Among comedy series Emmy nominees, the competition is just as fierce as on the drama side. But things look a little brighter for the traditional networks in this category after being shut out in drama. ABC’s undefeated four-time champ Modern Family will try to defend its title against the No. 1 comedy and perennial nominee, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Those two favorites will go against four cable darlings, including two brand-new shows that scored a nom on their first try: HBO’s Silicon Valley and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. Here’s how they all stack up:
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
With 33 nominations and five wins over its seven seasons, TV’s No. 1 comedy finally might take home the big prize. Producer Chuck Lorre has never won, and I would think it is about time for him to get some Emmy love. Often snobbish voters punish shows for popularity, and that’s probably why Big Bang has failed to explode at the Emmys. Is it finally time?
This series seems on the cusp of winning, but it could be too edgy for some voters who like their sitcoms a little more predictable. There’s no denying the talent of star-creator Louis C.K., but his show can be polarizing, though almost always brilliant. That divisiveness doesn’t necessarily translate into Emmy success. And it’s not always that funny, either, choosing instead to be about the stuff of life over the easy laughs.
Modern Family, ABC
Can it be stopped? If Modern Family wins the comedy series Emmy this year, it will tie Frasier as the only shows with five top series prizes in their first five seasons. Some think this year was subpar considering the level of quality the show has attained, but you can’t deny this is one comedy that has entered the zeitgeist. Considering Emmy voters tend to repeat themselves, anything is possible.
Orange is the New Black, Netflix
Another Netflix triumph to go alongside House of Cards, this freshman series could just as easily have slipped into the drama race. The laughs are not always there, nor are they intended to be. It’s already won the Critics’ Choice and TCA awards for comedy. An Emmy would be icing on the cake and an important milestone for Netflix. It could happen if voters want to seem hip.
Related: Critics’ Choice TV Awards Winners
Silicon Valley, HBO
Some were surprised to see Beavis and Butt-Head creator Mike Judge’s series, which had a late-season debut, find its way into the top comedy category. But in talking to voters, it is clear this one—about nerdy tech entrepreneurs looking to launch the next billion-dollar start-up—connected with them immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised if an upset were in the making here for this superbly crafted series that promises to be around for years.
Voters already have heaped their love onto Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus with a lead actress Emmy last year, and they are likely to do so again this year. But with nine nominations for its third season, the show itself is being taken seriously as a major contender on its own terms. Like any good succession plan, Veep could be on its way to a swearing-in ceremony for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The Winner: Veep