Emmy Nominations 2019: Biggest snubs, from The Deuce, My Brilliant Friend to One Day at a Time, Better Things
For every pleasant surprise at the 2019 Emmy nominations, there was a puzzling omission. Here are some of the biggest snubs.
The 2019 Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced on Tuesday, and by now, TV nerds all over the world would have scoured through the nominations list looking for omissions to get angry about. We know we did.
There were plenty of pleasant surprises of course, with the Television Academy including nine new shows in the race for the top honours of best drama and best comedy. It was especially heartening to see Fleabag, Killing Eve, Russian Doll and Succession nominated. But for every pleasant surprise, there is always a puzzling snub.
And some omissions are more shocking than others. So, we've rounded up the biggest snubs from this year's Emmy nominations.
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Easily the most consistently funny sitcom on Netflix, it has taken the classic living room couch multi-cam set-up and turned it into a place of understanding and acceptance — as it addresses the most pressing issues in the Trump era. For three seasons, this Latinx spin to the popular 70s sitcom has refused to shy away from unusually weighty topics. The third season tackled more hot-button topics like mental health, toxic masculinity, representation, homophobia and more. Yet, it never gives off the feeling of being too heavy-handed as there is humour and hope shining through each episode. You could be laughing with joyful abandon one moment and get emotionally sucker punched the very next. With a cast led by Justina Machado and Rita Moreno, they always manage to strike the right balance between comedy and drama.
However, the show was cancelled by Netflix (the saviour of cancelled shows) soon after its third season, only to be picked up by Pop TV. So, hopefully, we'll be seeing more of the Alvarezes soon. The world's a lesser place without them.
The Deuce (HBO)
New York City turned into a regular Sodom and Gomorrah in this exceptionally well-crafted survey of '70s excess, filtered through the stark lens of The Wire creator David Simon. Season 2 sees this epic tale of porn, pleasure and power focus its narrative around the women, who were its most fascinating and complex characters even in the first outing. This extraordinary ensemble piece is led by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is simply sensational in an Emmy-worthy (but snubbed) performance as Candy. The prostitute turned pornstar is now eagerly trying to find her place behind the camera as a director. But in a sexist and dehumanising industry, she faces several challenges and finds it hard to be taken seriously. Simon blends these characters into their tragicomic environment in a consummate manner as always. Despite the tinsel and tantalising proceedings, it is an American dream grounded in harsh reality.
My Brilliant Friend (HBO)
Based on the first of Elena Ferrante’s best-selling Neapolitan novels, the HBO drama boasts a similar depth and complexity as the books — a feat rarely achieved by film or TV adaptations. My Brilliant Friend chronicles the intense friendship and rivalry between two neighbours — the ambitious Elena and the enigmatic Lila — growing up in a slum in Naples in the early 1950s. We see Elena's feelings towards her best friend Lila shift from envy to embarrassment and attraction to aversion, through the course of a variety of conflicts and adventures in their rebellion against an oppressive environment. In a tightly constructed eight-episode season, creator Saverio Costanzo captures the very soul of the book combining its emotional authenticity, dry wit and sociopolitical insight.
Better Things (FX)
Pamela Adlon manages to maintain the bar in the more experimental third season of Better Things, and achieves even better results. She produces, directs, co-writes and stars in every episode and her creative voice really shines through. Our beloved supermom Sam Fox is funny and stubborn as ever — and continues to enchant us with her understated wit. There is a simplicity, sincerity and a narrative clarity to her often bittersweet storytelling, which makes for a wholly original concoction of comedy like no other.
Over the course of four seasons, Catastrophe has built itself a reputation as a anti-romcom of sorts. It not only breaks the rules of classic romcoms but avoids easy laughs by combining the best of British and American comedy — thanks to writers, creators and stars (the very Irish) Sharon Horgan and (the very American) Rob Delaney. In the final season, we say our goodbyes to Rob and Sharon, who must deal with the death of their parents and their own fear of getting older as they navigate the tricky terrain of parenting. The comedy remains consistently sharp and brutally irreverent while the drama varies from raunchy to poignant.
Taking the same route as Louis CK (Louie), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Donald Glover (Atlanta), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ramy Youssef takes the helm in this auteur-driven vehicle. Playing a fictional version of himself, Ramy struggles to find a balance between his Muslim faith and his millennial lifestyle. Unlike Ansari's Master of None, Ramy delves into the trials and tribulations of being a religious Muslim in America amid all the cultural hysteria. Over the course of the ten-episode first season, he also examines different perspectives on modern life through the eyes of his parents and his sister, who's a first-generation American Muslim like him. Its tone, execution and humour is pitch-perfect, the kind which takes even veteran comedians at times a few seasons to master.
What makes PEN15 instantly appealing is its two 31-year-old stars play 13-year-old versions of themselves. Placing Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle back in the petri dish of high school sure was a genius idea and makes PEN15 goofy in all the right ways. Though its premise fits squarely within the clichés of most teen comedies, it still proves thoroughly refreshing and funny because it hits all the right notes with its edgy content. There's just something inherently funny about watching teenagers going through the awkwardness, humiliation and growth spurts time and time again — especially when it's done well.
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
When it was announced that Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's deliciously fun satire What We Do in the Shadows (2014) was going to be stretched into a full-fledged series, many of us were understandably apprehensive. But with Clement and Watiti at the helm, the FX series proves our scepticism was unjustified. Shot in a similar mockumentary style, What We Do in the Shadows follows the macabre and often mundane lives of four vampire roommates living in New York City's Staten Island. These dysfunctional roommates are not competent enough to tackle simple daily tasks, and they are compelled by an elder vampire to attempt an invasion of humankind. Clever and zany in equal measure, the show uses vampire tropes and cliches to hilarious effect. It also boasts plenty of fun cameos from pop culture's most famous vampires — Tilda Swinton reprising her role from Only Lovers Left Alive, Wesley Snipes from Blade, Evan Rachel Wood from True Blood, Danny Trejo from From Dusk Till Dawn, Paul Reubens from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and last but not least, Clement and Watiti bringing back their characters from the original film.
You're the Worst (FX)
Ignored by the Television Academy for all five seasons, You're the Worst bids goodbye in an emphatic fashion. Season 5 is another funny enough caustic package with some unexpectedly poignant touches. Even if not quite as eloquent or hilarious as BoJack Horseman, You're the Worst has tackled its vulnerable lead character's struggles with depression using comedy in a clever and contemplative manner. The performances have been consistently excellent across the seasons, with special shout-out to Aya Cash as Gretchen. You're the Worst has never been your conventional romcom; so, there are no running-through-the-airport scenes and happily-ever-afters but Gretchen and Jimmy do get a happy-enough ending befitting their strange and toxic love story.
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