The Emmy nominations are coming. Voters shouldn’t overlook these shows

For TV critics, it’s never too early to start complaining about the Emmys. And, as voting for the nominations closes Monday among TV Academy members, a few issues threaten to hamper the quality of this year’s nominees.

The biggest issue, of course, is the volume. Thanks to the sheer number of high-quality TV shows released this year, especially on streaming services, there are more artists and shows doing Emmy-worthy work than ever before. But the structure of rewards has not kept pace with the evolution of quality.

Don’t get too technical, but the number of nominees in each category is determined by the number of submissions they receive from eligible TV shows. But for categories where the quality has increased more than the quantity of submissions, that means many more worthy shows are competing for the same limited number of slots – leaving more outstanding series stranded.

Consider the category of various sketch series – where saturday night live always wins, anyway – who will likely get two nomination slots. This is a category that has seen a spike in dynamic new series featuring non-white stars, like The Amber Ruffin Show, Ziwe, Break with Sam Jay, A dark lady sketch show and That fucking Michael Che. Of course, it would be nice if more than one of these shows could earn the accolade of a nomination alongside SNL.

And, of course, with all that volume, it’s hard to know how many shows Emmy voters have actually seen. So to help you out, I’m going to offer my own suggestions on artists and shows that may not be the first, but deserve the honor of a nomination this year. Here’s hoping a few TV academy members have an open mind and leave some space on their nomination forms.

Best Actress in a Drama: Rhea Seehorn, You better call Saul

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Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

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AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler in You better call Saul.

It is an inexplicable oversight. For seven years, Seehorn brought to life the most compelling original character in one of television’s best drama series, itself derived from one of the best television dramas of all time.

And she was never nominated for an Emmy.

Seehorn’s take on Kim Wexler, a lawyer caught up in the rule-breaking shenanigans of her husband and future drug cartel lawyer Jimmy “Saul Goodman” McGill, is the beating heart of the series. Wexler’s active involvement in her husband’s scams — and the childhood experiences that may explain her attraction to his dark side — consistently produce the show’s best moments. Emmy voters already know how good the show is: The show received 39 nominations, including five nominations for Best Drama and recognition from Seehorn’s male co-stars Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks. It is therefore out of time: Give this woman her appointment, already.

Best Drama Series: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Marni Grossman / Marni Grossman/Paramount

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Marni Grossman/Paramount

Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock.

I say. It’s a sci-fi series, and they rarely get nominations outside of technical categories. And this is the fourth live-action Trek Paramount+ streamer series – the latest iteration of a 50+ year old franchise. But Strange new worlds is also an inventive, progressive and hugely entertaining series that has come closer to the exuberant spirit of the original series than any other release (except maybe Star Trek: Next Generation). Focused on the adventures of the Starship Enterprise before James T. Kirk became its captain, Strange new worlds gives us modernized origin stories for the classic Trek characters like Mr. Spock, Nurse Chapel, and Lt. Uhura, balanced with bold new characterizations and stories.

They’ve turned a villainous species that was once a punchline among fans — the Gorn, played by a guy in a gruesome plastic suit on the original series — and reimagined them as terrifying, Extraterrestrialstyle killing machines. They gave us gay and transgender characters presented with simplicity and respect. Even better, they managed to create a modern series that also pays homage to the franchise and elevates its history. What other contender for Best Drama can boast of a hat trick like this?

Best Actor in a Drama: Quincy Isaiah, Buying Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

Quincy Isaiah as Earvin

Quincy Isaiah as Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

This series, centered on the 1980s “Showtime” era of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, has received much deserved criticism for twisting the lives of its well-known subjects to create better drama. But hopefully that doesn’t stop Isaiah from getting his flowers for pulling off an extremely tough performance – playing Earvin “Magic” Johnson as he went from superstar college athlete to making his mark as a professional. the NBA.

