It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for freshman series on Emmy nominations day, depending whether they are in the drama or comedy side.
First-year comedies had the best showing in the comedy series category in almost two decades, with three nominees, Amazon/Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, HBO’s Barry, and Netflix’s GLOW. The last time there were three freshman series in the top comedy category was 2010 (Modern Family, Glee and Nurse Jackie).
While there was a major turnover in the best comedy series category this year, helped by the absence of three-time winner Veep and also involving the snub of five-time winner Modern Family, an even bigger seismic shift happened last year in the best drama series field. A whopping five first-year dramas made the cut for best series nominations in 2017, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which won, Netflix’s The Crown and Stranger Things, HBO’s Westworld and NBC’s This Is Us.
It was a very strong freshman class, and all five shows are back this year. With juggernaut Game of Thrones back after a year off, and The Americans taking a final bow, the crowded category had no room for buzzy newcomers like Netflix’s Ozark and BBC America’s Killing Eve, both of which scored acting nominations for their stars Jason Bateman and Sandra Oh, respectively, or for breakout broadcast hits The Good Doctor and 9-1-1, both of which were snubbed completely.
The last time there were no freshman dramas in the top category was 2009 when sophomore Mad Men won its second straight best series title.