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From 'Broad City' to 'Game of Thrones,' an Emmy Nominations Wish List

Photo of Matt Brennan By Matt Brennan | Thompson on Hollywood! July 7, 2014 at 7:15AM

When the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences doles out Emmy nominations each summer, I often wake to the announcement like a naughty kid on Christmas Day: staring down a lump of coal. In that spirit, here's a wish list of gifts I hope to find under Emmy's tree Thursday morning in the major categories. I promise I've been very good this year.
9


Comedy Central's "Broad City"
Comedy Central's "Broad City"

When the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences doles out Emmy nominations each summer, I often wake to the announcement like a naughty kid on Christmas Day: staring down a lump of coal. In that spirit, here's a wish list of gifts I hope to find under Emmy's tree Thursday morning in the major categories. I promise I've been very good this year.

Outstanding Comedy Series: "Broad City"/"Trophy Wife"

"Trophy Wife"
"Trophy Wife"

In a strong field of energizing drama/comedy hybrids ("Girls," "Louie," "Orange is the New Black") and HBO's bracing political satire, "Veep," two series deserve recognition for their assured use of comic structures that defy prestige sensibilities. ABC's sorely neglected "Trophy Wife" mined the moribund sitcom format for warm irony, pitching the blended family at its center as a lighthearted team of rivals; Comedy Central's "Broad City," ballsy and bawdy, transformed the sketchy humor of its web series origins into a hilariously impolite portrait of modern friendship.  

Wish List Nominees
"Broad City" (Comedy Central)
"Girls" (HBO)
"Louie" (FX)
"Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)
"Trophy Wife" (ABC)
"Veep" (HBO)

Outstanding Drama Series: "Masters of Sex"

"Masters of Sex"
"Masters of Sex"

In the murderers row of dramas poised to dominate this category, several series might qualify for the final slot: "The Good Wife," "Scandal," "Hannibal," and "Boardwalk Empire" all come immediately to mind, with the much improved "Bates Motel," the declining "Downton Abbey," and the uneven "Orphan Black" peering in from the margins. But if I may be so bold, let me stump for Showtime's deliriously great 1950s period piece "Masters of Sex," which follows William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) as their pioneering studies of human sexuality expose unforeseen shoals in an Eisenhower-era university town. Nuanced, novel, and beautifully wrought, it more than stands up to its brasher dramatic brethren.

Wish List Nominees
"The Americans" (FX)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"Masters of Sex" (Showtime)
"True Detective" (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor (Comedy): Jonathan Groff, "Looking"

Jonathan Groff, with Raul Castillo, in "Looking"
Jonathan Groff, with Raul Castillo, in "Looking"

As I wrote in March, following the season finale, "Looking" struggled in the early going to discover a structure with enough space to maintain its loose pacing and enough focus to develop its central trio of gay men in present-day San Francisco. But with the exceptional fifth episode, "Looking for the Future," the series stumbled upon bumbling, strait-laced Patrick (Jonathan Groff) as the prism through which to view the other characters' peaks and valleys, and thereby forged an affecting portrait of the blind spots that prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly. The underrated Groff ably navigates the tension between desire and expectation that thwarts Patrick throughout the season's accomplished second half, capturing the quiet vulnerability of an otherwise privileged young man learning to be comfortable in his own skin.

Wish List Nominees
Louis C.K., "Louie"
Jonathan Groff, "Looking"
Chris O'Dowd, "Family Tree"
Chris Messina, "The Mindy Project"
Andy Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Bradley Whitford, "Trophy Wife"


This article is related to: Emmys, Girls, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Orange is the New Black, HBO, NetFlix, Comedy Central, FX, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, True Detective, Showtime, Looking, NBC , Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, Homeland, Orphan Black, Silicon Valley, Aaron Paul


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.