By Peter Knegt and Ben Travers | Indiewire July 3, 2014 at 1:01PM
PK: My only issue in placing this show on this list is that it's really more of a drama than a comedy, but that's true of many a contender so I'm just letting it go and vouching for "Looking" as one of the best series eligible in this category. It was a slow build, but over a way-too-short season of eight episodes, the San Francisco-set series that looks at the lives of a trio of gay men and their friends and lovers developed into one of the most layered, contemporary and interesting shows on television by season's end -- surviving a mountain of expectation to find a second season in the process (thank god!). There's almost no way the Emmys are going to go for it, but here's to it building even further on its potential in season two to become just too much for them to deny a year from now...
3) "About a Boy"
BT: Mine's certainly more of a comedy than a drama, but like Jason Katims' last shows, "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood," it blends both genres together for an effective mix. "About a Boy" struck me as a strange book/film adaptation for TV when I first heard of its development. After all, the previous versions follow a rather deliberate line of growth for our lead character, tracking him as he changes from a selfish "one man is an island" Lothario to a father-esque mature adult (obviously, the boy they refer to in the title isn't the younger of the two leads). I imagined a show extending that development as rather tiring -- how long can we wait for one man to grow up? Instead, Katims wisely forces the friendship rather quickly and the maturation process is appropriately amplified. The show got better as it went along -- after starting in a great place -- making us all quite eager for Season 2. While Minnie Driver seems to be the only element of the show with a shot at Emmy, I'd rather see this freshman series honored than "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
2) "Broad City"
PK: Another freshman series to add to this list: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson's absolutely hysterical web series turned Comedy Central cult hit "Broad City." A glorious blend of stoner, absurdist comedy, this is the Brooklyn-set, female-led series that deserves a nomination in this category (though I'm a fan of the third season of "Girls" and would be fine if somehow both made the cut). There's simply nothing else like it on television, and surely if Emmy voters actually get around to watching it, they'd agree and hand it a boatload of nominations -- including for best comedy series. But maybe I'm overestimating the comedic tastes of most Academy members, even if they did see it. Either way, if you readers haven't watched it, make it a post-July 4th-hungover-in-bed priority.
BT: I completely agree with the binge-viewing plan. Even if "Broad City" isn't easily accessible through Netflix or Hulu, you can find it on the Comedy Central website. "Archer," meanwhile, can be binged on Netflix up to Season 4, but the brilliant fifth season of "Archer Vice" is yet to be made available by the streaming stingy network FX. Functioning as some sort of wet dream from a man who worships Burt Reynolds and breaking the law, this past season offered fans a fresh take on the series, essentially flipping the characters' roles from America's ally to their drug-smuggling enemies. Yet the individuals remained the same. Pam gobbled up cocaine faster than food, and Cheryl kept pushing her sexual limits as a slutty country star named Cherlene. Lana had a baby, and Archer, well, Archer just kept on keeping on. It was a ballsy move from a show that can pretty much coast any time it wants to, yet it never has. An even ballsier movie would have been for creator Adam Reed had submitted it as a Comedy Series instead of for Best Animated Program. It's been done before -- notably by "Family Guy," which scored a nod in 2009 while still continuing its controversial campaign tactics in years after -- but Reed's failed attempt to break into the category seems to have spooked him (or FX), as the show is back in the animated only field for 2014.
1) "Please Like Me"
PK: I think I've vouched for this show in every single one of these we've done in which it was eligible, so there's no surprise what my No. 1 is -- and if you have not heard of "Please Like Me," you should immediately find a way to watch it's first season (as soon as you're done reading this article, at least). The Australian import -- picked up for US release on Pivot -- is a half-hour comedy-drama based on the autobiographical stand-up of 26-year-old gay Aussie comedian Josh Thomas. It's hilarious and heartfelt and complex... Enough so that the first season gained something of a cult following, and the second (premiering next month) should be an event as far as I'm concerned. It's probably more likely the other five shows I've mentioned will all be nominated than Emmy voters doing exactly what this show's title suggests, but at least you can be better than them by going and liking it yourself.
1) "Parks and Recreation"
BT: At least the program you keep vouching for is relatively new. I call attention to "Parks and Rec" every year, a show regularly competing and repeatedly ignored at the top level. "Please Like Me" may be a longer shot, but it hurts to come so close year after year (I assume) and then be ignored in every category other than Actress (which is well deserved, but condescending for the best ensemble cast on television). I still haven't come to terms with Rob Lowe's exclusion from the Supporting Actor field (though he's submitted as lead, inexplicably), and now I've stoked my own fire so much I half expect "Parks and Rec" to make the cut this year in the genre's biggest category. Can it happen? Sure. Will it? I want to believe.