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Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Comedy Series

Amazon and HBO duke it out with two top contenders each, while everyone else is looking for upset angles. [Updated September 16]

Rachel Brosnahan in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" Season 2

Rachel Brosnahan in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Nicole Rivelli

Last Year’s Winner: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak:Veep” has won the Best Comedy Series Emmy in three consecutive seasons, but its ineligibility in 2018 left the door open for a new winner: Enter “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” With both qualifying in 2019, the stage is set for a showdown between defending champions.
Fun Fact: No comedy series that’s won for its first season has also won for its final season. Among the 10 comedies that have won multiple Best Comedy Series Emmys, all but two won all their trophies consecutively. (For example, “Frasier” won five in a row, and never won again.) “All in the Family” won for its first three seasons, than lost four times in a row before winning again in Season 8. “Cheers” had an even more turbulent path to four trophies, winning for its first two seasons, then again for Season 7, and once more for Season 9.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Atlanta,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Silicon Valley,” “Master of None,” “Transparent”

At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Comedy Series. This article will be updated throughout the season, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz from the 2019 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15. The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 22. Fox is broadcasting the ceremony.

The State of the Race

The comedy and drama races are polar opposites of each other. While “Game of Thrones” looks to cruise to a crowning victory for its final season, the half-hour series are in a bottleneck at the top, as “Barry,” “Veep,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Fleabag,” and even “Russian Doll” all have paths to the winners’ circle.

The easy narrative would favor “Veep.” A two-time defending champion in the category, HBO would certainly love to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ political comedy snag one more trophy. That would mean the network’s two landmark series would go out on top in their final seasons… but “Veep” only snagged nine nominations, down from 12 in its previous year of eligibility and fifth among comedies this year. That’s a sign of weakness, even for a beloved former favorite, and other shows could take advantage.

If not “Veep,” HBO obviously hopes to pass the torch amongst itself and see “Barry” take the title — which is a very real possibility, given the series’ overall popularity within an Academy made up of many actors who love sharp Hollywood satires — but Amazon has the category’s nomination leader and critics’ darling, respectively.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is coming off its first win in the category, leads all comedies in total nominations, and saw its own nomination count jump from 14 to 20 between seasons. All of those factors are hard to ignore, showing its appeal across Academy branches and high viewership in general, but “Fleabag” fans are relentless. Between “Killing Eve” and “Fleabag,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge-created series have as many nods as “Maisel” — which isn’t that big of a factor until you consider where they could reward her. Maybe it’s an acting trophy, but Drama Series is a longshot, so maybe this race is close enough for “Fleabag” to win.

And then there’s “Russian Doll.” While Netflix was clearly hoping to have more comedies in contention, the fact that they only have to push one series could be a benefit here. With the full weight (and hefty wallet) of Netflix behind them, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler could be a force on the circuit, reminding everyone of just how original their first season was and why it was the breakout critics’ darling before “Fleabag” came along. Thirteen nods is nothing to sneeze at, and considering how many categories see “Russian Doll” squaring off with other top contenders, it will try to go toe-to-toe across-the-board — including here.

As for “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Good Place,” it’s likely the nomination itself is the win. “Schitt’s Creek” has been trying to break in for years, and while it’s got a strong fan base, odds are low they’re broad enough across the Academy to push this over the finish line. “The Good Place” got in just in time — not for this year, but to set up a significant run for the final season in 2020. You can’t rule any of these excellent series out, not really, so close tabs will be kept on everybody as the Phase Two race gets underway.

Power Ranking the Nominees:

  1. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime)
  2. “Barry” (HBO)
  3. “Veep” (HBO)
  4. “Fleabag” (Amazon Prime)
  5. “Russian Doll” (Netflix)
  6. “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)
  7. “The Good Place” (NBC)

Will Win: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Could Win: “Barry,” “Veep,” and “Fleabag”
Should Win: “Fleabag”

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