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Hidden Among All the Familiar WGA TV Winners: Hope For Offbeat Shows

More wins for HBO's "Barry" and Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," but the excitement lay in victories for Comedy Central and Hulu.

Barry and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel WGA

Bill Hader in “Barry” and Rachel Brosnahan in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

In what’s likely to be a recurring theme throughout the 2019 awards season, the biggest surprises at the Writers Guild of America TV Awards on Sunday all occurred down ballot.

HBO’s killer comedy “Barry” took home awards for both episodic comedy and new series, while Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won Best Comedy Series, further cementing each show’s frontrunner status with regards to this year’s Emmy race. Meanwhile FX’s “The Americans” scored a Best Drama Series win for its final season.

There were other very, very familiar faces: FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” continued its awards-season dominance with a win for Adapted Long Form; Fox’s “The Simpsons” took home its twelfth WGA award for Animation; and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” won its fourth Comedy/Variety Talk Series WGA award. Deserving, sure, but this tidy crop of predictable victors gave fresh little insight into the current awards mindset of Hollywood.

Luckily, there was still plenty of room for things to get strange and, in turn, capture the incandescent magic of a truly surprising awards-show win.

The final season of Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You” — critically acclaimed, criminally under-watched, nominated for its third consecutive year — triumphed over NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for Comedy/Variety Sketch Series. It was a stunning upset, albeit one with absolutely no bearing on the upcoming Emmy race — beyond giving hope for every weirdo show out there hoping against hope for recognition.

The same goes for Showtime’s “Homeland,” which nabbed a win for Episodic Drama, the series’ first WGA award in seven years, proving its never too late for a former prestige drama to make a late-in-life awards bid. Not for this Emmy season, of course, since the series won’t be back until fall, but who can say what might happen in 2020?

The WGA TV Awards did offer a boost for one 2019 Emmy contender with Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” winning Original Long Form and staking a claim in a limited series category that’s sure to be crowded, including an already strong competitor in Showtime’s “Escape At Dannemora.”

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