Emmys Watch: 15 Freshman Comedy Series/Stars Who Could (or Should) Shake Up the Old Guard

Emmy aficionados know the drill: Each July, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announces its annual slate of nominees, inspiring a strange cocktail of elation and dread.

But just as vexing as the usual snubs (in the Emmy world, apparently, Community, Happy Endings, The Middle and New Girl barely existed last year) is the penchant for lazily rewarding certain shows and actors based on past glories alone — without a real examination of whether they’re continuing to deliver vital, relevant work.

In the spirit of finding a fresher mix of nominees in 2014, TVLine decided to alert the Academy (REALLY far in advance) to 15 series and/or performers in the Comedy category who’ve been doing first-rate work since launching after last year’s June 2013 eligibility deadline. We’re not saying that all of these members of the freshman class have quite earned their spot at the table — frankly, at this point we’re not advocating for anything other than Parks and Recreation‘s return to the Outstanding Comedy Series race — but they ought to at least be in line for the banquet.

Check out our gallery of freshman-class faves below, then hit the comments and tell us which other comedy newcomers ought to have the old guard quaking in its designer footwear.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. dude says:

    Marcia Gay Harden is one of my least favourite parts of Trophy Wife. I find Malin Akerman, Michaela Watkins, Bradley Whitford and Natalie Morales wayy more entertaining!

    • the girl says:

      I actually can’t stand Natalie Morales. But I do love the show overall.

      • Shuayb. says:

        I like Morales as an actor, she’s been so underused in everything she has been in but her character annoys me. It’s way to cliche and horrible.

    • Zach says:

      Yeah, Bradley Whitford is the only good part of that show. He almost made me continue watching.

      I don’t blame Marcia Gay Harden, but she is just given poor material. She is supposed to come off as threatening (and she has the attitude for it), but the dialogue is laughably stupid.

    • Frank says:

      I agree with dude … Marcia Gay Harden is very annoying on TW and her acting is so over the top.

    • Ron says:

      Really? Harden is actually one of my favorite parts of the show. Differences of opinions I guess. Maybe it’s because I’m actually similar to Harden’s character. Yes, I give you carte blanche to pity those around me.

    • hipper says:

      What? I agree with the article that Harden and Tsai are the standouts on this series. I find Akerman dreadful in her role. Easy on the eyes but man alive, this role completely catered to all her weaknesses as an actress. She doesn’t do sweet or physical comedy well.

      I can see them writing out Morales’s role soon since she’s not part of the family. She’s already been gone for a few episodes already this season.

    • Christina says:

      Michaela Watkins looking for a key in their front yard is still my favorite scene of the series. Classic.

    • ChrisGa says:

      The show itself leaves a little to be desired; it’s amusing and cute but not much beyond that. And while I definitely can get on board with Albert Tsai–personally, I think he steals the show every week–and even Harden, I find Michaela Watkins irritating to no end(much like I did when she was on Old Christine). She’s probably my least favorite part of the show besides the snarky daughter.

  2. Amber says:

    Danielle Brooks should be on this list. Taystee is easily one of the funnier and more interesting characters on OITNB.

  3. Eddie says:

    I know she isn’t freshman anymore, but Midy Kaling HAS to be nominated in 2014. So far, she’s my favourite lead actress/comedy series. I love her!

    • neha says:

      Eh, I think the writing on that show is pretty good (very 30-rock/New Girl-ish), but Mindy Kaling as an actress? She’s just playing herself. Ike is probably the best comedic actor on that show.

  4. Cassie says:

    Albert Tsai’s Bert was nailed in his “uterus” by a soccer ball. Not his “ovaries” :)

  5. Mike says:

    Really so many people on Trophy Wife for Emmy nods. Love that show.

    I know Sean Saves the World doesn’t light it up, but would love Linda Lavin to get a supporting actress nom. She’s the bright spot on that show.

