Without Game of Thrones, the Emmys didn’t feel right last year. I mean no disrespect to The Handmaid’s Tale‘s historic win, but the Emmys without Thrones is like the NBA Finals without LeBron James: it’s hard to imagine. But imagine we must, because after this year’s 70th and either the 71st or 72nd (depending on when the HBO mega-hit returns for season eight) Primetime Emmy Awards, Thrones, the most-awarded scripted series in history, will be no more. But that’s still a few years away. In 2018, Thrones is, well, I don’t want to say it’s a lock to win again, because Handmaid’s might repeat, or the final season of The Americans could pull off an upset (wishful thinking!), or maybe the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will give the trophy to Westworld out of confusion, or The Terror perhaps… never mind. Where was I again?
Oh yeah: Game of Thrones. It’s going to win.
The more interesting and tougher to predict race in 2018 is Outstanding Comedy Series. “Interesting” is not a word I would usually use describe this category, considering these are the winners for every year since 2007.
2007: 30 Rock
2008: 30 Rock
2009: 30 Rock
2010: Modern Family
2011: Modern Family
2012: Modern Family
2013: Modern Family
2014: Modern Family
(The last non-repeat winners: in 2005 and 2006, with Everybody Loves Raymond then The Office. Before 30 Rock‘s reign, it hadn’t happened since Frasier went back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back from 1994-1998.)
What a snooze. Again, this isn’t a reflection on the quality of the shows — 30 Rock and Veep are all-timers, and Modern Family is… fine — but there’s not much suspense when you know Julia Louis-Dreyfus is going to be on that stage at the end of the night. Meanwhile, here are some of the shows that have lost since 2007: The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, Girls, Louie, Orange Is the New Black, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, black-ish, Atlanta, and Master of None. Those are some great shows (I left out Entourage and The Big Bang Theory — no one ever said the Emmys were perfect), and unlike previous years, the Kimmys and Atlantas of the world have a shot at winning.
Along with the oft-nominated Better Call Saul, House of Cards, and Master of None, Veep didn’t meet the eligibility requirements for the 2018 Emmys (the show took a longer than normal break in production while Julia Louis-Dreyfus underwent treatment for breast cancer), so the comedy race is wide open.
Here are the nominees.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
It’s unfortunate The Good Place didn’t make the cut, but there’s no obvious, Modern Family-esque bum choice in there. (Especially when compared to the inconsistent Outstanding Drama Series race, where half the nominees — cough Westworld cough — could be swapped out for the likes of Killing Eve, The Terror, Halt and Catch Fire, Twin Peaks: The Return, and so on.)
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Silicon Valley, and Kimmy Schmidt have had stronger seasons, perhaps, but that’s less a criticism than an acknowledgment of their extremely high standards. (This abbreviated season of Kimmy still gave us Jon Hamm, as DJ Slizzard, playing the Baha Men’s follow-up hit to “Who Let the Dogs Out,” “When Let the Dogs Out.”) Outstanding Comedy Series is the rare category where I’d be fine with any of the winners, but especially: Atlanta, for its thrilling unpredictably (Paper Boi’s adventures with Bibby one week; “Teddy Perkins” the next); Barry, for finding its dark-comedy tone quicker than most freshman series; GLOW, for being the ideal Netflix show; and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, for being everything Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life wasn’t (fun!).
It doesn’t matter what wins, though. It’s just nice to have some intrigue again.