 2019 - Who Will and Should Win for Writing in a Comedy Series?

The nominations have been announced for The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on who will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Writing for a Comedy Series.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan for NBC's The Good Place - "Janet(s)"
  2. Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Amazon's Fleabag - "Episode 1"
  3. Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler for Netflix's Russian Doll - "Nothing in This World Is Easy"
  4. David Mandel for HBO's Veep - "Veep"
  5. Maya Erskine & Anna Konkle for Hulu's PEN15 - "Anna Ishii-Peters"
  6. Allison Silverman for Netflix's Russian Doll - "A Warm Body"
  7. Alec Berg & Bill Hader for HBO's Barry - "ronny/lily"

Both The Good Place and Barry took some big swings this past season in delivering episodes that broke their respective formats a little bit. The reaction mostly comes down to personal opinion. The Barry experiment didn't work for me on a plot-based level because it seemed to bend the rules of the grounded realism that had been shown so far. Meanwhile, The Good Place has long depicted an insane and weird world. That meant the show going even further by having one actor play the rest of the ensemble was insanely difficult but also really poignant for the various journeys they had all gone on by that point. But Phoebe Waller-Bridge did some terrific work in Fleabag as well. This wasn't a world she needed to return to. And yet, she had a story she felt excited to tell. She managed to find her way back in that allowed the audience to feel just as confident over what would happen next. Elsewhere, the Russian Doll premiere and the Veep finale were very satisfying in their own ways. They mark the passage of time in surprising circumstances. The Veep finale went broad towards the end but was absolutely searing in its depiction of the pursuit of power. Meanwhile, Russian Doll told such a complex story that never lost sight of the heart and humor that was at the center of it all.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. David Mandel for HBO's Veep - "Veep"
  2. Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Amazon's Fleabag - "Episode 1"
  3. Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler for Netflix's Russian Doll - "Nothing in This World Is Easy"
  4. Alec Berg & Bill Hader for HBO's Barry - "ronny/lily"
  5. Allison Silverman for Netflix's Russian Doll - "A Warm Body"
  6. Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan for NBC's The Good Place - "Janet(s)"
  7. Maya Erskine & Anna Konkle for Hulu's PEN15 - "Anna Ishii-Peters"

HBO's Veep has the perception of being one of the best written comedies on television. And yet, it didn't receive Emmy nominations as such until its third season. It has only ever won for its fourth season finale in 2015. Since then, it got multiple nominees in the race for its fifth and sixth seasons. It lost both times though to Aziz Ansari for Master of None. This is once again a very competitive category. It didn't even have room to once again recognize last year's winner - Amy Sherman-Palladino for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But the narrative could also be swelling around the series finale of Veep simply because it's a beloved show for the Emmys. Now, that may not be enough for it to win. Again, it doesn't exactly have the best track record in this particular category. Plus, Fleabag and Russian Doll would seem to be some significant competition. Now, Russian Doll could also run the risk of splitting the vote between its episodes. Some voters may be inclined to go for the premiere while others may think the later episode was better. Meanwhile, there will be some voters that go for the most distinctive and strange episodes from this past year. As such, Barry could easily swoop in and win the prize. The Good Place and PEN15 may seem like considerable long shots. And yet, those episodes were absolutely marvelous to watch. They were so enjoyable. It just warms one's heart to see them at least get the recognition they deserve. But it would also be rewarding if Phoebe Waller-Bridge won and cemented her status as one of Hollywood's top creative talents at the moment.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!