Emmys: 21 New Shows That Could Break Through in the Comedy and Drama Races

9:00 AM 6/9/2020

by Rebecca Ford

The Hollywood Reporter surveys the brand-new shows that could land in the slots vacated by 'Game of Thrones' and 'Veep.'

Courtesy Photos

Out in the real world, there's little consistency to be found. But when it comes to television, one thing that's certain is that there will be surprises when the Emmy nominations are announced July 28. Chalk that up to two shows that have won a multitude of the drama and comedy races for the past five years — HBO's Game of Thrones and Veep. These awards grabbers have finally retired from the race, opening up the playing field considerably and raising aspirations for newcomers.

"I think there are some givens, in terms of nominations, but it's pretty wide open right now," TV Academy president and COO Maury McIntyre tells THR. "Even in 2019, Fleabag came out of nowhere." With that beloved Phoebe Waller-Bridge series also wrapped up, there are plenty of freshman series hoping for an out-of-nowhere nomination and, maybe, even a win.

  • 'Big Little Lies' (HBO)

    Drama

    'Big Little Lies'
    'Big Little Lies'
    Jennifer Clasen/HBO

    The Nicole Kidman-Reese Witherspoon drama earned 16 Emmy nominations and won eight in 2017 ­— but that was back when it was a limited series. Can it perform as the new kid in the very crowded drama category?

  • 'The Eddy' (Netflix)

    Drama

    'The Eddy'
    'The Eddy'
    Courtesy of Berlinale Series

    La La Land Oscar winner Damien Chazelle steps back into the world of jazz, but with a grittier, darker take, set in Paris and starring André Holland.

  • 'Euphoria' (HBO)

    'Euphoria'
    'Euphoria'
    Eddy Chen/HBO

    Led by Zendaya's gripping turn, Sam Levinson's teen drama explicitly grapples with sex, drugs and friendship.

  • 'Hunters' (Amazon)

    Drama

    'Hunters'
    'Hunters'
    Christopher Saunders

    Executive produced by Jordan Peele, the 1970s-set Nazi-hunter drama brings Al Pacino to the small screen for his first regular TV series role.

  • 'The Mandalorian' (Disney+)

    Drama

    'The Mandalorian'
    'The Mandalorian'
    Disney+

    It's hard to remember the last time there was a breakout as big as Baby Yoda — aka "The Child" — which skyrocketed this Star Wars series into an instant hit.

  • 'The Morning Show' (Apple TV+)

    Drama

    'The Morning Show'
    'The Morning Show'
    Courtesty of Apple TV+

    Apple TV+'s most star-studded show earned the streamer its first Globe noms (for drama, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon) and is the most likely to break into the Emmys.

  • 'On Becoming a God in Central Florida' (Showtime)

    Comedy

    'On Becoming a God in Central Florida'
    'On Becoming a God in Central Florida'
    Courtesy of Showtime

    Despite its dark comedic undertones, the '90s-set show (with a standout performance from Kirsten Dunst) was ruled a drama by the TV Academy.

  • 'The Outsider' (HBO)

    Drama

    'The Outsider'
    'The Outsider'
    Bob Mahoney/HBO

    A police procedural with a supernatural twist, this Stephen King miniseries touts memorable work by Ben Mendelsohn and recent Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo.

  • 'Tales From the Loop' (Amazon)

    Drama

    'Tales From the Loop'
    'Tales From the Loop'
    Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

    A roster of top directors, including Mark Romanek, Andrew Stanton and Jodie Foster, worked on this sci-fi show inspired by Simon Stalenhag's art.

  • 'Avenue 5' (HBO)

    Comedy

    'Avenue 5'
    'Avenue 5'
    Alex Bailey/HBO

    Veep creator Armando Iannucci's new comedy sees an interplanetary cruise ship stranded in space with an incompetent captain (Hugh Laurie) at the helm.

  • 'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens' (Comedy Central)

    Comedy

    'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens'
    'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens'
    Zach Dilgard

    Awkwafina's semiautobiographical comedy was a ratings smash for the network and a strong vehicle for its versatile lead actress.

  • '#blackAF' (Netflix)

    Comedy

    '#blackAF'
    '#blackAF'
    Netflix

    Black-ish creator Kenya Barris stars as "Kenya Barris" and pokes plenty of fun at himself in the first project of his $100 million Netflix deal.

  • 'Dave' (FXX)

    Comedy

    'Dave'
    'Dave'
    Ray Mickshaw/FX

    The rapper show is FX Networks' most watched comedy series ever, but the question will be how many penis jokes is too many penis jokes for the Academy?

  • 'Dickinson' (Apple TV+)

    Comedy-Drama

    'Dickinson'
    'Dickinson'
    Apple TV+

    Hailee Steinfeld stars in and exec produced the audacious revisionist take on poet Emily Dickinson's youth.

  • 'The Great' (Hulu)

    Comedy

    'The Great'
    'The Great'
    Hulu

    The Favourite writer Tony McNamara brings his irreverent voice and outlandish punchlines to this modern take on Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning).

  • 'High Fidelity' (Hulu)

    Comedy

    'High Fidelity'
    'High Fidelity'
    HULU

    The gender-flipped reboot of the 2000 John Cusack vehicle is driven by Zoë Kravitz's charming performance.

  • 'Little America' (Apple TV+)

    Drama

    'Little America'
    'Little America'
    Courtesy of Apple TV+

    Eight true immigrant stories are chronicled in this arresting anthology series from Alan Yang and Big Sick co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who serve as executive producers.

  • 'The Politician' (Netflix)

    Comedy-Drama

    'The Politician'
    'The Politician'
    Courtesy of Netflix

    Ryan Murphy's first Netflix foray takes Tony winner Ben Platt back to high school, with notable guest appearances by Bette Midler and Judith Light.

  • 'The Righteous Gemstones' (HBO)

    Comedy

    'The Righteous Gemstones'
    'The Righteous Gemstones'
    Ryan Green/HBO

    Danny McBride's past shows (Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals) have been mostly ignored by the Academy, but perhaps this televangelist comedy can break through.

  • 'Space Force' (Netflix)

    Comedy

    'Space Force'
    'Space Force'
    Courtesy of Netflix

    The Office's Greg Daniels and Steve Carell reteam for a timely satire about the (not so fictional) new branch of the military.

  • 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' (NBC)

    Comedy

    'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'
    'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'
    Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

    An ambitious musical show stars Jane Levy as a coder juggling multiple love interests.

    This story first appeared in the June 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.