Emmys

Emmys 2013: The Comedy Series Race in Review, Including Our 6 Dream Nominees

Emmy Best Comedy Series NomineesGrills are firing up, school is winding down, and you’ve come to terms with the fact that yes, you will become obsessed with another season of Big Brother. You know what this means, right? Emmy season is here!

As the balloting process gets underway, culminating in the July 18 nomination announcement, TVLine will be taking a close look at all the contenders in the major races and highlighting our dream candidates — the six shows and performers in each category that we think voters should recognize when they fill out their ballots.

More Emmy Races In Review | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress | Outstanding Drama Series | Lead Drama Actor | Lead Drama Actress | Supporting Drama Actor | Supporting Drama Actress | Outstanding Reality-Competition Series

First up: Outstanding Comedy Series. Review the slideshow then head to the comments to share your own personal dream nominees. And check back Monday for our preview of the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series race!

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126 Comments
  1. Louie, Girls, Veep, Parks & Rec, New Girl, Happy Endings.

    That’s the way it should be, IMO. TBBT & MF are way overrated and past their prime.
    New Girl was amazing this year. Never have I seen a show kick the term “sophomore slump” in the face since Parks & Rec.

    • Ann says:

      The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family consistently get higher ratings. They deserve some recognition for that don’t you think? The humor of both shows is broad enough to capture the imagination of millions of viewers, and that’s hard to do…whereas shows like Happy Endings and Veep are good, but their humor is very narrow. It’s easier to please a narrow crowd of people as opposed to humoring a larger crowd. That’s a key reason why Modern Family has won for 3 straight years.

      • I politely disagree. That should be a different ceremony – if we’re going to hand out awards based on popularity. And there is such a thing, it’s called the People’s Choice Awards. (The irony that the PCA’s, of all awards shows, are fixed, is a different story.)

        Both The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family have been heavily relying on old punchlines and one-two jokes that they’ve been using for seasons now. Sheldon’s the nerd, Penny’s the dumbass. Phil is a weirdo, Gloria has an accent, Manny is the hopeless romantic. It was fun for a season or two, but now it’s just repetitive and boring. I will, however, say, that I saw a slight uptick in quality on TBBT towards the end of the season, but it’s still far from what the show used to be. The second they became popular, Chuck Lorre got rid of all the nerdy references and turned the show into another typical Chuck Lorre sitcom. Clue: Google the ratings, find out when the biggest upswing happened and then google the female cast members wand find out when they were added to the show, ;)

        Girls and Louie are a new breed of comedy. Something refreshing, something unexpected, something original. They’re incredibly funny and have great acting and writing. Parks & Rec has been consistently funny for five years now, and New Girl reinvented itself in its sophomore year. And with JLD at the helm, Veep is a comedy that can flat-out bring you to tears from all the laughing. And Happy Endings, the one that’s nearest and dearest to my heart, has become its own little mini pop-culture phenomenon. And to me that’s something that deserves to be awarded more than overall popularity. How the writers of that show managed to recognize the brilliance of its cast and turn that show from another rom-com sitcom into a niche comedic genius absolutely deserves the recognition.

        One more thing, and the biggest ‘duh’ argument – how the heck would cable comedies ever get recognized if overall viewership and popularity were factored into award ceremonies?

        • atoz15 says:

          100% agree with you!!!!!

          • atoz15 says:

            (Marin that is)

          • mikerochen says:

            I can’t believe all the criticism of TBBT, especially the comments that basically boil down to the idea that TBBT is past its prime b/c it’s only funny!! Big Bang is far and away the best comedy on television today and is long overdue for some recognition. I know Jim Parsons has won a Golden Globe and a couple of Emmys (or the other way around), but it’s not just the Jim Parsons show. The other cast members, particularly Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, are long overdue for some recognition.

        • Maria says:

          Disagree with you… Modern family is still as funny as ever, and the Big Bang theory is still hilarious, oh well if they are using the same punch line, it makes people laugh and for season 5, modern family on average have had so far 10.6 million viewers each episode. New Girl is not as funny as them.

      • Ally Oop says:

        I agree 100 percent. Big Bang Theory is the funniest comedy on TV with the most laugh out loud moments and obviously, by looking at the ratings, you can see a lot of people feel the same way. Even TBBT gets better ratings for their reruns than most comedies. It’s the only comedy I actually watched on a regular basis past season. No other comedy really held my interest.

      • Lee says:

        IMO TBBT and MF are past their prime. Actually, I thought MF was past its prime a year ago. This past year only confirmed it.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think Parks & Rec deserves to get nominated this year. (It should’ve gotten nominated last year!) Having Leslie and Ben live in separate cities for pretty much 1/2 of the season didn’t help either.

