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Even before the 2019 Emmy nominations were announced, the biggest and most obvious story belonged to the fact that last year’s drama nominees almost completely cleared the way for the final season of “Game of Thrones.” But for as weak as the drama categories are overall (give or take a “Pose”), the comedy categories have rarely had stiffer competition than they did this year, as creators innovated the genre into thrilling new shapes. Comedy was so good this year, in fact, that disappointment in the Emmy nominees seemed inevitable…until it didn’t.
By the time the final outstanding comedy nominees were announced Tuesday morning, it was clear that the Television Academy is eager to honor the kind of series that reveal the depth of what comedy can do. Sure, the overwhelming love for HBO’s “Veep” and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was unsurprising. On the other hand, almost everything else in the comedy categories was a breath of badly needed fresh air. HBO’s pitch black “Barry” expanded its presence beyond the twofer of Bill Hader and Henry Winkler with nominations for extremely good and worthy co-stars Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, and Stephen Root. Netflix’s twisty thriller “Russian Doll,” a deliberately strange blend of comedy and tragedy, cleaned up with deserved nods for writing, directing, and co-creator Natasha Lyonne in the highly competitive outstanding actress category. NBC’s “The Good Place,” which has proved the power of highly serialized comedies, landed its first outstanding comedy nod. Pop TV’s warmhearted Canadian comedy “Schitt’s Creek” managed to crack into three major categories, including nominations for industry legends Eugene Levy and...
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