Emmys: Why Voters Should Give 'Veep,' 'Big Bang Theory' and Other Ending Series One Final Look
Whether exiting on their own terms ('Fleabag') or being forced off the stage ('One Day at a Time'), each of these comedies has earned a fitting sendoff.
As the Emmy drama field wilted under pressure from the dragon-led behemoth that was the final season of Game of Thrones, the TV Academy could fill the comedy categories with excellence three or four times over.
Another exceptional class of freshman half-hours — think Russian Doll, Ramy, The Kominsky Method or Kidding — is sure to attract attention from those lovers of the shiny and new, but here's hoping voters remember the myriad departing comedies eligible for the last time.
It's hard to worry about HBO's Veep, winner of three series Emmys, plus an almost mind-boggling six for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who added a triumph-from-health-adversity narrative that ought to make her unbeatable this year. Still, Anna Chlumsky has five nominations and zero wins, so will Amy's transition into a magnificently grotesque Kellyanne Conway-esque figure this season help her finally take home a supporting trophy? And what of the tremendous ensemble players who haven't yet made an Emmy shortlist, such as Timothy Simons and Sam Richardson? Might Rhea Seehorn, too frequently ignored for Better Call Saul, find a Veep guest-acting nom? Don't expect the brevity of its seven-episode closing season to hinder this juggernaut.
And what of CBS' The Big Bang Theory? This departing sensation has always portrayed itself as an audience favorite and awards afterthought even though it has been a frequent series nominee and Jim Parsons was, for a while, nearly as much an Emmy inevitability as Louis-Dreyfus. Might an emotional and generally well-received finale yield directing and writing nominations? Or will Emmy voters look to smaller favorites and decide that when it comes to awards accolades for The Big Bang Theory, as Don Draper put it, that's what the money's for?
Speaking of smaller favorites, might creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge's insistence that there won't be a third season of Fleabag benefit the recently premiered second? The combination of finality, critical acclaim and Waller-Bridge's off-Broadway revival of the one-woman show that spawned the series feels like a perfect storm for this toxic delight. Emmy voters ignored season one, but that was before co-star Olivia Colman spent a winter charming the Oscar circuit and Andrew Scott brought his hot priestly divinity to the cast.
Fleabag has perhaps stolen a little of that final-season momentum from Amazon stablemate Catastrophe, another magnificently prickly small-batch import, though one with two previous Emmy nominations on its CV. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, nominated for writing in 2016, hit new acting highs, especially in the episode that found them mourning the character played by the late Carrie Fisher, an Emmy nominee in 2017.
A pair of cable comedies are riding a small wave from well-regarded sendoff seasons, though Broad City and You're the Worst have zero previous Emmy nominations. If Broad City co-stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer aren't likely to fight their way in for acting noms (if only they could share one), how about honoring their writing on the innovative social media-driven premiere or on the finale, which was directed note-perfectly by Lucia Aniello? And do Emmy voters really want to look back on Aya Cash's nuanced depiction of depression in You're the Worst and realize they never nominated her?
Speaking of a lack of Emmy love, Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom both won Globes without Jane the Virgin or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend making it to the Emmy radar. They're both still worthy! Surely after two noms as outstanding narrator, Jane the Virgin voiceover master Anthony Mendez deserves a win. It's also a minor absurdity that Bloom, Adam Schlesinger and Jack Dolgen have never won for their cheeky songs. "Hello, Nice to Meet You" might be the safest choice, but who wouldn't want to see the star-studded "Vagina Metaphor" on a nomination list?
Finally, there are those series that aren't departing on their own terms, shows that might have extended their lives by a year or two if they'd been able to add "Emmy Nominee" to their billboard. It's still verging on nonsensical that Rita Moreno never received an nomination for Netflix's One Day at a Time. Make the most of these last chances, Emmy voters!
This story first appeared in a June stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.