        I would nominate Veep and Enlightened.

        Can Arrested Development be nominated for an Emmy even though its 4th season was never shown on TV?

      • Ashly says:

        Unfortunately, broad appeal does not always account for taste. Millions of people eat at McDonald’s but that doesn’t make it fine dining. To me, awards should go to those shows that prove they are the best of the best. Entertainment is subjective so one man’s crème brûlée is another man’s eskimo pie.

        Personally, I felt this season’s comedies were weak compared to last year’s. The stand outs for me are Parks and Rec (heads and tails above the rest), The Middle, Community (even though Harmon’s influence is sorely missed). I’m up in the air about New Girl. I kind of think that the first season was funnier than this one. Also, I haven’t watched the new season of AD yet so I don’t know.

        As far as Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory go, they are shows that I find boring, but I understand their appeal to the masses. They don’t require that you think to get the joke. It’s an immediate laugh. Crossing my fingers that other shows can be celebrated this season instead of just them.

      • Josh says:

        Why should ratings equal noms? It’s about quality and The Big Bang Theory, while funny isn’t up to par with Louie, Girls, P&R, New Girl, Modern Family, Archer, How I Met Your Mother and so many other comedies. It’s the simplest comedy on TV…but still funny…just simple. You don’t need to think to watch Big Bang Theory.

        • Luis says:

          This lack of appreciation for TBBT mystifies me . . . this is one of the best casts on television doing consistently excellent work week in and out, the development of the characters over the series life has been outstanding and watching Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialick negotiating the romance between Sheldon and Amy has been hysterical. I get that Girls is the hot new series and I think Lena Dunham is an incredible talent. For me, TBBT has consistently been the funniest sitcom on t.v. for at the past two seasons.

    • Eli says:

      Funny, with the exception of New Girl and Louie I find every show you list to be overrated.

      • Yet you offer no arguments as to why you believe that.

      • Henry says:

        Really? New Girl ISN’T overrated? A show that just repeats the same scenario week-to-week?

        • scooby says:

          Uh, what scenario are they repeating? They regularly hold Elvis funerals or Indian weddings? I think it’s good enough to get a nomination, but they by their own admission had a rough start this season. Winning would be pretty unexpected. If they didn’t get a nomination, I wouldn’t be shocked, although the actors deserve recognition. In a few episodes they came a little untethered in terms of writing/plot. The idea of dropping a badger from the ceiling (all of Winston in that ep was as if he was having a manic freakout) or the idea that dainty Jess could fit into that really large Elvis costume…the believability was a problem. It can be crazy and still work in that world. There are limits, though. I can handle Indiana Jones falling from a great height down waterfalls in a raft, but surviving a nuclear fallout while bouncing around like a ping pong ball in a fridge? Nope.

    • SylwekG says:

      Girls, Parks & Rec and Happy Endings(especially Happy Endings) – I definitely agree. I don’t care about the rest. It can be 30 Rock since it was its last season and Modern Family, since it will be nominated for sure. I just don’t want TBBT to get a nod, because, seriously, it has been hilarious once, but it has gotten worse after season 3 and I have no idea why all of those people watch it now because it’s practically the same joke over and over again.

    • Tom Charles says:

      agree 100% on the Office clone Modern Family being overrated. Yes it’s got a great cast, and it’s not a BAD show, it’s just not, in my opinion, as great as everyone thinks it is. And do ALL the adults need nominations? NO. I’d rather see the kid that plays Luke get one over Ed O’Neill or Eric Stonestreet. And instead of Sofia Vegara, maybe Ariel Winters? But this is all talk for another article I’m sure is coming soon

    • scooby says:

      Yeah, Louie deserves a nomination for sure. One note for the slideshow/article, I believe one of the experts at Gold Derby said that Louie wouldn’t miss a year of Emmy eligibility after all because he’ll have new eps airing at the tail end of the next cycle ergo he’d be up for a 2014 award. Louie may’ve since pushed when he’ll start making new shows, but that’s what they were saying recently. He’d only have to wait 2 years for an Emmy nom if the show doesn’t come back til fall 2014 instead of early summer.

  2. Sam says:

    Your dream choices are all fine, but TBBT over 30 Rock, Girls, and Veep? I mean, come now.

    • Ann says:

      The Big Bang Theory might consistently gets high ratings, it deserves some recognition for that don’t you think? The humor is broad enough to capture the imagination of millions of viewers, and that’s hard to do…whereas shows like 30 Rock and Veep are good, but their humor is very narrow. It’s easier to please a narrow crowd of people as opposed to humoring a larger crowd….