Not only did he have to capture the athletic prowess of one of the game’s best, Isaiah also had to play the part of a young star learning that his million dollar smile and playing skills didn’t necessarily make him a great man. In winning time, viewers see Johnson face everything from racism from basketball fans and the national sports press to his own challenges with the feminization and confidence of veteran superstar Kareem Abdul Jabbar. This is where Isaiah, in his first major role as an actor, really shines – giving us all a sense of the man struggling behind Johnson’s outgoing and charismatic facade.

Supporting Actor, Limited Series: Matthew Goode, The offer

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans in The Offer.

Sarah Coulter/Sarah Coulter/Paramount+

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Sarah Coulter/Paramount+

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans in The Offer.

Voters in the acting categories tend to look down on roles that look like impersonations of famous people (which is why I’d be surprised if OT Fagbenle gets a nod for his saturday night liveBarack Obama-level representation in Showtime The first lady). But hopefully they’ll make an exception for Goode’s version of superstar producer and film studio head Robert Evans in Paramount+’s limited series about the making of The Godfather. Evans was a legendary figure, known for his partying ways, eternal tan, self-centeredness, old-school Hollywood flair, and boundless ego.

But he was also a talented studio executive and producer, pushing Gulf + Western, then owner of Paramount Studios, to make a movie out of the bestselling book and fill it with Italian culture to make their Mafia movie feel authentic. Goode, a hugely underrated British actor, nails Evans’ bold personality and the fragile insecurities he tried to hide, nearly derailing when his marriage to star Ali MacGraw fell apart. For my money, this is the best portrayal of a famous character in a series that also portrays Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Frank Sinatra.

Best Comedy Series: Schmidadon! and This way until

I’m already expecting shows like HBO’s barryFX Atlanta and ABC’s wonderful surprise hit Abbott Elementary School to be among the top comedy series nominees. (Although I don’t know why Disney+ submitted the Marvel superhero series Hawk Eye to be considered a comedy series – except perhaps to imply that centering a TV show on the bow and arrow guy from The Avengers the movies were one long joke?)

That’s why I devote some space to the longest of the long shots in this category. Schmidadon! is AppleTV+’s bizarrely creative series about a backpacker couple who stumble upon a town where life is one, long, classic musical. It’s both a tribute and a parody of those golden age productions, like Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music Where Carouseland the amount of creative chops it took to pull this show off deserves credit.

Aisling Bea in This Way Up.

Rekha Garton / Channel 4

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Channel 4

Aisling Bea in This Way Up.

This way until is a spunky, sardonic comedy about an Irish woman recovering from a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide (played by Irish comic Aisling Bea) and her sometimes overprotective sister (played by Sharon Horgan). Bea writes all of the scripts for this series, which aired on UK TV and Hulu as a quirky little look at one sister working hard to pull herself together, while the other sister is slowly falling apart.

None of these shows have much of a chance of winning major nominations, but they’re powerful examples of smaller, quirky productions that can get overlooked when voters have too much to watch and consider.

Best Varied Sketch Series: The Amber Ruffin Show

Amber Rufin.

Heidi Gutman / Peacock

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Peacock

I’m a record breaker on this show, which I also flagged as worthy of a nomination last year. Ruffin has done an amazing job developing this series on Peacock, with his rambling team of producers/writers/performers, while also being a screenwriter on Late Night with Seth Meyers. She educated her audience on the “true” meaning of CRT (Caucasian Race Tomfoolery), the ABCs of white privilege (assimilation, pink colored band-aids that are labeled “nude” and colonization), and how TV crime dramas are ” most effective and long-running advertising campaign of all time” for the American police officer.

Along with her illuminating elements on social issues, Ruffin is funny and charismatic in a quirky but appealing way — delivering overwhelming social commentary with the same singsong cadence she deploys when discussing Beyonce’s latest single. It’s high time for Ruffin to get a bigger stage, and a well-timed Emmy nomination might help do the trick.

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