  6. reggie says:

    Shame Shame for not including Terry Crews

  7. Krystan says:

    Betsy Brandt has “killer chemistry.” I see what you did there. Well played team tvline, well played.

  8. Hamza says:

    McLendon-Covey has been killing it on the Goldbergs. Plus, Troy Gentile who plays Barry has been great too.

    Brooklyn-99 has had excellent episodes and I think Andy Samberg has been brilliant in all of them. Sadly, I don’t think Emmy is going to nominate him probably just because he shows a bit too much goofiness for their taste.

  9. Zach says:

    Where’s the love for Thomas Lennon, Troy Gentile and Kevin Weisman?

    Also, Trophy Wife is a disaster. The kids are terrible actors, and only Bradley Whitford is given good material. Harden and Akerman (mainly Harden) sometimes sell the horrible dialogue they are given, but Watkins doesn’t. I don’t think any of the adults are bad actors, but the series has bad writers.

  10. Eric7740 says:

    James Wolk on the Crazy Ones also Amanda Setton from the Crazy Ones (both supporting, of course) they are absolutley hilarious!!!

  11. Frank says:

    Not getting all the praise for Orange is the New Black … It’s ok but really emmy worthy?

  12. ggny says:

    I really think there is a good chance that Orange is the New Black can sweep the Emmys. If there is any year that Emmy want to shake thing up it would be like year and Orange is the perfect show to shake things up with

  13. Jared says:

    Trophy Wife does have a great cast but I doubt it will receive much or any Emmy love. ABC is killing this show with its timeslot. If TW was after Modern Family than maybe it would have a shot.

    • Tess says:

      Trophy Wife honestly should follow Modern Family on Wednesday instead of The Goldbergs on Tuesday. TW and MF are more similar shows and it would certainly give TW a better chance at pulling in a larger audience. The show isn’t likely to actually get noticed by the Emmy folks though, since their voters seem to be turned off by shows based solely on the titles alone; I can’t imagine they will give much thought to one dubbed Trophy Wife no matter how funny the show is or how strong the cast is.

  14. Ally Oop says:

    I vote someone from Orange Is the New Black, maybe Crazy Eyes. I also like Jackie on Trophy Wife–I think her comedic timing is pretty good.

  15. asd123 says:

    If I have to choose between Allison Janney’s lead in a comedy and supporting in a drama, I’d go with supporting in Masters of Sex. That show is much more suited to her level of acting. But, other than that, AJ for all the awards. She’s awesome.

  16. Spencer says:

    Lets get Amy Poehler an Emmy before we worry about any of these newbies.

  17. Claire says:

    I don’t think Orange belongs in the comedy category, though I can understand why they want to avoid competing with established Emmy favorites like Mad Men and Breaking Bad in their final seasons. I hope it wins a bunch of categories, but hopefully Taryn Manning doesn’t get a nomination. Pennsatucky is the worst thing about the show. Not looking forward to more of her in Season 2.

  18. David B says:

    Orange is the New Black has changed their category placement for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards to Drama, so we can assume they’ll follow suit for the Emmys!

    • HAP says:

      According to Slezak’s article on this site, the change was for Globes AND Emmys. Besides, the show is way too dark to be considered a comedy.

  19. Paul8148 says:

    Orange is the New Black put themself in Drama for the Globes and Sags, might of hurt themselves

  20. Paul8148 says:

    for new shows the top newbies for comedy are

    Series: Broklynn 99 for sure, possible The Crazy Ones and Mom
    Lead Actor: Robin Williams, Fox, Sandberg all likely (I guessing Andre goes supporting for 99), longshots Whitford, Arnet, and Hayes.
    Lead Actress: Brandt and Farris likely,
    Supportign Actor: Andre (Lock),

  21. Morganic says:

    Linda Lavin needs to be on this list. She KILLS it on Sean Saves…but I also agree that priority #1 should be getting Amy her dang Emmy!