      • Sam says:

        That’s ridiculous. Popularity does not equal winning an award for quality. If it did, Michael Bay would have 15 Academy Awards.

        • Eli says:

          While it does not equal winning, it is a factor that should be taken into account. Especially with comedy, where personal tastes in humor play such a big part in the perceived “quality” of a show.
          Case in point, Michael Bay’s movies may be popular, but a lot of people, even those who saw and liked his movies, will admit that they are not very good quality-wise. Other movies, like The Avengers, are also extremely popular but score higher on quality-rating across the board. Should they still automatically be disqualified on account of being popular?

      • Alex says:

        Are you kidding? TBBT (and Modern Family, and other high-rating shows) DO get rewarded for their high ratings… they get sure-thing renewals, and the producers/stars bring home insane paychecks. Emmys should not be distributed based on ratings. They should be awarded for creativity, and for bringing something new and interesting to the table. In my opinion, broad shows that repeat the same jokes for years and treat each character like a stereotype do and should not fit into that box.

    • Ally Oop says:

      I think next year things will be a whole lot different. Looking at all the comedies debuting next year, there seems to be a sea change going on.

  3. Katie says:

    I don’t care who else is in the race as long as New Girl is nominated!

  4. Xime says:

    I would like to see New Girl nominated… this second season has been great!

  5. KND says:

    Louie, Parks & Rec, New Girl, Community, Happy Endings & Veep

  6. lili says:

    My dream nominees:
    30 Rock, Louie, New Girl, Parks and Recreation and Veep.

  7. Debra says:

    VEEP! Hilarious! it’s just the best!

  8. Bp11 says:

    I fail to get why so many people watch TBBT anymore. That show used to be hilarious, but the show is the same as it was 5 years ago plot-wise, just minus the comedy. I seriously feel like I’m watching the same episode every week. The, “Sheldon is socially unaware and Penny is clueless” bit is so over done now.

    I’d personally LOVE to see The Office score a nod, season 8 was a little blah, but they really stepped it up for this season, I’d say it’s one of the top 4 funniest of the show.

    • DreamRose311 says:

      It’s hard to let go of Big Bang, even if it has gotten quite redundant and a little dumbed down :o/

      I would love to see The Office get nominated too, this was definitely the best season in quite a while.

  9. Sarah says:

    Parks and Rec, New Girl, Happy Endings, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, and Louie would be my dream nominees. It really seems like the Emmys are stuck in a rut, though, because it seems like they continually award the same people and shows over and over. There are a lot of great shows, actors, and actresses that never receive the recognition that they deserve. I thought the Critics’ Choice Television nominees were great because they branched out from the usual suspects.

  10. Joao Gordinho says:

    New Girl, Happy Endings, Parks and Rec, Arrested and Veep

  11. Michelle says:

    Hoping to see some Emmy love for Parks and Rec, New Girl, and Louie. Wouldn’t mind seeing Veep in there as well. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter much to me what else gets nominated in this category.

  12. ABC says:

    30 Rock needs to win.

  13. Leondre says:

    The Middle, Modern Family, and Parks and Recreation are the only comedies I watch on this list.

  14. 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, Veep, The Neighbors (hey, you said dream!), New Girl

    • Leah says:

      I loved The Neighbors, too! But it took quite a while. I quit watching after the pilot and came back closer to the end to find that it was hilarious. Oh, man. Imagine (in a perfect, fictional world) if it got a nomination. That would be the ultimate, “SUCK IT!” to everybody who talks about how awful it is and only watched the pilot.

    • e says:

      I completely scoffed at The Neighbors when it premiered, but then I caught some of the episodes on the back half of the season, and it’s pretty funny and really enjoyable. I looked forward to watching it more than Modern Family. It took a while to find its footing, but I think it landed in a really nice place.

  15. Spencer says:

    I agree about Parks. However this has been a bad season for the show. Season 3 was THE perfect season, but it still deserves some noms. I was really hoping that since 30 Rock was gone, Parks might actually have a chance….

    • Elizabeth says:

      You’re right that in Parks terms it was a weaker season than their last two story wise. That said, the acting and the individual episode writing is still some of the best on television. It is most certainly one of the top six shows this year.

  16. Julio says:

    Veep is hilarious and deserves a nom. Nurse Jackie was good but not Emmy worthy. However, Merrit Wever deserves a emmy win. She’s the star of the show!

  17. Amy says:

    I’m sorry, but I really don’t believe that Girls or Glee are comedies.

