EMMYS: Overlooked Veterans Vie For Another Chance At Emmy Glory

Awardsline logo_use this oneIn May 2002, NBC’s Friends was coming off its eighth season, which chronicled Rachel’s pregnancy. Whether it was the resurgence of the Rachel/Ross storyline or the nation’s yearning for laughter following the 9/11 attacks, it was one of Friends’ most successful seasons, drawing its largest audience in four years. While Friends was embraced by Friendsviewers in a big way, the popular comedy seemed causa perduta where the Emmys were concerned. For its first seven seasons, Friends only had earned three Emmys (for supporting actress Lisa Kudrow, guest actor Bruce Willis and directing). In 2001 it missed a nom in the best comedy series category, after two consecutive mentions and four overall, and recorded its fewest nominations in any season with five. But the following year, voters gave the show a second look with 11 nominations, as well as wins for best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series for Jennifer Aniston.

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While some snubs have been frustrating — such as House’s Hugh Laurie and The Office’s Steve Carell never winning an Emmy for their signature roles — the Television Academy has been much more open than others about revisiting actors and shows that had slipped through the cracks. The Sopranos24 and Breaking Bad didn’t win a best drama series Emmy until their fifth seasons. Everybody Loves Raymond didn’t get its best comedy series Emmy until season seven. The show won a second Emmy for its ninth and final run, which is something The Sopranos also accomplished with the conclusion of its final sixth season.

All of this is encouraging precedent for CBS’ blockbuster The Big Bang Theory, which, in its seventh season, is still looking for its first best comedy series Emmy. It came close last year when it ended the season with a string of strong episodes and two major critics’ best series awards before losing at the Emmys to Modern Family.

CBS’ The Good Wife is likely to get a second breath of life after dropping out of the drama race the past two years. While it’s not easy for a serialized drama to find another gear late in its run, The Good Wife found it this season, earning its first Golden Globe best drama series nom as well as renewed Writers Guild Awards recognition—all before Josh Charles’ shocking exit.

Things are less reassuring for AMC veteran Mad Men, which also is seeking an Emmy comeback after being shut out for a trophy the past two years following four consecutive best drama series wins. TV Academy voters rarely revisit a series after a dominating Emmy start. Frasier won five consecutive best comedy series Emmys for its first five seasons, 30 Rock did it for the first three, and The West Wing, like Mad Men, won for the first four. None of them logged another best series win ever again.

Mad Men star Jon Hamm and Parks and Recreation’s Amy Poehler are among a number of actors on long-running series who deserve another look. They never have won an Emmy for roles that have become pop culture staples. Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City scored an Emmy in her very last shot, something Neil Patrick Harris of recently departed How I Met Your Mother and Michael C. Hall of Dexter will try to accomplish this year.

It will be an uphill battle for Hall and Hamm after HBO’s True Detective opted to compete as a drama, along with its leading men Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The plucky HBO newcomer is shaking up the drama race, throwing a wrench into the narrative about second and final chances that had focused on Breaking Bad’s attempt to end its run with back-to-back best series wins and long-running shows, such as Mad Men and The Good Wife, staging a comeback. Instead, it will be a battle of the young turks, led by True Detective and House of Cards, and the veterans, led by Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

  1. Could be the right time for BBT. After all If you hang around long enough, you get an Emmy regardless of quality. Just ask Cryer. The Good Wife on the other hand has been touted all season as experiencing an upswing in what was already consistent quality. I personally would love to see it bring the Best Drama trophy back to network TV. Even when it goes off the rails, it’s one of best dramas anywhere right now.

  2. Would like to see HIMYM get at least one major Emmy nomination for this past final season [9] – perhaps for best supporting actor for NPH.

    However, I would also like to see Josh Radnor finally get some consideration in that category. Voters may not have always appreciated JR and his work as ‘Ted’, but some of his ‘from the heart’ speeches to Crazy Jeanette (‘Sunrise’) and to Robin (‘Sunrise’ and ‘End of the Isle’) are pretty strong stuff… no one on television delivers those types of ‘end of his rope’ moments better than JR.

    Cobie Smulders’ work this past final season 9 was also quite good – particularly near the end in ‘Sunrise’, ‘Daisy’ and ‘End of the Isle.’ Perhaps an Emmy nomination nod to her in best supporting category?

  3. I love the Friends win for comedy series. It seriously was a comeback season. Rachel’s pregnancy gave life to the series and Jennifer Aniston was very deserving of the Emmy (just watch the finale where she goes into labor and also the one before where she was late, her comedic timing couldn’t be better).

    As for TBBT, I still don’t think it will pull out a win. This was one of Modern Family’s better season and the finale was very good. I don’t sense a fatigue for this show just yet.

    I would love to see The Good Wife nominated again for best drama but there is no way it will win against True Detective and Breaking Bad. I think it’s extremely unfair for TD to compete in drama. How can you compare the quality of a series with 8 episodes to one with 22 episodes? There is just absolutely no way for TGW to sustain that kind of tension that TD had.

    The Emmy are so over Mad Men and Jon Hamm can join Michael C Hall, Hugh Laurie and Steve Carell as being Emmy-less after getting consistent nominations.

  4. Correction to your post: “Friends” missed out on Best Comedy Series bids in its 3rd, 4th, and 7th seasons before winning for its 8th.

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