  22. Jason says:

    Always been a huge Jo lo Truglio fan. Ever sense his days on The State!!!

  23. DavidSask says:

    Your love for the awful Trophy Wife does not speak well for you as legit!

  24. Adrian Arciniega says:

    Um, what about HBO’s ‘Family Tree’ which wasn’t eligible last year, but is this year. It’s easily the best new comedy out there.

  25. Drew says:

    I stopped watching Orange is the New Black midway through the second to last episode and haven’t looked back. Annoying show. I feel like a lot of good actresses are being wasted on it.

    The Crazy Ones deserves some love. But I really don’t follow award shows, so I’d rather it just get a lot of audience support. Award shows aren’t really about excellence or artistry, they’re about Hollywood politics. That makes them boring as he!! to watch.

  26. Mik says:

    I don’t see any way Taryn Manning won’t be nominated if she submits that episode where her character is stuck in Psych. She was amazing in that episode!

  27. Sarahliz1624 says:

    Should series from Netflix even be able to be nominated since technically they aren’t television? Shouldn’t they be put in a category along with other internet programming?

    • Jax says:

      Whether they should or not is still being argued in fandom but the ship has already sailed. House of Cards (a Netflix original series) was nominated for, and won, several Emmy awards.

  28. Megyn says:

    The Queen of Emmy nominations… Susan Lucci! She’s proven to be a great comedic actress on Devious Maids. The Academy should reward her with a Supporting Actress nod.

  29. Shaun says:

    If I knew Captain Janeway was in Orange is the New Black, I would have watched it. I guess I have to now since I have Netflix.

    No offence to the new shows though, as far as drama goes, I think the Emmy’s this year is going to be mainly and exclusively for Breaking Bad and AHS,

  30. erin says:

    I dont watch Mom or The Michael J Fox show, but I agree wholeheartely with every single other one of these! I never liked Michaela Watkins on SNL but LOVE her on Trophy Wife. Anything Wendi Mclendon-Covey says or does will make me laugh, and the entire casts of Brooklyn Nine Nine and Orange is the New Black are amazing. I have high hopes for the Emmys next year.

  31. juan says:

    Trophy Wife is the best new show of the season for sure and I agree with your nominations. I also love Orange is the new Black and Brooklyn nine. Also the Goldbergs is growing so much and becoming really funny, the Kid Barry is very funny.

  32. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Just so you guys know,Orange is the New Black is competing as a drama at the Golden Globes and the SAG awards. I would be shocked if they went for the comedy category at the Emmys, but maybe it if it does poorly at the Golden Globes and SAG, they’ll switch to comedy. I personally think the switch to drama is a mistake since that’s such a competitive category. And personally I just really see the show as comedy. It probably makes me a sick individual, but Orange did make me laugh a lot. I mean, how could you not laugh your ass off at Crazy Eyes singing, “Chocolate and vanilla swirl!”

  33. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Also, I would like to see Hello Ladies nominated as well as Stephen Merchant for lead actor. He’s so funny on that. It’s a great show. If you’re not watching it, you should be.

  34. cjeffery7 says:

    im glad to see that many of these suggestions are for women. the laides are really NAILING IT these days! on a totally different topic, might ABC consider putting trophy wife closer to 8pm, supposing it can get find the audience to warrant such a move? i’d eat that ish up sitting around with the fam. its no full house, but its FAR from risque.

  35. Jax says:

    Very happy that you recognized the incredibly talented cast of Orange is the New Black. Every single actress on that show is Emmy worthy. Really hoping Crazy Eyes (Aduba) get a win!

  36. cececece says:


  37. jakr says:

    the entire cast of Brooklyn Nine Nine deserves awards. I laugh single time, with every single character.

  38. David says:

    I am totally agree with jakr

  39. Dawn Lordan says:

    Beverly Goldberg is the best character I’ve ever seen on any comedy!!!! That woman is hilarious ! McClendon -Covey is phenomenol!! That show is awesome!!