    • bamabunny says:

      Agreed…too much dramatic content. But then too much comedic content to warrant “Drama” designation. There’s got to be something for those types of shows that fall in the middle.

      • Ally Oop says:

        The categories should be more clearly defined between one-hour shows and half-hour shows. Judging Glee amongst all the half-hour shows is simply ridiculous. I just don’t get it. Glee is more of a drama than a comedy.

      • A says:

        I believe they call them dramedies (drama/comedy), but I don’t think I’ve never heard of such a category on any award show.

    • the girl says:

      Also, and more importantly, Glee isn’t funny.

    • Mike R. says:

      I agree Girls is in more in line with Shameless, can you believe it was pitched as a comedy.

  18. Nichole says:

    Girls being in the comedy circle must be an American thing, only made it through the first two episodes myself and found nothing remotely funny about them. Boring, over-rated and overly vulgar yes, funny no!

  19. lyn says:

    The only one of these shows I watch is TBBT. So they get my support.

  20. Maddie says:

    Nurse Jackie. 30 Rock. Girls. New Girl.
    There’s more than that nominated but out of the shows I’ve watched in your list I think these deserve a nod.
    Now keep in mind, I need to watch VEEP still! And Louie is always good but I’m not caught up.

    Nurse Jackie has been my favorite show for a long time and I watch A LOT of tv. I always feel bad when people haven’t seen it. Like dude, you’re missing out! Not sure why it’s not always nominated…?

  21. Lauren Rife says:

    No love for Cougar Town! :(

    • the girl says:

      Cougar Town being nominated now that it’s on TBS is highly unlikely considering it got no love when it was on ABC. However, it was frakking high larry us. I would love to see CT, Happy Endings, and New Girl all get nominations, but I don’t intend to hold my breath.

  22. Elly says:

    Girls is not funny, it’s honestly not even that great anymore. I am extremely disappointed “The League” isn’t on here. It is truly one of the top 3 comedies on tv, I highly recommend it. The League, Parks and Rec, Modern Family, New Girl, The Office, and 30 Rock have been the most consistently funny in my opinion.

  23. GeoDiva says:

    The Middle is great week after week!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with all of your dream picks. You singled out the six shows that had the best seasons this year. My biggest hope is that Parks and Recreation gets a nomination this year. It wasn’t their best season but it was still solid and hilariously funny. Even the worst Parks episode is better than some of these shows’ bests.

  25. Andy says:

    New Girl, Modern Family, Girls, 30 Rock, and Happy Endings! Happy Endings has been ignored by the Emmys for too long and it’s such a shame because it was so critically acclaimed. I doubt it will get a nom be maybe, just MAYBE, this year will be different. Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, and Adam Pally are HILARIOUS and the show is so smart. It bothers me that crap like Big Bang still gets nominated even though it is the same thing every week.

  26. lilys87 says:

    Parks and recreation ; The Office ; I would like to see Web therapy ;
    Veep ; 30 Rock (despite a weak season) ; I don’t watch them all. Community, HIMYM TBBT don’t deserve a nod this year so my last spot would go to one that I don’t watch I guess…

  27. Seriously, nothing for Shameless? William H. Macy? Joan Cusack? Or are we putting them in the Drama category now because if so then Emmy Rossum & Noel Fisher definitely need to be there. They were mind blowingly good this past season.

  28. CJS says:

    30 Rock, TBBT, MF, HIMYM, New Girl, & The Office.
    Also, Glee would be better suited for the drama category. It still wouldn’t win, but it would be a better fit.

  29. Brigette says:

    Would love to see nominations for Girls, Arrested Development, and The Office. I would love it if Arrested Development won if nothing more but because of the strangeness of circumstances! (And I gotta say, everything I’ve heard/read from fans does not reflect the “luke warm” response you mentioned– it’s been mostly positive. But only critic blogs count I guess?)

  30. Leah says:

    30 Rock, Parks, New Girl, Louie, The Middle, and Happy Endings. (With Parks winning) I love Mindy Project, but considering how uneven it was, it shouldn’t be up this year. I will NEVER understand all the Big Bang love. They have an excellent cast, and it is funny every now and then – but it is in no way on the same level as nearly anything else on your list. If you want to go with a broader show – go with The Middle.

    • CJS says:

      You’re right. TBBT is no way on the same level as anything else on the list. The ratings for TBBT are much higher compared to everything else ;)

    • Adam says:

      I always enjoyed The Big Bang Theory, and generally agreed with its criticism of being too conventional for a long time. But they’ve really stepped up this year, made their writing a little sharper, and experimented more with emotional and affective character plots. It’s had some of the series’ best episodes this past season, so I think its worthy of a nomination, even if this really competitive year.

