If I Had an Emmy Ballot: Comedy Writing, Directing, and Series

Emmy voting has just completed. Over the next few weeks, I'll be laying out who I hope gets nominated in the drama, comedy, and limited series categories in this space, looking specifically at achievements in acting, writing, and directing. Below are my six personal picks for Outstanding Comedy Series, Writing for a Comedy Series, and Directing for a Comedy Series, with my preferred winner in bold.

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

  1. Atlanta — FX
  2. Fleabag — Amazon
  3. Transparent — Amazon
  4. Dear White People — Netflix
  5. Better Things — FX
  6. Search Party — TBS
  7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — The CW
    (alt: One Day at a Time  — Netflix)

Several great veteran comedies remain on the air—Veep, Silicon Valley, Master of None, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to name a few—but this was a remarkable year for half-hour newcomers, and in the end I decided to make room for most all of them. There’s TBS’s Search Party, a disarming millennial satire-noir; Netflix’s Dear White People, an adaptation that thoughtfully builds into a razor-sharp meditation on student activism; Amazon’s Fleabag, a fearlessly black comedy weighted by raunch and grief; FX’s Better Things, an excellent Pamela Adlon vehicle doubling as a searing depiction of motherhood; and of course, FX’s Atlanta, my comedy pick for the year, Donald Glover’s alternately surreal and naturalistic foray into the streets of Atlanta. Category’s rounded out by a pair of returnees: Transparent, a little bumpier but profound as ever in Year 3, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which firmly took the leap from good to great in a wild second season. 

 

In writing & directing, I also make room for “Thanksgiving” of Master of None, Lena Waithe’s beautiful, decades-spanning story of coming out and finding acceptance, and “A Short History of Weird Girls” of I Love Dick, Jill Soloway’s marvelous short film which puts the series in vital new perspective. 

Comedy Writing

  • Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. and Cindy Chupack for “Future Fever,” Better Things
  • Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe for “Thanksgiving,” Master of None
  • Annie Baker & Heidi Schreck for “A Short History of Weird Girls,” I Love Dick
  • Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner for “Goodbye Tour,” Girls
  • Donald Glover & Stefani Robinson for “Value,” Atlanta
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge for “Pilot,” Fleabag

Comedy Directing

  • Andrea Arnold for “If I Were a Bell,” Transparent
  • Barry Jenkins for “Chapter 5,” Dear White People
  • Hiro Murai for “The Club,” Atlanta
  • Aline Brosh McKenna for “Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?,” Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Jill Soloway for “Elizah,” Transparent
  • Jill Soloway for “A Short History of Weird Girls,” I Love Dick

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