Emmys 2022: A close look at the comedy and drama races

Emmy voting begins next week, ends all pop-up promo installs (if Netflix needs a place to stash that creepy robot doll, there’s room in my backyard), and awards a measure of sanity to conscientious members of the television academy diligently watch, watch, and watch (and probably never quite finish) the hundreds of eligible shows vying for your attention.

What series will emerge when the Emmy nominations are announced on July 12th? This is how the races are shaped at this critical point.


“Better call Saul”
“Severance pay”
“Squid Game”
“Stranger Things”
“This is us”
“Yellow Stone”

Nominated last year, not eligible this year: The Boys, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Mandalorian will eventually return, but their new seasons are too late for the 2022 Emmys. Lovecraft Country was canceled; “pose” finished.

Best New Show Not Likely To Be Nominated: The headline for Robert Lloyd’s The Times TV Critic’s review of this deeply moving drama read, “Apple’s Stunning ‘Pachinko’ Is So Good It Makes the Competition Unworthy.” That pretty much sums it up. The question, as always but more so than ever in this fragmented streaming era: have enough voters been watching? If you were to start this rousing, breathtakingly beautiful series, I can’t see how you wouldn’t do it. There was not a wasted moment in storytelling. But I fear its scope may have intimidated some voters. I hope I’m wrong.

Second place nudge: I now know a lot of people who have ventured into the dark forest of the “Yellowjackets,” some of whom vote for the Emmys. Even five months after its finale, the show’s grainy opening credits still haunt my dreams and kept me from camping for the rest of my life. Has there ever been a better series about teenage girls? (Maybe the far-too-early “My So-Called Life”?) Is there a better cast outside of the group to play the adult and teen versions of these traumatized characters? (“Succession”? Sure. But that aside… ) So, yes, “Yellowjackets” deserves a seat at the table, but there are probably too many brand series to accommodate all the worthy newcomers. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

Best series farewell: Obviously not the horrifying final hour of Killing Eve, which offended pretty much everyone, including author Luke Jennings, whose Codename Villanelle trilogy inspired the series. And not “Ozark,” though its brutal emptiness fitted very well with what has made this nihilistic show so off-putting for the past few seasons. No, the honor goes to “This Is Us,” which is likely to receive a Farewell Series nomination for ending its emotional rollercoaster ride with a thoughtful ending that (of course) made us cry, but also made us satisfactorily return to the Station drew us to take a private inventory of the “little moments” we collect throughout our lives.

Too big to ignore: “Yellowstone” received just one Emmy nomination for its first three seasons – Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program. (She lost.) But like Dallas, another prime-time soap opera that was largely rejected by voters until it became a phenomenon, Yellowstone has become an obsession for its older audience and spawned a one-off prequel (“1883”) and a sequel to this prequel (tentatively titled “1932”), which will star Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford. Yellowstone’s fourth season wasn’t the best. But it leaned into Kelly Reilly (who more than deserves her own nomination) and cemented Beth Dutton as TV badass for the ages.


“Abbott Elementary School”
“The After Party”
“The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel”
“Only Murders in the Building”
“Ted Lasso”

Nominated last year, not eligible this year: Of the eight nominees for 2021, only The Kominsky Method has left the building.

Four young adults hide behind a wall in a scene from "Reservation dogs."

Lane Factor, left, Paulina Alexis, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai and Devery Jacobs star in Reservation Dogs, a comedy that deserves attention.

(Shane Brown/FX)

Best New Show Not Likely To Be Nominated: The late “PEN15” managed a series nomination, so why not another smart, wacky comedy from Hulu? The problem the acclaimed Taika Waititi-produced “Reservation Dogs” faces is that it premiered almost a year ago and required a little patience to sink into its leisurely tale of a quartet of Indigenous Oklahoma teenagers who are the Bonus issue: It’s been an extraordinary year for television comedy, and the eight nominees aren’t nearly enough to honor all of the honorable shows.

Second place nudge: I realize that not everyone has enjoyed the exhilarating experience of being Townsperson No. 3 in a community theater production of The Music Man (critics said our choir sang and danced with “the strangest passion”), but that shouldn’t stop anyone from watching Apple’s exuberant musical theater show Schmigadoon! to reward. (OK. It probably will. But we’ll always have Corn Puddin.)

Best series farewell: “Black-ish” wrapped up its groundbreaking eight-season run in April and will likely miss out on the Emmys — dismal fitting considering the comedy has garnered 24 nominations and won just once. (It received an honors award for its Season 1 episode on corporal punishment.) Likewise, “Insecure” was overlooked, winning just one out of 11 nominations … an absolute bounty compared to Pamela Adlon’s “Better Things,” which garnered just two nominations for its star and creator. All three series delivered beautiful farewells that brought smiles to their loyal fan bases. It would be nice if the good feelings continue in some form when the nominations are announced next month.

Best returns after a long break: “Atlanta” reappeared after four years between seasons. “Barry” is back after a three-year hiatus. The shows approached their third season differently, with “Barry” taking a well-planned look at the title character’s attempt to atone for his past (Henry Winkler’s acting coach also seeks redemption), and “Atlanta” embracing the surreal narrative detours , which featured many of his best episodes. The new run of “Atlanta” could be confusing, but it was just as often extraordinary. “Barry” leaned into its darkness while still producing some of the funniest moments of the year. (Please tell me Mitch the beignet brother actually exists. I need a soundboard!) Voters should welcome both shows with open arms.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/awards/story/2022-06-08/emmys-2022-drama-comedy-series-predictions Emmys 2022: A close look at the comedy and drama races

Sarah Ridley

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