  31. JAMANDAFAN says:

    If I could choose the nominees: Happy Endings, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, Modern Family, Veep and 30 Rock. Happy Endings deserves some recognition and (please! please! please!) a USA pick-up. Parks and Rec is one of the best comedies on TV–I’m continually shocked that it isn’t nominated in this category every year.

    • Spencer says:

      Totally agree! Parks is consistently hilarious, and sweet, and moving. It needs to get at least more nods, let alone some wins.

  32. Babybop says:

    The Middle, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, TBBT, and The Office would be my ideal race. I watched 4 episodes of season 2 of New Girl but cut it out of my schedule when I started to hate all the characters. I love Mindy Project, but it’s just not ready for the Emmys yet.

    I just want a win for Parks and Rec this year! They deserve it!

  33. marge says:

    Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Happy Endings – YES PLEASE!

  34. Josh says:

    TBBT and Commuinty please!

  35. Zachary says:

    The League totally deserves Emmys. Not only is it the funniest show on TV, it made Mark Duplass into America’s golden boy, and the actors are doin more work than any show on the air as it is so heavily improvised.

  36. dude says:

    Happy Endings, Community, Parks & Rec, New Girl, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are my picks. Honourable mention goes to The Mindy Project.

  37. So glad to see Enlightened on the list. It’s a long, long shot.. but it really deserves some Emmy recognition!

    • Becky Dembo says:

      Enlightened was brilliant, no pun intended. HBO really missed the boat. It was getting better and better. Disappointed!

  38. Adam says:

    I agree with most of the dream nominees – although I haven’t seen Enlightened. And while I love Parks and Recreation, I don’t think this was its strongest year as a series (the cast should have a nice Emmy reel out of it, though). It’s still one of the best comedies on TV, but its a competitive year, so I wouldn’t be upset if it didn’t make the cut if it meant something like 30 Rock or Happy Endings make the cut. And in a dream world, Archer would be recognized as a great comedy series and not just another animated show.
    I felt Arrested Development’s season four was actually really great once I completed it, but it really requires watching every episode and being patient with it – it takes more time to warm up than the jurors will have time for. But I’d love to se it get nominated.
    And while Girls may get a nomination since its a very well-crafted show that will still enter as a Comedy series, it was a much weaker season than the first and made a sharp turn for the dramatic, so I’d rather see it not get the nomination either.
    I have a feeling that no matter what, that Modern Family will get nominated, but I really hope it doesn’t. It earned its win in its first year, but there’s been better comedies on the air.

  39. Sarabi says:

    Louie, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development and Happy Endings!

  40. Liz says:

    Would LOVE Cougar Town, New Girl, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, maybe The Middle. I know this group would never happen, but still…

  41. Monica says:

    Veep definitely deserves a nomination. It’s second season has been awesome, getting better and better with each episode. One of the best comedies on TV right now IMO, not sure why it doesn’t get more love.

  42. Esaul says:

    None of the comedies I’ve watched feel they deserve the nomination this year. Not feeling the new comedies either.

  43. james says:

    HAPPY ENDINGS. The end.

  44. Weezy says:

    Obviously the trendies are all trying to push Girls and Veep, both of which are severely overrated. JLD is funny, but the show is really too simple and the same joke is recycled over and over. Personally I think The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are as funny as any of the other shows on the nomination list above, but they are probably a little raunchy for the average voter. Mainstream wise, New Girl is probably the best written and acted out of the list above in my opinion.

  45. GS says:

    I only watch TBBT but I honestly don’t care who gets nominated as long as it is NOT Modern Family. I have tried over and over to watch it and it’s horrible. Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, and Sophia Vergara are way over-rated and none of them should be nominated let alone win.

  46. Eric says:

    Happy Endings
    The Middle
    Modern Family
    Cougar Town
    Raising Hope

  47. Ettie says:

    Arrested should get a nod. The season is brilliant and in the more negative reviews I have read it’s painfully obvious the “critic” watched two or three episodes at best.

  48. juan says:

    Happy Endings needs to be nominated and get picked up pleaseeeee

  49. Lecholls says:

    New Girl
    Parks & Recreation
    Arrested Development
    30 Rock

  50. A says:

    What about Mike & Molly, Hot In Cleveland?
    Also, can Modern Family be banned from the Emmys this year? I love the show but I’m sick and tired of the Emmy’s being the Modern Family Award Show these past few years. They fill up all the best actor and actress nominees from that show and there is barely any room for other actors. Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse TF, and Ed O’Neill all in one category is just stupid and ridiculous. Absolutely NO! There needs to be a chance for other great actors too.